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In the UK, the USA and elsewhere an unusual, quiet revolution has been taking place in the form of educating children at home. This phenomenon is most accurately described as home-based education because most families use the home as a springboard into community-based activities and investigations, replacing the 'day prison' model operated by most schools. People often find this quite hard to grasp, and wonder whether such children become socially inept. Yet it is soon clear that learning activities out in the community give children more social contacts, and more varied encounters than the restricted social life on offer in the majority of schools, as well as reducing the peer-dependency feature of adolescent experience.
People often try to make generalisations and construct stereotypes about families educating the home-based way. The only ones that the evidence supports are that:
- (a) they display considerable diversity in motive, methods and aims
- (b) they are remarkably successful in achieving their chosen aims.
When schools were set up, we lived in an information-poor environment. Today we live in an information-rich environment – it is a major factor in the success of home-based education.