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Everyone agrees that home-based education is growing both in numbers and in scope, but despite some excellent pieces of research, particularly from the USA, many questions remain unanswered. One question can be answered.
What is the bad news? Answer, it is hard to find. (This contrasts with mass, coercive schooling, where there is plenty). Young people educated at home usually flourish intellectually, emotionally, socially and turn out to be self-managed confident researchers and rather good citizens, not wasting their time on drug-taking, binge-drinking, petty crime, peer-group violence, slavery to fashion, victims of bullying or being prone to suicide.
This book is the first in a series of publications following the life of an extensive programme of research into home-based education initiated by the Centre for Personalised Education Trust. Home-based educating families provide the context in which personalised learning is most likey to be found, so the Trust has made this a top priority in its research programme.
The research covered here is just the beginning. In 2002, after commissioning a feasibility study into research on home-based education, the Trust, which trades as Personalised Education Now, decided to commission a full research project over a number of years. The first set of results are contained in this book and cover three major questionnaires dealing with who home educates, why families choose home education and how home-based education is conducted in practice.
The Trust is grateful to the Ernest Cook Trust and the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust for substantial financial support, along with donations from various individuals and other organisations.
Mike Fortune-Wood is Research Officer for the Centre for Personalised Education Trust and a consultant on home-based education