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I wish I had more time at the moment to look into this report out of the UK that describes home educated children as generally more vulnerable than their schooled counterparts.

Children educated at home are twice as likely to be known by social services and four times more likely as young adults to be out of work, education or training than those who go to school, MPs have been told.

MPs on the cross-party select committee for children, schools and families asked the head of a government inquiry into home education and the schools minister to defend calls for tougher rules on parents who teach their children at home.

In his review published in June, Kent’s former education director Graham Badman recommended that all home educators register with their local authority. Councils should be given powers to refuse registration if a child is believed to be at risk, he said.

The article in The Guardian leaves me wondering what sort of measure of well-being were used to determine how home-educated kids were thriving, other than their being “known” by social services — something that, at least in the history of the United States home education movement can be caused simply by children not being in traditional schools. The idea of young adults being disproportionately out of “work, education, or training” also assumes mainstream markers of adulthood rather than asking deeper questions about how young people are or are not thriving in the world. After all, being “out of . . . education” is one description of unschooled young adults; it does not necessarily mean they are not learning.

If, indeed, children and young adults who are not in mainstream schools are struggling in British society, then it seems like something ought to be done to remedy the situation! However, I am skeptical that government oversight — especially oversight which sounds like an attempt to bring home educating parents in-line with traditional curriculum and teaching objectives — is the most productive solution. Maybe the problem is not with the home-educating families and children, but rather with a society at large that views home education suspiciously and fails to provide its young people with non-school environments in which to learn and grow into adult persons who feel capable of contributing to society in ways they feel suited to and derive pleasure from.

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