Homeschooling a bilingual child?

A few weeks back we attened a talk on home schooling. Both of us have, for various reasons, become deeply sceptical of the state education system both in terms of its quality and ideological agendas so were intriguigded to
learn more. We had both been influenced by alternative views of education such as ‘unschooling’ and the books of John Holt and John Taylor Gatto.

The person giving the talk, a black lady from London with a bright 12 year old son, gave an insight into some of the many reasons she had for taking her child out of mainstream schooling and the steps you need to take to do so.

Currently, a bill is going through parliament to make homeschooling potentially more difficult. Recent negative media pubilicty made a specious link between homeschooling and a couple of high profile abuse cases. Further, the current government is influenced by a form of socialism called Fabianism, which has an active social engineering agenda, and seeks to promote greater and greater state involvement in people’s day to day lives. Clearly, homeschooling runs counter to this so it’s unsuprising that yet more government legislations has it in its sights.

The speaker explained that she prefers the term ‘unschooling’ to home schooling. Home schooling does have some unhelpful connotations. On one hand it conjours up images of deeply religious American families seeking to molly-coddle and isolate their children from a sinful world. In the British context, homeschooling is sometimes seen as something done by particularly strict parents concerned that the state system no longer offers sufficient academic rigeur – cold shower at 6am, two hours of hardcore mathmatics, two hours of grammar, that kind of thing.

Unschooling, by contrast, is certainly not about isolating children from society or over-scheduling them with gruelling timetables. While learning may be structured to a point, children are given freedom to explore topics that interest them in as much depth as they desire. The speaker explained that sometimes her son would want to concentrate solely on maths, another year English and so on. It’s a world away from the fragmented, compartmentalised world of the National Curriculum and arbitrary timetables.

Between us, Lidia and I can deliver knowledge of many subjects to a very high level and possibly several more through friends and family so unschooling is a potential option. Lidia, with her language skills, could deliver as much as a school with a language specialism – Spanish, French, German, some Italian and Russian. I could offer English, technological subjects, and do a fair job with the sciences.


Is unschooling the ultimate form of natural education or an unrealistic fad?

We hope to work towards a lifestyle where one of us is at home each day, which again would allow for this to work. We lack the affluence for a private school with an ethos of our choice or to move to an area with a top-drawer state school.


  1. i was home schooled too but i would still prefer regular schools..;`

  2. Hi Brooklyn, that’s interesting. You should share your experience with others. Why would you prefer regular schools? What were the negative and positive sides of your home education?

  3. i was home schooled and it is quite satisfactory when providing basic education–’

  4. I think home education comes in many shapes and sizes. For us it was an anchor for our 3 young children especially when we lived in different towns and then different countries.
    I was keen that they should enjoy engaged spontaneous learning instead of being captive to an institution’s timetable. Socialising was paramount and we belonged to many family groups planning events together.
    When they finally did go to school, they were mature, well socialised and eager and they picked up a second language no problem!

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