Why I keep justifying living without school

The thing about choosing a slightly different educational path for our children is that I constantly feel the need to justify this choice. Sometimes I am not sure whether I am justifying it to myself or to everyone else. But the thing is that neither is really necessary. I am completely comfortable with my choice to home educate the girls; I am clear in my own head about all the reasons that make it the best choice for us right now. The girls are happy, healthy and thriving. image We are also very lucky that at no point have we had any negative comments or interrogations. Unfortunately many home educators have to field negativity from family, friends, neighbours and strangers. Yet I can still be found here, and in real life conversations, justifying what we do. Why? Read more

A letter to the Chief Inspector of Schools from an angry Home Educator

Dear Sir Michael Wilshaw,

I am very sorry to hear that you have found evidence to suggest that hundreds of children in England are being taught in illegal schools. However, I am extremely concerned that you wish that “… the rules around home education need to be heightened because it’s quite clear to me that there’s a correlation between the growth of home education and the number of illegal schools that are now operating” (BBC Radio 4’s Eddie Mair show, 17.05.16). Read more

No, it doesn’t look like school

imageWe have been having the most glorious autumn weather this week. Cloudless skies, warm sunshine and not even a puff of wind. The slight chill in the air adds to the loveliness in my opinion, I just love this time of year. We have been making the most of it with much of the week being spent outdoors in one way or another. After a day of horseriding and park visiting today I had a comment from a nearest-and-dearest along the lines of ‘yes, but what academic work have you done?’ It was a slightly tongue-in-cheek remark but it got me thinking.

I am so used now to seeing the learning in pretty much everything that the girls do that I forget what it is like to expect home education to look like school at home. But it just doesn’t. And it doesn’t really need to. Read more

Not Back to School

It is the start of September and the nip of Autumn is in the air. For many it is the time of new starts as they begin a new school term, possibly in a new class or even a new school. New timetables, new teachers, new uniforms. But for us it is very much business as usual.

I have to admit to the odd pang when I see photos of beautiful, beaming, shiny children in their new uniforms popping up on my Facebook newsfeed. I am not anti-school, after all I have spent more years of my life in them than out, and there are some excellent schools where children are allowed to learn and thrive despite the limits being put upon the teachers. I do however disagree with the excessive testing; the rigidity of curriculum; the pressure to conform; the over-crowded classes, and quite a few other negative aspects of the English schooling system. So why the pangs? Read more