Talking to the Press – Advice for Homeschoolers
– Article originally appeared on Education Otherwise magazine
Home education is a legal option for anyone. It’s education that’s compulsory, not school attendance.
You don’t have to be a teacher / well educated to do it, you can learn together, however around a quarter of all HE families have a parent who is also a teacher, a sad indictment of the school system. Single parents can do it. Children with special needs can do well at home. People of all incomes home educate.
It doesn’t have to be anything like school. The National Curriculum only applies to State Schools, not home-educators. You don’t have to work to a timetable or follow any set programme of work although some families choose to do so. Each child can be free to follow their own interests and learn at their own speed. Exams can be taken over a number of years in a variety of ways to suit the child and family. HE enables children to learn in a ‘natural’ environment without artificial constraints as to gener, age or ability.
Isolation need not be a problem. EO puts families in touch with each other. Children choose their social contact. The local community can play an important part in HE.
It promotes positive family relationships. Parents enjoy being with / learning with their children. You can give your children more attention.
You can organise your own life rather than having to work around school hours. You can use local facilities eg. swimming pools at quiet times. You can take advantage of the weather, special events and unexpected opportunities.
Every family has its own particular reason for and way of doing home education. Education Otherwise is a national support group run by volunteers.
A few useful answers to difficult questions if you can’t think of a quick response: I’ll have to come back to you on that when I’ve had more time to consider it. I’ll have to check EO policy on that. I couldn’t comment, as the experience is individual to every family.
Remember to use: probably, possibly, maybe, type responses if you’re not sure your answer covers all HEers/EOers.