This page is the last of three sections looking at why action is needed, what is being said about home education and suggesting a variety of possible responses. All three sections can be accessed directly from the drop down Action menu above.
By now you may be wondering what practical measures you could take in defence of your right to home educate without undue State involvement.
Each of us has a circle of acquaintance, a sphere of influence particular to ourselves. Highlighting the threats to elective home education in one-to-one conversations with others is a relatively easy way for even busy parents with many responsibilities at home to combat the negative stereotype of home education constantly coming through the media.
Making other non-HE parents aware of the way in which the State is encroaching on the freedoms of all parents is also very worthwhile, as the issues which affect us today could well affect them tomorrow, with the current approach that the State is responsible for every child from day one. Contributing to social media discussions where the issue is likely to be of interest is another possibility.
If you attend a home education group, have you ever thought of inviting your MP along for a visit? This could provide an opportunity for several of you to engage with him together around the issue, as well as demonstrating that EHE children are not “invisible” – they are involved in activities in the community.
You could also write your MP a letter or make an appointment to see him at his surgery – Contact your MP. (One MP told constituents that for every letter he receives about an issue, he assumes that ten people feel strongly about it – the other nine just never got round to writing!) It’s useful to think through in advance the points you want to make; take notes with you if you wish, and maybe even take older children along with you – have them question him about the parliamentary process – never miss an educational opportunity in the course of life! It’s also good to express our appreciation to any who have stood up for home education in recent debates.
If you want to write to the Minister for Education, it is always better to write to your own MP and ask them to raise your concerns or ask the Minister a question on your behalf, than to write to them directly. Ministers rarely see letters from the general public. They are normally acknowledged by a civil servant. On the other hand ministers are obliged to reply in person to any MP who contacts them. Often MPs simply forward constituents’ letters to the Minister concerned. This is therefore a good way to make your views known to a government minister.
Remember too that local councillors also need to be informed about the benefits many children receive from being educated at home. Why not invite your local councillor to visit your HE group? Perhaps they could also bring with them their colleagues with special responsibility for education and children’s services.
If you are a member of a political party or other national organisation with political interests, please watch out for any statements they make about elective home education. If they are supportive, thank them; if they are following the zeitgeist, challenge them! Besides contacting them directly yourself, if you think we could helpfully comment on their statement here please let us know about it. In fact if you come across any statements on EHE from any source which you think we could helpfully comment on, please get in touch.
Please remember too, “It’s not just what you say, it’s the way that you say it!” This is something we have probably all told our children at some point, and it applies to us too when we speak about home education. A calm, polite and reasoned approach will achieve more than an angry rant, and will enhance the hearer’s impression of the whole home educating community rather than bringing it into disrepute.
Finally, please keep looking out for our latest articles as we respond to the various comments in this debate. We intend to publish a new Byte whenever the need arises, so do connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, our RSS Feed or email. These are the best ways to keep up to date with our latest Bytes.