Personal Educational Philosophies

These are some of the statements of education that some parents have sent in response to queries from LEA's about Home Education. They are here to help inspire you to create your own unique one - relevant to your children. Don't forget LEA's can see this page and will know if you have copied one word for word. If you are the third family to send them in a copy of example 2, with only the names changed they may get a bit annoyed!



Example 1

Our educational philosophy stems from our understanding of the word education, from the Latin educere - to lead out. For us this connects firmly with a fully child centred, or child led process of education. The child's own ideas, interests and knowledge have to be the starting point for any meaningful further learning to occur. In this model of education the child is viewed not as an empty vessel to be filled with the knowledge and skills that society deems necessary, but as an active participant in their own education, already equipped with the desire to make sense of his or her own environment. This is not to say that we don't value the same skills and knowledge as society as a whole. Our overall aim is that F should reach adulthood fully equipped to live in a modern society and able to make informed choices about his own life. We feel that this is best achieved by affording him the opportunity to exercise as much free choice as possible in setting his own goals within the context of life in the family and the wider world.

The role of the adult educator is to facilitate the child's own learning process, to provide resources, suggest new avenues of exploration and to gradually lead the child to a fuller understanding of the world and society around them. This style of education does not fit neatly into a five days a week nine till three time-table. New learning occurs when the child is ready to integrate new skills and knowledge into his existing schema. It requires the parent to be sensitive to the child's inner processes and open to discuss and follow up the child's interests as and when they occur. It is very much a full time, holistic approach to education and we try not to divide F's experiences into educational and non-educational, but to encourage him to regard all his experiences and interests as having an educational value. In this way we hope to help him develop positive attitudes to learning and its role in personal fulfilment and to regard education as on ongoing life-long process.


Example 2

Dear Mrs. LEA

X, Y and Z Bloggs

Thank you for your letter dated 4 December 2009.

We have chosen to provide you with Statements of the Educational Provision which we provide for X, Y and Z. We would also refer you back to X's original statement of last year. This will give you background information and as this philosophy is still ongoing can be used as the basis of all the other Statements.

We therefore see no need to take up your valuable time with a meeting which would only confirm what is in the Statements. Of course we will contact you further should we require your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

J Bloggs

Statement of the Educational Provision for X Bloggs
As you will know from our previous statement X has Aspergers Syndrome. That statement explains some of the difficulties that this causes.

We again choose to present evidence that we are discharging our responsibilities under S7 Education Act 1996 in the form of this statement.

X is slowly coming out of his shell. He is asking questions again and these are becoming more and more complex. His understanding of the answers we give or the texts and diagrams we direct him to is also expanding. He is beginning to direct us to areas that he wishes to study such as computer graphics, which he would like to pursue as a career at the present time. We are investigating ways in which he could follow this line both with exams and without.

We continue to believe that education is for life and are gratified to see how X is taking this on board. He is very self motivated with regard to his interests and will study the computer and Internet for hours at a time especially writing and rewriting his web page. He has a very good grasp of HTML and is furthering this language. He has become able to find people who can help him to this end through the Internet and our home education contacts. He will e-mail anyone who can assist with a query and it is rare that they realise the age of the person they are communicating with.

In order to assist X in his computer studies I am taking an Open University Course - 'you, your computer and the net' which starts in February 2010. I frequently have to ask him for assistance which he is glad to give.

We continue to increase the number of books that we have in the house, both fiction and non-fiction, and he has recently been studying Terence Rattigan's 'The Winslow Boy' which used to be a GCE course book. This he has studied extensively and actually performed in the title role with an amateur dramatic society. He was the only child in the cast and socialised extremely well with the other cast members, one of whom is a secondary school teacher who also knows X through Boys Brigade. He has commented on the fact that X is considerably less in awe of him than his age peer group and that this makes him much more mature and easier to talk to.

We also continue to visit the theatre and cinema taking advantage of the schools film week when we went to the Plaza to see 'Stuart Little'. I have to say that the Home Educated children there were extremely well behaved.

Maths continues to be a pet subject of X's father, although he too is becoming more interested in Computers through X. X's father talks to him about Maths in its various topics and we continue to show him how they apply to real life situations. Measuring shop fronts, conducting surveys of people who use local shops and those using the town centre - where do they come from, why do they use the shops they do etc. Checking the angles of the buildings in various eras in history. This life skill experience is essential to all of us and X particularly needs to use money regularly and conduct purchases himself.

We have made a number of trips over the last year. These continue to provide excellent opportunities for learning about different communities and studying the geography of different areas - rock strata etc. We have stayed with home educating families in Dundee, Scotland and out in the Country in Blairgowrie. Whilst in Dundee we visited the Sensations Centre and had a wonderful time exploring the senses. The visit to the Blairgowrie Home Educating friends provided yet another socialisation opportunity in the form of a Halloween non-fire party complete with self made costumes.

The visit to Dundee provided X with another friend with whom he communicates almost daily using e-mail and telephone.

X's Drama class has transformed into a Performance Class and the school will be performing two numbers in a Children's Charity Performance at Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket in March 2010.

His Dance teacher, and principal of the school, has commented many times over the last 6 months that X's eye contact has improved beyond measure and that he has matured greatly in that time.

Yet again I trust that you will see that we follow an extremely broad spectrum of X's education and that it takes into account his special needs, fully capitalising on his abilities and aptitudes. We still constantly revise our position in the light of those needs as they change. We do not believe that this would be possible in the school system at the present time. Consequently we are only able to discharge our responsibility under S7 Education Act 1996 by educating X at home.

Similar reports were produced for the other two non-statemented children.

Example 3

I am writing in response to your information leaflet and your request for information about E's education.

Our decision to educate E otherwise than at school is one which was made over a long period of time. We made the decision while watching E becoming more and more unhappy at school. Normally a bright inquisitive child who is sociable to both other children and adults, E had stopped asking us questions. He had become more withdrawn at home and constantly complained of aches and pains. Upset tummies and diarrhoea became common. A sensitive child, E was often upset by discipline in the class that had no bearing on him at all. When our concerns about his welfare were dismissed by the school we began to look at alternatives.

E was initially kept at home with the knowledge of the LEA, on a temporary basis due to an incident at school. During this period it became obvious that home was where he needed to be and where he was able to concentrate. Working to a pace we set, but which we were able to gear to him individually.

Since the decision to educate at home was made and he was informed of what it would entail, E has settled down to working and has started asking questions again. His ailments have vanished and he is becoming even more sociable.

We have carried out a great deal of research into different methods and philosophies and found that, while we will use the national curriculum as a guide to assist us, we do not believe it is necessarily the right approach with regard to E. We have always invested in books on a great range of subjects and this is now growing into a diverse reference and fiction library. While a PC is undoubtedly a learning tool, we feel that it is something we will introduce later, as we wish to encourage E's love of books and imagination.

Work done is kept and a record of subjects covered and discussions is maintained in a diary format.

E attends swimming lessons and tumble tots; he will also be joining Beavers and Woodcraft Folk when he is six. As a family we are joining various wild life and conservation societies. We have joined the charity Education Otherwise and E meets other children in similar circumstances as himself, as well as playing with his friends locally who attend the school.

It has always been our view that education is a continuous ongoing process and all our days out have had an educational content .We never miss an opportunity to inform or be informed. E has always been an observant child and often deduces how a thing works for himself.

There was no mention on your questionnaire about spiritual development. This is addressed by talking within the family and attending our local Sunday School and church.

We feel that the school environment was wrong for E who has strong sense of "self", and of right and wrong. We know that we can provide a better learning environment on a one to one basis and will continue to see the results we have seen. We are well aware of the commitment we have undertaken. It is the same as the one we made when we decided to have children.

Example 4

I have elected to educate my children at home as it is my belief that this is what is best for my children. By learning at home and in the community they will learn social skills relevant to a realistic cross section of society, not merely to a small group of people who are, by necessity, of the same age as themselves. They will have the opportunity to interact and socialise with people of all ages living in their community.

My decision also reflects my belief that the Religious Education supplied by schools is inadequate, in that my children are forced to learn about the 'big 3' religions but, on asking about pagan religions, my oldest son was told 'We don't teach any of that'. By teaching them at home I can ensure they are free to learn about whatever religious cultures they wish, be that orthodox Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism, Voodoo, Dianic Wicca, native American or African Shamanism, or any other form of religious belief.

They will be free to learn at a pace suitable to their own age, ability and aptitude, rather than being forced to learn at the same rate as a class of up to 30 individual children, all of whom would be frustrated/bored at the enforced pace of learning. They will learn about things that are relevant to their own interests, ambitions and aspirations, rather than being force-fed a rigid national curriculum, which allows little or no flexibility.

The children will have the opportunity to use whatever resources I can make available to them for learning and research purposes. These resources will include, but are not limited to, the local library, the Internet, interest specific computer software, TV and radio programmes and books. They will also have the opportunity, as often as is realistically possible, to request information of professional people and/or organisations. On as regular a basis as can be realistically maintained I will take the children on educational visits to such places as may at any given time supply information and practical experience relevant to their current studies.

There are many 'national curriculum' supporting workbooks (to key stages 1, 2 3 and 4 in maths, English and science) available to the children at home should they wish to utilise them; however, these will not be forced upon them, just as they will not at any time be forced to watch 'Channel 4 Schools' programming nor to complete 'online' courses on the Internet.

Conversely, should the children express a desire to work to the national curriculum and/or watch 'Channel 4 Schools' programming and/or complete 'online' courses then I will make these options available to them in whatever way is deemed mutually acceptable and appropriate.

I do not intend to enforce assessment tests, to any level, and will vigorously oppose any attempt by anyone outside the family to do so. Any reasonable person with a single functioning brain cell can see the progress a child makes merely from looking at knowledge gained and 'work' produced (and the difference between that produced from one year to the next).

I do not intend to utilise any set timetable for the education of the children as I feel this is not workable; life is a continual learning experience and cannot be realistically compartmentalised in any way. The children's education will begin with discussing the nutritional value of a morning meal and end with healthy debate on the advantage of a good night's sleep. Any and all subjects encountered throughout the day are, by nature, an exercise in education. Any subject in which the children find themselves interested can, if studied in depth, cover many if not all of the traditional 'school' subjects. To illustrate this assertion, consider: J has expressed a wish to enter catering as a career at the earliest opportunity (not legally possible until age 16). In order to prepare for this career he will study different methods of cooking (science) and the development of each (history), regional and national traditional dishes (geography), dietary information of various foods and the five major food groups (science, home economics), adapting a recipe to cater for more or less people than the original allows (maths), buying ingredients and working out the cost per serving (maths). Documenting his practical experience (English) with illustrations where appropriate (art). J will also research new and interesting recipes using books and the Internet (information and communication technology and research/study skills).

The children's education will take place primarily at home, although regular visits to the local library will supplement this, along with educational visits as set out above. There will also be regular country walks and visits to the local children's playground and/or leisure centres for swimming to cater for their physical development. The children will socialise with other adults and children as they come into contact with them in everyday life. As they will not be spending all day every day chained to a desk working from workbooks the need for artificially created social settings will not arise.

I do not intend that the children should date their work, neither do I intend to religiously keep and file every piece of work they produce. Should they wish to save some work it shall be saved, should they be dissatisfied with it for any reason it is their decision to destroy or discard it. I will be keeping a loosely formatted, informal record of the 'work' the children have done each day for our own reference only, this is NOT intended as 'evidence of education' for the LEA.

When the time comes for the children to be thinking about future careers (as indeed J is already doing) they will be encouraged to find out what formal qualifications (if any) are required, and what criteria must be met for higher education institutes should this be their aim. Should it transpire that they require GCSE or NVQ qualifications then it will be my responsibility to contact the relevant examining boards to make enquiries on behalf of the children about sitting examinations as independent candidates. I will also make enquiries of the relevant examining boards with regards to course work and/or curriculum to be studied for said examinations. It is entirely conceivable that the children may decide, rather than working at home to complete examinations 'on time', to postpone gaining formal qualifications until they can attend college at 16, either way the choice is entirely theirs.

Example 5

Our Educational Philosophy

As our approach to M.'s education is largely opportunity based, child centred and flexible, it is not possible to submit a timetable, or to specify in advance the activities we will be undertaking.

We strive to keep a balance between child centred and directed learning. On the whole we aim to facilitate learning through M's interests rather than to contrive situations in order to reach pre-determined outcomes. However we are always on the look out for any gap that may arise and we make the necessary adjustments to ensure that such gaps are filled. We usually tend to look at topics in the form of a theme or project, usually taken from some interest expressed by M. These topics can last anywhere from a few hours up to months depending upon the amount of interest and variety of activities we can link in to the theme. We find that we can start off by looking at one topic and move on to several linked topics very quickly.

In addition to actual activities and projects much time is spent in preparation and consolidation of work done. Discussion plays a great part in our approach.

Our highest priority is to instil a love of learning and a desire and confidence to find out for herself. Our approach is a holistic one: we are concerned with the development of the whole person. M is always encouraged to take part in decisions regarding her education and her own future. She is also encouraged to use her own initiative and to make her own judgements.

M. has almost unlimited access to PC, Internet, telephone, television, video, radio, audio equipment, and a huge variety of craft materials and equipment. We have an extensive library of appropriate literature, computer software etc.

Whilst we can isolate some aspects of the various subjects, many of our activities, projects etc. cover a wide range of subjects. We tend to look upon M's education as a whole rather than dividing her knowledge into subject headings.

As an example, M.'s current interest in dinosaurs includes elements of Maths, Science, C.D.T., History, Geography, English, Archaeology, Natural History, etc. M has had experience of finding fossils, taking rubbings from fossils and looking at books about dinosaurs and prehistory. She has discussed evolution, measured out the lengths of dinosaurs, counted dinosaurs, cooked dinosaur biscuits, made models in paper, clay, papier mache, visited the National Stone Centre, watched several videos and many other activities under the general umbrella of "Dinosaur".

Similarly we recently had a project of "growing things", where M saw how plants and animals grow and develop. Some of the activities we included were growing cress on a plate in the shape of her initials, these were later eaten in a salad. Sprouting mung beans which were then included in a meal made to celebrate Chinese New Year which we ate with chopsticks. Wearing Chinese clothes, this led on to drawing dragons, making dragon masks, learning how to say Happy New year in Chinese and making lucky red envelopes for the traditional Chinese new year gift of money, which the children then took to a local school fair to spend.

We grew potatoes in a bucket, then harvested them and made some into oven crisps and did potato prints with the rest. We watched carrot tops grow and made them into a jungle plate garden. A primula was chosen from a local garden centre and brought home to feature in a still life drawing. M made a cress head by decorating a yoghurt pot with a face and growing cress in it for hair. M has her own patch in the garden where she chose to plant some flower seeds and tended them until they bloomed. We regularly visit local farms and animal centres. We were lucky enough to watch a chicken hatching out of an egg, which fitted in very well with our theme.

We regularly go for walks in the woods to look for flowers and wildlife and have discussed the changes over the seasons. We made a huge flower mural covering the wall in our hall. We made flower bracelets out of felt. We made flowers out of hot beads, tissue, clay, paper, etc. We read book after book on related topics. We grew nasturtiums and eaten the horn off the flower in salads. We harvested fruit from our own garden and from pick-your-own farms and made juice and pies with it.

Accompanying all these activities was conversation and the appropriate weighing, measuring, recording etc. Most of these activities were undertaken in the company of other children. M regularly attends home-education group meetings as well as meeting friends on a daily basis.

One of our main aims is to fit M for life in the real world. We encourage basic skills such as reading and writing, use of computer and calculator, house and garden maintenance, personal safety, self discipline, respect and care for others, for animals, for the immediate community and environment and for the world as a whole.

We consider that M is learning all her waking hours and we strive to provide a fertile learning environment at all hours of the day.

This is just intended as an illustration of the variety and breadth of activities we undertake, all of which is accompanied by hours of discussions ranging far and wide. We do not follow a curriculum and our studies are subject to change without notice, however we have found from our previous experience with our son that children are very good at learning all that they need to know if trusted to do so.

Example 6

Aims and Objectives

We aim to provide C a full and wide-ranging education in the broadest sense, incorporated in every aspect of daily life. We aim to act as facilitators of C's natural self-education, rather than imposing an external education on him; hence we aim to follow his interests and motivations as far as possible, providing ample resources to follow up his interests as far as he wishes at the time.

Our short-term objectives are:

1) for C to progress in his areas of expressed preference and ability at the rate at which he wishes and is able to progress

2) for C to progress as slowly as he feels comfortable with in areas in which he is weaker and less motivated, by providing plenty of opportunities for activities in these areas but with no demands made on him to perform to a certain level in areas in which he has little enthusiasm

3) to encourage the development in C of a lively enquiring mind and the ability to argue and question rationally

4) to ensure C continues to develop as a happy, confident boy, equally comfortable in his relations with adults and children

5) to provide C with plenty of opportunities for socialising with other children

6) to provide C with plenty of opportunities for organised and unorganised sports and outdoor activities

Our long-term objectives are:

1) to educate C at home until such a time where he may decide for himself to attend School; however, we feel that he would not be mature enough to make such a decision for himself before 10/11 years old, and even then we would want to be sure of his motivation eg facilities for Secondary Science, etc

2) to enable C to take formal exams, if that be his wish at the time, and he wishes to study for them at home

3) to assist C acquire the knowledge and skills relevant to adult life

4) to assist C achieve understanding and respect for the uniqueness and beliefs of the individual

If you have written an 'Educational Philosophy' that you would like to share with other home educators, please send it to us. All references to names and places will be removed.