It is more or less an article of faith among some home educating parents that children and teenagers are natural learners who are inquisitive and enthusiastic about pursuing their chosen interests. All this is perfectly true. Sometimes. Some, on the other hand, are lazy and incurious, wanting nothing more than to stay in bed until lunchtime before slumping in front of the television for the rest of the day. We know that this is the case because we see various cries for help and advice on the Internet lists from parents who are at their wits end over this sort of behaviour on the part of their teenage sons and daughters. The standard advice given to the parents of such children is to relax and stop worrying. if they wish to get up at two or three in the afternoon, that is simply their biology at work. if they wish to watch television all day, that to is fine. They will probably get fed up with doing this after a while. Try a period of deschooling, just let them slob around for a while. The recommendation is one month of 'deschooling' for every year spent in school. The idea is that the toxicity of school needs time to leach out of the teenagers system! So a fourteen year old who has just been de-registered should spend the next nine months or so doing nothing at all. That will help in the run-up to his GCSEs!
Those of us who work in certain areas will be aware that for many people, getting up at lunchtime and spending the day watching television is quite a popular lifestyle for those wholly reliant upon state benefits. They do not seem to get fed up with it, no matter what the well meaning advice given to home educating parents might suggest. The problem is that the sort of people who dish out this advice are often intelligent people who read a lot and are not very keen on television. They just cannot conceive of anybody choosing this lifestyle and so reassure anxious parents that it is just a phase their kid is going through. By the time that the kid is sixteen or seventeen and it has become clear that this is how he is planning to spend his life, it is often too late to do anything about it. All you can then do is say, 'Well, he can take GCSEs at any age and if he wants to he can always study with the Open University'.
Local authorities have noticed a third spike in de-registration from schools. Traditionally, de-registration took place in the first year or two after the age of five and also at the changeover from primary to secondary school. They are seeing a lot of thirteen and fourteen year olds these days being taken out of school. The worry is that many of these children might end up doing little apart from watching television or surfing the Internet. For some, this is not a problem. They can learn a lot on the Internet! It is these children about whom many are concerned. because if once they get into the habit of staying in bed half the day and doing nothing except staring at a screen, this can easily become their chosen lifestyle. They are liable to become unemployed, indeed unemployable in later life. We have no idea how common this is, because of course official interest ends on the child's sixteenth birthday. This was one of the concerns which prompted local authorities to try and acquire additional powes for the regualtion of home education.