There are many myths that surround home education and we’re often questioned about such myths, so let’s debunk a few of these right now…
A little back story for those coming across us for the first time. We home educate our 5 year old son Corben and have been around the home education scene for a few years now.
IT’S AGAINST THE LAW TO TAKE YOUR CHILD OUT OF SCHOOL
This is simply not true. We live in England so I can only refer to the laws that are in place for us here in England.
The law says,
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that:
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—
(1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(2) to any special educational needs he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
(taken from http://edyourself.org/articles/helaw.php on 8th July 2018)
It’s the last line that is the most important here ‘either by regular attendance at school OR OTHERWISE’. Or otherwise being Home Education. It’s perfectly legal to home educate your child, that’s a fairly easy one to debunk.
HOME EDUCATED CHILDREN STILL NEED TO FOLLOW THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
Send them to school then! HA! One of the main reasons we home educate is because a large proportion of the national curriculum is in our opinion irrelevant. It would make no sense for us to then dish this up as Corben’s education at home and we don’t have to!
There are no rules to say that you must follow a certain curriculum. This is one of the main beauties of home education, the fact that you can follow your own curriculum. You can give your child more of a lead role in what actually interests them and mould their learning experience around that.
I would suggest it’s basic common sense that you would teach your child how to read and write and basic maths, that really should go without saying. Other than that however you can take whichever path suits your child. Our son is massively into video games and the processes behind how they’re created. He loves bugs and creepy crawlies and likes to get hands on with how different bugs go about their business. There’s several other interests he has which we can incorporate into his individual specific curriculum.
HOME EDUCATED CHILDREN STILL HAVE TO SIT THEIR EXAMS
This one goes hand in hand with the previous one really. You don’t have to follow a set curriculum, therefore you don’t have to sit those exams either.
Exams for home educated children are a choice. If your child is looking to take a more academic career path then it would be sensible to research which exams they would be required to sit to get to the next stage, but not all jobs require Maths, English and Science GCSE results. If you’re child wants to be a doctor or lawyer then yes, of course they’ll need to go down that academic route, however if they’re more practical there are literally thousands of other occupations that don’t require specific exams to have been sat.
Many that home educate, do so based on the fact that it’s all choice. You can choose what topics to learn about, you can choose which, if any, exams you want to take. Our thinking behind this life of much more choice is that children respond much better to learning about things they’re actually interested in. Children having a choice can also alleviate potential stress and pressure that many school children face to achieve at things that don’t interest them.
– A sub myth/question we’re often asked about is whether home educated children can even take exams.
Yes they can. There are many schools and centres that open up places for home educated children to sit exams. These places are paid for by us, the parents. You will have to research places local to you and the prices for certain exams as they vary from place to place and exam to exam.
IF YOU’RE HOME EDUCATED YOU CAN’T GO TO COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY
This absolute nonsense links to the previous myth around children and exams. As I’ve said earlier, if your child chooses a career path that requires certain exam results and then certain qualifications gained via attendance of college or university, then that path is also wide open for home educated children.
Colleges and universities are not only open to school children. There are so many home educated children at colleges and universities and we even have friends online with multiple children that have all aced their way through uni after being home educated from day one.
I’d always advise researching and getting in touch with universities that your child has their eye on and get in touch with them, ask them their process for home educated children applying.
HOME EDUCATED CHILDREN LACK SOCIAL SKILLS AND DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS
This is by far the biggest myth of them all and the most asked questioned we get. Let me just write this below in bold capitals so we’re being very clear…
THIS IS A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS!
We could talk about this particular one forever, but we won’t. The main points we have to make on this particular myth about home education are…
- Many people mix up forced association with socialising. Throwing a child in a classroom with 29 other kids their age isn’t neccesarily socialising. Who has a child that has 29 proper friends they socialise with? Nobody. They generally have a handful from the ones they’ve been thrown in with that they bond with and socialise with.
- There is such a large community of home educators it will surprise you. We’ve opened up an entire new world that was right on our doorstep waiting for us. Within this community there are so many meet-ups, classes and get togethers your child will have social engagements available to them every single day.
Within the many events available there will be an array of other children there to socialise with, bond with and become friends with. The best bit is that they’re not all the same age and in an environment they’re not particularly fond of, doing things they’re not remotely interested in, ie: school.
Instead children are meeting in different environments with different activities available that interest them and in places they’ve chosen to go. Home educators often find they’re own groups within this too, meaning the children are almost always meeting up to laugh, learn, play and socialise with their actual friends. The other 20+ children they’d not bother with at school for many different reasons are taken out of the equation entirely.
Speaking from a personal point of view, we feel this freedom allows us to almost guarantee bullying won’t ever be an issue or at the very least it would be so much easier and quicker to spot and resolve.
The final point we’ll make to debunk this one is, how much ‘socialising’ do children actually do at school? Between the sit down and be quiet’s and the 15 minute breaks? We attend some meets that end up lasting 4 hours because they’re having such a good time or even all day and they’re able to socialise whilst learning hands on in different environments.
There you go, that’s that rubbish DEBUNKED!
We’re not saying home education is for everyone or that it’s better than school, I mean it is for our kid but might not be for yours. We get asked these questions all the time so we wanted to get it all down here to refer to next time these questions arise. For anyone wanting to ask questions, please do we’re always happy to help where we can. There is one piece of advice I always give anyone thinking about home education as an option,
research, research research. Please make sure you research for yourself. Speak with people within education, local teachers etc, speak with people within the home education community, most of us are more than happy to offer opinions and have a look around your local area for resources, groups and events that are available to you. Facebook is your best friend when searching for what’s available to you locally. Once you’ve researched everything for yourself, weigh up the pro’s and con’s, because both are present and make the best decision for your family, this is a life choice that effects the whole family. When we say family, we mean your household, ignore relatives that haven’t put in the research as you have, make your own decision.
Feel free to get in touch if there’s anything else you want to know 🙂
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