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Reasons for Home Educating...

When we decided to take Alex out of our small village school and carry on with his education at home we felt it was the only option. School had been a miserable time for him, and he had never been accepted as part of the village by the other kids, despite living here since he was six months old. Unfortunately bullying was a problem which the then head teacher refused to acknowledge or take action against, and despite numerous complaints to the head and ultimately to the school governors, nothing was done. There seemed to be only one realistic choice, to educate Alex at home.

I think it was probably the best decision we have ever made, as Alex went from being a very unhappy, withdrawn child into a much happier and more contented one over the next year. After 10 years at home he is a very mature, sensible and confident young man, who works with interest and enthusiasm at most things. He has just commenced college to take his GCSE's and is thoroughly enjoying it. As well as his regular coursework he is part of the editorial team for the college magazine and he aims to work in computer journalism when he finishes college.

The Education Authority Bit...

We received a periodic visit from the local education authority to make sure that we were doing the job, and not just letting him skive. He enjoyed these tremendously, it being an opportunity to show off everything he has done since the previous one. We usually had a baking session just before the visit so that Alex could try out his culinary skills on the inspector, and we found that the inspection, scheduled to last for about an hour and a half, carried on for almost half a day and we almost had to shove the inspectors out of the door to get him to go, so engrossed did they become in the visit!!!

We were also members of one of the support groups for home educating families, called Education Otherwise. EO produces bi-monthly newsletters for its members, as well as organising events for families to get together. Another excellent home education support web site is Home Education which has lots of details, as well as links to other home edsites, can be found at If you're new to home ed and want advice, guidance, or just reassurance this is an excellent place to start.

Links with other Home Educating Families...

We kept in touch with other home educating families through a daily digest newsletter and through a chat program called ICQ [available as a free download from]. Various of us have web sites about our activities, and there is a page of links to these available here

Some of What We Do...

Home education is not like formal schooling in that we didn't follow a set timetable. We did try this to begin with, but found it too restrictive in many ways as we tended to get so absorbed in one particular area of study that we didn't want to break away to do something else. We tended to work on what I call immersion learning... meaning that we concentrated on one thing until we had either exhausted it, or until we felt we'd had enough of it and fancied a change.

Alex has made his first website - it can be seen at and is now working on a second one.... when he isn't designing graphics and logos for mine, or trying out game-making software. He has recently begun to learn C++ and was delighted at how easy it was to produce his first C++ program. His other great passion is computer games and he spent hours helping to beta test a recent one called Neocron.

Helping the Scientists...

We also take part in the SETI at Home project, which is the scientific search for extra-terrestrial life, and analysis of radio signals picked up from outer space. SETI at Home uses the spare capability of our home PC.. that is it downloads data from the SETI website, number crunches this whenever the PC is not in use by us, and then sends back the analysed results to the SETI website for checking, and brings back another block to carry on with. The project takes advantage of the unused portion of your PC's time, and helps the scientists in the project. There is also the possiblity.. however remote.... that we may be the PC that actually finds that first signal from intelligent life in outer space, and that makes it an interesting project to take part in. For more information on SETI at Home click on the banner below.

Link to seti@home project

More recently we started helping with another shared computing project - called United Devices Computational Chemistry. This is an initiative supported by Oxford University to further research into cures for disease - particularly into cancer prevention and cure. As an extra part of this project we also help with research into the Anthrax toxin after this pathogen was used to contaminate the US Mail service. For more information about UD please follow the link below.

Link to United Devices project

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