At a glance
First steps in deciding whether home education is right for your child.
What is home education?
Home education is when a child is educated at home rather than at school. It's perfectly legal in the UK to educate your child at home and you don't need to be a qualified teacher to do so.
Children who are home educated receive all their education from their parents or carers, sometimes with the help of outside tutors. If you decide to home educate your child you don't have to follow formal rules about how you teach or when you teach.
In some ways home education is a continuation of the teaching that every pre-school child receives from his or her parent or carer. But from the age of five education is a legal requirement, so if you choose to home educate after this age you need to plan extremely carefully.
Why do people choose home education?
Some people know from an early stage that they want to home educate their child. They may have philosophical or religious reasons for this. Or they may have been home educated themselves or raised in situations in which education wasn't focused on a traditional school environment - their parents may have travelled a lot.
In other cases a child may start off in school but later be taken out and educated at home. The reasons for this vary - a child may have special needs or be unhappy at school in some way. Sometimes parents feel that the methods of teaching in school aren't right for their child and that they can provide a better education for them at home.
Parents sometimes home educate because they can't get a place for their child in a school of their choice.
Where can I find out more about home education?
If you're interested in home education a good first step is to talk to other parents who do it. Many home educating families keep in touch with each other so that they can swap ideas about learning at home and so that their children can socialise.
Education Otherwise is an organisation that can provide you with a wealth information about home education and put you in touch with home educating parents: www.education-otherwise.org