Probably the quickest and easiest way to find out more about home education is to subscribe to an Internet mailing list. These are free, and can only be read by subscribers. Messages written to mailing lists on sites such as yahoogroups are not available on the web for general viewing, although most have searchable archives for members.
Messages are distributed to all subscribers of the lists, which are moderated to ensure friendly and mostly relevant discussions. Most mailing lists can either be read online, or you can set the messages to be sent to your email inbox. If you go away on holiday, you can temporarily unsubscribe, if you wish.
While Facebook has rather superseded mailing lists in recent years, there are some lists about home education in the UK which we have found particularly helpful, and which still exist. On these lists you can ask questions, mention problems you might have had, reply to other people, or simply read and discover more about the ways that different families teach their children at home.
The oldest list, and the first one I found when beginning home education, is the UK-HOME-ED list. It keeps members aware of potential government investigations, or changes in the law which may be relevant to education. People can also ask questions such as how to get started, or how to deal with adverse reactions to home education. It is particularly useful when newcomers are faced with questions from the Local Education Authority. There are many long-term home educators on this list, with a wealth of advice and experience. The easiest way to subscribe is to go the UK-HOME-ED online page, where you can subscribe yourself and manage your settings.
As with any mailing list of this type, you will need to confirm your subscription via a message which will be sent to your mailbox, and will then receive a comprehensive welcoming message with details of how to mail the list, and some guidelines about mailing list etiquette and expectations.
A much quieter, and less political list is the UK Families home ed list, which you can join at the UK-Families-Home_Ed web page. This is a yahoogroup; you will need to have a yahoo id to join, and can either read mail on the website, or have it sent to you as email.
This list can be very quiet sometimes, but always welcomes new members. If you have questions about how to get started, or what your parents think, or how to teach maths, then this may be a better place to start.
Christian home education mailing lists
For discussion of home education specifically for Christians, there are some relevant mailing lists:
The Deut6v7 list exists to provide a forum for discussion and support for those engaged in, or considering, Christian home-schooling in the United Kingdom. This does not exclude discussion of Christian education in general, and does not exclude subscribers from outside the United Kingdom.
Other important mailing lists
There are some other useful lists which are more specific, depending on your circumstances. An important one is HE-Special which deals particularly with children having specific educational needs; you can sign up for this on the HE-Special UK website.
Scottishhome-ed is for home educators in Scotland, where the law is a little different from that in England and Wales, and HE-exams which is a busy list, with advice and experience about taking exams – whether GCSEs, A-levels or others – for home educators.
If you want a list for a specific town or county in the UK, rather than general ones, you may find what you’re looking for on the local groups page.
Increasingly, local home education groups have their own mailing lists for letting folk know about meetings or outings, for discussing problems with their local education authority, or for anything else related to their area. Even if you belong to one of the more general lists, it’s well worth subscribing to a local home education mailng list too – or starting one, if there is none available!