Home schooling continues to gain momentum as home-educated students demonstrate success, both academically and socially. More and more parents are realising that, fundamentally, it is their responsibility to educate and mentor their children; and not something that can be left to the State. Statistics gathered in numerous research studies are indicating that parents are indeed doing a great job.
Home schooling can offer an exciting and very successful approach to a child’s learning, and is earning a reputation in the UK as ‘education that works’.
It is estimated that over 36,000 children are now being Home Schooled in the UK … and the figure is rising by 65% over the last six years . In the USA, there are about 2.5 million home schooled children and, again, this figure is rising – up from 2% to 8% per annum in the past few years.
These figures are likely to be under-estimated as children who are home schooled from the start are unlikely to have been registered as attending school and therefore will not count as having been ‘removed’ from school.
Despite its proven success, the thought of home schooling may at first seem daunting, but most parents’ apprehension is due to the fact that there is little understanding about how home schooling works, and many assumptions and misconceptions surrounding it.
Home schoolers are free from the oversight of the State: there is no set curriculum, nor prescribed hours, nor inspection to oversee children who are home-schooled.
Whilst there is a wealth of on-line teaching resources available to support home schooling, there is very little provision for direct high quality teaching. As a result, many families end up teaching their own children, or supplementing the teaching through the use of tutors.
Research has found “the home-schooled to be developing as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally-schooled children and youth.”
Above all, and with the right input and support, home schooling is a system that encourages the most gifted to flourish, and can be a life saver for some whose destiny in school may have been of academic failure as their learning needs were not or could not be catered for at an individual level.
This is the greatest advantage of home schooling; it gives parents the opportunity to create a tailor-made education; one that suits the learning needs of their child. Its very flexibility means that parents who home school have a choice about what, when, where and how their children learn. They can take advantage of anything from the weather to local theatre performances to offer their child a more rounded experience of each subject than they could potentially get in a class where 20 or 30 other children need to be catered for at the same time.
Tutors often support families who have chosen home schooling. The reasons given are varied: some families are dissatisfied with their local schools; some are seeking an extra challenge for very academically, athletically or artistically gifted children. Many parents of children with learning needs that a busy teacher cannot cater for find home schooling an attractive alternative; and some have children who find the school environment too stressful for them to learn well and reach their potential.
In such situations a professional tutor can provide an ideal additional resource for the parent who home schools. Most home schooling parents would admit that, while they are capable of covering the basics and have a natural affinity with their children’s intelligence and aptitude, and they get older there are likely to be gaps in their knowledge which can be filled by a trained and focused subject specialist tutor.
As generations of home schooled children – some of whom never even started school – grow up and move forward into further education, universities and employment, they are living proof of how successful home schooling can be.
Success in home schooling is found in the same way as success in school. Whoever we are, wherever we may be, we all need to experience the joy of achievement, our own and others … and then we simply need great teachers.
Author: Mrs Gillian Dixon BSc PGCE MBA, founder and director of Teachers To Your Home. Previously head of Trent College, independent HMC day and boarding school (2006-2014); deputy head, Cheadle Hulme Grammar School (2001-2006); housemistress, mathematics teacher (1993 – 2001). Lecturer and head of mathematics department, University of Zimbabwe, VSO Zimbabwe (1988 – 1993).
“Teachers To Your Home” was founded by a group of school leaders and teachers in Oxford in January 2015. It has now developed into a large and talented team of over 3000 qualified teachers, who provide high quality home tuition right across the UK.