Views on home education

“Most home educators are people without professional training. Yet, they have brought  about a major successful innovation in education. Research in the United States suggests that home educated children who eventually enter school are generally ahead of their age mates, sometimes way ahead. It is not surprising that an increasing number of parents and carers opt to educate their children at home, in Australia and elsewhere … During the course of my research, the 100-plus children I have talked with so far certainly seem independent, socially skilled and mature.” (Dr Alan Thomas, Visiting Fellow at the University of London Institute of Education and formerly at the Northern Territory University, Darwin, Australia)

“We are revelling in our new-found freedom! Home education was a wonderful release for Neill after years of misery at the different schools which he has attended. He has some catching up to do and, most important of all, he has to recover his sense of self-worth after all the knocks he has taken. The lady from the local authority has been terrific…very sympathetic and understanding, especially about Neill’s frustrations and difficulties with written work. We’re looking ahead to GCSE as Neill would like to take his exams, but he wants to study for them at home.” (J. Watts, Sussex)

“The results are impressive. Families rarely fail to achieve the aims they set for themselves. For some this is entrance to Oxford or Cambridge … Those who opt for a self-sufficient lifestyle achieve the range of practical skills they value so highly. Some have children with physical handicaps or with other special needs and they achieve the capability and confidence they seek … There are parents who achieve the aim of rebuilding the confidence and stability of a child who has been shattered by school experiences … They are pioneering a more flexible form of education.” (Professor Roland Meighan, formerly Special Professor of Education at Nottingham University)

“I knew before our twin girls were born that I wanted to home educate them. My career in medicine had left me with grave misgivings about the cult of the “expert”. It is all too easy to submerge our instinct for what is right in the face of the vast army of carers and professionals that we have today. In the fields of medicine and education there have been huge achievements which have been of great benefit to society, but I think that we should value independence and acknowledge the right of people to make informed choices. The girls are seven now. They enjoy the company of other children, and they’re at their happiest when out walking with a few friends, visiting a playground, playing dolls or playing adventure games which carry on from one visit to the next! Our work at home is informal. We read together, we do lots of art, craft, messy painting, dressing up, cooking, listening to music of various kinds, growing things – and talking. The girls play together, use the computer, write notes, menus, messages, dolls’ letters and poems. We go for walks with the dog on most days, and our science work comes from the world around us and the great variety of things that we do. Life itself is an endless source of inspiration for creative activities.” (G. Bailey, Dorset)