It is difficult to know for certain exact statistical information about the number and make-up of children who are home schooled in the UK, since it may not be obligatory for parents to register that their child is receiving a home schooling education. However, evidence from sources such as home teaching advice groups, support networks and home schooling websites suggest children who receive a home education do so for a few key reasons. These reasons will be outlined below.
Home Schooled from the Start
If a child is home schooled from the start, this means he or she has never attended a mainstream school in the UK, instead receiving all of his or her education from home, either from a paid tutor or by parents, and either following a formal curriculum or via a looser, experienced-based form of education. There are usually philosophical reasons (such as a family decision that they are opposed to the mainstream education system) or religious reasons (such as a belief that an education in a certain faith school or in a non-denominational school would be unacceptable) behind this mode of home schooling.
Other parents may have decided to continue teaching their child at home after enjoying and succeeding at providing their child with an early education up to school attendance age (four or five in the UK). Parents of children with special educational needs might also decide to home educate their child; this situation might occur where a family is unhappy with the teaching provision offered to them by a local education authority.
Home Schooled from a Later Date
Where a child is home schooled after being removed from a mainstream (or otherwise) school, this is usually either because the child has had difficulty settling into school life, or the parents disapprove of the content and style of their child’s school education. Where a child is badly bullied at school, he or she may become to opposed to attending school that a parent has to find another way to educate their child.
For other families, special educational needs such as dyslexia, other learning difficulties or physical problems may mean that a home schooling education seems to be a better ‘fit’ for their child. Children who suffer from anxiety attacks bought on by attending school, especially where a child is classed as school phobic, may find it more beneficial to be home schooled.
In other circumstances, children and/or their parents may find themselves struggling with attainment and academic ability because the mainstream school’s style of teaching does not match with a child’s individual method of learning.
Famous Home Schooled Students
Some parents and children who have concerns about their own ability to develop through a home school education find it helpful to know some of the famous names who have been home schooled. These are believed to include the American poet Walt Whitman, the writer Margaret Atwood, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, and (one for the kids here) – the musicians Daniel and Natasha Beddingfield!