Homeschooling my four kids

A reader sent us an interesting article by Graham Moore about Homeschooling from the website The Day, which provides current affairs especially for teenagers. This is an extract…

…with first hand experience of how an education and the subsequent qualifications can help bring about a life of opportunity, how can I have come to the conclusion that bringing my kids out of school to educate them from home was the right thing to do? Fundamentally, the world has changed immeasurably since my youth. After almost 50 years of life I have realised that it is important to allow young people to start living their own life as soon as they can. It is important that they follow their heart by doing things they love and that matter to them.

I have four amazing children and after almost 17 years of being a parent, it is clear to me that each one of my kids is different and has their own paths to lead, in unique directions.

While it is my job to guide and nurture them it is not my job, nor that of anyone else, to tell them how they should live their lives. So both my wife and I felt that educating the children from home would improve their future opportunities.

One Christmas four years ago, my wife and I sat down with the kids and asked them to make a list of all the things they like about school. The list was long and impressive and at first I thought that my idea may prove pointless. However, when I asked them to make a list of all the things they dislike about school, I was shocked at how many insights they had about a range of issues, some of which I was completely unaware.

When I asked them if I could show them a way in which they could be educated but wouldn’t need to go to school any more, they listened in disbelief as we shared with them our vision for homeschooling. They were sold on the idea in a matter of seconds.

…But what was on their list? What did they tell me they disliked so much about school, given that they had many positive experiences too?

Harrison, the eldest, had a real problem with teachers as he felt they were hypocrites. He talked about them not allowing the students to eat in lessons whilst the teachers munched away happily on apples; about how the kids had to sit in silence in assembly but teachers talked freely when they wanted to; how the whole class got shouted at even though it was the same boys causing problems each time. He gave me endless examples like this, which I struggled to argue against.

Rosie talked about the dullness of lessons, topics and the manner in which they were taught. Some classes were good because they were interactive and the teacher was happy and positive — in these lessons they were challenged to get out of their comfort zones and engaged happily. She felt other lessons, too many of them, were static, boring and irrelevant while teachers were moody and rude to the class…

…So what is homeschool, or more accurately what is our version of homeschool?

There are many different styles of homeschool based on religion, disability, beliefs and more. Moving into our fourth year we have tried out all manner of ideas.

Some have worked and some haven’t — but as the family gets older they have all settled into a more individualised pattern of education.

First and foremost, our guiding principle is that education takes many forms, most of which can’t be assessed by sitting an exam. We see that education can occur from a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop, whilst going for a run through nearby fields, watching television, or through helping an elderly neighbour with her gardening. We understand that all these experiences make us who we are and that not everything we learn needs to be monitored and verified.

Secondly, we believe that life is short and that we have to make the most of the present moment. Whilst planning for the future is important and necessary we believe being happy today is more important. That is not to say that we go bungee jumping and sky-diving before breakfast, we just try and enjoy each day and what it brings.

Graham Moore is a co-founding director of humanutopia — a social enterprise that creates and runs inspirational programmes in schools across the country. Since 2004 humanutopia has worked with almost 200,000 young people and the courses are highly acclaimed and in wide demand. You can follow the work of humanutopia on twitter at @humanutopia.

More at:  Homeschooling my four kids

We’ve haven’t really discussed homeschooling on the site but there are as many as 60,000 children estimated to being educated this way in the UK now. What do you think of it, in principle, and what do you make of the issues raised in Graham Moore’s article? Please let us know in the comments or on twitter… 

Facebook invests thousands to help school girls code
Why children as young as three are sent to boarding school in China
Categories: Homeschooling.


  1. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove many of points raised are same as the ones my kids have spoken about- hypocrisy and rudeness. Homeschooling can work

  2. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove many of points raised are same as the ones my kids have spoken about- hypocrisy and rudeness. Homeschooling can work

  3. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove humanutopia good article. You might want to connect with homeschoolcurr another great advocate for homeschooling.

  4. morris_emma

    SchoolsImprove My kids have raised similar points. They contribute to disengaging them with school. Kids see hypocrisy and are frustrated.

  5. AnnaPalmer74

    SchoolsImprove as ex-home educator & teacher I can say that my kids loved it. They are happy at school too but my eldest wld go back now!

  6. technologytotea

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove my sons also complained about some of these issues. They learnt more when they went to work

  7. LearnWLesley

    technologytotea SchoolsImprove this is so true. My son is 15 and he often complains about the futility of some of the things he has to do

  8. MinoHedgehog

    AnnaPalmer74 SchoolsImprove humanutopia thanks for this, it was truly interesting. Quick q: did the kids miss the social part of schools?

  9. MinoHedgehog

    morris_emma SchoolsImprove My mother used to teach primary kids & says they are the shrewdest human beings, they see nonsense from a mile

  10. MumForAutism

    .SchoolsImprove it will be 50,001 as from next week. Am trialling it out with my aspergers daughter. #homeschool

  11. SianColbourne

    SchoolsImprove done properly, children enjoy their education and learning matters, thats what it’s all about.

  12. morris_emma

    MinoHedgehog SchoolsImprove Couldn’t agree more. They know an injustice when they see one. It’s why pupil voice is important.

  13. MinoHedgehog

    morris_emma SchoolsImprove there! Could not have put it better myself! HAVING SAID THAT MY RETIRED MAMA MISSES HER PUPILS V MUCH

  14. Debsthered

    SchoolsImprove We’ve had a significant rise in nos of elective home education apps in our LEA.Still only one pt-time EHE support worker!!

  15. mama_jenjen

    SchoolsImprove MumForAutism I already home educate a teenager daughter and have just removed my youngest 3 from school (again) last week

  16. MumForAutism

    mama_jenjen – I’m starting to feel more reassured about this. Am following you now:-) SchoolsImprove #homeschool

  17. SusanDent1

    SchoolsImprove think a lot of home schooled children are those with SEN, so many are let down by the education system in so many ways!

  18. artmadnana

    SchoolsImprove an honest and sincere attempt to bring out the best in his children. But their obvious gains don’t compensate for the losses

  19. artmadnana

    Richard_Taff SchoolsImprove access to social groups & activities, various teaching styles, expert knowledge, age & gender mix, technology

  20. AnnaPalmer74

    MinoHedgehog SchoolsImprove humanutopia My son did being the only boy but my 3 girls didn’t at all & eldest still shuns a crowd.

  21. 3Diassociates

    SchoolsImprove Our first thoughts ought to focus on how to remedy the children’s various criticisms of school & schooling. Good article.

  22. @MinoHedgehog AnnaPalmer74 SchoolsImprove humanutopia the kids are highy active socially with friends that they have made through common interests not forced situations in school. They are talented, active, healthy and popular members of sailing, rugby, football, swimming, running and netball clubs amongst many other activities with kids and adults of all ages and both genders!!!!

Let us know what you think...