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HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

May 2016

Answering the Objections: British Parents Offer Encouragement

Home Education Excellence

By Nathan Field

You only have to read the news today to know that the authority of the parent is being questioned and undermined at every available opportunity. It is not so often assumed anymore that parents know what is best for their children. A plethora of confusing opinions are continuingly being forced upon us, and all the while the cry goes up: “How can you possibly know what to do?!”

This attitude is perhaps most commonly encountered and keenly felt by those parents who have chosen to educate their children at home. With “out-of-school” settings currently in the limelight, the concern is obviously that home educators will be next in the firing line, and the freedom to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” through the use of biblically based and academically rigorous curriculum, will be hindered.

As the efficacy of home education is questioned, we should remind ourselves of the evidence—both in forms of personal testimonies and recent research—that has shown the effectiveness of well-implemented education at home.

There is no question, even in secular circles, that a high level of parental involvement is a major factor in a child’s development. A study undertaken by the University of Cambridge stated:

In the midst of the many differences in philosophy, outlook and practice … home schooling appears to consistently offer children a more efficacious educational experience even as measured by the standards of normative performativity. One constant in the midst of much complexity is the better than average performance of home schooled children when compared to age cohorts in the general population (10).

Let us take heart from the witness of those past and present who stand as proof of the quality of home education, and “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”

 


 

Little by Little

By Becky Penberthy-Smith

“Not going to school?”
“Is it legal?”
“How will you cope?”
“Will they have friends?”
“What about their GCSEs?”

Over and over again, friends and family would ask us these questions as we set out to teach our two girls at home 16 years ago. As September drew near, the date that our eldest daughter would “start big school” came closer. It felt very daunting, frightening, and foolish to even think of attempting to home educate our children instead of going down the traditional route. Years later, our youngest now 18 and having just finished the Advanced level, I can see God’s hand over our lives. We have known such blessing and freedom, despite all the challenges, doubt, and fears that go with this way of life!

The verse that the Lord really laid on our hearts early on was Deuteronomy 6:7, where it says,  “…and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” While it is a huge responsibility, and homeschool parents can feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before them, it is also very simple. All we are called to do is to teach our children when we sit round the meal table, when we go for a walk, when we are in the car, when we put them to bed. It is just “little by little and line upon line.” We may not feel that we accomplish much during each day, but when put it together over a lifetime, we do!

God can use our faithfulness and what we give Him. All we need to be is willing, and then He will equip us for the calling that He has given us!

As our girls have finished their home education, I wanted to help encourage other mums as they start their journey. For this reason, I have recently become the National Coordinator for The European Academy for Christian Homeschooling and seek to help to support new homeschool families. I look forward to meeting many homeschoolers in the future through this role!

Nathan Field is Manager of The European Academy for Christian Homeschooling (TEACH).

Becky Penberthy-Smith is National Coordinator for The European Academy for Christian Homeschooling (TEACH).

 Other Resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s United Kingdom page.