Homeschooling is the latest global parenting trend

Posted by iChild, September 24, 2023 8:00 AM

By Lee Wilcock, Principal at Wolsey Hall Oxford

In the UK, homeschooling figures have risen 27 per cent which shows that despite normal schooling resuming after Covid, parents are still opting to pursue a learning journey at home.  In the United States, the National Home Education Research Institute established there were 4.3 million homeschooled students in 2022, that’s almost twice the number in 2016.  This pattern is mirrored in many of the 125 countries where Wolsey Hall’s students are based, with Thailand seeing the fastest growth in Asia with student numbers up by 22 per cent compared with last year. 


In an age where many parents aspire to practice gentle parenting, an evidence-based approach to raising happy confident children, it is not surprising that homeschooling is witnessing a renaissance. Gentle parenting aims to foster empathy and understanding between parents and children to develop positive behaviours and social skills whilst also setting age-appropriate boundaries.

Homeschooling goes hand in hand with this fundamental parenting shift.  Parents who choose to pursue a learning journey at home are often looking for an education environment that truly places the child at the heart of the process.

Karen Binedell, whose three children studied with Wolsey Hall Oxford, explains: “We wanted to escape the stress and constant rushing, we wanted to live our lives on our terms, we wanted to teach our children that kindness and empathy and experiences are so much more valuable than material possessions.”

Student centred, student paced

Homeschooling affords families incredible flexibility that is not tied to a school building or timetable. Ultimately, it places the student at the centre of the learning experience.

Christine Armstrong, Wolsey Hall Oxford’s Head of Primary Level, explains: “There are subject teachers just as in a traditional school, and each student at Primary and Secondary level is assigned their own Student Progress Manager (SPM) who is tasked with staying in regular contact with both the parents and child.”

The SPM develops a deep understanding of each student and their families’ circumstances and provides a highly personalised connection with Wolsey Hall. They help to manage assignment schedules and progress goals and find a place, pace and style of learning that works for the individual student. 

It is this combination of personalised pace and level of learning that really gives families flexibility to build education into their home life.  Karen says: “Homeschooling enables children to learn in an alternate environment, at their own pace and in such a way that you can focus on their interests and strengths but with an absolute wealth of resources, support and structure. For us it is the way forward in raising independent, open-minded and worldly individuals.”

Supporting parents who choose to homeschool

Although parents may recognise that traditional schooling is no longer working for their family life balance, many are still unsure regarding the decision to homeschool.

According to Christine, Head of Primary Level, who has many years’ experience in both traditional and homeschooling roles, there are very few parents who would be unable to oversee and supervise a child’s homeschooling - but it does take patience. Wolsey Hall Oxford is geared up to help, and when choosing a homeschooling provider parents should ask what support is available specifically for them.

Christine explains the different levels at Wolsey Hall Oxford: “At Primary level our courses are parent-led and structured so that the parent or other trusted adult can facilitate sharing the knowledge and skills with the child at home, and to guide them through the learning.

“When your child transitions into the Secondary phase, at year seven, the dynamic changes and the courses are structured so that the student can take more responsibility for their own learning.  They begin to develop the skill of independent learning  which is so critical for further education and the world of work.”

Legalities of homeschooling

Despite the surge in numbers, a frequent query from parents when considering homeschooling is the legality of teaching from home. In a nutshell, each country is different and we would advise all families to check the conditions for homeschooling in their country of residence.  

In the UK, children can be deregistered from school simply by writing to the headteacher stating an intention to homeschool which in turns notifies the local authority. Children from age five have to receive a full-time education but it does not need to follow the national curriculum.  

Here to stay

To be honest, I hesitate to call homeschooling a trend – as it implies that it is here now and gone tomorrow, when clearly homeschooling is being embraced as a way of life by families all over the globe for good.  I think it’s only right that we give the last word to Karen, who home educated her three children whilst travelling extensively across Europe in a caravan, on the profound impact of this ‘trend’:  

“As parents we now play a much more active role in our children’s education and after our first year can see the positive impact homeschooling has had on our family. We can allow them more freedom to pursue those subjects which really interest and engage them. Our children have become confident, independent learners who know how to effectively manage their time and who, believe it or not, enjoy ‘school’.”

By Lee Wilcock, Principal at Wolsey Hall Oxford


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.