Recommended Reading

Books

Some of our most recommended reading on home education and autonomous education appears in our post Deschooling Society 2020. 

Articles, Blogs & Broadcasts

Searching our blog Articles category will pull up a good selection, and there is a wealth of material on the Best of the Blogs link on the UK Home Ed Forums. For a chronology of GIRFEC (and equivalent ECM) outcomes-based (ergo rights-inimical) policy, our GIRFEC Files document the main events on the ‘road to hellbeing’.

For truly inspirational thinking on education, Sir Ken Robinson is hard to beat, especially his RSA Animate Changing Education Paradigms. Other ‘must-watches’ are Reimagine Learning that Can Change the World and Do Schools Kill Creativity? 

We have also listed the following pieces, in reverse chronological order, which document and comment on many of the issues facing home educators and may also be useful for reference:

2020  2019  2018  2017  2016  2015 

2020

Evolving Capacity: Exploring the Best Interest of the Child Standard (GHEX Virtual Summit session, 12 November 2020)

At what point is it appropriate for the government to intervene in a family’s decision to home educate? What does the UNCRC say, if anything, about home education? Is there a conflict between parental rights and the best interest of the child? A session with Michael FarrisJustice Paul R. Jeffrey ABQBElyssa KorenTom ParkerMichael P. Donnelly and Alison Preuss

The reality of home-schooling <sic> (Business Live, 25 June 2020)

South African article exploring Covid-enforced schooling at home vs. elective home education: “What they try to do is duplicate school at home. But that is often going to cause problems. School education and home education are totally different forms of education. If you try to simulate a school at home, it’s often very difficult and can be a negative experience. If you approach and explore the different methodologies, you can pick what will work for you.”

Government accused of ‘sneaking out’ ASN review (TES Scotland, 22 June 2020)

The Scottish government has been accused of having “snuck out” a review that reveals the “rarely discussed scandal of the poor state of additional support needs (ASN) education in Scotland”.

Additional support ‘not visible or equally valued’ (TES Scotland, 21 June 2020)

The report on additional support for learning (ASL) by Angela Morgan, former chief executive of youth charity Includem, says that legislation designed to protect and improve the educational experience of ASN youngsters is not consistently implemented across the country.

The End Of Education? (David Bouchier, WHSU Radio, 8 June 2020)

“What we need right now is not home schooling but home education. Education was happening at home long before schools were invented, and its purpose was to bring children up with some appreciation of what we might call Civilization 101 – old- fashioned qualities like morality, curiosity, self-control, and emotional literacy. Education is about growing up and becoming a decent human being. No large buildings or yellow buses are necessary. This is what parents have always done.” 

Harvard Law Professor’s Attack on Homeschooling Is a Flawed Failure. And Terribly Timed, Too ( and , Education Next, 5 May 2020)

The article prompted a tsunami of critical responses, in Education Next (see “Harvard Professor’s ‘Absurd’ Claim that Homeschooling is Child Abuse”) as well as hereherehereherehereherehere, and here. We seek here to move the discussion beyond the 1,000-word Harvard Magazine article that sparked such opprobrium by carefully considering Bartholet’s 80-page Arizona Law Review article that inspired the story. We expected it to be rigorous and fact-based but were sadly disappointed.

“Home Schooling is Dangerous!” (The HE Byte, 30 April 2020)

“Home schooling” proving popular with higher than expected number of parents, but vociferous ideologues are still out there.

Harvard’s homeschooling dystopia denies reality (Razi Lane, Washington Examiner, 26 April 2020)

This presumption has been marketed as a response to Bartholet’s three primary criticisms of K-12 home education: child abuse, education inadequacy, and poor socialization. While readers unfamiliar with homeschooling may naturally infer these concerns, Bartholet’s solution to them would deploy the equivalent of a nuclear weapon in a theater better suited for tactical strategy. And, as with the deployment of a nuclear weapon, the collateral consequences would be serious.

Harvard Law School Calls for Ban on Homeschooling; Homeschooled Harvard Graduate On Why This is Wrong (Medium,19 April 2020)

I graduated from Harvard with honors. In fact, Harvard was the very first school I ever set foot in. The first 12 years of my education, I was homeschooled, from kindergarten to 12th grade. I was proud of my school, until last night, when I read Harvard Magazine’s article on the so-called “risks” of homeschooling. In essence, this article is not an attack on a form of education some might view as lesser quality. In essence, this article is an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are.

Exam Factory Spring? A Lockdown Reflection (Pam Jarvis, 17 April 2020)

I asked Twitter a question about perceived effects of extended time at home upon children. I was taken completely by surprise by huge response generated. Parents overwhelmingly replied that their children were happier at home than at school, and some further commented that they were worried that their children would be reluctant to return.

The UK’s largest online platform for childcare providers, parents, schools and tutors has found that nearly a quarter (23%) of British parents are likely to continue homeschooling <sic> after the coronavirus lockdown ends. “Many assume that all families would be rushing to drop their kids at the school gate once they reopen! Our research certainly indicates that that’s not necessarily going to be the case.”

School’s out… (Naomi Fisher, The Psychologist, March 2020) 

Chartered psychologist Naomi Fisher considers the arguments for self-directed education, which references the ground-breaking research on elective home education by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison. Dr Fisher has since produced a follow-up piece School’s really out ... in the light of the unprecedented school closures brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Cllr Pauline O’Reilly shares advice for home-educating your children (RSVP Live, 22 March 2020)

One of the more sensible ‘takes’ on home education for children out on licence from schools, by a councillor from Galway, Ireland.  

State snoopers still being foisted on families despite being ‘axed’ (Mail on Sunday, 9 February 2020) 

John Swinney still flogging the same dead horse. Comment included from the Scottish Home Ed Forum. 

2019

Investigation: Schools heading for pupil data scandal (TES, 20 December 2019) 

“The first thing [schools] must do is understand and have a list of all the personal data they keep and for what purpose, and figure out in advance what the lawful justification for that is, and is it something for which you need consent. Eventually, there will be a scandal, perhaps fairly soon.”

Written Statement: Children Act 2004 Education Database (Wales) Regulations 2020 and the Education (Information about Children in Independent Schools) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Minister, 11 December 2019) 

The consultation on the draft guidance has clearly demonstrated the heightened sensitivities and emotive nature of any proposals regarding home education.  In particular, matters related to data protection and human rights were prominent amongst responses from home educators.  

Letter to the Scotsman (NO2NP, 8 November 2019)

NO2NP spokesman set the record straight on recent reports suggesting the Named Person scheme would continue.

Council told to pay £4,850 after young girl misses more than a year of school (Mirror, 21 October 2019)

The child’s mum complained that the council failed to accept her daughter was not at school due to a medical condition – which resulted in her being wrongly referred to the children’s missing education team. (Leicestershire)

Court win for Irish home educators (KCLR Live – listen from 7m30s, 30 September 2019)

Discussion of this landmark judgment.

Double standards in education reform? (Lesley Scott, TFN, 29 August 2019)

Lesley Scott looks at the drive to close the educational attainment gap, and examines if disabled people are being left behind

Some parents being ‘selfish’ on home-schooling, says councillor (East Lothian Courier 14 June 2019)

Some parents who want their children to be home-educated are doing it for “selfish” reasons, according to an East Lothian councillor.[Such selfish disregard for education and human rights law by talking total tosh about parental responsibilities – and it’s not called homeschooling, hen!] ) 

Dutch Welfare Minister, have you got a Named Person up your sleeve? (UK Column News, 11 June 2019)
It came as a bolt from the blue: Rudy and Karin were informed that four different state guardians were being appointed for their four young children. “It was our impression that this had not been made law yet, so we just wondered why we were getting it already now,” says Rudy. The imposition had been prompted by a letter from their family doctor, forwarding all their children’s confidential medical records to four unnamed state guardians.
 
Care Inspectorate highlights ‘uncertainty’ over Scotland’s named person system (PA, 11 June 2019)

Uncertainty over Scotland’s named person service has resulted in the “lack of a co-ordinated overview” of youngsters’ needs, a new report has said. The Care Inspectorate also warned that in some child welfare cases “neglect had not been sufficiently recognised or adequately responded to” before children were either seriously injured or fatally harmed.

Investigation: Schools heading for pupil data scandal (TES, 31 May 2019)

‘Free for all,’ means ‘gazillions of companies’ selling ‘complete crap to a lot of complete suckers,’ says Cambridge academic, Prof Ross Anderson, who warns schools will face ‘huge outcry’. “There are a lot of people selling complete crap to a lot of complete suckers.” [He] has particular concerns about biometrics “being used aggressively for everything in schools, from libraries to lockers, but do we want the kids to be indoctrinated into the idea that biometrics are a good thing?”.

Petition claims ‘harassment’ of home educators (TES Scotland, 28 May 2019)

Fears that the Scottish government’s controversial approach to safeguarding children is being used as an excuse by professionals for “arbitrary interference” in the lives of families who home educate their children will be considered in the Scottish Parliament’s tomorrow.

‘School refuser’ parents to challenge truancy laws (TES, 22 May 2019) 

Parent groups say that existing laws unfairly penalise ‘school refusers’, who are unable to attend school. 

Autism campaigner uses rare procedure to file complaint against Highland Council (P&J, 9 May 2019)

An Inverness autism campaigner has taken the extreme step of filing a Section 70  complaint to the Scottish Government against Highland Council using a rare procedure.

Delay to Education Bill going before Tynwald (Manx Radio, 15 April 2019)

Plans to put the Education Bill before Tynwald have been delayed. The draft bill had come in for criticism, with some raising concerns over the section on home education and how much influence the department would have within schools.

SWAT raid on homeschoolers goes to top court (WND, 14 April 2019)

Hitler’s home education law to be scrutinised by the Grand Chamber after ECtHR ruled German police raid with battering ram and removal of children was ‘proportionate’. 

Aberdeenshire Council debates ‘flexi-schooling’ plan that would allow pupils to attend part-time (P&J, 19 March, 2019)

A revolution in the way children are educated in the north-east could be on the cards as councillors consider part-time schooling.

2018

Human Rights & Family Life in the United Kingdom & Islands (5 December 2018)

Caroline Weatherill Memorial Lecture, Isle of Man Law Society, by Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court

‘School is very oppressive’: why home-schooling <sic> is on the rise (Guardian, 3 November 2018)

Exams, rules, timetables: do teachers know what’s best for children? Increasing numbers of British parents don’t think so.

Homeschooling <sic> in the UK increases 40% over three years (BBC, 26 April 2018)

Across the UK 48,000 children were being home-educated in 2016-17, up from about 34,000 in 2014-15. Mental health issues and avoiding exclusion are two reasons parents gave for removing children from classrooms. The government will publish new guidance on the “rights and responsibilities on home education” but councils want more monitoring powers.

2017

Germany on trial over home education (ECLJ, 2017)

In the Wunderlich v. Germany case (n° 18925/15), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will have to judge Germany for having withdrawn custody of children from their parents on the motive that the latter wished to teach their children themselves by home-schooling them, which is prohibited in that country. Writers of the Convention were conscious of the fact that “totalitarian regimes (…) sought systematically to expose the children to their ideological propaganda, by depriving them of the rightful influence of their parents”

Parents open up about the trauma of their anxious children refusing to go to school  (i news, 12 January 2017)

What can you do when your children really mean they’re not going to school? Parents speak out about school anxiety and prioritisation of attendance over mental health. 

2016

Third Way Parenting and the Creation of the “Named Person” in Scotland: The End of Family Privacy and Autonomy? (S Waiton, 26 February 2016)

The “Named Person” provision in the legislation, it is argued, has developed with the rise of micro-managerial politics, the construction of the “at risk” child and the anxiety expressed about the early years of children, seen most clearly in the significance of early intervention policies. Within this context, parenting has become problematized and increasingly understood as a skills activity requiring training, support, and surveillance.

2015

Concern over monitoring of home-schooled children in the city (Evening Times, 30 March 2015)

Kathryn Farrow, quality improvement for Glasgow City Council said: “I’ve had crumpled notes sent back by parents. The letters could have been written by anyone.” “We are not sure how the named person scheme is going to work with home schooled <sic> children because it is assumed that head teachers will take this role.” “We know that families are offered support initially by organisations but we have concerns about the continued support that is offered.”