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  • Writer's pictureemma beckett

Homeschooling Dynamics: Experiential Learning & Tailored Curriculum in Home Education

Updated: Sep 19, 2023


River and I are currently logged as EHE ( read on for more information on that) and are working towards being logged as EOTAS (read down to see what this means) and we definitely incorporate elements of world schooling, unschooling and eclectic home schooling with some digital/online learning classrooms.


River has an EHC plan and I work from home mainly facilitating his education and working towards launching my business as a life coach to home educated teenagers and their families.


I'm telling you this before we launch into the whys and wherefors and hows of home education so that you can start with the knowledge that there is no one way for any one family.


Its completely acceptable to grow and to change and to adopt different elements of home education as your family needs change and as you gain experience of yourself, your child and the system.


Parents are legally obligated to ensure their children receive a suitable full-time education during their compulsory school years. However, it's essential to recognize that not all education happens within the confines of a school. even for a child who is in school


Home education - often called homeschooling has been around for centuries, predating the modern educational system we're familiar with today. Its reasons and methods have evolved over time, but the core principle remains the same: education primarily takes place at home or in community settings, rather than in a traditional school environment.


I have passionate views on why we home educate but this post is designed to be informative and give you a place to look for a summary of what is available in the UK.



"River examining a model tube at the home educating families festival, donning a black tee with a Japanese motif, his long blonde hair flowing, inside the motorhome."
River at HEFF festival with a model he made


Why is home education or alternative education chosen?

Why Some Children Are Educated At Home:

  • Parental Choice: Some families opt for home education, viewing it as the best fit for their child's learning style or values.

  • Health Concerns: Certain health issues might prevent a child from attending regular school.

  • Special Educational Needs: In some cases, the specific needs of a child might be better addressed outside of a traditional school environment.

Additionally, some students might blend their educational experience, attending school part-time and learning at home for the remainder.



What is Home Education?

At its essence home education is the practice where parents or guardians take on the primary responsibility of educating their children. This doesn’t always mean that the parent is the sole teacher but they are the primary decision-makers concerning their child’s education. The setting, curriculum, pace, and methodology can be tailored to fit each child's unique needs.


Why Choose Home Education?

Parents choose home education for a myriad of reasons:


1. **Customization**: Homeschooling offers a tailored educational experience, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in ways that work best for them.

2. **Environment**: Some parents are concerned about the school environment, be it bullying, peer pressure, or the general social milieu.

3. **Religious or Philosophical Beliefs**: Families may choose home education to incorporate specific moral, philosophical, or religious teachings.

4. **Medical or Special Needs**: Children with unique learning needs or health concerns might thrive better at home.

5. **Dissatisfaction with Educational Options**: Some parents feel that the current educational system doesn’t meet their standards or needs.


Different routes in the UK

Elective Home Education (EHE) is when a parent chooses not to send their child to school full-time but assumes responsibility for making sure their child receives a full-time education other than at school. Some children are electively home educated from age 5 and may never attend school.


  • Often referred to as 'home schooling', EHE is when parents make the deliberate choice to educate their children at home.

  • It's crucial to realise that this should always be the parents' decision, free from external pressures, be it from schools or local authorities.

  • The Department for Education has comprehensive guidelines titled “All you need to know about home-schooling and elective home education” which serves as a resource for parents considering this route.

Key Aspects of EHE:


1. EHC Plans and EHE:

  • When a child with an EHC (Education, Health, and Care) plan is electively home-educated, the local authority (LA) isn't obligated to ensure the special educational provisions in the EHC plan are met.

  • Still, this doesn't mean an EHC plan should be discontinued. It remains the LA's responsibility to review the EHC plan annually.

  • If parents choose EHE, they should notify both the school and the LA, ensuring appropriate amendments to the EHC plan.

  • It IS possible to attain an EHC plan after beginning home education (we did this).

2. Home Education for Children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) Without an EHC Plan:

  • Parents can decide to home educate these children without requiring permissions from the school or the LA.

  • They can also request an EHC needs assessment to determine the best support framework for the child. The LA can provide support, but it's not a legal obligation.


Alternative Education Paths:

1. LA's Role When School Isn't an Option:

  • If a child cannot attend school and isn't being home-educated by choice, the LA might have to step in and provide suitable education.

2. Education Otherwise Than in a School (EOTAS):

  • In cases where traditional educational settings aren't suitable, the LA can arrange for educational provisions elsewhere, outlined in an EHC plan.

  • It's crucial to differentiate between the school's capability to provide and the appropriateness of the provision within the school.

  • If such a provision is necessary, the EHC plan should detail the child's special educational needs and the required support. This ensures the LA continues to meet its obligations.

Parents should always be at the helm of their child's education, whether that's in a traditional school, through home education, or a combination. It's essential to be informed, communicate with relevant authorities, and ensure the chosen path aligns with the child's best interests.


Different Types of Home Education

Home education is not a one-size-fits-all model. Here's a closer look at some of the most prevalent approaches:


1. **Traditional or Structured Homeschooling**: Resembles the typical school format but at home. Parents use textbooks, workbooks, and formal lesson plans.

2. **Classical Education**: Based on a three-stage approach (the Trivium) - the Grammar stage (focusing on facts), the Logic stage (emphasizing reasoning), and the Rhetoric stage (honing in on expression). Classical education includes studying Latin, reading great books, and developing critical thinking.

3. **Charlotte Mason Method**: An education philosophy founded by a British educator. It emphasizes "living books" (those written in narrative or story form), nature studies, and artistic expression.

4. **Montessori**: Created by Dr. Maria Montessori, this method focuses on hands-on learning, practical life skills, and fostering a child's natural interests.

5. **Unschooling**: Rather than following a structured curriculum, unschooling is interest-driven. It’s rooted in the belief that children learn best when they pursue their passions and curiosities. This can also be used to simply remove all ideas of school to heal school trauma when first beginning home education.


6. **Eclectic or Relaxed Homeschooling**: Parents pick and choose from various homeschooling methodologies to create a mix that works best for their child.

7. **Online/Virtual Schooling**: While technically a form of homeschooling, students follow an online curriculum provided by either public or private schools.


8. **Co-op Homeschooling**: Families come together to form a cooperative. This way, parents can teach subjects they are passionate or knowledgeable about to a larger group, allowing children the benefits of group learning and socialization.


World Schooling: An Overview

World schooling is a unique approach to education that transcends traditional classroom boundaries, merging travel with learning experiences. At its core, world schooling is about harnessing the world as a classroom. Here’s a deeper dive into the concept:


World schooling is an educational philosophy and lifestyle where children (and often their parents) learn from the world around them, using travel as a primary means of education. It’s a blend of experiential, hands-on learning with travel, often involving immersive stays in various locations around the world.


2. Learning through Experience:

Instead of reading about the Roman Empire in a textbook, a world schooling family might visit the Colosseum in Rome. Rather than only learning Spanish from an app or course, a child might practice the language by spending a few months in a Spanish-speaking country. This approach prioritizes firsthand experience and cultural immersion as key educational tools.


3. Adaptability:

World schooling doesn’t mean forsaking all traditional forms of education. Many families combine aspects of homeschooling, online courses, and local schooling (enrolling temporarily in schools in the countries they visit) with their travels. The central tenet is adaptability and using the world as a rich, varied resource for learning.


Benefits

Cultural Competence: World schooled children often develop a deep understanding and appreciation of various cultures, languages, and ways of life.

Real-world Skills: Beyond academic knowledge, they might pick up practical skills, like navigation, communication in different languages, and understanding currency exchange.

Adaptability: Constant exposure to different environments and cultures fosters adaptability and resilience.


Broadened Perspectives: World schooling can cultivate open-mindedness as children learn to see the world from multiple viewpoints.


5. Challenges:


Consistency: Maintaining a consistent curriculum can be challenging, especially given the dynamic nature of travel.

Socialization: While world schooled children meet diverse groups of people, forming long-term friendships can be tricky due to constant movement.

Logistical Issues: Families need to consider visa regulations, health insurance, and other logistical aspects of extended travel.


6. The Role of Technology:


With the rise of digital platforms and remote learning tools, world schooling has become more accessible. Children can use online resources to supplement their learning, stay connected with peers, or even join virtual classrooms.


Conclusion:


World schooling is a testament to the idea that the world itself is filled with learning opportunities. Whether families embrace it fully or incorporate elements of it into their children's education, the philosophy underscores the value of experiential learning and cultural immersion. Like all educational approaches, it's essential to tailor world schooling to suit the individual needs and circumstances of the child and family.


The Academic Benefits

Research has consistently shown that homeschooled students often perform at or above the level of their schooled peers on standardized tests. Moreover, since the learning is tailored, students can delve deeper into areas of interest, leading to a robust and enriched education.


Social Aspects of Home Education

One common concern revolves around the socialisation of homeschooled kids. However this in my opinion is a misconception based on the idea that we socialise school children in a regimented way with forced friendship groups of children the same age.


One of our main reasons for home education centres around River being able to engage socially in a way that works for him as a unique person making the same choices we have available to us as adults to have friends of any age, any gender and any shared interests.


Socialisation is easily accessed with sports, home ed clubs, co-ops, community service, and other group activities - many homeschooled students find themselves socially engaged and far more adept socially than their school educated peers.


Closing Thoughts

Home education is a journey, a commitment, and for many, a calling. It's a flexible model, capable of adapting to the needs and aspirations of individual learners. Whether you’re an educator, parent, or student, it’s essential to recognise the vastness, fluidity and potential of this educational approach.



*This blog aims to provide a detailed yet friendly overview of home education. If you want to dive deeper into any particular area, have any personal questions or need further resources, feel free to reach out to me.*
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