Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Our Home Education - FAQs

So I thought it might be a good idea to answer some of the more common questions I've been asked since announcing my home ed plans:

1) Isn't it illegal to not send a child to school? 

a) Nope! The confusion comes because when you are in the system, you have to call the school every day of absence and should you not do this, or if your child has an 'unacceptable' level of absence then it causes all manner of problems and the authorities will get involved. However, if you remove the child from the system then these rules do not apply. 
The legal wording from the Education Act 1996 states:

7: Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable:

a: to his age, ability and aptitude, and

b: to any special educational needs he may have, 

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. 

In this case, the 'otherwise' is home ed. So it is perfectly legal and I won't be slung in jail any time soon! I am hardly a criminal mastermind.... which is probably just as well :)

2) How do you take him out of school?

a) In England, it's simple. Write a letter (recorded delivery advised or request a receipt when you hand it in) stating that your child is leaving and that's it! If you are thinking of deregistering your child as quick search on Google will provide you with some templates if you require them. It is the schools responsibility to inform the LEA and as such there is nobody else you need to inform. 

3) What curriculum will you follow?

a) Mine.

4) What's that supposed to mean?

a) Well, in simple terms, I don't HAVE to follow any curriculum if I don't want to. Some people love the structure of having a specific curriculum and seeing what their children should be learning and when. Others throw the lot out the window and decide on an 'unschooling' totally child-lead approach. Mine falls somewhere in the middle. You can download whole a curriculum online for free (all 251 pages, like the one I downloaded!)
There are no specified checks or testing which a child MUST do, however, some people will wish to test and check to see a childs progress. Each family will choose a slightly different option depending on what suits them. 

5) But you aren't a teacher so how does that work?

a) Are you a teacher? Possibly not. Were you still able to teach your children how to walk or talk or get dressed or eat their dinner? Are you able to teach them good manners, kindness and politeness? Of course you are! It's not about me being a teacher. It's about facilitating learning. We can learn together the things we need to, but it's more about meeting his needs best. And, I hate to point it out, but do you really think teachers know EVERYTHING? No, they don't, they teach a specified curriculum from the government with very little freedom to deviate from it. Teachers in school are actual real life human beings, not some all knowing robots with a Wikipedia implant in their brain! 

6) How will you structure your day?

a) Firstly, I should say that there is a general misconception that 'home school' is a school at home. It's not, and that's why I prefer the term Home Education. It is not about sitting at a desk with your child for 6 hours a day doing 'lessons'. I mean, you could, if you want, but I'd imagine that very soon you'll both be extremely bored! 
Take away the time a child at school spends in registration, lining up, assemblies, getting changed, cramming lunch to make the most of playtime, playtime, another registration... it amounts to a lot really. The time they actually spend on learning is very limited, One on one with a teacher even more limited. So, I figure that 2-3 hours at home with one on one learning is more than he's gonna get at a 6 hour school day. As he gets older there will be a need for more stucture however, at the moment we will write a plan for the week and as long as at the end of each day we have achieved what we should that's fine by me. I don't mind the order we do it in, or whether we  start at 7am or 3pm... I'm embracing the freedom of no timetable! 

7) Is this only until junior school? Or seniors?

a) No idea. There is always an option to re register him at a school if it is required, however we are not embracing this adventure with an end date in mind. 

8) But what about exams?

a) He can still sit them, if he wishes. He can still go to college or uni or get an apprenticeship. Nothing is 'unavailable' to him just because of an alternative education.

9) Aren't you worried you are ruining a childs life?

a) Aren't YOU worried you are ruining a childs life? After all, as a parent I think this isn't something I'm alone in worrying about! If you mean, am I worried my decision about his education will ruin his life then I'd like to point out I've done everything I possibly could for my Son in the 7 years he's been on this planet. Even if you don't know me, you'd have to be pretty ignorant to think that, on a whim, I've decided that without any research or thinking it through I'd make quite a drastic change to his life without considering how it might affect his future. Every proper parent wants what is right for their child and although I might have made an uncommon decision, it is what he needs at the moment, possibly short term, possibly forever. I can't believe anyone would ever do something to deliberately ruin a childs future, so please can you rethink your question and rephrase it?!

10) (All together now) " But what about Socialisation? "

a) THAT is a blog post all by itself......!


  1. Well said! Wishing you every success with your home ed journey. We celebrated 100 days of home ed today and the positive change in my son is incredible!

    1. Super fab news Jules! And I can't thank you enough for your help and support in getting us started. I am thrilled that your 100 days have been a success for you and your lovely boy! xx

  2. Hear hear. I am going to love this blog 😊

    1. Thank you Susanna! And like Julie above you've been a star! Stopped me (slightly!) from going a little bonkers, questioning everything! You know me, I'll be as honest as I can be about my experience, the good, the bad and the ugly :) xx

  3. When I did my psychology degree recently with OU, one of my tutors was home schooling her children and wrote a white paper for the government - her name was Dr Paula Rothermel and she tutored Child development - look her up if you haven't heard of her she might have some useful insights. I can definitely see the attraction.


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