Home education allows children to learn about the world and their place in it all the while surrounded by their families and communities. It provides a rich, broad learning experience and whether families choose to follow a curriculum or to follow their child's interests, the pace is that of the child.
It is not complicated, because parents know their children and are there to answer questions and guide them.
Is it Legal? YES!! Home education is completely legal in Ireland and supported by the Irish Constitution. In 2000 Registration was brought in by the Irish government for home educated children over the age of 6.
What does HEN Ireland offer? HEN Ireland is a support group for those who are home educating some or all of their children or who are considering the option.
We provide: . A phone line for those looking for information or advice . Regional contacts who can put you in touch with home educating families in your area . Meet-ups across the country (providing insurance where necessary) . An annual conference over a weekend in the summer . Two glossy quarterly newsletters -one for parents and one for children . A members Facebook group . Discounts for members . Involvement with the government on policy matters around home education
What about socialisation? We call this one "the S question"! There is no evidence that children do not learn social skills when they are home educated. They are out and about in the world and after all that is what true socialisation is all about. Social skills research by Julie Webb(1990) and Gary Knowles (1993) concluded that "the idea of there being social disadvantage to home-based education was not supported by the evidence. Indeed the evidence suggested the reverse." This is echoed in the research by Alan Thomas (1999) who found that "Socially, research shows broader and more applicable skills sets in home educated children compared with their peers."
How do children fare academically? We believe that there is so much more to education than academic achievement. In the words of William Butler Yeats "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire". It nurtures creativity, empathy, passion and humour. Home educators tend to think in terms of the needs of individual children. However, to put our minds at ease, research has repeatedly found that home educated children excel in terms of intellectual achievements. For research see Paula Rothermel (2002) who found impressive results for home educated children. See also Alaska Dept of Education (1985), Hewitt Research Foundation (1985), (1986), Brian Ray (1991) amongst others.