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Home Schooling - are you for or against?

(121 Posts)
nanna8 Fri 26-Feb-21 23:01:03

I don’t mean just at home education whilst Covid is around but those who choose to homeschool ,often throughout their child’s whole school years. I know several who are doing this, mainly for religious reasons both here and in the USA. I don’t think it is a good idea, personally,though I have to admit the children I have come across are very well mannered and pleasant to talk to.

LadyBella Fri 26-Feb-21 23:04:58

I agree that home-schooled children may be well mannered but I don't think they are well rounded. They don't learn to mix or take the rough with the smooth. They won't learn the hard knocks.

Esspee Fri 26-Feb-21 23:06:11

I can’t help but feel that a child who has no experience of school will be at a disadvantage in the workplace.

MissAdventure Fri 26-Feb-21 23:09:44

I think both options have advantages, but the ability to relate to your peers is a distinct advantage.

GagaJo Fri 26-Feb-21 23:25:18

Educationally, I think home schooling is the way to go. SO much time is wasted in school on behaviour management of the challenging children, not to mention a huge range of other meaningless activities. Plus children don't all learn in a linear fashion, and each children will have preferred ways to learn. Very difficult to include in a class of 35.

Obviously, socialisation is necessary but there are ways of arranging that outside of school.

nanna8 Fri 26-Feb-21 23:36:46

What I notice is that these children are very good at talking with adults but not so much with other children, they tend to go off on their own. I would be worried that in the higher years the parents aren’t up to standard, I’m thinking of Year 10,11 and 12. I am sure and have seen that they do learn more when they are young but unless they deliberately seek out other children they tend to be isolated and only hear one point of view and that point of view can frequently be an extreme right wing one.

GrannyRose15 Fri 26-Feb-21 23:49:20

This is a question to which there is no easy answer. Home-schooling is a very big commitment and one very few people have the time or resources to do well.
I would have loved to have home-schooled my eldest for a few years but it just wasn't practicable. The reason I wanted to do it is that I thought then, and I still think now, that we put our children into full time formal education at too young an age.
During lockdown, I have home-schooled my 6 year-old grandson and I think he has benefitted greatly from the time he spent with me. But I haven't the energy to do it in the long term.
People's reason's for wanting to home-school vary but it is often because they do not think their child is getting the education they need at school.
Children who find it hard to sit still and concentrate, for example, are often labelled as naughty and disruptive and as a consequence their school experience is far from being ideal. Who can blame a parent for wanting to give their child an education that is more fitting to their needs?
Similarly, those with strong religious views worry that the content of some lessons goes against their own teaching.
Some children's experience of school is so awful that it is a pity there isn't an accepted alternative, at least for some of the 13 years we insist they stay there.

GrannyRose15 Fri 26-Feb-21 23:54:30


I think some of what you say is true. Though I do think we might look at it the other way round. The children who don't get on with others their age are the ones who not going to fit in at school and therefore they are more likely to be the ones who are home - schooled. After all if your child loves school and is getting on well, why would you take him away from that to teach him at home?

nanna8 Sat 27-Feb-21 00:07:36

I agree with you GR. The only ones I know have never been to school at all, not even kindergarten, because their parents think the schools teach the children to have low moral standards and they don’t want their children to be ‘corrupted’ by learning things that are not biblical. There are a surprising number of people with these views, particularly around gender issues but I wouldn’t want to start that particular debate again !

Chardy Sat 27-Feb-21 07:00:19

As a secondary teacher, I could never have got my children through ten KS3 subjects never mind GCSEs. I would have had no idea what KS3 skills were needed for GCSEs, which takes a while to learn for your own subject.
If the idea is home-schooling at primary, but going to secondary school, the culture shock would be huge.
School leaving age is 18, unless at college or in an apprenticeship - what would happen then?

M0nica Sat 27-Feb-21 08:19:58

In the UK parents do not usually home-school for religious reasons. It is often because the children have started in main stream school and it has not been successful for a host of reasons, from persistent bullying to children's special needs not being met. In more remote rural areas it is because the journey to and from school is too long especially for under 11s.

As for socialising. Most home schooled children have a busy and happy social life. It is based on Home schooling groups, where parents and children meet as groups, then the children usually go to all the usual out of school activities, including brownies, swimming lessons etc. For older children parents often engage tutor,s individually or in groups, or parents with a specialism will share their knowledge.

I was involved with an organisation that provided activities for children now usually described as 'gifted and talented' and a number of the children were home schooled because they had not flourished at school and they mixed and played with other children and did not stand out from those at school in any way.

It easy to be all dewy eyed about school and socialising. DS was a happy and sociable child in the classroom, and never disliked or bullied, but in the playground he preferred to just stand around and watch. and not mix with other children. He made very few friends in primary school and didn't seem to miss them. Yet he had no problems transferring to secondary school and there he did make (lifelong) friends and became very sociable.

The idea that all the home education is done by one parent on their own with the Ladybird reading scheme is desperately out of date. Apart from anything else they have the full resources of the internet at their finger tips. They also have lots of groups where they meet and children mix.

In retrospect I think both my children would have benefitted from being home educated, or part home educated in infant school and possibly early junior school and I wish I had had the confidence to do it.

Missfoodlove Sat 27-Feb-21 08:38:30

I know home schooled siblings.
It’s not good!
I really am amazed the authorities accept they are getting all they need from home education.
I think the legislation, checks etc need to be far more stringent.
I fear there are many home schooled children who are victims of abuse.

25Avalon Sat 27-Feb-21 08:47:39

I home schooled my disabled son from the age of 11. The LEA refused to let him go to the mainstream school with his friends because they wouldn’t spend the money to adapt it. Instead they wanted to send him out of county to a school 8 miles away where he knew no one. I knew he would not adapt and I lost the tribunal appeal so we decided to home educate. Fortunately we were able to afford to do so as you get no financial help eg money for computers and I had to stay home. When he was 16 he was able to go to the local college for some courses as further education was free of charge. Once a year I met with the LEA to satisfy them he was receiving education but I was able to choose my own curriculum so adapted it to his needs.

It was the best thing we ever did and our family welfare officer agreed. He was very happy. He still met friends at weekends and we joined Home Educators and went on various outings with other HE children in the area. I accessed our local uni and used TES for ideas. I paid for him to go to Computer classes and get a Clait qualification. We also went to disabled swimming classes so lots going on.

This all suited my son who was on a limited lifespan. I enjoyed HE but I would not have undertaken it in normal circumstances. My eldest went to school. Taking GCSE’s and A levels is not easy if you home educate but most of those I knew who took this route were more interested in developing their children as individuals rather than obtaining such qualifications. I also have to say a lot of children were not suited or rather school was not suited to them and they thrived outside of the school system.

sodapop Sat 27-Feb-21 08:49:50

I agree with you about checks and balances Missfoodlove isolating a child in this way is worrying.
I think there may be good reasons for some children to be home schooled and as MOnica said there is so much more available in the way of resources. It's a big committment for parents though and not one to be taken lightly. I am sitting on the fence on this one as I can see advantages/disadvantages to both sides of the argument.

nanna8 Sat 27-Feb-21 08:55:48

There are over 7,000 students just in my State who are home schooled. It is growing every year. It is not a remote area or anything like that, though there may be one or two living on farms . It is fairly easy to register for home schooling. Personally I think it should be much harder and there should be a lot more checks but that is just my personal feeling.

Ellianne Sat 27-Feb-21 09:07:25

In a word, disaster.
School is preparation for life and kids should be there.
But I do think parents should have the right to choose.

vampirequeen Sat 27-Feb-21 09:11:55

There is a place for home schooling but it requires a huge commitment from the parent/s to do it properly. Most children have no problems with mainstream school.

Hetty58 Sat 27-Feb-21 09:18:43

As a retired teacher, I'm all for home schooling. Yes, it's a big commitment for parents, but I believe the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages.

The curriculum can be covered in two hours of study a day. The rest of the school day is about organisation, meals and playtimes. It's mostly a babysitting service for working parents.

Of course, mixing with peers is important - but easily arranged. Children given flexibility and precious time to follow their own interests and develop a real love of learning are at a distinct advantage.

Avoiding bullying, monotony and being 'processed' down the standard, average route are very real benefits.

Galaxy Sat 27-Feb-21 09:21:32

I was just about to post about the challenges school can present for some children with disabilities but 25Avalon has done it far more eloquently than I ever could.

Luckygirl Sat 27-Feb-21 09:22:59

I am greatly in favour of home schooling - but it needs dedicated parents and huge commitment.

I have always been of the opinion that school is a grossly abnormal environment. There are some children who love it and that is where they should be; but many children hate it and there is no reason to force them to fit into something that is not right for them. School is also now constrained by curriculum micromanagement (than you Gove) and the true meaning of education is something that teachers struggle to achieve under these circumstances. School is not a "preparation for life" because life does not resemble school in any way.

The bland assumption that school is right for all children is, I think, entirely wrong.

Badly executed home schooling is unacceptable; but so is trying to mould children into a school setting that is making them unhappy.

Home-schooled children are often articulate and curious, having mostly been schooled with flexibility and an emphasis on their interests and imagination. Most dedicated home schooling parents are in contact with others pursuing the same road, and their children get together for lots of socialising opportunities for PE, music, theatre visits etc.

There are lots of educational resources online and through organisations such as Education Otherwise, and GCSEs are pursued by many home-schooled children.

My DGS, not home schooled, hated school - hated every moment. A very bright boy, he left school with few bits of paper, but a determination to find his own way, which he has done. He is about to go to university in September to study a subject which he loves. Another DGC is on the autistic spectrum and has gender dysphoria - school has been unremitting torture.

I think we need to keep an open mind. Some schools are wonderful - like the small rural school where I am governor - some are grim. Some homeschooling is brilliant; some not so good. But to dismiss home schooling as being inadequate shows a lack of understanding of the commitment and dedication of many home schooling parents.

GagaJo Sat 27-Feb-21 09:24:59

It all depends on the quality of schools available to parents though. I can honestly say, that for a lot of the children in the state schools I have worked in, they have maybe had 2 hours a day IF they are lucky of active learning.

Issues such as:

* Cover lessons (sick, absent, or shortage of teachers).

* Behaviour problems (v hard to permanently exclude now). 4 or 5 disruptive students in a class of 35 can totally wreck learning for the whole class.

* Pre-planned lessons (planned by an 'expert' in an academy chain office somewhere - NO focus on individual student needs and teacher forbidden to deviate from the plan).

* A poor national curriculum (designed by idiots with no educational experience, thank you Mr. Gove).

* ONLY teaching what is needed to pass an exam and not pushing students higher (in schools that only teach up to Y11)

I have experienced some or all of those in every UK state school I have ever taught in. I have also seen some phenomenal teaching but teachers are worked to death and do not have the time or the energy to meet the needs of every single child.

There is more to learn than just what is on a curriculum. And there are multiple exam boards. What if your child could perform better, with, say AQA rather than OCR? No choice, in a school.

This is mostly a rant about the state sector. If your children are privately educated, you can pick the school that you think will suit their needs. Most parents don't have the luxury of that choice. IF home schooling is an option for those parents, it could well be better than a very poor, underfunded, academy chain school.

GagaJo Sat 27-Feb-21 09:28:32

And as other posters have said, there are organisations that get home schooled students together for activies, outings and events. They aren't the isoloated, sadly deprived of company children some people imagine.

NotSpaghetti Sat 27-Feb-21 09:47:29

Firstly, I really do object to the title of this post, (sorry).
Home Schooling - are you for or against?

WHY do we have to be for or against?

I feel lots of comments here show a profound lack of knowledge and understanding of home education. There are as many ways to home educate as there are families doing it, and just as many reasons. It seems ridiculous to lump everything and everyone together like this.

For those who choose to home educate, some also have a more fluid relationship with schools. They may flexi-school some children, have some at school or college and others full time at home. They may have a child who wants to dip in-and-out of school and another who decides at 16 he wants to go. I don’t see why the issue is “for” or “against” in this way.

Mollygo Sat 27-Feb-21 10:40:30

If you can afford the time and have the commitment and the finances then by all means home school. The movement has been growing since the 1970s. As others have already said, there are checks and balances. The increasing number of children who start school with poor speaking and attention skills implies that home schooling is not for all.
There are many organisations to support home schoolers with meet-up groups for socialising and programs like IXL and EdPlace and Discovery Education which provide access to English, Maths and other subjects.
Schools where I am a governor, used their budget to provide parents with access to these during the first lockdown whilst organising their own provision.
Again though, it comes back to finance. How many stories of lack of equipment have we heard during lockdown? The appalling rise in the need for food banks implies that those families would not have the money to access programs such as IXL.
If both parents need to work for financial reasons, who is providing the home schooling?
Homeschooling children who find it difficult to settle and are reluctant to do anything they don’t like, would benefit not just the child, but the other children in the class.
One DGD is desperate to go back to her primary school. She love home learning (approximately 60 mins live lessons and 3 hours tasks daily) because she can start as early as she wants and there’s no children messing about but she really misses the social side.

geekesse Sat 27-Feb-21 11:04:56

I tried homeschooling two of mine when they were primary school age because we were overseas and for a short time schooling wasn’t available.

After two weeks’ I’d have cheerfully enrolled them in the King Herod Primary School with the devil himself as their class teacher. I’m a secondary teacher, and I couldn’t hack it at all. Hats off to every primary school teacher out there - you do an amazing job!