Lessons from lockdown: home schooling is not home education

Dumfries and Galloway Council has once again vexed home educators by failing to differentiate between lockdown learning or ‘home schooling’ and elective home education in its latest community bulletin. 

And that is without mentioning the glaring typo in the headline… 

Forum members were quick to point out the pro-school bias and hostility towards elective home education (commonly mis-termed ‘home schooling’) as an equally valid option, which has been positively beneficial to many children’s and families’ mental health in such an unprecedented situation. 
They are spinning it trying to make it look like their mental health will be worse.
One thing they never mention is the mental health of the majority of children who attend school has dramatically improved.

My little girl is so happy and confident at home. This is why I withdrew her from school four weeks ago. I know I have done the right thing as she hated school. She would have been going into primary 3.

They even use the infantilising comic sans font.

They use home schooling when talking about all elective home ed, now they use it for non-home educators.

We as a home educating family have been affected by our outdoor physical resources being closed. 

This isn’t regular home education that they think parents are doing with children normally in school.

One local parent has now written to the council to raise concerns over the conflation of elective home education and lockdown-enforced ‘home schooling’, pointing to the underlying negativity towards those who opt to educate outwith the schooling system for a variety of reasons.

In this week’s Council Community Bulletin, there is an article covering ‘home schooling’. It completely misrepresents the current situation and feeds into the myth that home ‘schoolers’ are limited to their home, in isolation. It does not represent the home education community whatsoever, yet we know that many interchange the terminology home school/home educate.

The terminology for elective home educators who follow the full school national curriculum is home schooling, and these families also normally have access to clubs, groups, meet-ups etc. Home schooling is one style of learning, along with many other styles, e.g. ACE, Charlotte Mason, autonomous, Montessori, Steiner and more, under the umbrella collectively know in legislation as ‘elective home education’.

Those referred to in the Council’s article are not electively home educating; the current situation is brought about not through choice but due to lockdown, and the option to attend groups, clubs and meet-ups has been removed. They are not ‘home schooling’ nor ‘home educating’, they are lockdown learning at home.

We, and home educators in general, have also been affected by lockdown, having had our activities, adventures and meet-ups temporarily removed with the closure of outdoor physical resources and distancing guidelines in place. Those families who are enrolled in school and currently learning at home are affected in the same way – this way is not how our usual home education is carried out, yet the Council are effectively encouraging misunderstanding and incorrect assumptions that home educators are normally isolated at home as in this situation we all find ourselves.

I wonder if you can ask the Bulletin Team to correct the inaccuracies referred to within the article, and that, should the Council wish to write about ‘home schooling’ or home education, that they contact experienced ‘elective home educators’ in the first instance, and use different terminology for those not electively home educating, e.g. lockdown learning at home or blended learning at home, to prevent further misunderstanding.

It would be appreciated if the Council would be inclusive of Elective Home Educators during lockdown, perhaps with an article on how this has affected us too? Our community support networks have been inundated with new members seeking advice, and it could be an excellent opportunity to promote your Home Education Resource web page and commitment to elective home education in Dumfries and Galloway.

home education resource page


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