There has been a steady increase in the numbers of families in the UK who home school according to a report by the BBC recently.
Home schooling, or home educating as it’s also known, has risen by forty percent over the last three years.
Parents cite a number of reasons why they choose to home educate many of which are explained by a general dissatisfaction with the learning environment of schools. This includes the rigidity of the curriculum, the limits on subject choices, the focus on testing and the implications of the results, the quality of the social engagement and children becoming disengaged by the learning content and lack of control over their learning.
But the rise in numbers has also been affected by parents who’ve removed their children because their needs were not met in school and because funding for special educational needs has been cut. There are also parents who educate out of school to avoid their child being excluded. And there are even reports of schools suggesting home education to parents as a way of avoiding the more challenging children, or those who are frequently absent, affecting school statistics.
Unfortunately this often results in home education receiving bad press, as it is these negatives which are more commonly reported.
In reality, there are thousands of parents who choose to home educate from a positive perspective; because it gives the opportunity to tailor learning to their child’s needs, it gives the freedom to learn through a variety of approaches many of which are practical, experiential and outdoors, it gives a range of choices for subject content, and it affords the opportunity for more autonomy where the child can learn at their own pace rather than at the pace of others. It also provides a completely different social experience which many find more tasteful than that on offer in schools.
The experiences home educated children have are diverse and expansive and they learn in many different and individual ways. Yet these young people still go on to gain the skills they need for either qualifications, further or higher education, or entry into the work place. Consequently there is a group of professional or skilled employees, who may have never been to school, working alongside others who have and it’s rare that anyone could tell the difference.
The support for home schooling families grows constantly through networks, groups, social media, physical meet-ups and organisations, teachers and tutors online. Blogs by home educating families give a real illustration of what the home educating life is like.
So, where once it might have been considered an isolating experience the reverse is now the case as the internet provides instant contact with others doing the same. Parents have access to immediate support and the children have access to friends learning the same way as they do. This has all contributed to the rise in its popularity and given more parents the confidence to educate their child outside of mainstream if they so wish.
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