HE for Beginners

When you first start looking into home educating, it can seem like a whole other world where you really don't know where to start. Hopefully this page will help you find your bearings a little bit and point you in the right direction for finding the information you are looking for.


Firstly, the general lingo that can leave many who are just exploring or are new to the community a bit confused…

Home educated Vs Home schooled:
Home schooled is very much an American term. Some UK home educators use it, but many find it as alien to what they do as calling a home cook a chef. Many home educators, feel that they don’t do ‘school’ at home, although I personally insist on no running in the corridors, or loitering in the toilets during lunch break, and their learning happens in a completely different way to the school system, so the term just feels really ill-fitting. Others also think that it implies ‘school’ is the only way learning can take place, and so that we, as a society, are trying to teach our children how to be ‘schooled’ rather than how to be ‘educated’.

For some it is quite a tender point, so the general rule of thumb as far as etiquette is concerned is to refer to what you do in any terms you see fit, but to refer to what others do as home educating. Some even struggle with the term home educated as they feel that most of the learning takes place out of the home, but on the whole, most except the term home educated quite comfortably.

The home ed journey:
As you have probably guessed we don’t all get on a big bus and tour the UK annually. This is the way many people choose to talk about their home educating experience(?), career(?), life(?) or whatever else you might want to call it. Possibly a somewhat pretentious term, but it is often the most accurate for describing the way we each find our own path that takes us from being a home educator for the first time, right through to when your children (finally) fly the nest. It is a continuous process that develops every member of the family differently. Some love it and some hate it, but we all come out feeling that we have been on a long journey, even if we only do it for a year or two.


HE: Home education, but often used to mean home educated/educating. Occasionally to mean that someone is part of the home educating community, as in, ‘they’re HE’. Regularly used interchangeably with home ed/home edding (ed-ing)

HEed: Home educated

HEing: Home educating

HEor: Home educator. Occasionally written phonetically as HEer. Can also be used collectively to cover both HEing parent and child or multiple HEing children, as in, ‘they’re HEors’.

Other acronyms that regularly pop up are…

DD/DS: Generally seen on the HE lists, meaning dearest/darling daughter and dearest/darling son. They are often numbered too, as in DD1 and DD2.

Ed Phil: not technically an acronym, but hey ho. It is the shortening of the term Educational Philosophy (philosophy on education). A fancy way of saying the approach and methods you take to education and how you plan to teach.

EHE: Elective Home Education. Used by the LEA and other formal bodies. It just means you have chosen to HE.

IGCSEs: International GCSEs. The same as GCSEs but can be taken all over the world. They have traditionally been taken by HEors as they do not require any course work, but as many GCSEs have changed over recent years, these are increasingly becoming an option for more HEors.

LA/LEA: Local Authority/Local Education Authority – local government body responsible for education in England and wales.

SEND: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Sometimes just written SEN. A universal term rather than a specifically HE term, but relevant as so many children in HE have SEND.

The Info

The Legal Bit

There are loads of fantastic national sites that can give you all the legal info you could ever want to know, but for the highlights that come up regularly for anyone looking into HE for the first time…

The Myths

There are loads!!! Some about us, some made by us, some funny, some depressing, some absolute rubbish and some with a grain of truth. To really understand a community, you have to know the folk tales that develop in them…


How do HEed children learn and HEors teach? That is a really tricky question as each family and their situation is different. However, there are general patterns that you can describe…


How much does it cost to home educate? Well, that completely depends on each individual family’s income, needs and priorities, but here is a list of things to consider as you try and add it all up.

What Comes After

Coming soon… ish

Finding out More

Coming soon… ish

General Tips

From general advice for beginners, right through to how to organise an HE group or school trip. They are far from definitive lists, but are things that regularly get asked or mentioned on the HE forums…


This website is still very much a (slow) (very slow) work in progress, so if you think there is something missing on this page, or would like something else added, please let us know by going to the contact page.