Did you know that education within a mainstream setting is an opt-in service?

This means if you have never ‘registered’ your son or daughter and accepted a school place, you are legally home educating.

If your child is currently in a mainstream school in England or Wales, you are simply one letter away to legally de-register your children to start home educating.

Top 7 Questions for New Home Educators:

1. What are the Legalities of Home Education?

Home Education, whether you are in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland is perfectly legal.

If your child has never been to school or registered with a school, then you do not have to inform anyone of your decision.

If your child attends a school, then you do need to formally deregister by sending a letter by recorded post or email, which you will hold an electronic copy of. The actual process is actually very simple. It can be achieved in one day, including for those that have an EHCP. When sending the letter for children who attend mainstream schools, the school is legally required to remove your son(s) and/or daughter(s) names from the roll on the date you specify and inform the Local Authority. (Who will most likely contact you).

If you have an EHCP in place, you need to send the letter directly to the Local Authority. You can find example letters here.

You do not legally need to have any meetings, or discussions with the school or fill out any of their forms.

2. What is Home Education?

Simply put, Home Education can be anything you want it to be, more importantly, it is what your child needs it to be. There are no legal requirements to follow curriculums, lesson plans, or school times.

Home Education means the child has the freedom to learn in a way that suits them best.

3. Can Anyone Home Educate?

Absolutely! You do not need to be a teacher or even have gained any qualifications.

4. How Do I Know What To Teach?

Home Educating parents tend not to teach, facilitating a child’s learning would be a better way of describing what happens. There are no rules on what a child has to learn, as long as the education is suitable to their age, ability, and aptitude, you can do what interests your son/daughter.

5. Do We Have To Be Assessed?

No, the law states that it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure the education is suitable. The local education authority has no duty to monitor the provision.

6. What About Socialising?

There is a common myth that home-educated children are isolated. When nothing can be further from the truth. The community is huge and the socialising opportunities are endless!

The community of home-educating families prior to 2019 grew steadily at 20% growth year on year. This has now grown to a 34% increase according to the ADCS Elective Home Education Survey in 2021. The actual numbers within this report are underestimated as it only carries data from circa 80% of the local authorities and doesn’t include those that never attended school. Hackney Local Authorities for example which may or may not be included in the 2021 survey have seen a 238% increase! The majority in the survey data, cite philosophical or lifestyle choices and/or health/emotional health for their reasons to home educate.

Therefore some would say, that since home-educated children have access to a wealth of opportunities suited to their individual needs and interests, alongside a wide range of people and peers of all ages in a varied amount of settings, they potentially have better access to socialisation than their school-attending friends.

7. How Much Home Education A Day Do I Need To Provide?

A full-time education, suitable for your son(s)/daughter(s) age, and ability, including literacy and numeracy skills. What that looks like is up to your family’s needs and lifestyle. You can find more information here, with the question, what actually is full-time education?

But in essence here, the shorter answer is that learning happens all the time!

Whether that be whilst, baking, shopping, woodworking, nature walking, or going on a road trip, for example – all of these life skills and lifestyles require active learning and involve numeracy, for measuring, comparing, and converting for example, as well as literacy, for reading signs, labels, instructions, recipes, etc. Life itself involves science and critical thinking, as we are all natural investigators to ask the question ‘Why’? from the moment we are to speak. This curiosity can sometimes diminish if schooling is delivered in a way, that no questions need to be asked, and the method is simply to memorise what you are told.

– What Does The Law State?

Full Time has no legal definition in law. It could be because home education is actually throughout the whole day, the whole year, and there is no official clock on and off when educating at home. There is no bell! There are no set term times or inset days, and learning at home is usually with 1:1 support as opposed to 1:30 in schools, so is generally more dedicated. So therefore there is no mass scheduling required and no need to have set hours and timetables as the quality of learning that is achieved is 24/7, 365 days a year – so is arguably more than is received by their peers in school?

So the question could be, do children actually receive a full-time education in mainstream schools?

The main key requirement regarding home education is that your son(s) and/or daughter(s) are receiving an appropriate education.

There is much debate about whether the education that is provided in mainstream schools is an ‘appropriate’ education.

Finally…

Step One:

Observe your son(s)/daughter(s) over a couple of weeks and gauge how they like to learn. There are in fact over 70 learning styles. With eight being the most common that include:

  • Visual / Spatial Learning
  • Verbal / Linguistic Learning
  • Aural (auditory/musical) Learning
  • Physical / Kinaesthetic Learning
  • Solitary (Intrapersonal) Learning
  • Social (Interpersonal) Learning
  • Logical / Mathematics Learning
  • Naturalist Learning

With home education, you can now tailor their learning to their aptitude, ability, and enjoyment!

Learning outcomes can increase retention and the desire and motivation to learn more.

Step Two:

Gather resources, free or paid for, that are suitable to their learning style.

This is how you become a ‘facilitator’; of learning. Giving the tools for inquiry that drives curiosity.

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