Instant access to information and support via the web has meant that increasing numbers of parents now choose to home educate rather than send their children to school.
Not only does the internet provide information about subject matter, curriculum content, and access to tutors and course resources, it has also meant that families can connect easily with others, use forums for addressing problems and seeking answers to concerns, share resources and ideas, and through the variety of blogs see how others approach it. This has raised awareness and confidence, and illustrated how well it works.
To exactly define how home education works so well is quite difficult given the number of diverse approaches that families adopt. But there is increasing proof that it does as home educated graduates move on into the wider working world.
The range of approaches families use generally fall somewhere between these two extremes; the familiar school style approach using the National Curriculum as a guide, with workbooks and time tabled, academic learning sessions like a school day. And an autonomous approach where families draw learning incidentally from whatever interests and pursuits the child is naturally engaged in. Most parents use a mixture of both approaches, adopting a flexibility to their children’s learning which falls somewhere in between these two extremes.
This way learning can be adapted to suit the child’s needs, like for example, in short bursts for those who find it hard to concentrate for longer periods. Or perhaps using a more experiential, practical approach with those who are uninterested in an academic one. Or creating a quiet environment for those who find the hubbub of a class distracting or unnerving.
Previously it was believed that home education might be rather solitary and isolating. But this is far from the reality of it today. Groups, networks, organisations and get-togethers for social and learning purposes, workshops, and growth of home educators to thousands, means that no one need home educate alone. As well as these opportunities, home educating children also integrate into the variety of normal out-of-school activities all kids do like local sports, dance, arts or music groups and lessons, or national ones like Cubs or Brownies for example. In fact a common remark made about home educated children is in praise of their mature social skills, developed from increased interaction and conversation with a high proportion of adults and others of all ages rather than just class peers, within a variety of settings rather than just school.
This stands them in good stead for interviews when they reach that point. Many go on to take exams, or to Further and higher education. Some go straight into work without, their well developed, social agility and varied experiences standing them in good stead for life ahead.
Parents choose to home educate for a variety of reasons, some after their child has encountered difficulties in school, others choosing to do so from the outset. Many because of the parents’ decreasing confidence with school structures most particularly the emphasis on testing and the impact this inevitably has in terms of pressure. This has made many feel that the school environment is not one that’s conducive to well rounded, happy individuals who reach their individual potential.
Home education is not for everyone, but offers a successful and inspiring alternative for those who wish to choose it.
There are other articles around this site which go into further details if you search for home education or home schooling. There are organisations which support home schooling families on the wider web like Education Otherwise and the Home Education Advisory service. And various forums via Facebook like home education uk. For a personal insight into home educators day to day approaches see this list of family blogs.