I have written this glossary to explain the meaning of some common terms used within home-ed.

Home-education, home-ed, and home-schooling

These terms refer to being educated at home (at the park, or wherever). In the strictest sense, it refers to a child that is not registered at a school and is receiving their education elsewhere.  Home-education is the British term and home-schooling is the American term.

You are legally entitled to home-educate and this applies to children with a statement, as stated in the education Act 1966, but there are slightly different rules governing children who attend special schools. For more information please see HE and Special Education Needs on the Education Otherwise website.

Please note that there is no requirement to follow any particular curriculum or employ tutors.


This is the formal process of removing your child from the school register and hence from school and must be done in writing. Once your child is de-registered ( from the date specified in your letter) they are no longer formally required to attend school. Many home-educators find it easiest to follow a template see the link above.

NB You must de-register your child before they stop attending. A child who is registered at a school is legally obliged to attend.


This is the psychological process of readjusting to life without school, especially from the drill and conditioning imposed by the school system. It applies to both the child and home-educator (perhaps more so for the home-educator). It allows you to create a clear space where natural learning can take the place of the structured formalities of school. It is very important to allow this process to take its natural course; my conditioning frequently interfered with Kai’s learning: I had been accustomed, like many, to think that you needed to sit children down and shovel knowledge into them. When left to their own devices they actually want to learn.

I read somewhere that it’s good to allow a month of for every year a child has attended school, but there is no formal prescription. Quite frankly, allow as much time as you need, no one knows your child better than you. During this time just do fun things, no pressure to study. Get out and do things you both like. At some point you’ll be in for a surprise, especially if the child has spent a number of years in the school system.  You’ll see them change and you’ll need to be ready: after about four months (having been in school for 5 years) my son just seemed to be so much more alert and became acutely aware of small details. He had more energy and became very interested in things around him. I realised I needed to get him out and about often so that he could take in as much as possible. Once they get into something they can go very deep.  It is therefore important for parents to be aware of what they begin to show an interest in and take action. 🙂

Educational philosophy

The education Act 1966 affirms the right of a parent to educate their child according to their own wishes but case law upholds a parent’s right to provide an education in line with their own philosophical and religious beliefs. See Why Write an Educational Philosophy.

Your educational philosophy will lie at the core of all that you do in home-ed. Your educational beliefs, your reasons for home-educating and the methods you employ to educate your child all form part of your educational philosophy. Many home-educators write up their educational philosophies in the form of a statement, for their own purposes and for submission to the educational authority. Any assessment of your educational provision by the education authority will then be done in line with your educational philosophy.

Flexi-schooling and part-time schooling

This is where a child who is on the school register is given permission to be educated at home for part of the school week. How much time is spent at home depends on the specific arrangement you have with the school. Unlike home-education, you don’t have a legal right to flexi-school; it is entirely at the Head Teachers discretion.

My son was flexi-schooled for one day a week for a number of a number of years. We had to fight for it, but it was worth it. Read more about flexi-schooling here.