Sunday, 7 March 2010

Home education-the next generation

Many home educating parents are not over keen on schools because of their own experiences there. This has been a trend in British home education right from the very start; Joy Baker in the fifties did not send her children to school largely due to the wretched time she herself had at school. I'm not at all sure how good a motive this is for home education, but it certainly seems to be common enough. One cannot help but wonder what those who are currently being taught at home will make of it all when they are themselves grown up and have children of their own. Will they too become home educators in their turn?

The reason that I am curious about the above question is partly because of the way that we all determine to avoid at all costs the mistakes which our own parents made when rearing their children. Sometimes, this can lead to an over-reaction. If our parents were harsh; we are over relaxed about discipline. Often, the children who have been dragged to church become atheists and so on. Children whose parents drank heavily and smoked sometimes become fanatical non smoking teetotallers. This might well account in part for the reason that so many home educating parents seem a little bitter about their childhood experiences of school. Reading what a lot of home educators say, they seem to have a deal of resentment about their childhoods; perhaps they think that their own parents should have protected them by taking them out of school. Will this phenomenon result in parents who were themselves home educated, sending their children to really strict and formal schools in twenty years or so?

There have been a few high profile cases of children who were home educated being a little bitter about it in later life. Aaron Stern's daughter, she of the so called "Edith project" , was outspoken against home education as an adult. Ruth Lawrence has also made it plain that she would not have wanted to home educate her own children. There have been other examples. Does anybody know of any home educated person who has gone on to home educate her own children? We are reaching the stage at which there should soon be quite a few people in their twenties and thirties who were taught at home and now have children. Will home education become a family tradition for some, as sending a child to a particular school is now in some families?


  1. There are lots Simon. They are in general lively happy families.

    The cases you point to are extreme (as usual) Ruth Lawrence was "hothoused" for example.

    I constantly worry about the judgement of EHE based on the reasons one started though. I hear this a lot from Local Authorities too.

    The reasons matter very little, it is the provision that matters.

    I've known families who EHE because of truancy. Doesn't mean the outcome will be bad - that depends on the attitude and commitment of the parents. If they don't value education it may not happen. If they do - great!

    Do we condemn all young stepfathers as abusers just because the children are 70 times more likely to suffer abuse? No, we give them the benefit of the doubt......

  2. So you seem to be saying that you know many parents who were themselves home educated and are now teaching their own children at home? I confess to being a little surprised at this. I would have thought that a few might have come forwards during the debate surrounding the Children, Schools and Families Bill. In fact adults who were home educated have been conspicuous by their silence so far, which puzzles me. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that Ruth lawrence was "hothopused". She was home educated in a systematic way. It is none the less home education for being done efficiently!

  3. Yes, the househoused children do not seem to want to repeat the experiment, do they?

    At an HE conference in London back when we started (15 years ago), there was a panel of previously HE'd young adults who were doing a Q&A at the end. Not one single one said they would HE their own kids, which I was very surprised about. But perhaps if they'd been asked 'Do you even want to have kids?' they may not have known. After all, they were very young 18-21?

    In our area, there is a previously HE'd mother (from Canada?) running an HE group. And in my international HE yahoo group which I've belonged to for about 10 years there is a steady stream of young mothers who were previously HE'd coming into the group now, HE'ing their own kids. Most are American though, so I'm not sure about the UK.

    I suspect that the more extreme the childhood is the more we are likely to rebel against it. If there is an extreme approach to HE in whichever direction, I would think that it might provoke a move in the opposite direction as a parent. But who knows. It's just speculation.

    I do know someone who never went to school but who is now teaching in a classroom which seems to me to very very odd indeed, but he's happy, so his mum clearly did a good job :-)

    Mrs Anon

  4. Simon says: Does anybody know of any home educated person who has gone on to home educate her own children?

    Here's one.

  5. loads will because a lot of schools are crap!

  6. Amongst the Christian families I know, I suspect there will be many whose children choose to home ducate; because they believe that they have a duty to do so. Amongst home educators as a whole, I am not so sure; many do home educate because of a particular crisis at one point and so are not neccessarily as committed to the whole idea. What may be more relevant is that we live in a scoiety where home educators are seen as odd because they choose to spend time with their children whilst most mothers are led to believe that it is normal to return to work once the baby is a few months old; where it can be difficult to survive on one parents income alone and where selfishness is promoted as normal. So who knows?

  7. Julie says What may be more relevant is that we live in a scoiety where home educators are seen as odd because they choose to spend time with their children

    Where is the evidence for this statement? if anything i see it the other way with people seeing it as a good thing to spend more time with your children people are in dispair in some areas seeing how state school children behave hanging around on the streets smoking swearing having under age sexetc.
    We know the state contolled BBC pump rubbish out about home education but most people can see though it! People have asked me what school does your son go to he is so well behaved oh i say he is home educated! that get them thinking!

  8. My husband and I were BOTH home educated in the USA by our respective parents for "fundamental religious" reasons. Neither of us ever intended to home educate our four children but because we were terribly unsatisfied with our local schools we have been home educating for the past 6 years, and now after all this time I find I really love being with my kids and I can hardly imagine being separated from them all day everyday! Now we are living in Italy and home educating seems to have made the transition far less traumatic for our children.