‘Unschooled ; A Heuristic Study’ is comprised of interconnecting spheres of visual research surrounding families who’s children are electively home-educated, rather than attending mainstream schools.
These are permanent philosophical and pedagogical choices, made (outside of the current circumstances surrounding remote learning, due to the pandemic school closures) by parents who choose to home educate long term for most, or all of the child(ren)s educational years.
The research combines photography and video, with parental interviews and audio from the families who take part in the project, to take the viewer into the hearts of these families, to understand their journeys in their own words. These stories are further contextualised through the interweaving of U.K legislation and guidance on elective home-education.
By illustrating the wide ranging pedagogical beliefs and methodologies practiced by the home-educating community, the study explores the many reasons families choose this way of educating (from philosophical and pedagogical beliefs, to unmet special educational needs and bullying within schools), in addition to looking at the diversity of pedagogical approaches involved in these children’s education, from structured ‘school-at-home’ following the national curriculum, through to fully autonomous or child-led learning, where the child chooses what and when they wish to learn, and the parents facilitate this in many different ways.
Created by the artist in response to the visual void of real life stories or representations of the home-educating community, the work bridges the knowledge gap that currently exists between government educational bodies, the general public and home educators, exploring what individualised journeys of home-education can look like.
The project was born out of the artists first-hand experience, as a home-educating parent of four children, from primary ages through to her eldest child moving on to university in September 2020. Offering her a unique insight into the issues experienced by the community, as well as the positives that arise from individualised academic paths.
Heuristic – adj “enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves” – oxford dictionary –