Despite its continued growth home education is still surrounded by speculative myths and fables of its own. Mention the words ‘home education’ or ‘homeschool’ and you’re bound to get several common responses from the all-knowing-but-not-actually-knowing.
Here are ten of the most common myths about home educating which you can find spoken with authority from those who actually got it wrong:
You need permission to home educate your children
No, you don’t. If your children attend school but you now want to home educate them you have to de-register them and let them know. It’s a simple letter. If your children haven’t yet started school you don’t need to do anything. That’s all.
You are breaking the law. It’s illegal not to send your children to school
You’re perfectly within your rights to home educate your child. You can also educate them up a tree, in a cave or on an island in the Bahamas for a month at a time. The law in England and Wales (through 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;
a) to his age, ability, and aptitude, and
b) to any special educational needs he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
Parents are paid thousands to home educate
Parents are not paid a penny to home educate their children. Not a single one. Nothing.
They do not get money for supplies, for stationery, for software, for materials or for taking on the role of educating their children.
Everything that they buy is paid for themselves. Any costs are independently covered. Home educators get no financial reward at all.
Your child needs to follow the National Curriculum just as pupils in school do
Your child can if they/you want to. Or they don’t have to. They don’t have to follow any curriculum. They don’t even need to work from books.
Home education is completely flexible, allowing parents and children to find a method which suits them whether they prefer timetables and routine or a spontaneous autonomous approach.
There is no right and wrong way of home educating. The best way is the one which allows your child to develop a love of learning and encourages them to thrive and home ed offers the flexibility to find which way works best in order to achieve that. Most schools would love to do that!
Your child needs to take their exams
Not if you/they don’t want to. Again, GCSEs are not compulsory. Neither is anything else. Many home educated children have got into university without any exams to their name. Exams are not the only way to guarantee a successful future.
You need to be inspected by the Local Education Authority
No, you don’t. They can ask to see you and your children but you can refuse if you wish. They do not have a ‘right’ to check on you and you are not legally required to allow them to.
Parents home educate because they are lazy
Much as I admit that it’s lovely not to have a 3½ hour school run every day in all weathers, that wasn’t my sole reason for opting to home educate.
Home educating children is a huge commitment emotionally and financially.
It’s a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week endeavour which you cannot switch off from. You’re well aware that you’re taking on your child’s future in your own hands, yet you’re willing to put your time, effort, money – and sometimes it feels like your entire sanity – to do so.
You think home ed parents don’t get tired? That they don’t want a break? That they wonder whether it’s all worth it after all? Of course they do! The difference is, when they aren’t happy about something, be it bullying, the failing system, the lack of support or any other reason that affects their child – they are willing to do more than just complain. They bite the bullet and do it.
Lazy? If only!
Home educated children are behind, uneducated and will end up being unemployable
Heaven forbid that children who have developed a love of learning rather than be told what to know and when, have been encouraged to use their curiosity rather than been told that it’s not relevant to what they are learning, have been given the opportunity to try a variety of different experiences and skills rather than be told that there is no time/money/resources to do that, have been able to use and foster their talents rather than be told to sit still, be quiet and listen to something else instead and who are able to be independent thinkers, confident self-starters and able leaders rather than to ‘do as the curriculum says’ to end up being employable!
Your children need to go to school in order to experience life properly
In no other aspect throughout life are we expected to be farmed into a single room with a couple of dozen other people who are exactly the same age, for set hours a day, to be conditioned to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time in exactly the same way. And this will go on for well over a decade.
That is a conveyor belt.
Home educated children lack socialisation skills
Ooh! The biggie! So it deserves an explanation all of its own right here: Home Education and Socialisation – Why It’s Not a Matter of One or the Other
Are you a home educating parent or home educated child? What other myths would you like to put to rest? And if you’re not familiar with home ed but feel duped by what you thought you knew, what other questions or beliefs would you like answered by those who do know, rather than those who speculate? Leave your comments below.