What is education? How do children learn? Can they learn without school?
Under the UK law, education is compulsory but school isn’t, and in Britain the number of families deciding to home educate has been on the rise for over a decade. For many families it is a viable and welcome alternative to school and allows their children to thrive outside of the pressures of a traditional educational establishment.
In the wake of pandemic schooling from home, parents and educators now face big questions about the the purpose and methods of education, focus on exams and academic achievement, as well as the role of schools in the modern society.
Educated is an ongoing project inspired by my own educational experiences: as a child at school; as an adult in higher education and in self-directed learning; as a parent who opted out of the school system for my child. Combining photographs and interviews, it explores an alternative way of learning and living, and challenges the public perceptions, encouraging audiences to rethink their preconceived notions about what education is and how it can be achieved.
Would you like to share your experiences of education for this project? Get in touch.
“I believe in a life closely connected with nature. We spend a lot of time outdoors, in the forest and by the sea. We love to forage and this hobby has led us to making healing salves which in turn led to making our own logo and learning about what it means to brainstorm and how one thing can lead into so many different subjects just by following something we both love to do.”
Anne, home educating parent of Phoenix, aged 5
“Do we do subjects? I think that’s a bit schooly, we don’t do that, but I really like learning about the olden days and how people lived then. And I love when we do spelling, is that a subject? Is that learning?”
India, aged 8
“When I grow up, I want to be the next Greta.”
Coco, aged 9
Sisters Emma and Alice pass a local school while on a neighbourhood litter picking mission. The eldest, Emma is planning to do 365 days of litter picking for her Brownies badge.
Sasha, aged 10, is playing Roblox on his home PC.
Computer games such as Roblox attract much criticism by “parenting experts” but they are an important informal learning tool for many home educated children, encouraging them to learn to read, write, and create, design and code their own games, all while doing something they enjoy, often in collaborative play with friends.