Saturday, 15 August 2009

Home Education in the UK; Does it Work?

In Part 10 of his report, Graham Badman expresses doubt about autonomous learning and also says that he is not convinced by existing research studies on the outcomes for home educated children. I have already mentioned that much of the belief in the efficacy of home education in this country rests upon work with thirty five children over a decade ago, but what about all the evidence from the USA? Surely studies involving thousands of children and young people there shows that home education gives brilliant results, better in fact than schools?

There seems little doubt that home educated students in the United States succeed very well academically. Can we then conclude that home educated students in the UK enjoy similar success. Perhaps not. I have already talked about the different motivations for undertaking home education in the USA, compared with British parents. Just to remind ourselves, the most common reasons given by home educators in this country for not sending children to school was so that they could be closer as a family and do what they wanted. For those who withdraw their children from school, common reasons seem to be bullying or failure of the school to deal with a special need. In other words, education as such does not seem to be an important factor in the decision to home educate. In America, it is the commonest reason for home educating.

Another important difference between the two countries is

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