You’ve been sent home a load of work from your children’s school during the pandemic and have been expected to get them to complete it at the kitchen table. Maybe it went well, maybe it was impossible. But you have the feeling that you might quite like to delve into this world of home education now. You’re in good company!
“But who sends us the work?” I hear you cry!
This is the most wonderful part. No-one sends you any work. As home educators it is up to you to decide how you want to educate your children.
Let’s get this straight: the ‘home schooling’ many parents have been doing during the pandemic is NOT the same as elective home education (EHE). The responsibility to educate the child lies with the school as the child is still on their roll. When we decide to electively home educate, we as parents take the responsibility on ourselves. The child/ren are removed from the school roll, and we are free to educate them in a way that suits our families. No rush, no pressure, complete educational freedom.
But that’s a huge weight to shoulder, isn’t it? The whole of our children’s education depends on us? Well, yes it can be really daunting, but Electively Home Educating offers a way of education that is entirely flexible to the needs of your child, and family as a whole. The ways that families home educate is as unique as each one of them, so no one can tell you the ‘right way’. You might wish to continue the school-at-home style learning, or you might decide that unschooling is more suited to your lifestyle.
“But does anyone check on the children?”
If your child has previously been enrolled in a school, then your details will usually be passed to your Local Authority who will probably contact you at some point. This is not usually as scary as it sounds, but it’s a really good idea to get to grips with your rights and their responsibilities before they get in contact. For example, it is not usually necessary for the LA to visit your house, though many will ask to do this. You will need to update them, usually annually, on your child’s progress, but many people do this by letter or email, and never meet the officers face-to-face. If your child hasn’t started school yet, it is unlikely that you will be on this list and you are not obliged to notify them that you are home educating.
“Can anyone home educate?”
If your child attends a special school, or has a school attendance order, you must first speak to the Local Authority about the option of home education. If you live in Scotland you need to ask permission from your local authority before withdrawing your child from school. For the majority of parents, home education is a legal, legitimate and wonderful way to educate.
DISCLAIMER – For more information about your rights and responsibilities, who is able to home educate and how to start, there are some great resources below. The information on our website and blog are opinion pieces, not legal advice, informed by our understanding of government documents at the time, but you should always do your own research.