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Families who choose to home educate generally do so due to dissatisfaction with schoolbased
education. Common perceptions of home educators oscillate between images of the
'tree-hugging hippy' and the 'religious fanatic'. Whilst attempting to go beyond such
stereotypical dichotomies, this paper will examine three very different groupings of home
educators and their varying constructions of childhood and the social world, demonstrating
the spectrum between home education as an expression of human rights and of
fundamentalism. The first grouping construct home education as a 'natural' choice, often
presented in political opposition to existing social structures. For the second grouping home
education is predominantly a 'social' choice relating to the conscious transmission of various
forms of capital. Finally there are 'last resort' home educators for whom home education is
not perceived as a choice. Based on qualitative research, this paper will argue that, even
where home education is constructed as natural, the social aspects and impacts of home
education choices cannot be ignored.
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