The moment I held our new born daughter Inky in my arms, I already knew we were going to Home Educate. It was never a choice for me, I somehow just knew; call it my motherly instinct! A natural progression of parenting. Inky is almost 11, and we have not had any regrets, nor looked back since. When Inky was 8 she did ask to go to school and in the nature of our child led home ed journey, we let her go. 6 weeks later she realised the grass WASN’T greener and asked to come back out again. She found school extremely boring and it just didn’t suit her. We took her back out the moment she asked. Our family lives on the coast in West Sussex, and we are fortunate to have a large network of home educators in our area with whom we have regular contact and share concepts and ideas with.
Here in the UK, HE (Home Educating) is 100% legal. There is no legal obligation to send your child to school, but you must notify the school in writing if your child is registered at school or they will be marked down as unauthorised absences. You as a parent, have the right to withdraw your child from school anytime that you see fit. This is a simple process which involves sending a de-registration letter to the school, and your child’s name MUST be removed from the school register within a few days by LAW. No one knows the exact amount of children being home educated children in the UK, but estimates vary between 50-80,000. Many families choose NOT to register their child with the LEA (Local Education Authority), especially if they have never been in the system, as there is no obligation to do so, so the actual number of home schooled children in the UK is undoubtedly higher.
The reasons parents may decide to HE their child are varied. Sometimes they choose, like me, right from the start not to send their child to school. Or they may feel their child is not getting enough out of the national curriculum, or they were unable to get their child into the school of their choice, a child may be bullied at school, they may travel a lot, or a parent has a child with a learning disability that requires more personal attention than what public schooling would be able to offer, their child may have become unhappy at school, ask not to go to school, dislike learning since going to school, not seem ready for school… These are only some of the possible reasons parents may have chosen to HE, and in the end each of us must choose what we believe is best for our children.
To obtain more information on the legalities of HE in England and Wales, there is a great resource called Education Otherwise, you can visit their website at www.education-otherwise.org. You can find de-registration template letters here too, home ed groups in your area and the legal requirements.