Home education helps children “learn to learn for themselves”, says Sheffield mum

A Sheffield home educator said home education is better “emotionally” for children.

Kate Caroe, 41, a home educator to five of her six children, said: “They have more time to play and more flexibility to go places, be part of different events, workshops and museum trips.

“I think it’s good for them emotionally to have that free time and develop their own interests and better educationally for them to have a variety of educational experiences.”

A report presented to the Children, Young People & Family Support Scrutiny & Policy Development Committee at Sheffield City Council reported a 77% increase in the number of children registered with the elective home education service.

Most of these students were secondary age, with the larger chunk in Year 11.

According to the report, dissatisfaction with schools and unmet needs were the two most cited reasons by parents for the switch to home education.

Ms. Caroe said she believed it was good for children to spend time in the family, and then go out into the larger world when they’re older.

She added: “There has to be level of respect between you but it’s about enjoying, exploring the world and gaining the skills to learn about the world.

“It’s not about sitting people down in groups and teaching them. They see life happening around them a lot and they get the chance to do a bit of DIY.”

Her children are part of the Young Enterprise Challenge and are working on their business, Tree Crafts, which involves making items out of wood.

Ms Caroe followed the same pattern of the year as schools, and her children enjoyed the same holiday periods as their school-going counterparts.

She organised a few trips and classes for other home educated children who she keeps in touch with over a Facebook group and a Yahoo email group.

She added that Sheffield City Council permits home educators to use the teachers’ library and also suggest resources for use in education.

Ms Caroe sent her daughter Emma, 14, to school after a point in home education to learn the information needed to sit for exams.

She said: “I found that the beauty of home-educating was the flexibility and freedom to enjoy learning, and learn independently, but it’s maybe not so good at getting good grades at GCSE’s just because you don’t know the technical things that are necessary to sit an exam, whereas schools are set up in order to train the children to pass the exam.”

However, she added that most people don’t understand what home education was like when it came to socialisation.

She said: “They are exposed to societies and communities in a much wider, more meaningful way, than if they were just being with classmates.”

Most of these students were secondary age, with the larger chunk in Year 11.

According to the report, dissatisfaction with schools and unmet needs were the two most cited reasons by parents for the switch to home education.