This website does not represent the ‘home educating community’ because there is no such thing. The tens of thousands of home educators have created groups, forums and support networks but these are wide and varied – around educational style, geographical location, our individual children’s interests – and not one of us can speak for the others.
We aren’t a homogenous group. The reasons for home educating are different, the way individual’s come to home education are different and the balance of structured to self-directed activities will vary. There is evidence to suggest that home educators often begin with a more structured style which approximates school but over time come to appreciate the value of what is gained between structured activities, moving increasingly towards non-formal learning. However, some families will remain with a very structured style and use a curriculum. This site focuses attention mostly on the less formal end of the spectrum, on self-directed learning, in part because this is the type of home education least understood and therefore most likely to be harmed by proposals to introduce closer monitoring and state involvement. Additionally, there has been an explosion of studies into and understanding of how our brains and bodies function, how we learn. We don’t need to trust the subjective and personal experience of home educators, there is plentiful evidence to show that curiosity and interest and choosing what one spends one’s own time doing is a valuable and effective way to learn.
Many people find home education the very best way to educate their child or children. They are able to make it work around the family’s financial and practical requirements, they enjoy spending time with their child, enjoy the activities they do together and enjoy the social life it gives them. However, this is not the case for all families who are home educating. Many are forced into it because their child has been seriously failed by the system. There are endless personal accounts shared online of children with special educational needs or disabilities who have not been supported in school, children who have been seriously bullied, told they are slow, incapable, children who aren’t dealing with the stress that has been put upon them. It seems particularly difficult for these parents, who sacrifice a lot to rescue their child from a very difficult situation, to then be treated with suspicion. In addition, there is evidence that parents from minority ethnic backgrounds or who are less affluent are not viewed as favourably by officials as middle class white families who make the same choice to home educate.
Not all home educators are against monitoring and increased state involvement. This website very much is. Evidence and argument is shared here as to why monitoring would be ineffective and harmful and furthermore that is incompatible with current legislation and legal principals to do so.
Who made this website?
A small team of home educators with advice from a wider team of home educators.
Rose Arnold – editor, writer and researcher. New to home education.
Luke Mills – website creation. Has home educated for many years.
Sarah Louise Esau – writing, copy editing and proofing. Has home educated for a number of years.
Juliet Kemp – additional writing. Has home educated for many years.
Katherine Norman – additional writing. Long time home educator and volunteer with Education Otherwise.
Thank you to everyone who helped and also to everyone who shared their family’s story.