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Magazine Issue 97: Home Schooling
July 2018

This month: Thoughts about Home Schooling

Article: Home Schooling
New Resources
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Home Education

Home Education An Article about the potential and the pitfalls of educating children at home.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Home Education Home Schooling

Florida: £140,000

In April 2015, Isle of Wight businessman Jon Platt took his daughter out of school and on holiday to Disneyland, Florida. Permission to do so had been declined by the school but they went anyway. Jon's daughter missed seven days of school. On return he was issued with a statutory £60 fine which he refused to pay. After 28 days this became £120.

Two years later, after initially loosing an appeal to the local council but then winning three court cases, Mr Platt finally accepted defeat (but not guilt) in the Supreme Court. He was fined £2000 and given a suspended prison sentence. The two-year battle cost UK taxpayers £140,000 and Mr Platt at least £30,000. The final ruling hinged on a legal definition of the word 'regularly'.

An unproven, yet plausible result of this is its partial contribution to an increase in the number of children being taken out of school and educated at home. But there are many more reasons for this than the freedom to see the wider world during term time.

Why Educate at Home?

In England, nearly 30,000 children were home educated in the 2016/17 school year; a 97% increase since 2011. Parents' reasons for removing their children from school are varied: unable to secure a place in a first choice secondary school; a dissatisfaction with the style or perceived quality of teaching; a concern about the school environment; a desire to provide a specific kind of moral or religious education and, maybe, the freedom to travel and learn without fear of prosecution and heavy fines.

Whatever the reason, home education is a choice that English parents are free to make (so long as it is full time and the headteacher is informed). It's a system of unregulated and diverse provision which often evolves into structures similar to those out of which the children have been taken: groups of parents, collectives, trusts and organisations that offer mutual support and pool resources, talent and expertise. These groups are organic, holistic and evolving rather than beholden to market forces, political agendas and media scrutiny.

Not Home Schooling but Parents

It is a sad fact, yet one that mustn't be ignored, that in America nearly half of the children who are identified as victims of severe child abuse have been removed from school to be educated at home. Only 12% of these recorded cases are children who are still on the school roll and the rest are either not allowed to attend or their absence from school is unexplained.

Whether these proportions are replicated in England is unknown. The danger of statistics like this is in making easy but unhelpful mental leaps from home schooling to child abuse. Undoubtedly some damaged adults do subvert the wonderful opportunity of home schooling to inflict even more damage on their children. But this is an outlier. The great majority of parents who educate at home fully intend to provide an effective (and better) education for their children.

Any unregulated system (education included) offers the chance for great progress and innovation but also a risk of harm. All children must be protected but they must also be able to access the best opportunities. Sometimes these will lay outside of the formal schooling system.

In an effort to strike a balance between safety and freedom, ex-education secretary Estelle Morris introduced the Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill to the UK Parliament in 2017. It aims to make sure that all home schooled children are registered and monitored. How its final version will affect the home educating community remains to be seen...(as of July 2018)

Innovation in Home Schooling

...however, if you are passionate, motivated and fully resourced to home school, then you can likely do a stunning job. I came across Beth and Christopher, known as the West Seattle Core Collectors during an online show I took part in earlier this year. Their model for home education is exemplary and fully aims to prepare their three children (and hopefully others) to face the future with empathy, intelligence, compassion, purpose and skill. Hear more about their approach on the latest Thinking Classroom podcast due late July.

Places of home education can be centers of excellence and innovation. In a regulated system that safeguards children's safety as well as their access to opportunity, parents are free to create learning that matches perfectly to their offspring's expectation.

This doesn't need to be an us (home educators) and them (formal schooling) situation. Instead, both can ask of the other,

'What do you do well and what can I learn from you?'

Sources: Accessed 9.7.18 Accessed 9.7.18 Accessed 9.7.18 Accessed 9.7.18 Accessed 9.7.18 Accessed 9.7.18

New Resources:

Positive Error Culture

Positive Error Culture A Thinking Skills Tool offering simple ways to build a learning environment where mistakes are used and struggle is valued.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Error Positive Error Culture Growth Mindset Resilience
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Positive Error Culture PowerPoint

Positive Error Culture PowerPoint A Think Tool Template in PowerPoint for easy editing and presentation of Positive Error Culture techniques.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Error Positive Error Culture Growth Mindset Resilience
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Freedom Think Sheet

Freedom Think Sheet A Think Sheet developing deeper thinking about freedom.

Categories: Think Sheet, Thinking Skills, RE & Philosophy, Secondary

Tags: Freedom Responsibilities
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Mike's Books:

Books to help you educate at home - vacation or full time:

Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind
by Mike Fleetham

Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind <br>by Mike Fleetham A Book containing 27 original tales with follow-on currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy infused with the full range of Thinking Skills inspired by Bloom's Taxonomy. Classroom tasks with photocopiable worksheets that will save you planning time and embed Thinking firmly into everyday lessons. 

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Thinking Skills, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Bloom's Taxonomy Thinking Stories

How to Create & Develop a Thinking Classroom
by Mike Fleetham

How to Create & Develop a Thinking Classroom<br> by Mike Fleetham A short, practical Book bringing together many tried and tested ideas for thinking skills and effective learning in the Primary classroom. Packed with clear explanations and photocopiable resources it's a great way to give your classroom and teaching a 'thoughtful makeover'. Still useful and relevant and nearly 10 years old!

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Book & EBook, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Thinking Skills Planning Lesson Design

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Error Thinking

Error Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for removing the taboo around error, mistake, setback. Exploit inevitable errors to accelerate and deepen understanding.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Error Positive Error Culture Grit Growth Mindset
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Grit Thinking

Grit Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to help you and your pupils describe and quantify the different features of gritty learning.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Grit Mindset Success Mistake Failure
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Values, Rights & Responsibilities

Values, Rights & Responsibilities An Article looking at the principles that should infuse all our work in school. Also shows where children's rights originated.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Curriculum, PSHE, RE & Philosophy, All Ages

Tags: Rights Responsibilities Values


Teach Like a Champion
by Doug Lemov

Teach Like a Champion <br>by Doug Lemov 62 proven, actionable, measurable teaching tools for high impact on learning. Includes a section on Check for Understanding and comes with a DVD of the tools in action.

Available from Amazon

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Categories: Suggested Books, Teaching & Learning

Tags: Pedagogy CPD Professional Learning

Next month we begin a year-long focus on effective teaching and effective professional learning.