Over the years there have been a number of studies asking home educators/homeschoolers why they do it. In the past the American results have had religion either number 1 or 2 but over here it comes much lower down the list.
A recent study reported HERE shows that reasons are shifting in the USA as well. Now school environment is the number one reason to homeschool and standard of academic instruction comes in at number 2. That matches up closer with UK studies.
ITV Wales recently produced a fairly long report (not sure how long this link will be live) about families choosing to home educate. The title question “Can home education ever make the grade?” made me laugh. Studies have shown over and over again that homeschooled/home educated children do better across the board than their schooled peers. When you consider that the HE community has a much higher number of children with learning problems (who have often had to be pulled from school) then I don’t think we do too badly. In fact when Ed Balls came after us, his side kick Badman had to make up statistics to try and make us look bad.
For me, I think the biggest advantage home education has over schools is that our children get to read whole books and are encouraged to read every day. In teaching them to read I listened to them one to one every day. No school can do that unless they a) have hardly any children or b) have an army of volunteers.
The other massive advantage we have is not being tied to a curricula or methodology or philosophy of education. We are free to adjust to the child’s learning rather than forcing the child into a pre-packaged box.
Most importantly of all, many home educated children are taught how to think and how to learn, not what to think and what to learn. Schools are far too prescriptive and narrow.
And finally, socialisation. Yup. It’s much easier to get your child properly socialised in the natural community of home education than in a classroom with one or two adults and 29+ other children, all the same age.
What about religion? Doesn’t it count? Well, for a lot of home educators it probably doesn’t. For us it does, of course. Having the freedom to choose an orthodox and well written religious curriculum has been very good. I want them to have access to their Faith, history and heritage that sadly even Catholic schools don’t seem able to offer.
The bottom line is that parents have an intrinsic right and deep responsibility to the proper education of our children. Our children do not belong to the state or to teacher’s unions. They are free persons belonging to a family. If, as a parent, you choose to delegate some of that responsibility to a school, then you are still the primary educator and are obliged to ensure the education is best for your child. Overall, although home ed is very hard work at times, I think it’s easier than trying to keep on top of what happens in school.
Will there ever be TV news stories questioning whether schools are good for our children? Why is Ken Robinson so roundly ignored?
The idea that home educators should be monitored by the people who can’t provide a decent education in schools is never going to wash.