Home education

 

Whereas schools tend to be run on a top down model, educational provision at home is very well placed to be individually tailored to the needs of the child.

 

As with private schools, there is a wide variety of approaches; some families follow a highly structured approach, but many follow a more autonomous style of education and parents use a great variety of different philosophies, Steiner, Montessori, Charlotte Mason (http://www.amblesideonline.org/) , to name but a few., often mixing and matching as best suits the particular child.

 

Finance

Parents are financially responsible for their children. No free child care is available on this model (although there may be some nursery vouchers and some home educating families choose to use nurseries). I even spoke to one enterprising home educator who had registered as a childminder and was paid by the State to care for her own child, but there are strings attached to this kind of arrangement; in short a loss of autonomy and an obligation to follow the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum. Local Authorities are empowered to offer facilities and some financial help with provision for older children but in practice this is not a high priority for them. The outlay involved in home educating a child is not really much higher than in sending them to school, certainly in the early years. You do not have the expense of a uniform, libraries and museums are free and often you would anyway be buying the kind of toys and books which you may need as a home educating family. The difference is that if you home educate, you probably choose the toys you buy with more care and you get the time to make the most of such resources as you have with your child. Families often get together to pool ideas, expertise and resources. The main expense comes when the child is older and wants to sit exams. Many lone parents successfully home educate.

 

Time investment from you, the parents

At least one of you will need to devote your time and energy to your children full-time during the working day and clearly this will only work well for the children if you enjoy the prospect. Fathers, including those who work full-time, have an important role to play in home education, both in terms of providing loving support to the enterprise and also in providing additional ideas, skills and a crucial role model. Often parents, both mothers and fathers, who start off thinking "I can't do that!" end up finding that their relationship with their children is enriched; the more time you spend together, the easier parenting gets.

 

Having a say

As home educating parents you have full discretion to meet your child's needs and as his or her parent you are very likely best placed to decide what these needs are and how to meet them.

 

What the children learn

You can choose to follow the National Curriculum and/ or mix and match a variety of different conventional specific philosophies such as Montessori, but you do not have to.

 

The learning environment

The home and local community is a rich learning environment, especially when the child has his or her parent helping him to make the most of it..

 

The object of the exercise

is simply to meet the individual child's educational needs;