Home Educating Families in Hawkinge

Home education has gone through a rebrand in the public eye. What was once seen as the realm of religious extremism and child geniuses is now being seen more commonly as an alternative to mainstream education where the “one size fits all” approach can leave many children behind.

 

In 2019, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) survey found that there were 60,500 registered home educated children in England, and with many children being home educated as a result of the lockdowns, that number is growing as more families are seeing the benefits of school at home.

 

Helen is a home educating mum in Hawkinge, and she is keen to organise meet-ups and visits with other home educating families in the area.

“It is becoming a more popular option,” Helen says of home-education. “Especially for special needs as the schools don’t seem to have the funds or facilities to help parents and children.

“We chose to home educate our children after being in the school system and not being happy with the education provided. I didn’t feel, as parents, that our voices were being heard.”

 

The Badman Review in 2009 was a report commissioned by the government to examine the safety and wellbeing of home educated children. On the surface this was an innocuous and useful study, but it drew massive criticism from home educating families who felt the report was made in bad faith, and was an attempt to paint home schooling in an overwhelmingly negative light and even as a cover for child abuse.

 

However, in the wake of the pandemic, it’s clear that many families can see the benefits of a system that allows their children to learn at their own pace and learn a curriculum that caters to their strengths. It’s particularly useful for neurodivergent children or children who suffer from anxiety or social problems, who may experience specific struggles in mainstream education.

 

Helen says, “Some misconceptions that people have about home educating is that the kids don’t socialise and that the children and parents are isolated. But it is the complete opposite. There are so many groups to join, many activities that are happening all the time and many opportunities for children to meet friends. What is fantastic about home educated children is that they don’t see age as a barrier, so they mix easily with many different age groups.”

 

Helen plans for the meet ups to involve things like nature walks or arranged activities with local sports centres, so there will be something for everyone. If you would like to learn more about the meetups and more about home educating in Hawkinge, you can email Helen at: [email protected]

by Alice Smales

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