Starting Out

by Tracy van den Broek

In this brief article, Tracy van den Broek suggests some useful resources for home educators.

When we first became interested in home education ten years ago the only home-school organisation we could discover was Education Otherwise. We found their newsletters somewhat off-putting, but in recent years the tussling within the organisation which was apparent (between proponents of the unstructured `child-centered' approach and the structured/organised approach) has come to a head. Those in favour of more structured learning have formed a new organisation called Home Education Advisory Service, which aims to present a more `professional' face to the home-school movement. I feel that HEAS will help to effectively combat any current and future attempts to erode our rights in the area of home education.

Support specifically for Christian home-schoolers is available through Home Service, which is now a membership organisation offering, amongst other things, testing of basic skills for eight- to twelve-year-olds, which we particularly value.

A contact list for Christians involved in home education was first assembled several years ago and has been growing ever since. This, and the Home Time newsletter which contains many encouraging testimonies from parents (and children), reviews and ideas, can be obtained from the Barns family. A subscription to Home Time is included as part of membership with Home Service.

Informal groups meeting at a local level are becoming more numerous and offer opportunities for parents to discuss and children to `socialize'. `School' type activities such as museum visits and sports days have also flowed out of this type of gathering. Home Education Advisory Service offers posters advertising home education suitable for display in libraries, to which you could add your name and telephone number to one of these, thereby making local contacts yourself.

With the general decline in educational standards in most state schools - not to mention the negative socialisation - home-education looks set to continue growing.

Here are some addresses:

  • Education Otherwise, PO Box 7420, London N9 9SG.

  • Home Education Advisory Service, 5 Elm Gardens, Welwyn Garden City, Herts. AL8 6RX. Telephone 01707 335825.

  • Home Service, 48 Heaton Moor Road, Heaton Morr, Stockport SK4 4NX. Membership £10 per year.

  • Home Time, Richard and Sheila Barns, 234b Cricklewood Lane, London.
Copyright © Family Matters 1996
Ron and Tracy van den Broek and their family of seven children live near Guildford, Surrey. Tracy runs Christian Educational Resources (see advertisement in this issue), supplying useful material to home educators.