Why do People Choose to Homeschool?

Since the type of parents and families who decide that their children should receive a home schooled education is very varied, the reasons behind a parental decision to home school a child are also diverse. However, there are general trends for motivation to home school a child, which can generally be divided into ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ reasons. Negative motivation to home school a child comes from parental dissatisfaction with the teaching, discipline, safety, and/or opportunities that stem from a school-based education, while positive motivation is where parents consider the teaching, discipline, safety, and/or opportunities of a home education to be inherently superior to those within a school.

This article will explore those trends. It is important to note that for many parents, the decision to home school their child comes about as a result of a mixture of several reasons, perhaps including those below as well as motivations particular to their own circumstances and the nature of their child.

Home Schooling Decisions Based on the Curriculum and Teaching Offered in Schools

Some parents believe that standards of the UK education system are declining. Headlines in the media about failing schools and ‘grade inflation’ leading to the denunciation of qualifications such as GCSEs and A Levels has encouraged some parents to educate their children themselves. (It’s important to note, however, that many home schooling parents do opt to include exam syllabi and qualifications such as GCSEs and A Levels within home teaching).

Some parents have more specific concerns about the teaching of the National Curriculum. This point is more valid for parents choosing between state education and home education, as private schools are not bound to follow the National Curriculum. Parental concerns that a centralised control over education, involving attainment and performance targets, limits the child’s imagination and fails to address the individual needs of a pupil. This concern acts as another motivation to home tutor.

Home Schooling Decisions Based on a Child’s Bad Experiences at School

Bullying is a central reason why some parents choose to remove their child from school and to teach them at home. Since it may be difficult for teachers to monitor or police bullying in school, some children who feel that they cannot cope with bullying ask their parents to continue their education at home.

Home Schooling Decisions Based on a Family’s Religious Background

Schools in the UK will tend to have their own policies on faith, be that within religious schools, where most or all pupils come from a particular religious background, or non-faith schools, where education will tend to be secular. This will impact discussion of other facets of education, such as sexual education lessons. Some orthodox religious families do not feel comfortable with such elements within a child’s education, as well as also believing that learning about their particular faith should be a central part of a child’s education, and this can form a motivation to home school.