Written evidence submitted by Harris


Home education was never a path of education that I wanted to pursue until my oldest child experienced a really negative school situation that caused us as a family a great deal of emotional stress. During the time of my child’s negative school experience, we were living in the United States in a city with a very large home education community with a large amount of  co-op’s meeting together. This was the first time I began to become educated and interested about the benefits of home education. What began for our family as investigation and research, has now evolved into a passion. We have seen first-hand our child not only excelling educationally, but also having  greater emotional health. He has gained back the confidence he lost through the classroom setting through our home education. This has been the greatest joy for us as parents.

We have seen him become a leader with other children who he lives near and plays with, and also n the home education groups that we meet up with. Our child struggles with reading, but excels in all of the other subjects. We have been able to use a program called All About Reading that utilizes the Orten Gillingham approach that has transformed our child into someone who started out really struggling and disliking reading to actually loving reading and excited about learning. Just yesterday his narrative topic was to write about something he is proud about and he wrote about the first time he picked up a book on our bookshelf outside of our reading program and read through all of it. I think in a classroom setting using the one fits all approach would not work for my child. He needed one to one lessons, attention, and an approach that could meet his needs.

Our son is also a very energetic child, so home education allows us to get work done at a faster pace, but also allows us to slow down when needed. He can have breaks to get out energy. We can do our school outside on beautiful days to take in vitamin D which improves all of our emotional health.

We have one child with additional needs that has been rejected from a school nearby, so home education allows our family to travel further for his schooling and not have to deal with multiple drop off’s and pick up’s.

Our son who is home schooled has more time to invest in sport such as golf and cricket. We have more time to invest in lessons. We are able to travel to see family in other countries because we take our work with us. We don’t have to worry about paying penalties or losing a spot in national schools.

We have all three meals together at our table and we don’t need to rush breakfast to get out of the door. We don’t have to be exhausted at dinner because of a long school day.

We do have tests in our home school approach but my evaluation is not based on testing, it is based on mastery. He is going to be a grade ahead with math, but we take longer and work harder in reading since he needs more time to master each new skill. In national schools, he would not be able to be in multiple grade levels. I like the flexibility that home education offers to master skills instead of moving up to the next year with adequate skills. We are working on excellence and precision. The way that we home educate also gives my child the desire to be excellent and he doesn’t have to compare himself with others.

Through our co-op we are learning together with other children the following topics: Science (this term anatomy), Latin, Math multiplication tables and formulas, UK History, UK geography, Timeline of the world, and English. He is memorizing poetry and he gives a presentation every week in front of the children and parents at his co-op. We learn art and music as well. Our son recently turned seven and he is already learning so much more than I did at his age.

Now that we are learning so much about UK history, through home education we can take trips to see many of the things we are learning. We are able to take school work on trains and do school on long train rides to the very places we are learning about.

Some in government positions are concerned about socialization, but in my sons and my own experience in national school systems, we experienced a tearing down of who we are through bullying. I, as a child, not only experienced bullying but also abuse from the boys at my school. Through home education, we are able to help children in our groups work out conflict in a healthy way and have more conversations. The way my child dealt with bullying in the national school setting caused him to close up and talk to us. I reacted the same way as a child. The teachers did not realize what was going on and I was afraid to tell my parents. In our groups, this does not happen. Parents are able to talk together and help children with behaviors that affect others negatively. My son is confident now, understands how to handle conflict, will voice his feelings openly, and is working to be someone who builds others up and comes to the aid of anyone who is left out and excluded. I have seen this the most with our friends who live on our street. My son who is in reception tends to exclude other children, but our son who is home educated is quick to find those who feel left out and bring them into the group of neighborhood kids. We will be home educating our middle son as soon as he starts year 1.

I could write many more benefits of home education, but I would like to spend some time writing about how the UK government could best help families who home educate. Thank you for the freedom to home educate. We could not imagine having to educate a different way, but we are also thankful for the national school systems. Though our middle child will be home educated starting next year, we have been thankful for his teacher at his school now. Tapestry has allowed us to keep up some with him, but not as much as what I would like. Home educating parents should have free access to entrance tests into universities. We would like opportunities to join up with national schools for extracurricular activities in sport, art, music and anything done outside of the classroom. Home educating families need to be included when there are government schemes and advice on things like Covid. The stigma that home education is not adequate or good needs to be removed. Our home education is beyond outstanding. In fact, while the entire nation struggled in home educating, we excelled and actually helped many others around us. Our experience and training in home education became helpful to others during the pandemic. Home educators would like to be supported in our endeavors and not treated with disrespect or disregard. I personally have never felt this way, but I know of some parents who have. Home educators should have an easier time getting their child a flu shot. Because our child was not in the national school system, we had to pay a private clinic to give him his flu shot. This was a time that we felt disregarded by the system.

Overall, home education has been the absolute best decision we have made educationally for our children. We believe that the UK government made the right decision to allow parents the freedom to education their children however needed whether at home or in a national school.



December 2020