2015 Update: I’m looking for info on the current best support forums; please let me know what I need to alter.
Getting to Understand H.E.
This page should hopefully answer a few of your questions if you are just finding out about Home Education. Below these paragraphs are some pertinent links to sites to give more detail and help. The below is reproduced with permission from www.HE-ED.org.uk
To Home Educate you DON’T need to:
Be a teacher – many teachers are choosing home-based education for their own children, but most Home Educators have no qualifications in this field. Many times you’ll find that the parents are learning alongside their child; either whilst helping with subjects that the adult has no previous knowledge of, or whilst remembering and building on subjects that they dimly recall from their own education.
Follow the National Curriculum (NC) – you don’t have to follow the NC unless you want to. With home-based education you have the flexibility to follow your child’s interests instead. You also don’t have to put your child through SATs!
Provide ‘school-at-home’ – unless this method suits you and your child. There are many ways to help a child to learn, and mirroring the way they do it at school is only one. There are Home Educators that follow a child-led, autonomous style, and others that purchase whole curriculum’s to use. In between there is a whole range of other ways. One of them should be suitable for your own child. If you should decide to follow a ‘school-at-home’ path you’ll most likely find that you can cover more in two hours a day than they can cover in a whole day at school.
Spend a lot of money – Home Education can be as expensive or as cheap as you personally make it. There are a wealth of resources available online, plus the Library, educational programmes on television, museums, local groups etc. Some places will give you the schools discount if you state that you are Home Educating as well.
Be subject to inspections by the Local Education Authority (LEA) – but the LEA does have a duty to intervene if it appears that a child is not receiving a suitable education. The LEA is allowed to make informal enquiries to satisfy themselves. Some Home Educators are happy to have a LEA representative visit with them at home and have their child show what they have been doing. Others prefer to send a written Educational Philosophy to the LEA, or meet with them on neutral ground to discuss matters. Some Home Educators never even hear from the LEA. It is worth remembering that the LEA has no legal right of entry to your home, and no rights to test your child. However, if the LEA believes that your child is not receiving a suitable education they can issue a School Attendance Order and force your child to attend the school of their choice. This is a very rare occurrence though, and should not happen without a lot of prior correspondence.
I intend to add a page of local HE Groups pages soon.
Essential Quick Start Links
Free Range Education Legal Advice – good place to start if you need to know where you stand. There is a legal specialist attached to the site. The info on Fred is pertinent to England and Wales, for Scotland, see Schoolhouse.
Education Otherwise – my personal opinion is its worth spending £20 on joining EO – at least for the first year. You get a book and newsletter and an introduction to lots of support.
Home Ed Info – Sue in Cyprus. Possibly the most sensible and experience voice in Home Education in the UK (in my opinion!)
In addition, the eo site has an International Home Education Page
Home Education UK – everything you need, put better than i did!
2015 update: times have changed since the list below were created and I’m told Facebook is where it is at these days. The most complete and pertinent list of groups I have found is via the Home Ed Info site, which breaks them down into local area home education support groups.
The first is affiliated to this site, the others are ones I found useful in my initial quest for information, there are many more and I am happy to add links to them if they are sent to me.
MuddlePuddle -0-8years predominantly, HE and Parenting Support
Education Otherwise – general support and info
UKFamilies Home Education – ‘A friendly discussion group, covering many topics, for home educating families – both new and old’
Click to subscribe to UKFamilies-HomeEd
Gifted Home Ed – for parents of “gifted” children in or out of school
Education Otherwise Lists has an excellent page of lists that are available – of these UK HE is a busy and useful one, with an emphasis on the political stance of Home Education and the rights of Home Educators. Its occasionally difficult to join, not being on yahoo but here is an explanation,copied with permission from the EO site.
UK Home Education Support Listserv
If you would like to join this FREE mailing list, send an email to: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM
In the message text, type only: SUBSCRIBE UK-HOME-ED followed by a space, then your name (as it appears in the header of your email postings).
For example:SUBSCRIBE UK-HOME-ED Fred Bloggs
HE Special UK
Visit Netpals to join this list.