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Issue 10 Spring 2014

Education Outside School Home Education In Action!

The Simple Things by Jai Daniels-Freestone

Rethinking our Ideas about Teachers and Teaching by Ross Mountney

Activities, Reviews and more!



Home Education & EOS Magazine Education is compulsory in the UK for children but school is not. Many families choose to home educate instead, enjoying the freedom to create a personalised education experience, with no constraints of time, place or curriculum. Education Outside School Magazine is here to support those families, celebrating the myriad wonderful methods they use and providing a window into this community that chooses an Education Outside School. There is no one way to home educate, no ‘set of instructions’. Families forge their own paths, using different approaches and resources as they go along. Their greatest resource is often the home educating community - questions are asked and ideas shared daily. This magazine comes from the community, being run by home educators with contributions from the community.

Who We Are EOS was founded by Lorena and Jane, two home educating mothers from the East of England, to be the kind of magazine they would have loved to read when they first started home educating.

Lorena is home educating a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 4.

If you are a home educator, or thinking about it, you’ll find among these pages encouragement, support and ideas. If you don’t home educate, perhaps by reading EOS you’ll enjoy a glimpse into a different way of living and learning, leaving with a better understanding of what home education is and how it works.

Jane is home educating daughters aged 12 and 18 and a son aged 15; she also has a 20 year old son who was home educated.

We hope you enjoy it!

Education Outside School C.I.C. Education Outside School is a Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. We work for the benefit of the home educating community in the UK; supporting, encouraging and providing resources. Any surplus generated will be invested back into the company to further support the home educating community in whatever ways are viable and practical. For more information, please see our website. Education Outside School is an independent organisation, not allied with any other home education group or organisation. We do not purport to represent home educators in the UK or elsewhere. Any opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the editors.

Lorena and Jane run EOS together, with the help of the many wonderful contributors who write for them - see more about this issue’s writers on page 6.

Get In Touch Content Editor Lorena Hodgson lorena@educationoutsideschool.co.uk Managing Editor Jane Levicki jane@educationoutsideschool.co.uk Advertising advertising@educationoutsideschool.co.uk

Registered in England, No. 08824730. Registered Office: 26 Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1WG (not to be used for correspondance) www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk




Submissions We are delighted to receive original articles about all aspects of home education. Under normal circumstances we will only publish articles that have not previously been published elsewhere. If you have an idea for an article, please check with is first regarding its suitability - email Content Editor Lorena: lorena@educationoutsideschool.co.uk The editors have the final say in deciding if contributions are printed and in which issue. There will sometimes be a need for editing contributions, for reasons of space, clarity, brevity, tone or otherwise.

Photos We use genuine home ed photos when possible, ie ones displaying home educating families in action! Sometimes, though, we don’t have one that’s appropriate in which case we’ll find a photo available on a Creative Commons licence which allows us free use and we’ll credit the photographer. If you are sending in an article or an activity and would like to include photos they’ll need to be at least 300dpi Please only submit photos you have taken yourself, or those which you have permission to use. By submitting a photo you are guaranteeing that you have obtained the permission of any persons portrayed in the photo, or in the case of children, the permission of their parent/ guardian, for the photo to be featured in the magazine. If you have any questions regarding photos please email jane@educationoutsideschool.co.uk

Advertising We are delighted to feature adverts for products and services relevant to UK home educators. In the first instance, please see our website to download our Media Pack. www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk

Previous Issues

Please direct any advertising queries to: advertising@educationoutsideschool.co.uk The appearance of an advert does not imply endorsement by EOS Magazine. As with anything, please make your own checks to ensure suitability for your own family

All available online, free of charge, at www.issuu.com/educationoutsideschool 4

COPYRIGHT All attempts have been made to find copyright owners and are acknowledged if found; if you think yours has been breached please email us.


“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.” John Holt www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


This Issue’s Contributors Ross Mountney Ross home educated her two daughters, both now grown. She is the author of: ‘Learning Without School: Home Education’, ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ and ‘Mumhood’, all of which are available via her website http://rossmountney.wordpress.com You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RossMountneyAuthor

Jai Daniels-Freestone Jai was home educated herself and now home educates her own children. She also runs the Facebook group The Freedom Journey, which is for “Home Educators, Parents, Teachers and Others who in general are interested in the Care and Freedom of children and alternative ways of Parenting and Educating.”

Katie Pybus Katie describes herself as ‘Totally married, loves gallivanting, raising a Too Cool For School Trio in West Sussex, England. Living very happily outside the box I never quite fitted in.’ You can find her on her blog http://thegallivanters.blogspot.co.uk/

Nicki Wilkins Nicki lives on the east coast of Scotland with her husband where they home educate their four children. She has always been a collector of ‘small little treasures’ and writes about the creative life on her blog http://justlikeplay.blogspot.co.uk/

Billie Grisdale Home educated throughout her childhood, Billie is now the public relations officer for A Company, Yorkshire (N&W) Army Cadet Force.

Alison Botting Alison lives in East Anglia where she home educates her children and plays a very active part in the local home educating community.



8 9 11 14 15 21

Contents 22 26 28 30 33 34 36 42 43

What’s That Flag? A Geography activity

The Best Five Things..... What vital resources Michael Bibby wouldn’t be without A Teenager’s Guide to the Universe by Nicki Wilkins

Education Outside School A Community Interest Company

My Home Educated Life by Billie Grisdale

Let’s Get EOS Magazine into Print!

HESFES and the Home Ed Prom

The Simple Things by Jai Daniels-Freestone

Spring has Sprung! Get out in the garden, plant, grow, enjoy!

Rethinking Our Ideas About Teachers and Teaching by Ross Mountney


Ship in a Bottle An activity from Alison Botting

Home Education General Info

Could you write for EOS Magazine?

Websites and Groups



Education Outside School - a Community Interest Company At the end of 2013 Education Outside School (or EOS) was registered as a Community Interest Company, or CIC. We thought we’d take some time to explain what this is what it will do!


;; meet the Com mun Test - this means ity Interest Regulator must be that the satisfied that the activities ar e being carried out for the be ne fit of the community ;; keep the comm unity in touch with its activities ;; only use its asse ts for the community and surplus specified

What is a Community Interest Company? A CIC is a special kind of limited company - think of it as a hybrid between a traditional company and a charity. Many of them are also known as Social Enterprises. A CIC operates just like any other company - it trades to make a profit, pays its costs which include things like web hosting, staffing etc and aims to make a surplus on top of that. The difference comes in the use of that surplus. A standard company might reinvest it back into the business, or typically would use it to pay its Directors and Shareholders a bonus. A CIC may not do that - it must use its surplus to benefit its community. To define its community and the ways in which it intends to benefit it, a CIC must have a Community Interest Statement (a bit like a charity has a Constitution).

exciting plans to go into print very soon with the help of a Kickstarter project - see the opposite page! Secondly, we support home educating families earning an income. Up to now, all the adverts we have featured from home educating families have been free of charge. We won’t be able to continue that forever, but we will offer reduced advertising rates to home educating family businesses. On top of that, we plan to pay our contributors - up until now these wonderful people have been writing for us free of charge out of the desire to support the community, but we know that it’s not easy to earn an income while you home educate so we’ll be paying our way as soon as is financially viable!

What if EOS produces a surplus?

Our Community Education Outside School CIC has been set up to benefit the home educating community in the UK.

We have many ideas on ways in which we could use a surplus, but when the time comes we’ll be consulting with you, the community we’re here for, to find out which are the most popular! We hope you’ll stay with us and let us know!

How will it benefit home educators? Our main activity is simply to publish EOS magazine; supporting and encouraging home educating families and providing useful resources and information. We have been publishing free of charge online for nearly four years and have


Want to know more? Read more about CICs and how they are regulated at www.gov.uk - type ‘Community Interest Company’ in the search bar.


Let’s Get EOS Magazine into Print!

We’ve been publishing online for nearly four years and throughout this time we have always been asked for a printed version of the magazine.

the project around your friends, family and local home educating community and ask them if they’d like to buy a copy too?

Well, we have always had that ambition ourselves and now we are delighted to oblige!

The project deadline is 1st May - we need as many people as possible to log on a make their pledge by then.

But getting into print costs money. Money upfront. So, to achieve this aim, we have launched a project on the wellknown funding website Kickstarter.

Can you be a part of this?

Our project is simple - we want to put our next issue, the Summer 2014 issue, into print.

All you need to do is pledge to purchase one copy of the printed magazine. That’s it! If enough people pledge the same we’ll reach our funding goal and we’ll be able to make it happen. There are also options to pledge more money to receive greater rewards. We can’t do this without your support. Would you consider pledging to purchase a copy? Can you share

Go to www.kickstarter.com/profile/eosmagazine and click the link to our project ‘Let’s Get Education Outside School Magazine into Print. to read more about the project and pledge your support. We would be enormously grateful!!

Support us on Hugely succ essful, Kicks tarter is the go for new a place to nd innovative creative idea just need the s that finance to st art. The proje appear on th ct s that e site are no t asking for all of them o charity ffer rewards to their back ers. Since its laun ch in 2009, K ickstarter ha over 57,000 s helped projects get off the grou nd.



Photo Š http://www.flickr.com/photos/steltz/ under a Creative Commons licence 10


The Simple Things Jai Daniels-Freestone


have been in contact with so many new families recently, all choosing a new way of life and wanting something more for their families. Many are in turmoil, having expected that their children would have a happy life at school and trusting in those qualified to do so, teaching their children and helping them to grow. In so many cases, these wonderful parents have noticed that their children have become so unhappy that they feel there is no other choice than to step in and take their children away from school. For those of us who have been brought up with Home Education it seems to be a very natural choice, but for those who are new to the idea it is a huge decision, often filled with doubt, family criticism and difficulty. Then come the questions: How do I ensure my children are socialised? How do I educate them? How do I do everything that the schools do on my own? My advice is to start with the simple things. Talk to your children and find out what they are thinking and feeling about their lives. Just talk? Really? YES! Simple, just talk. So much of the education system seems to be motivated towards taking any control or communication out of the hands of parents and giving it to others. Take back some of the control and talk to your children. The wonderful thing about Home Education is that it is a journey that you take together. You don’t have to have all the answers, or any of them, but if your children know this and you can talk to them and figure out what you both want, then you will be on the right track. If your children feel that they have some control over their lives and that you can do it together, they will stop feeling so alone and will be able to heal and start to enjoy their lives. How do you educate your children? Again, the answer is to talk to your children, to find out what their interests,

The wonderful thing about Home Education is that it is a journey that you take together. You don’t have to have all the answers.. . their aspirations, their dreams are, then figure out a way of supporting them. Take your lead from your children. When we as parents change our viewpoint, deciding to work with our children instead of making decisions for them, life becomes simple, because children are always learning and always wanting to learn new things, but once the idea dawns that they can focus on what interests them and not on what they are told to learn, the difference is amazing. Project work is fantastic for this as you can incorporate so many elements: science, nature, art, history, geography etc, all within one subject. How do I socialise my children? This is one of the most frequently asked questions and accusations thrown at Home Educators. The answer is, it will happen. You don’t have to rush out to find them new friends, join new groups or worry about them having no friends, but to gently move forward, finding some contact with other Home Educators in your local area if you can, also making certain that any friends they had at school are still involved in their lives. Just remember that the



forced socialisation of school is something that can actually damage children; forcing them to spend time with people who bully them, or who don’t understand them is not a positive thing. Children don’t ‘need’ daily contact with others, especially if they have siblings. Family is the most fantastic training ground for life. The love and support and friendships of family members are so important in giving our children confidence out there in the world. But for those who do worry, take heart. I grew up with a social-phobic mother, which as an only child was concerning, but I now have a wonderful group of friends who I absolutely love and trust, so don’t worry. Simple steps, talking and moving forward at a pace that suits you is the very best advice I can give. Sometimes ignoring the ‘bigger picture’ and focusing on those things that are in your control is all that we can do, but you will look back in a few weeks/months and realise how far you have come. Dont feel you ‘have to do everything that the schools can do’ because YOU will do so much more. Home Education provides everything - training in life skills; a love of learning; a love of living; and individual support and care - something that no school can truly provide.

Simple steps, talking and moving forward at a pace that suits you is the very best advice I can give.

Jai Daniels-Freestone






Re-thinking Our Ideas About Teachers and Teaching Ross Mountney


any parents worry that they won’t be able to teach their children at home because they are not teachers. But contrary to what you might think, teachers and teaching are not always required for learning to take place. We mostly think of teachers in schools as knowing what they’re doing, knowing exactly what’s needed to make the children learn, able to implement what’s needed, and having professional strategies which parents don’t have – they’ve trained haven’t they? So this is going to sound disappointing – or reassuring – depending on where you’re coming from: This is rarely the case! Teachers spend a short year after their degree studying for a teaching certificate. Or some go into teacher training straight from sixth form and the sad fact is that many end up in teacher training without any passion for kids or learning. They learn a bit of child psychology, they spend some time in classrooms, they study a bit of theory about how kids learn. But that’s it – there’s not really any magic strategy teachers know and parents don’t. If you think about it, no amount of theory or training is going to make someone a good teacher without them having certain personal attributes first. This is because the qualities of a good teacher mostly come from their personality, not from what they know and you can’t really swot up on personality at Uni; it’s part of who you are and how you relate to people.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasclaveirole/ under a Creative Commons Licence 14


Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/ under a Creative Commons Licence

Learning comes from action. Not from being taught. Your child will learn from their own activity. And as with any job that deals with people - in this case children, there is never going to be a fail proof strategy that is going to work with all kids. They’re all different. And all teachers can do is generalise. As a home educating parent you can specialise – in your child. That immediately gives you an advantage. And your child doesn’t necessarily need teaching to learn anyway. That’s the other thing we need to re-think as home educating parents. Children don’t learn because a teacher has taught them. They learn when they are actively

engaged with a subject – for themselves. They learn because they have acquired information and put that to the test through practice, through their own activity. Think about it in the same way as you learning to drive. No amount of teaching is going to make you a driver. In order for you to be a driver you first need some information, then you need practice – the activity of driving - to give you experience. Lots of it. And it’s going to take time to develop; you have to put the time in, repeating it, engaging with it, feeling it, making adjustments in line with your experience. You also wouldn’t expect to achieve it without the support of an adult who is encouraging and gives you confidence. Children’s learning is just like that. Kids need some information or demonstration, certainly stimulation, then to be encouraged to engage with the activity, repeating, practising and experiencing. Not watching or being told. Learning comes from action. Not from being taught. Your child will learn from their own activity. Take maths as an example. You might think you have



Photo © http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahdblunders/ under a Creative Commons licence

to sit your child down and ‘teach’ sums on paper like 12 divided by 3 = 4. That would be teaching. Far better to get out something for them to be actively engaged with like building bricks or pasta or bottle tops and ask them to find 12 and divide it up. Try it with all different numbers – it gets fun with the bigger ones! But once they have a solid experience of these numbers, their notation of it will fall into place because they’ll have understanding. You can do this with many aspects of maths, and with other subjects too. You can find many ways to make them actively involved with their own learning, rather than passively being ‘taught’. You can even do it with reading. Reading doesn’t come with teaching. There is no magic strategy which teachers know and parents don’t. Instead, teachers ‘show’ letters, they show and repeat sounds and the kids gradually pick it up with their own practice. Some kids do it quickly and easily. Some don’t do it till much, much later. We do the same with driving don’t we? Some take to it easily and pass first time. Others take ages and need four or five goes at the test! It’s exactly the same with learning anything, reading included. And no amount of ‘teaching’ will change this.


Instead, think of ways to engage your child with the activity of reading. Start by thinking what you ultimately want to happen; you want them to be comfortable with the written word, to read and understand it, get information from it and enjoy it. So start by making every engagement they have with the written word comfortable and enjoyable. The most dynamic influence on a child learning to read is being read to. So snuggle up and read to them as much as possible, fiction and non-, whatever age they want it. Gradually get them involved (pop-up books are good for this or interactive Apps) – guess words, predict stories. They don’t have to sit and listen passively, let them take charge if they wish. They can ‘tell’ stories, which is excellent practise of intonation – essential for skilled reading. But don’t force or teach. If the child’s having fun they’ll want to read. Teaching isn’t the answer. Engagement is. We do not really need to teach, we just need to encourage our kids to engage with learning by providing the stimulus, making learning an activity that they’ll want to do, and keeping a light approach. How we are really matters. But isn’t that what really impresses us about good teachers? How they are with the kids?


The teachers who we remember, who are most helpful and those who have the biggest impact on a child’s progress, are those who act humanely, with respect, with support, who inspire and who show concern and kindness. Who know when to help and know when to back off and allow the learner to do their own learning. Facilitating a child’s learning is not about qualification or training, it’s about humane common sense and awareness. There’s no magic in this and a thinking, encouraging parent who is willing to learn themselves, who is in tune with their child and can provide a variety of learning experiences, can do it just as well as a teacher can.

Much of the pressure that teachers are put under in schools to meet targets and ‘make’ kids achieve almost makes them inhumane. Home educating parents don’t have this pressure. All you need to do is provide a variety of stimulating activities that your kids will want to do, want to get their hands on, want to have a go at. You don’t need teacher training to do that. Ross Mountney

Dear EOS.. . . We are delighted to have Ross’s continuing support. As a highly regarded HE writer her input is invaluable. Her article ‘Worry’ in the last issue certainly struck a chord with Abbie who wrote to us to say....

I managed to read the magazine perfectly on my husbands iPad. I loved it. The decision to home educate has been brewing for a while in our household but reading the magazine and other research materials has made it a bit of a no brainer. We are de-registering, having a week off at half term to chill out and then jumping in the deep end. I confess that I am terrified as much as I am excited but I think that’s pretty natural. Read ing the article about worry [in Issue 9] really helped. I am planning to have some structure to HE but the freedom to let the children’s abilities and interests guide their learning has me feeling quite giddy. I will not be sorry to see the back of rigid lesso ns and restrictive topics. One of the tipping points for me was a piece of homework Jaxon had 2 week s ago. In order to learn his spellings he had to draw a pictu re of each word and label it. This would have been much easier if the words hadn’t included; ‘dea dline’, ‘nowhere’, ‘anyone’ and ‘weekend ’. It is clear that the teacher had not thought the task through. Call me old fashioned, but I wou ld like to see my kids do something constructive. Anyway, I will continue to read your magazines and will be joining in on Face book shortly. Abbie



Ship in a Bottle by Alison Botting When trying to recreate a version of the original Ship in a Bottle for my children I found all the craft sites and books said to cut the bottle in half place your ship inside and then glue the bottle back together. This to me w as not how Ships in Bottles w ere made, so I decided to make our own version based on how the genuine ones w ere constructed.

What you will need: Small plastic bottle w ith a w ide neck Wooden toothpicks or cocktail sticks Small amount of plasticine Paper for the sails Clear nylon thread or very fine fishing line Blue cellophane or the outer part of sw eet wrappers



Instructions: 1. Using the blue cellophane, glue some strips down part of the outside of the bottle for the sea. You can cut the cellophane to resemble w aves along the top edges. 2. Take the plasticine and mould it into the shape of a hull on a boat, bearing in mind it needs to be able to fit through the neck of the bottle. 3. Cut the toothpicks so they are shorter than the w idth of the bottle. 4. Cut out some paper sails for each toothpick and push them onto the picks. 5. Cut off two lengths of thread longer than the length of the bottle and tie each one to the top of the toothpicks. 6. P ush the toothpicks w ith their sails into the plasticine hull at a 45 degree angle. 7. Place the bottle on its side and carefully slide the boat into the bottle making sure the ends of the toothpicks are pointing tow ards the end of the bottle. 8. Once in place gently pull on the threads to raise the masts and sails. 9. Secure the threads by trapping them on the rim of the bottle by screw ing the lid on. www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Š www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/; on a Creative Commons Licence



© http://www.fotopedia.com/users/hakandahlstrom on a Creatve Commons Licence

Could you write for EOS Magazine? Bet you could! We’ve heard it said that there are as many ways of home educating as there are families doing it. We want to feature the whole range of approaches and show just how many ways home educating can be successful. To do that we need contributions from a wide range of people....such as you! We all have times when we need support - you could be the source of that support to someone else. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been home educating for a week or a lifetime, your story will be interesting. We’re not looking for the next JK Rowling, we just want to hear your story. If needs be, we’ll take care of the grammar, punctuation, spelling and so on.

What You Can Write About Really, anything, as long as it bears some relevance to home educating. Think of the questions you asked when you were considering home educating, or when you started. Or, think about the questions you’ve been asked and how you answered them. If it was something you wanted to know about, so will someone else. But if you need some prompts, consider thinking about any of these....

Your Story How did you find out about home education? What made you start? What were the first few weeks like? What reactions did you get?

Your Style Whether you’re structured, semi-structured, autonomous or a radical unschooler.......... How do you approach home education? Has it changed over time? How does it work for you? WHat does it look like on a daily basis?

Your Life How does it fit in with HE? Do you work? Do you childmind? Do you travel?

What’s In It For You? First, and perhaps foremost, you’ll be supporting other home edders. One of the greatest strengths of home education is the community itself - it feels great to be a part of that. But in addition, at the very minimum we’ll give a mention of your blog, website, shop...whatever you’d like. Also, as soon as it is financially viable, EOS will pay for contributions. This is part of our ethos as a CIC (see page 6) to support home educators. If our Kickstarter project is the success we hope it will be (see page 7!) this could be soon. You’ll have to forgive our vagueness for the moment - we’ll firm this up as soon as possible. Contact the Commissioning Editor editor@educationoutsideschool.co.uk



We’re really looking forward to hearing from you!



What’s That Flag? A recent home ed group meeting I attended w ith my 12 year old daughter had an activity which involved locating European countries on a map and assigning the correct flag to that country. We delved in.....and found it harder than w e thought! So, when w e got home w e set about doing something about this gap in our basic geographical knowledge! Along w ith my older children (aged 15 and

18) I came up w ith an activity and ran it past them for approval and suggestions - the three of them are alw ays great at pointing out flaw s in my best laid plans! After some tw eaking, this is what w e came up w ith. It's quite a hands on activity that can be adapted easily for use w ith children of all ages and aptitudes. Change it as you w ish and have fun w ith it!

What you need to do: 1. F ind a simple outline draw ing of Europe on the internet. You need one w ith no text on it. A good one can be found at www.commons.wikimedia.org - type 'europe chart' in their search bar. You need this map at A3 size to see it properly - if you take the file on a memory stick to a local printer they shouldn't charge you more than a pound or so for one copy.

2. Draw up a list of the countries you are including. This isn't as simple as it sounds! Are you just going to include EU countries, or all countries that geographically are in Europe? What about Russia - partly in Europe and partly in A sia? Vatican City? Lots of discussion opportunities for older children. I found a list on a w ebsite that w e decided to go w ith - w e ended up w ith 50 countries! 3. Number the countries on your list. Locate the countries on your map and mark them w ith the same number.



4. Create each country's flag. We made them approximately 10cm x 6cm. We did an internet search for each one and drew them ourselves. Some are really intricate! Younger children could perhaps do the simple ones you could even draw in the stripes so they just have to colour them in. If no-one w ants to draw them, you could alw ays find them on the internet and print them out, making it an exercise in IT rather than art! This did take us ages - w e did a few at a time over the course of a couple of w eeks. 5. On the back of each flag, write the country name and the number you've given it. We decided to put the capital city too. 6. To make them more durable, you could laminate them.

Create Your Game Now you're ready to use your flags! P ick a flag. W ithout looking at the back, try to name the country and its capital and locate it on the map. How many can you get right? If you play it over and over does your score get better? If you have too many flags to do them all at once, you could put them in a box and pick half a dozen each. Or a couple a day at breakfast. Does anyone find it naturally easier? We found that my football loving sons w ere

better at it than most of us - due, w e imagine, to all those international matches w atched and football games played on the Xbox! You could test friends and relatives when they visit........ When you're done, you could make the flags into bunting to hang across a ceiling! And once you've mastered Europe, what about Africa? Or the States of America? Or adapt it to look at Counties in the United Kingdom....... Have fun!





Win a copy of one of these wonderful books!

We have a copy of Lucy Pearce’s ‘The Rainbow Way’, as reviewed on page 39 and a copy of Ross Mountney’s ‘A Funny Kind of Education’, as reviewed in Issue 9 from Autu mn 2013.

To win a copy of ‘The Rainbow Way’ just answer this simple question:

To win a copy of ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ answer this simple question:

Of which parenting magazine is Lucy Pearce the Editor?

What was Ross’s profession before she began home educating her children?

(If you need a hint, try going to Lucy’s website www.dreamingaloud.net/)

(If you need a hint, have a look through her blog www.rossmountney.wordpress.com)

To enter either competition, email your answer to editor@ educationoutsideschool.co.uk and put ‘Lucy Book Competition’ or ‘Ross Book Competition’ as your subject header. You can enter both competitions if you wish, but please send two separate emails.



The Best Five Things.. . If you were to recommend just five things a new home educator should buy, what would they be? Home educating dad Michael Bibby told us what his top five home ed resources are. Do you agree? Is there something else you couldn’t be without?

Maths-based board and card games Maths-based board and card games. Charity shops are always a good bet for things like this, but some are worth paying full price for. Some of the ones we make a lot of use of are Puzzlington, MoneyBags (maths and money), Addendum, Function Well, Matter Of Time… All of these either came from charity shops or sites like Bright Minds and The Happy Puzzle Company.

An Android Tablet You can pick up one that’s got the equivalent hardware to an iPad for much less money. Lots of free apps available (although I would recommend installing an anti-virus app first (I use AVG)). Of course, some apps are only available for iPad, but there are often Android equivalents to be found

Books, books, books! ......(and magazines, comics and posters). It’s been my experience (as a teacher, as well as as a parent) that trying to make children read is not only futile but harmful. When children want to read, they will read. If there are books and other written materials around the home on topics they are interested in, they are more likely to want to read of their own accord. Obviously, this is a generalisation, and some children have difficulties with reading that go beyond reluctance. Most of our books that haven’t been gifts have come from charity shops or Freecycle/Freegle – it never ceases to amaze me what people are happy to give away!



Maps / An Atlas / A Globe Maps and globes can often be found at bargain prices in book shop outlets (like The Works), and all of our atlases (ranging from a children’s one to the Times Atlas Of The World) have come from charity shops for no more than £3. My daughter now excitedly goes to grab one or other of these every time a Geography question comes up on Pointless. To me, this is what Home Ed is all about: she’s picking up knowledge whilst enjoying herself, she wants to know things. I am of the firm opinion that this is because we let her do it at her own pace; as she shows an interest in something, we will encourage and support that.

A Second-Hand Digital Camera Taking pictures can be an excellent gateway to discussions on a wide variety of topics: nature, architecture, art, geography, pollution…

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A Teenager's Guide to the Universe Nicki Wilkins “How does it feel to be …?” is the question I ask my children on their birthdays. Their response is almost always the same. Despite being children who are articulate about their feelings, they tell me: “It doesn’t feel any different.” But when my eldest child turned 13 this year, I knew it was different. Turning 13 is the beginning of a relatively short (in adult terms) but long (in a youth’s terms) transitional phase. By the time my son reaches 20, feet will grow, a mind will expand, interests will be lost and found, and new confidence gained. Leaving the nest to find his own home, his own place in the world, requires a smooth transition– one that is not easy when coupled with hormones, emotions, and insistent demands for independence. We cannot simply push him out of the nest; we need to help him fledge, to learn to use his own wings. Thankfully, we have the next seven years to guide him to the edge of our nest. To help him negotiate that edge, we thought about giving him 13 tasks to complete throughout the year. We discussed having him generate 13 things he would like to accomplish. And we even considered giving him the option to plan a special trip with his chosen parent—a rite of passage trip. But none of these seemed right for our son in this moment. Perhaps these type of explorations will come in the near future.

We cannot simply push him out of the nest; we need to help him fledge, to learn to use his own wings.

For now, it seems right to focus only on the beginning. So for his 13th birthday we made him a small book of wisdom for the teenage traveller. Relatives and close friends shared funny teenage stories, offered advice, or contributed a favourite quote. We made the book out of an old map–a fitting symbol for one who is just beginning to search beyond the safe comforts of his childhood home.

Even if he doesn’t feel any different from year to year, I know that these early steps into a teenager’s universe needs to be with filled with love, support, wisdom, and of course, lots of silliness.

This article previously appeared on http://rhythmofthehome.com/ 28




My Home Educated Life Billie Grisdale


t’s 1999 and my parents work full time, running a busy fish and chip shop in the quiet town of Methley in Leeds. I have just turned five years old and they have a difficult decision to make: do they send me to one of the local schools, mostly bereft with poverty and troubled children, or do they break away from the social norms and jump aboard a whole new adventure? Luckily for me, having weighed up the options, they decided to home educate me for the duration of what would have been known to most as my ‘school years’. At the time, home education was largely unheard of, and even if people were aware of it, they never discussed it, as mutters of ‘won’t get educated proper’ spread amongst the locals who chose to send their own children to school. Back then, the vast majority of parents saw school as their only option, and it was just a case of selecting an appropriate school for their child to attend. This made it incredibly tedious for my parents, when they had to answer the same questions, over and over again. The amount of times they were asked if what they were doing was legal, is astonishing! As I grew up, I had individual folders for each of my subjects, and enjoyed a diverse education, filled with trips to nature reserves and interesting historical buildings. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to sit and learn how to write neatly, and recite times tables, just like all the other children, but my education was based much more on common sense than that of my peers. When I was nine years old, we moved away from the area, and my parents offered me the option of going to school in Filey, North Yorkshire. By this stage in my education, I had become accustomed to my lifestyle and felt no desire to change my routine, so I remained out of school for the rest of my educational days.


One of the questions I was asked a lot as I was growing up, is whether I was lonely. In truth, I never was.... Long walks on the beach collecting shells and looking up which species of birds could be seen flying above the cliffs seemed like the ideal option, until of course I grew to the age where I needed to begin revision for my GCSEs. After a long discussion with my parents, it was decided that I would remain at home, and complete courses through the NEC (National Extension College). With my dad working full time, my mum would be on hand to assist me with my learning. As we researched the courses available, it became apparent that most of them cost approximately £300£400, so obviously there was a limit to how many exams I could take. At the time I felt my maths and science weren’t particularly strong subjects and I wanted to take subjects which seemed interesting, so I selected law, psychology, sociology and English language.


Despite being advised against skipping maths and science, I knew my choice was right for me, as it meant there was no chance of failing the exams and wasting £800 or more! I found English language easy, as I really enjoyed it and regularly wrote short stories and articles just for fun, as well as in conjunction with my coursework. Law and psychology were harder, focusing mostly on my ability to remember names and dates of particular studies. Once I had completed my exams, I was sure in my mind that I wanted to go straight into a job, as education had never been that much of a lure for me. I enjoyed learning things, but my hobbies mostly involved handson activities such as sailing, rock climbing and hill walking. As such, I applied for a job at a large retail store, and shortly afterwards I joined the company as a sales advisor on the menswear department. Several weeks after starting my first job, my exam results came through, stating that I had achieved two A*s and two As which went a long way to proving all those people who had said home education was a waste of time, wrong.

I then joined the Air Training Corps where I stayed for another four years, rising to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, with the status of ‘Instructor Cadet’; which meant I had passed all my academic type examinations within the Air Training Corps and as such I wore a yellow lanyard to denote this. Now I am nineteen years old and an adult instructor with the Army Cadet Force. As the public relations officer for my area, I deal a lot with the general public, similarly at work, where I have been for almost four years now. When I mention that I have never been to school, I still hear the odd gasp of horror as people assume I perhaps played truant or similar, but the overall response from people is far more understanding than it was perhaps ten years ago. When I explain what it involved, and how I have completed GCSEs like everybody else, there is certainly a much higher level of understanding than there was previously. I think parents should be given all the available options before they make a decision on their child’s education, as it will be something that shapes them for the rest of their lives. For me, it has made me a better person, and taught me to be strong and independent, and it certainly hasn’t had a detrimental effect on me in any way at all! Billie

Photo © http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnygoth/ Under a Creative Commons Licence

One of the questions I was asked a lot as I was growing up, is whether I was lonely. In truth, I never was: despite having no siblings, my parents always kept me busy, taking me to farms and days out at the seaside. When I was younger, I was a member of the Brownies and aged ten I became a Sea Cadet, where I remained for four




• Heated & filtered pools • National hire • Use before, during & after the birth, for maximum relief with minimum fuss




Home Ed Prom Summer 2014 Sophie (15) and Lily (14), both home educated, are currently planning a prom for home educated children aged 14+ for June/July this year, venue TBC but Surrey based. Tickets will be £25-£40. The event will be chaperoned. Please contact lilylou00@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list and for further information! The girls also have a blog http://underthestarsprom.blogspot.co.uk/

HESFES stands for The Home Educators’ Summer Festival. 7 nights camping with all facilities, entertainment, activities and workshops included in the ticket price. Not just for the home educated as children in school are very welcome too. Now in it’s 17th year this very friendly and small (1200 people) family event is incredibly popular and sees people of all ages come from all over the UK, Europe and further afield. Go to www.hesfes.co.uk for more information and to book tickets. www.facebook.com/HESFES www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Spring has Sprung!

Growing your own food is satisfying in many ways. It saves money and the food is always tastier. Potatoes are very easy to grow, and it’s fantastic to see them when they’re ready to harvest, appearing out of the soil like magic, having only seen the leaves and flowers up until then. To grow plenty, and to grow them well, you do need to get the soil right, weed around them and make sure they’re bug free; but even if you can’t manage all of that, you will get something and a small harvest is very exciting if it’s your first one! There are some great resources and information on growing and cooking potatoes on the Potato Council’s website (www.gyop.potato.org.uk) If you were lucky enough to order the free potatoes from there, do let us know how you’re getting on!

The Heritage Seed Library, run by Garden Organic is one of the best places to get seed potatoes and other vegetable seeds. They’re all, as the name suggests, old varieties, that are not commercially viable, but are tasty and interesting! (Purple Beans are my favourite). Becoming a member also allows access to a wealth of information and you can ask for help directly, too! www.gardenorganic.org.uk Other food to grow, especially for young children, are things like herbs, tomatoes, peas, beans and lettuces. These are simple and easy to grow - indoors to start with, then outdoors when it’s warm enough. Full advice should come with the seeds, or follow the link above.

Another way to enjoy your garden, and help the wildlife help you, is to attract butterflies and other beneficial bugs. Insect Lore are the people that I recommend every year, especially to those with young children, as they’re the original “grow your own butterfly” people! They sell much more than that now, but watching the caterpillars grow, almost before your eyes, and seeing them develop into a butterfly is fantastic for any young child. Releasing them into the wild is a sad but fulfilling moment. www.insectlore.com



Photo © USDA

Get out in the garden, plant, grow, enjoy!

If you don’t have time to grow much, just growing potatoes, (and butterflies!), certainly makes you think about how nature “works” and that leads onto growing food for insects, birds and garden animals as well as yourself! Check out the RHS (www.rhs.org.uk/Children) the RSPB (www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/) and the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children) for sections on gardening with children, and for the right flowers and plants for your garden to attract the insects you need. You can follow this idea up by researching pollinators, bees in particular, and that can start discussions on politics, GM crops and farming methods!

An American site, Earth Easy, has some great advice and links at www.eartheasy.com/grow_gardening_children. htm I think their advice about using the proper tools is spot on; easily breakable children’s toy tools will just be frustrating; let them use solid hand tools, it will be much easier for them. They also suggest making a scarecrow, which is a lovely idea for any garden, even if you’re not growing that many “crops”! Maybe think of a film character to create as a scarecrow. Some places run scarecrow competitions every year, if your area doesn’t, maybe start one yourself!

One link on Earth Easy is to a quiz that is all about plants and how they grow (www. urbanext.illinois.edu/gpe/index.cfm) - certainly worth a look. You can of course always look to the Nature Detectives website (www.naturedetectives.org.uk) for plenty of fun and games for indoor and outdoor activities. This site is often recommended by home educators for the sheer scale of activities available to download and so I don’t hesitate to mention it again! Do let us know of your favourite garden activity – which vegetables/flowers do you grow? Which websites or books have you found the most useful?

We look forward to hearing your stories, and send photos of your produce for us to feature in another issue. That’s another activity to do in the garden, practice your photography skills. Enjoy the Spring!



Reviews Enjoyed Something Recently? We are always interested in hearing about your favourite books, websites, computer games, DVDs, TV programmes, places to visit, shops and online stores.. . .anything that you think other readers might want to hear about! Please send them to: editor@educationoutsideschool.co.uk Don’t forget to let us know if you have a website, blog etc that we can mention as a thankyou!

Bad For You: Exposing the War on Fun! by Kevin Pyle & Scott Cunningham Reviewed by Katie Pybus For around five years now home educators in our area, West Sussex, have been meeting up in the evenings, mostly without children, to share ideas, information and support. Last week one of the parents mentioned a new and innovative book, aimed at young adults, called ‘Bad For You’, which caught my attention as I had already seen it mentioned on several forums so I quickly ordered a copy. It was the perspective on video games I was most interested to read but actually the chapters on the rise of formal compulsory schooling I most enjoyed and will focus on in this review. ‘Bad for You’ is a children’s book targeted at “young adult” and my 9 year old, exclusively home educated daughter really enjoyed it too. The mix of cartoon style illustrations combined with facts and statistics make it very accessible and digestible. The basic premise of the book is that for generations, going back to the beginning of time almost, adults have been telling children that various things, such as novels, comics, games, technology, play, thought, are bad for them: often without any real foundation or scientific evidence.



The book is American and mostly uses American data but the central themes are very relevant to England too. The chapter on thought focuses on how schools have adopted a narrower and narrower concentration on maths and English at the expense of music, art and recess (the American term for break time), with standardised tests taking over from critical thinking and creative learning, and more of a focus on factory based learning. I love how it opens with “Unless they are taught at home all kids have to go to school” rather than the more normal “All kids have to go to school.” Using cartoon pictures the authors illustrate how compulsory schooling, in its current two tier format, was shaped during the industrial revolution. Children stopped working on family farms and either worked in factories or began to attend the growing number of public schools. (In America public school is like state school whereas in the UK public school is private school!). The idea of recess was originally taken from the factory model as it had been shown to improve productivity, but in 2014 many new schools are being built without playgrounds leaving no space for recess. Literally. This focus on architecture reminded me of a book I read some years ago now called The Politics of Breastfeeding. In it the author, Gabrielle Palmer, explains how formula companies funded the building of new nurseries for babies in maternity units because they knew separation from mother was the easiest way to disrupt breastfeeding and sell their product. These are the kind of facts I find hard to unknow. I digress! ‘Bad for You’ explains how early supporters felt that school would not only help with reading and writing but also instil obedience and that would prepare students for future employment. So schooling was based largely on the factory model and more specifically the efficiency model. The formation of a two tier system was a conscious decision with some being prepared for a liberal future whilst others were geared to a more manual future. Eugenics, which was fashionable at the time, suggested that this was the natural order of things. The IQ tests used were extremely suspect. Several of the sample questions used in the book seem hilarious today. For example: “TRUE OR FALSE: A large man is always braver than a small one.” The use of bells and periods (lessons) and grading were all lifted directly from the efficiency movement and factories. I wrote about the basis of this back in 2011. In the blog post “Everything you ever wanted to know about why we home educate but were afraid to ask.” I enquired as to whether anyone knew which educational psychologists had determined that optimal human learning occurs in one hour blocks punctuated by bells, and despite having read the classic “Deschooling Society” by Ivan Illich 25 years ago I hadn’t really joined the factory dots. It took this book to highlight the connection most clearly for me. Bad for You uses evidence and the results of contemporary studies to show there is little real basis for much of current policy. A good example is homework. Despite the increasing burden of home work felt by many students there is little positive statistical empirical evidence it has any real impact on test scores. It quotes from Alfie Kohn’s ‘The Homework Myth’ published in 2007. Although many people believe in the need for child-led change, in reality the day to day experience of most children in school is moving in the opposite direction. It has a section called Standardised Cheating, set out like an actual test, which reminded me of many of the reasons we opted out of compulsory schooling. There are several other great sections - zero tolerance, teenage sleep, fears over long hair, the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment, comparisons between school and prison food. If you are already a home educator the thought section of this book will probably remind you of the differences between learning, school and education and if you are considering home education the final chapter might just persuade you that very little of what happens at school is designed to promote real learning. My daughter Sapphire read this book too; she’s nine.

Sapphire’s Review hi i am Sapphire and I really like this book. Be warned the child safety zone is gross and some of this really shows how badly some kids get treated and i liked the bit on skateboarding and play grounds and stuff. Cool cover, cool idea, cool book. I would recommend to anyone its great and video games part was good too, bye.

Katie blogs at http://thegallivanters.blogspot.co.uk/ www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Technology for Fun 1 and 2 & Physics for Fun by Caroline Alliston Reviewed by Wendy Lomas These books are written by design engineer, technical writer and mum Caroline Alliston who runs science and engineering clubs and workshops for children. They are packed with ingenious practical, hands-on design and build projects and challenges for children to complete at home using cheap recycled and everyday household objects. Detailed step-by-step instructions are given for each project, with lots of illustrations and an explanation of the science behind it. Photos of the projects can be found on the website www.technologyforfun.co.uk. I’ve used the books with my own kids and also with small groups of home educated children. Currently our favourite projects include teddy zip wires (amazing what you can do with CDs, bottle tops and skewers), chair-o-planes, vibrating brush monsters and a cardboard traction trebuchet. We’ve now got plans to scale up and make larger working versions of the siege weapons described! I would really recommend all three books to parents, grandparents, teachers and children to work through on their own. I was so impressed I asked Caroline to come along and help with my local home educators group, and last year we got to showcase our engineering club and models at the Big Bang Fair in London.



“The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood” Lucy H. Pearce Reviewed by Lorena Hodgson This is Lucy’s fourth book, aimed at mothers who feel they’re not fulfilling their creative needs. She encourages the reader to find their creativity, while still being able to fully parent their children. It is, as the subtitle suggests, a way to be yourself, your creative self, while managing motherhood. When I started to read it, and read the quotes on the back and in the introduction, I felt a little overwhelmed by the hippy style, the earth mother; I wondered if it would be too soul searching, too “navel gazing” to be something I could read all the way through to be able to do a review justice. It attracted me as something I’d like to read, but I wondered if it was too focussed on the “self”. However, while it does suggest exercises that might be considered “navel gazing”, I became interested in the comments of mothers throughout the book and how the ideas and suggestions helped them, and also Lucy’s refreshing attitude of: ‘this might not suit you, so skip this bit’. She says: “stay curious and receptive to the unfamiliar”; and I think she’s right. What’s wrong with spending some time to yourself, thinking about yourself? There’s a chapter that helps with lessening the guilt over doing this. I still have not read every word, but that’s because it is an exercise in bringing out the creativity within oneself, and that takes many weeks, if not months! However I will definitely be reading it over a few times. I found the structure of the book really attractive; it has easy to read sections, with suggested activities and many questions to ask yourself. It develops as you go through it, giving you ideas and suggestions on how to develop your creativity, and explaining why that is a good thing for everyone around you. The exercises are short enough to manage while children are at school, or while a partner looks after them or while they’re asleep! I was very pleased though to find a chapter on being creative with your children - making things together is a great way to learn. I particularly liked the drawing of the labyrinth. I had a go, and found it meditative. I then remembered that I’d recently pinned some mandalas on pinterest, so drew one of those as well! I also like that Lucy included her own experiences, ‘warts and all’. Many of the stories, from many mothers, are of difficulties as well as triumphs, which make the reader feel at home rather than envious of a perfect life that is often portrayed in parenting/creative blogs or, dare I say it, magazines! Lucy acknowledges the “Crazy Woman” - a great term for the darker emotions one can feel. Her inclusion of all sides of one’s life is refreshing, allowing the reader to accept that her life is as normal as anyone else’s. This book would be good for any mother in some ways; there are plenty of sections about motherhood, dealing with your emotions, and other advice that would suit any woman who is struggling a little, with new motherhood in particular. So it isn’t just for those who are, or want to be, creative. But if you have that inner voice, that urge to do more of your own thing, then this helps you to develop that, and accept it, while supporting your need to be a mother too. With the help of this book, more women can find their own path to being the “Creative Rainbow Mother” they feel they are.

PS Interestingly, my husband has recently been thinking about how he used to be more creative and is looking to rediscover that. Perhaps this book can give advice to Dads too! www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Stone Girl, Bone Girl A Picture Book Explorers Unit Study Picture Book Explorers are downloadable PDFs produced by Helen Royston of Branch Out World. They are project packs with a whole host of information, activities and guides to all manner of subjects, cleverly using a picture book (not included with the project pack, but readily available at your local library!) A great idea, and Helen produces a good variety of them. I downloaded “Stone Girl, Bone Girl” as my daughter, aged 4, is really into dinosaurs and fossils, and my son, 10, was interested when we saw a feature on the Dorset Coast (where the story is based) on Countryfile not that long ago. Written by Laurence Anholt, the book tells the true story of Mary Anning, born in Lyme Regis Dorset in 1799, and describes her lifelong fascination with collecting fossils. At the time, this was a most unusual hobby, especially for a girl, and the title of the book, ‘Stone Girl Bone Girl’, is part of a rhyme made up by the other children of the town to tease young Mary The downloadable PDF from Picture Book Explorers is really good value at 36 pages long, including pages to be printed out - for example a map of the area. There’s also a list of other books that might be of interest while studying fossils. The PDF gives a list of activities for 5 days, and lists materials needed, which I think is very useful for planning. While Helen advocates doing it all in one week, I can see that the activities and information would be very useful to anyone studying the subject anyway - so it could be included in a wider project, or parts can be used simply as a standalone activity. The craft project is detailed to the right - I felt this could be used for other projects, and was simple enough for younger children to help with as well as allow older children an activity of their own. My daughter was not as interested as I’d hoped, but then we haven’t done all the activities and she has recently been enjoying dinosaurs on the BBC website (rather than fossils); but she did help find Dorset on the map, she recognised ammonites and liked the idea of making her own fossils - we haven’t done that yet, but will do. My son, aged 10, was pleased with himself that he knew some of the information already; he particularly liked the timeline, which I also thought was really good, as it referenced UK-wide and worldwide events that happened during the lifetime of the character of the book - the real-life fossil hunter, Mary Anning. He realised she wasn’t much older than him when she found the Ichthyosaur for which she became famous - and that we have seen a full skeleton of one on our local museum. He also particularly like the tongue twisters! The main reason I think Picture Book Explorers work so well, on various levels, is that it is aimed at home educators! Hurray! It’s exactly the project based learning that so many families follow; the “subjects” split at school is simply absorbed into the week - so in this case, simple maths is related to the pictures (and may I suggest the craft project would also serve as a maths exercise). Picture Book Explorers are available for purchase on CurrClick (www.currclick.com). This site has some free resources and many more choices for all ages, but because Helen is UK based and I particularly like her referring to books and her imaginative approach to them, I would recommend a look at the Picture Book Explorers downloads first, especially if this is your first time with CurrClick. If you have used it before, and have already discovered Helen’s work, do let us know what you think of them and of any other resources you have found like this, we are always keen to have home educators recommend products, websites, books and anything else that has helped them in their home education journey. www.currclick.com/product/88782/Picture-Book-Explorers--Stone-Girl-Bone-Girl



Activity from Stone Girl, Bone Girl Make a Cabinet of Curiosities Materials needed: Shallow cardboard box, like a shoebox lid Strips of cardboard Transparent plastic Cotton wool or tissue paper Sticky tape Scissors

Create a frame with the strips of cardboard, insert into the box and fill each compartment with cotton wool. This is the base.

Put your curiosities in the box.

Place the transparent plastic over the top and attach duct tape around the edges to keep secure.

Full instructions are included with the Picture Book Explorers pack www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Education is Compulsory, Schooling is Not The specific legalities of home educating in the UK differ somewhat between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as much as they do in countries throughout the rest of the world. The national organisations listed to the right go into this in detail and are a good place to go if you are unsure or have specific queries. However, some things are clear: YOU DO NOT need to be a qualified teacher to educate your child at home YOU ARE NOT obliged to follow the National Curriculum or take national tests YOU DO NOT need to observe school hours, days or terms YOU DO NOT need to have a fixed timetable, nor give formal lessons THERE IS NO WRONG WAY to home educate. There are many different approaches, from the autonomous or child-led to the highly structured, through a myriad of hybrids in between. In fact it has been said that there are as many different approaches to home education as there are families doing it.

In England, if you’re thinking of home educating, and your children haven’t yet been to school, you don’t need to do anything different. You don’t need to seek permission or register as a home educator. You can just keep them home and carry on learning as you have been doing! If they are at school, you need to legally deregister them. You do this by writing to the head teacher. Have a look at the national websites listed opposite for sample letters. You don’t need permission and you don’t need to give any notice - you can either post or hand deliver the letter and begin home education on the same day. Nothing else is required of you in law. You are the parent, you are responsible for your child’s education, as you are responsible for other aspects of their life. The school is obliged to inform the Local Authority that you have taken your children out of school to educate them yourself. The LA will probably make contact. Different LAs approach home educating families in different ways, but the government has produced guidelines which detail how they should behave - go to www.education.gov.uk and type ‘elective home education guidelines’ into their search tool. It is probably a good idea to check out the national HE websites or Facebook groups, or make contact with local home educators, for advice on how to respond. Do some research, read books, websites and blogs. Make contact with other home educators. Find out the myriad ways that people educate their children and gradually you will find the way that suits your family best. And have fun!!

* The above represents a brief overview of the general situation but cannot be taken as a definitive statement of law. As with anything, always do your research. Look on the main national home ed websites on the right for specific legal information and take legal advice if you feel it is necessary.



Websites and Groups There are many home education groups, national and local, all over the UK. EOS Magazine is not affiliated to and does not recommend any particular group over another - the national sites are listed in alphabetical order and the local groups by region - please use your own discretion and follow your own home ed path! Any omissions are purely due to our own human fallibility! The groups and websites listed below are nowhere near exhaustive - they are simply the ones we are aware of who have given us permission to publish their details.

Please let us know if your group’s details change or you would like it removed. If you run a group or website and would like us to feature it here please get in touch! Contact the Content Editor Lorena: lorena@educationoutsideschool.co.uk

National Websites AHEd

Action for Home Education www.ahed.org.uk

Ed Yourself

www.edyourself.org The home education consultancy.

Education Otherwise www.education-otherwise.org

Freedom In Education



Home Education in the UK - Special Educational Needs www.he-special.org.uk



The Home Education Network www.thenuk.com

Regional Websites and Groups North East North Yorkshire

www.nyhe.co.uk http://groups.yahoo.com/group/henney/ (Home Education Network North East Yorkshire). A monthly meeting in a local village hall and a monthly meeting out and about somewhere in the local area

West Yorkshire


South Yorkshire

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ SYHEC/info



Isle of Wight



www.flags-education.org.uk www.ukhome-educators.co.uk


www.pact-he.org.uk www.swsurrey-home-ed.co.uk

South West Bristol







Home Education UK www.home-education.org.uk

East Midlands





North West

www.iflow.org.uk www.northantshe.org.uk


West Midlands

Home Education in Northern Ireland www.hedni.org

Home Education Advisory Service www.heas.org.uk

Home Education in the UK www.home-ed.info

Home Educated Youth Council An independent voice for home educated young people www.heyc.org.uk


A site aimed particularly at the Under 10s. www.muddlepuddle.co.uk


For home education in Scotland www.schoolhouse.org.uk






East Cambridgeshire

www.cambridgehomeeducators.org.uk www.cambshomeed.co.uk

South East

South East Home Educators (SEHE) Ayahoo group covering the South East, with regular meets in Tunbridge Wells and other events in Kent and Sussex. http://groups. yahoo.com/group/southeasthomeeducators/ www.educationoutsideschool.co.uk


Facebook Groups

The Freedom Journey

A closed group for Home Educators, Parents, Teachers and Others who in general are interested in the Care and Freedom of children and alternative ways of Parenting and Educating. Request to join here: www.facebook.com/groups/Freedomparents/

UK Home Education

A closed group for people home educating or considering home educating their children in the UK. For sharing stories and resources, asking for support, discussions on LA’s and EHE’s plus general home ed (sometimes not) related conversations. Request to join here: www.facebook.com/groups/UKHed/


Photo Š Karen Rodgers www.educationchoice.org.uk

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent - Plato

Source: www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/homeschooling

Profile for Education Outside School Magazine

Issue 10 Spring 2014  

The magazine for UK home educators

Issue 10 Spring 2014  

The magazine for UK home educators