Is Home Education a realistic alternative to school?

Itv News- Is home education a realistic alternative to school?
Of course it is.  But that is what it is an alternative – better for some and not for others.

I have one in school, one out of school – different children, different personalities and needs.  Both options are far from perfect and parental guilt whichever you chose is inevitable, but have researched all avenues and we have chosen what we believe suits each child best strongly influenced by what they want.

What I would like to see is it made clear to parents that they have options!  I have lost count of the amount of people who have said to me if only I had known it was possible to home educate they would never have gone to school.  Oh yes there are always home education tales in the press at this time of year but I suspect the majority of people dismiss them as irrelevant and I think that home education still has some way before it is accepted as simply a choice on a par with going private rather than some form of rebellion against the system or a last resort due to problems.  I would like to see the letters that go out about applying for school places saying

“You have a responsibility to ensure that your child receives a full time education suitable

a: to his age, ability and aptitude, and

b: to any special educational needs he may have,

from the term following their 5th birthday (details of dates)

You can do this by

  • Accepting a place at an LEA maintained school – application details
  • Registering at a registered private/independant educational establishment – link to a list of local private schools
  • Provide the education yourself (better worded than that) – link to support groups”

Sadly I doubt it will ever be seen as a choice on a par with the others as long as there is no register and standard checks.  Not that I am pushing for one – it would need a mass overhaul of the system, with home education as a discipline for study and trained outreach workers who were well-versed in the different styles and pluses/minuses of home ed and with extensive SEN training, and that is never, ever going to happen unfortunately.  Would also have to be very clear that any register/checks were about educational provision – home education alone is not and never should be considered a welfare issue, it is usually the opposite in my opinion.

I think home eders can be guilty at times of being militantly anti-school, defensive and idealistic which doesn’t help the public perception (although I completely get where it comes from and suspect I am guilty of it on occasion with certain people).  I think I have been very lucky in that our family have lways been supportive of our choices and I have encounted little negativity anywhere, curiosity yes… Funnily I have felt more an ‘oddity’ among home eders for having a child in school, not particularly negative more curious and perhaps see people getting a bit more verbally pro home ed with me, so perhaps the tolerance and acceptance needs to work a bit better the other way too.

I have responded to the question ‘why home educate?’ with the simple response ‘Why send them to school?’ on more than one occasion to be met by panicked blustering.  There are a whole host of very legitimate reasons not to home educate and send your children to school but ‘that is what you are supposed to do’ is not one.  I respect every parents choice in how to educate their child as long as they are clear they are making a choice.

There is no ‘right’ way to educate a child just what is right for that particular child at that particular time.  And when we get to the end of the journey there is no way of knowing whether they would have reached the same end destination by another route or a better or worse place so all we can do is ensure they enjoy the journey.

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