Written evidence submitted by [member of the public]


[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

Home education is a big part of our life. Our children are aged [ages] Although our children are both under the compulsory school age, we still home educate. Learning doesn’t suddenly begin at age of 5, it begins from birth, or even in the womb. From learning to sit up, crawl, walk and talk, it is all learning and it is all education. We plan to home educate both of our children ourselves, at home, in the woods, on beaches, in the water, at parks, museums and group settings. We will do it for as long as it seems like the best option for our children and for our family. Currently we aren’t attending any organised home educating settings because of Covid-19 and the strict guidelines the home educating community has to follow, but we are still learning every day inside and outside, and also having video calls with friends. Because of these different guidelines for home educators to follow, we have decided to send our [age] daughter to a childcare setting for two days a week, as she is still able to get government funding, and we feel socialisation and play with others is vital for her age in particular. Between the ages of 0-6 play sets the foundation for all academic learning, play is a child’s work. We are at the beginning of this journey and we all feel very excited. Our [age] daughter is learning to read and write, all at her own pace. We spend our days, baking, creating, drawing, painting, gardening, cooking, making music, reading books, putting on plays, dancing, acting, sewing, singing, doing household duties (if she’s in the mood), swimming, climbing, running, riding and we are outdoors a lot as we have a cocker spaniel dog who keeps us active. She spends a lot of time with her [age] brother, she is a devoted sister and they constantly teach each other so much. For example, at the beach the other day my daughter got cold and wet and wanted to go home, but then she saw her little brother having fun regardless of the wet weather and she then joined in too and we stayed at the beach for an extra hour and left with big smiles on our faces and came home to a warming hot chocolate and an audiobook snuggled up in front of our fire. Learning at the beach is our favourite thing to do, we spend hours searching in rockpools and investigating in our books about what we find. My daughter quite often has her own projects that she likes to work on, sometimes independently or with my support,  the other week it was finding out the difference between a Grass snake and an Adder after hearing them mentioned in an Enid Blyton book. We looked at videos, read about them in books and drew them. When we are with her friends who are now in reception year at school I notice a difference, our daughter is full of energy and spirit and has a natural drive to learn. She is very active and loves to be exploring the outdoors, but also loves to be inside reading a good book together. She can read about 15 words and can write 10 independently. It is such a joy to see as she has such enthusiasm and pleasure in learning at her own pace. I feel she would not thrive in a mainstream school environment yet as she simply does not like to be still, unless her body tells her so. I feel the teachers would be focusing on this element, to keep her still, as they have too many children under their care to do otherwise, and she would miss out on the real learning and therefore lose that love she has for it. But if in the future she feels that’s the path she wants to take we will be fully supportive of her decision. We are on a low income, just living off my partners low wage as I raise our children. We can not afford to go on holidays (but we live in [county] so every day is a ‘holiday’), we budget our money and spend wisely. We have chosen this route for our family because we feel it is more important to give our children the gift of time instead of materialistic items. Although, we have a very supportive network of family and friends who we receive toys, books and learning materials from second hand. The library here in [town] is well stocked, but if they do not have what we need we go to [town] for the day. We use a lot of natural resources and follow a nature based curriculum called Exploring Nature With Children by Raising Little Shoots. It would be hugely beneficial to us if some funding towards resources and activities would become available, particularly to those on a low income like ourselves. I am also studying a part time level 3 childcare course so I can become a childminder as I adore spending my days with my children and I would love to open up our doors to invite other children in to enjoy our slow paced, nature based, child led days together.

Here are some photos from just the last two weeks:                    

[photographs redacted]

November 2020