Although we’ve only been home educating for a little more than 6 months, I have heard many misconceptions about home education. A quick glance in any HE Facebook page tells me that there is definitely a recurring theme here. People are making the same assumptions about home education time and time again, usually because although they mean well they just don’t have enough knowledge on the subject. Here are some of the myths (well meaning and otherwise) I’ve encountered since embarking on my home education journey, debunked.
- Home educated children don’t socialise. I’ve touched on this before in the post Home Education and The “S” Word. The point that really sticks here is that school is a completely unique social setting. For a social life outside of that lifestyle, there are home education groups. Look up extra-curricular activities in your area. Arrange play dates. Most importantly, relax. Think about what your social life is as an adult and build on that rather than trying to recreate the school experience at home.
- Home educating parents are lazy. I’ve heard it all before – you just don’t want to do the school run. While getting out of bed at 9am on a weekday is a welcome perk, we don’t exactly sit on our backsides all day either. Home educating parents are the most proactive parents I know. I mean, hello? These parents have decided to take their child’s education into their own hands. In fact, saying home educated parents are lazy would be about as true as saying teachers are lazy. They might have a lot of holidays and shorter hours but how much time do they send training, marking and lesson planning?
- You need to be qualified as a teacher. You do not need to hold any qualifications to teach your own child.
- Your child must be assessed regularly. There is no legal obligation for home educators in England and Wales to liaise with their local authorities at all and that includes for assessments.
- Home education is illegal. Home education is not illegal but if your child has been to school you do need to formally deregister them. If you don’t and they are still on the school roll, they will be marked as absent and you’ll end up having to deal with the Education Welfare Officer.
- You have to follow the National Curriculum. You do not have to follow any curriculum but there is nothing to say you can’t. Go with what works for you.
- You have to do workbooks, plan lessons, 6 hours a day etc. Again, if you want to create a “school at home” experience then by all means do so. There is no legal obligation to do that.
- Only parents can educate the children. This is untrue – you can hire tutors, perhaps your friends and family could lend their skills. The responsibility ultimately lies with you.
- They need to do PE for exercise. This is another assumption that is quite frankly jaw-dropping. There are many ways to encourage physical activity in children. Do you still do PE as an adult? I thought not.
- You can’t home educate if both parents work. Nobody can stop you from home educating if you work. Obviously it might make things harder depending on your circumstances but the beauty of home education if that you can work it around your life.
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