Adult evening socials are always enriching a
nd affirming in my experience and last night was no exception. We have a wealth of knowledge, history and skill in our area. Amongst the six guests last night was a mother who was herself home educated until university age and a mother of a now 25 year old son who was out of school from the age of six.
We talked about great books and resources we have found of course, why January and February would be good months for a holiday, local meet ups, high heels, early sexualisation, flirting, the highs and lows involved in being connected to your children 24 hours a day 7 days a week in a culture where separation from a young age is the accepted norm. The host family had this great "What on Earth Happened?" wall chart on the wall. We have the book of the same name. Brilliant as it is totally cross circular. We also talked about college funding. This is a slightly more "technical" issue from a legal perspective and rather than repeat all the facts I suggest a quick trip to the definitive edyourself for the latest.
The angle that is of interest in our area is that our local county council are suggested that students need to be "registered" (legally the councils are unable to hold a register of home educators) in order to be able to access the funding required to attend college at 14. Of course, in reality a very small number of home educated children choose or are accepted to go to college a 14 but for those that are impacted it is a significant amount of money involved. At the present time WSCC are capping the funding they pass on to colleges at £2,900 when the amount they receive (and the cost of the courses) is typically closer to £4200. I do recall the exact figure being quoted to the penny last night but I don't recall the decimal pointage.
Partly this situation has arisen, I suspect, because it is a new area. The county council are fearful that hundreds of unknown home educated teenagers will appear demanding places on courses that they can't provide or that students may decide to leave school at 14 to attend college instead and, of course, the infrastructure is not in place for this to happen. My perception, based on running the local home education group for 5 years, is that there are not hundreds of home educated children and even if there were not all of them would wish to go to college.
Local parents of home educated 11 or 12 year olds are now wondering whether they should make themselves known to the local authority in case their offspring decide to leave home education and go to college in a few years time (in reality this does not impact students who remain home educated and attend college part time as the cost of their courses fall below the funding cap.)
This is a complex issue and I am not normally awake at 10pm so I would strongly advise checking with those that know more than me if this is an area that is important to you and your family. It is a controversial area too and some home educators have strong views about making themselves known to the local authority for moral and philosophical reasons and, when in reality, most councils have little in the way of funding, support or resources to offer to home educators