The terms “home education” and “home schooling” are often used interchangeably. However, some individuals and educational communities make distinctions between the two concepts. The differences can be nuanced and may vary based on regional or personal interpretations. In this blog post I will set out to define the terms Home Schooling and Home Education. It should be noted though that these distinctions are not universally agreed upon. Ultimately, the choice of how to define your childs learning reflects not only the educational philosophy and approach preferred by your family but simply how you prefer to define it. There is no right or wrong answer.
What is Home Schooling?
Home schooling generally refers to the practice of educating children at home while emulating the school environment. This can include implementing a dedicated or widely adopted standard curriculum purchased from a home school provider. The curriculum, can alternatively, be designed by the parents or guardians. In this context, the term “home schooling” is often used to describe a more structured and formal approach to home education. The focus in home schooling may lean towards replicating a traditional school environment. This can include adopting a strict routine, set holidays, defined curriculum, educational textbooks, and regular assessments. In some regions, home schooling might involve adhering to specific regulations and requirements set by educational authorities.
What is Home Education?
Home education generally refers to any type of education that takes place primarily in the home whether it is through traditional schooling methods or more alternative approaches. This can include home schooling. It also includes unschooling, road schooling, world schooling, online learning, co-ops, or other forms of alternative education. Home education tends to embrace a broader, more holistic approach to learning. It may involve incorporating life skills, experiential learning, and a more personalised curriculum tailored to the child’s interests and pace. Home education often extends beyond formal academic settings, encompassing everyday activities, real-world experiences, and a diverse range of resources beyond textbooks. Home education is often associated with flexibility and autonomy in the learning process. Parents may have more freedom to choose teaching methods, resources, and evaluation strategies.
What is your parental responsibility in the UK?
It should be remembered that in the UK we are legally required to educate our children not to provide a school environment. With that said you will see me using the term home education on this blog. As even though we do have routines and schedules in place, at times we may be more unstructured in our approach.
Why the distinctions?
There have been attempts over the years to control home education. To make it more like school in terms of timetables, topics and curriculum. Because of this you may find some home educators can feel passionately about differentiating between the two. This is in order to emphasise that school is not a requirement and not what they do. So while there can be some overlap between the two terms and some parents/guardians will use them interchangeably;
- Home Education tends to be a broader concept that encompasses a wider range of educational approaches and philosophies.
- Home Schooling generally refers to a method of educating children at home while replicating the school set up.
Home Education FAQs Series
This post is part of a series of Frequently Asked Questions concerning Home Education in the UK. If you are new to Home Education, are considering it in the future or you know people who Home Educate then reviewing the list of FAQs can be a good place to start. You may also be interested in be notified when my Home Education FAQs Ebook is published and if so please sign up below to be added to the list.
Do you differentiate between the terms Home Education and Home Schooling? Tell me in the comments below.
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FURTHER READING ON HOME EDUCATION
Read more in some of my Favourite Home Education Books: