Homeschooling in the United Kingdom: Mike F-W's Interview

This is the flag of Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom and where Mike F-W and his family live.

But more specifically, they actually live in Snowdonia National Park which looks like a beautiful, relaxing place. No wonder he signs off his email messages with the slogan, "Your man in a hammock."

Mike runs a website for homeschooling families in the UK, where he keeps them up-to-date on the legalities and also provides support.

Let's see what he has to say about homeschooling his family in the U.K.

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

I have been home educating my 4 children for 17 years now with my partner. The eldest now has an MA and is an editor, the next a BSc and is a pediatric nurse. The third is studying for a BA, in photography and the fourth is still at home doing Open University courses.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

The children have been able to tailor their education to their interests. It meant they could work as intensely as they wished or at times relax and consider what they were interested in next and how to pursue that interest. They picked up skills as they needed them and sought the answers to problems and issues as they occurred.

It also meant not having to deal with goals set externally by those with little idea or even interest in what might drive a young mind's pursuit of learning.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

Spending days upon days in warm weather reading books in the open air at a local arboretum when they were little is something I remember well. Never having to worry about any of those institutional school type problems, it was nearly completely stress free.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

On one occasion an elderly female ex-head teacher (at the arboretum mentioned above) asked our eldest, aged 9 or so, why he was not in school today. He answered quick as a flash "I burned it down," accompanied by a manic grin. It certainly avoided the follow up questions. It's now our standard reply to such questions when asked in public.

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