Looking on the Bright Side of HE Life

What’s been said?

It’s heartening to come across unexpected support for HE in the midst of the current hostile environment. A recent article by Chris Weller in the UK edition of Business Insider is entitled “Why homeschooling is the smartest way to teach kids today”. Opening with the reminder that homeschooling isn’t what it used to be in the 80’s, Weller asserts that it now has more mainstream appeal due in large measure to ubiquitous internet access and the wider world which that opens up to every learner.

He then enlarges on several key advantages which could be applied equally to EHE in the UK as to the American context in which he originally identified them. “Personalized learning is a strong method of instruction”, he says, with parents “in the best position possible to know, and provide, the right kind of instruction.” “Students can learn more about what they really care about.”  Home educated young people engage with the real world; they “don’t deal with all the downsides of being around kids in a toxic school environment”, but experience learning in different settings which has “the effect of maturing them more quickly and cultivating a trait of open-mindedness.” His final paragraph knocks on the head a fear lurking in many a grandparent’s heart – “Homeschooling makes sense from an achievement point of view.”

In another article Weller highlights the good relational skills and “a greater sense of social responsibility” found in many HE young people, and  cites research by Richard Medlin entitled “Homeschooling and the Question of Socialization Revisited”. Access to the full document has to be purchased, but the abstract is visible on line and is worth reading for one rather understated sentence near the end: “An alarmist view of homeschooling, therefore, is not supported by empirical research.” Thank you, Mr Medlin!

Another unexpected champion of the benefits of EHE turned up on the Money.co.uk website. Editorial team leader Martin Lane takes a rather unusual approach in an investigative article entitled,  “Home schooling: good for your child & your finances?” Seemingly willing to concede that there are plus-points to HE, and with his eyes open to the degree of commitment needed by any parents going this way, Lane affirms, “A good education will teach your child all the life skills they need to succeed and set them up for the future. A home education can be just as rewarding as sending them to school.”

Why does it matter?

In as much as an author can approach any topic with an unbiased view, these items appear to be written by people with minimum vested interest in either demolishing or defending the practice of EHE and its benefits. It’s good to remind ourselves occasionally that there are still some people out there who do not automatically and unthinkingly define EHE as a problem.

What can I do?

Take heart. Despite all the negative press, HE has a lot going for it – and it works!

Store up resources such as these for future occasions when you may need a specific example or quotation to make a point.