In many countries around the world, the practicalities of getting your child out of ‘the system’ to pursue homeschooling (or education otherwise) is complicated, and in some places homeschooling is illegal altogether. In England, under current law, you may take your child out of school to educate them at home, and you can remove them with relative ease. In fact, all you need to do is write to your headteacher to inform them; they have to do the paperwork.
As it happens, we had (and still have, I hope) a very good relationship with the headteacher and teachers of our daughters’ school, and we were in fact very happy with their experience so far. Nevertheless, we have always had in our hearts a desire to homeschool, and we’ve felt over the last year a growing sense that we would do so sooner rather than later.
For many who take their children out of school, the school itself is a major push factor, perhaps regarding issues of bullying, poor academic standards, high turnover of staff, etc., and parents in that position may want to write a short, perhaps even critical letter to their headteacher. This was not the case for us. Our main concern was ensuring that the headteacher and his staff knew that this was nothing to do with them, that we were (and are) eternally grateful for what they have done for our children, and that we will miss being part of that school community.
Here’s how we worded the letter to the headteacher:
Dear Mr *********,
After much careful consideration, reflection, and prayer, we have decided to withdraw our daughters from school in order to teach them at home. Please remove their names from the register in accordance with Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 8(1)(d) 2006.
As you can imagine, the decision has not been taken lightly, and we feel it is only fair and courteous to give you an overview of why we are taking ******, ****, and ***** out of school at this time.
Firstly, we cannot emphasise enough how pleased we have been with the girls’ education at ** ************. We think your school is excellent, the best in the area, with leadership, teachers, staff and governors who are truly outstanding in their dedication to doing the very best for the children; our decision should in no way be taken as a poor reflection of ** *************. We have loved being part of the school community, and cannot express the extent of our gratitude for all that you and ** ************ have done for our girls.
Our decision, therefore, is based on other factors, notably:
- ********’s increasingly problematic anxiety issues which are affecting her learning and general wellbeing;
- The long and sometimes difficult journeys to and from school, and all the issues related to this;
- And above all, a yearning in our hearts to teach our own children, to spend more time growing and learning together as a family.
******, *****, and ******* have all been involved in the discussions about this at home, and are aware of the pros and cons of this decision. It is worth mentioning that when we asked ******* what the sad things about leaving school might be, she immediately said “I will miss Mrs *****. I love Mrs *****,” – and I’m sure the same could be said of all the teachers and staff that the girls have encountered at your school.
As for the practicalities of leaving, we would very much appreciate it if you would allow the girls to continue coming to school for the remainder of the week, their last day being Friday 28th October, so they have some time to talk about this with their classmates in their own way, and enjoy the happy environment of your school for a few more days. Also, ****** is worried that she might have to stand up in front of everyone in assembly on her last day. We’ve reassured her that, if this does happen, she will not be alone but with her sisters; she’s content with this compromise.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any problems and extra work this entails; we appreciate the hard work that you do. When convenient, please confirm receipt of this letter and, for our records, please inform us of the date that the girls’ names were removed from the register.
Finally, we can only reiterate our heartfelt thanks to you and your staff for all the love and dedication you put in each day to making ** ************ the ‘happy and fruitful’ school that it is. Thank you.
We added these pictures to the letter just to be extra friendly! Optional, of course.