8 Home Education Myths – Debunked.


Written by Katie Cardwell | REOLife

 

”Are the kids off school today then?”

 

This question is enough to send a shiver down my spine. I hear it often and it can quickly turn a lovely, pleasant conversation about last night’s Walking Dead into a heated interrogation session in which I am the accused.

 

When strangers hear that I educate our kids I’m usually bombarded with a bunch of questions and opinions. Some questions are asked out of interest and curiosity and I, like most home educators, welcome the opportunity to raise awareness about alternative education. However, more often than not the questions feel more like harsh digs made out of ignorance.

 

I hear variations of the same questions time, and time again; often enough to put on a Bingo Sheet (Ouhh there’s an idea! 😉 )

 

In this post I will go through 8 common myths people bring up when they hear about Home Education.

 

1) “But your’re breaking the law. It is illegal to not send your child to school, right?”

 

No. A full-time education is compulsory but schooling is not. In England and Wales every parent has the right to choose not to send their child into the schooling system, Scotland do things a little differently.

 

*Please note: if your child attends a special school then the rules are slightly different. You may find THIS helpful.

 

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 applies to England and Wales and states:
Compulsory education

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.

 

Home education is considered ‘otherwise’.

 

Full-time does not mean 6 hours each day for 5 days of the week. Children spend much less time than actively learning at school. The DofE states that children spend around 23 hours each week in actual lessons so when you take into account the time it takes for registrations, settling down, disruptive students, setting up, tidying away for each and every lesson I expect it would be much, much lower.

 

2) They must be taught by a professional teacher. Are you qualified?

 

No, I’m not qualified but I have plenty of experience. I’ve been teaching my children since they we’re born and chose to continue throughout their childhood. Research shows that children of parents without qualifications do just as well as those whose parents have them. There is also a high number of teaching professionals who choose to HE their own children.

 

Want to know more? Look here.

 

3) You need a tutor to home educate right?

 

Some people believe that home education is where you hire a private tutor to come to your home for one-on-one lessons. But it isn’t. Most home edders, like me, teach their children themselves. We all have our ‘own ways’ of teaching; some formal, some autonomous, some have structure, some unschool, some follow the national curriculum and some follow the child. You can educate your child in any way you think is appropriate.

 

We set a minimum goal of Maths and English each morning and then do projects and some ”lessons” in the afternoon. We make time each week for certain activities such as nature journaling, cooking, French, coding, world studies, art etc but there is no set time or day to do them. Many of our topics are science based so we don’t look at science as an individual subject. We also go to different clubs which take up a lot of our time.

 

 

 

Want to know more? Look here

 

4) “How will they learn to socialise without going to school?”

 

Urgh. Shoot me now. The forbidden S word was spoken. This is the most common question which every Home Ed parent faces. It can be easily answered with another question:

 

“How do you socialise without going to school?”

 

If you can socialise, then so can the kids.  A child spending a few hours each day in the same room as 30 other children their age is not really socialising, that is forced association. Since I left school I have never been in the same room as 30 others my age. I spend time with people from various age groups, because I live in the real world and not in a classroom.

 

The Home Ed community is much larger than I first thought. Lots of children throughout the UK are taught at home and local meet ups are arranged regularly. In some places the communities are huge. There is usually so much going on that I have to assign set days to stay in the house.

 

My almost 8 year old, Zip, currently goes to coding club, various home ed meets, science club, roller-skating and is soon to start at parkour. This is only a fraction of what there is to offer based on a very small HE community. There is also loads of one off visits going on regularly too which we go along to as and when we like. Separate meets are arranged with families if the kids want to spend extra time together…. and then there is the digital socials. Games such as Minecraft, platforms such as Scratch and collaborations with others for YouTube videos. This is all socialisation too.

 

Want to know more? Look here

 

5)“Aww, its a shame they will miss out, isn’t it?”

 

This always confuses me as I feel like its schooled kids who are missing out. On a beautiful day we can go outside, enjoy nature, make the most of the weather and have fun. On cold days we can cosy up inside where it’s warm while reading a book. If the kids are having a bad day or bored we can try something else. We can have late nights and more importantly – late mornings! We can learn in our Pjs with a cup of tea in our hands. We can change our plans last minute to do something interesting or to meet friends any time we choose. We can take a day off if we feel ill and can go on holiday whenever we want to, without seeking permission. We can learn what we want to, when we want to and how we want to. We are not bound by a curriculum, or a timetable and don’t feel under pressure to pass the next test. We can go out and visit places rather than reading about them in a book, have new experiences first-hand and meet new people from all kinds of backgrounds. How can home educated kids be missing out?

 

6)“Did you know about school XYZ?”

 

OK, this isn’t a myth but it is a common question. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have given me directions to the nearest school. Usually, home educators have researched all of their options extensively before making the choice, including looking at the local schools. So yes, I do know about school  XYZ.

 

 7)“Young people who are home educated can’t do their exams.”

 

Home educated children can take their GCSE’s or iGCSE’s as external candidates just like any other child however parents are required to meet the cost of the exam. Many home educated teens sit them earlier than expected. Even if young people choose not to do GCSE’s they can still go to college or university.

 

More info here

 

8)“Home educated kids can’t get a job. How will they get into work?”

 

The job market is fierce these days and many young people leave university with degrees only to find themselves out of work. The struggle is real for both schooled and home educated kids.

 

I’ve read countless experiences from those who have home educated all the way through the school years and their children have found decent employment doing something they love or are passionate about.

 

I’ve read a story of a young person who chose against formal qualifications and went straight to work in retail. It began with a Saturday job for a few hours each week. Within a few years they had not only been promoted, but recruited by a top designer brand to work with them. I can’t remember the exact role but it was something cool!

 

On the opposite end of the scale a family chose to home educate not only through secondary, but throughout their A levels too and have now gone on to do degrees. They achieved A’s and A*’s…. Amazing!

 

Oh, and that is just those who choose to become employees. Some have their own businesses or choose self-employment.

 

So, to conclude, no home education does not affect your employability or career. In fact, it could enhance it.

 

Want to know more? Look here.

 

 

 

If you are considering home education for your family then please do research it further. The web is packed full of information and guidance. I’d also recommend that you join as many home education groups on Facebook as possible, including searching for your local one. There is a number of great groups which give lots of support and guidance,

 

 

 

More info:

 

 

Netmums – home education

 

Educational Freedom

 

EdYourself

 

Facebook group – Home Education UK

 

Written by Katie Cardwell | REOLife

Website | REOLife

Facebook | REOLife

Twitter | @REOLifeBlog

 

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