What is Leiden Home Learners?

Leiden Home Learners (LHL) is a small network of home educating families that meet every week to play and learn. Our focus is on friendships, nature and creativity. We spend our time exploring together, having adventures, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and creating things. Most of our meetings are in and around Leiden, the Netherlands. You can read more about us here.

Why is this website in English?

English is a language that many people have in common.

Home education is happening around the world and we want other home learners to be able to find us. When LHL families travel abroad, many of us like to connect with local home learning groups in different countries and make friends. LHL families have visited with home learners in Canada, Australia, Ireland and England. We have had home educating families visit us from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia. Our Dutch website can be found here.

Why don’t your children go to school?

Every family has their own reasons for choosing home education. For all the LHL families, we have exemption based on life philosophies. We want to spend the majority of our time helping our children learn in ways that best fit with our individual life philosophies. This is not a decision that is taken lightly. Home education requires tremendous commitment and responsibility.

Are you against school?

Not at all. Most of our nieces and nephews, our friends’ children and our neighbours’ children go to school. We are happy that the option exists. But each family is different and for home educating families, the option to learn together as a family is something we highly value.

How do you socialize?

By spending time with people. Much of home education happens in our communities while our children are out and about. We meet people of all backgrounds and ages and we have conversations and we learn from one another. Many home educated children are enrolled in different clubs or activities, take workshops, and participate in tournaments. They go to the library and visit interesting places that children love. Home educated children play with their neighbours after school hours and during the weekends and holidays. At other times, they often play with their home educated friends. For example, at Leiden Home Learners!

Do you teach together?

No. Each family takes responsibility for their own children’s education. Parents tailor their children’s education to suit their child’s individual needs and learning style. However, we do love to meet up and learn together, just like children learn together when they visit a museum or join a club. We also help each other out with recommendations for different resources and with ideas. It is wonderful that our children have so many different adults that they can have conversations with and share knowledge and experiences with during our weekly meetings.

Who are the families of Leiden Home Learners?

We are a diverse group of people. We have people from the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. We are a multicultural and multi-lingual group, with many different religious and philosophical backgrounds.

We also have different educational backgrounds. A few examples are anthropology, politics, medicine, midwifery, applied physics, and public administration. We have different professions represented in our group. We have a space scientist, two psychiatrists, a senior policy advisor, an engineer, an artist, an education consultant, an author, a financial consultant, and more. The parents of LHL work for organizations such as a Rotterdam Hospital, the European Space Agency, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

We have various hobbies – photography, sewing, martial arts, football, herbal medicine, meditation, yoga, beekeeping, knitting, carpentry, and much more. We like to share our knowledge, ideas and experiences with each other and with our children. We encourage home educated teens to come and share their passions with us, whether it be playing drums or giving a street dance workshop.

LHL children are also active in their individual communities. Some clubs and groups LHL children have been involved with are Scouts, swimming, Aikido, ballet, football, basketball, baseball, and theater.

What language is spoken at Leiden Home Learners?

Most often Dutch. But we’ve also had children speak in English, Italian, Spanish, French, Russian and Punjabi.

Our common language is Dutch and that is what the children speak most often. If there is a child that is new to learning Dutch, children often help translate (or use their hands, bodies and facial expressions to help with communication). Currently all our non-native Dutch speakers have all become fluent in Dutch. LHL children seem to be gifted language teachers.

How can I join Leiden Home Learners?

Unfortunately we do not accept new members at this time. We enjoy the many wonderful advantages that come from having a smaller group of children and notice that friendships can really flourish in smaller meetings. However, we do have regular open meetings where everyone is welcome.

How do my children meet other Home Learners?

Our open meetings are listed on the sidebar and we would love to have you visit some time.

There are other events and networks around the country where home educated families regularly meet. For example, our fabulous sister group, Amsterdam Home Learners, meets weekly and most of their meetings are open to all. There is also a monthly meeting at the beautiful Boshutten for all home educated families.

Many activities and trips are posted on regional mailing lists or on Facebook. There is also a wonderful facebook group (TO-Doen) that organizes regular meetings and collaborative home education projects.

If you are new to the Netherlands, there are some tips about public transport, museum memberships and children’s passes available here.

Do you have any ideas on how to start my own home learning group?

We do! Leiden Home Learners started with three families making the commitment to meet regularly and grew from there. If you have a family or two that would like to meet regularly, start from there. Decide on a regular meeting schedule and show up to all the meetings. Being reliable, committed and friendly are probably most important in starting a group. Once we started to grow, we created a charter to be clear about group expectations. More practical information on starting a home learning group can be found here.

Would you mind if I borrowed some of your ideas?

Not at all! We love sharing our ideas and have made everything that we’ve written copyright free. Feel free to borrow our ideas for children’s activities, the intern program, our charter and anything else. You are free to copy or adapt any of the text from our website, charter or brochures. If you would like to use some of our writing, please credit Leiden Home Learners and this website. We do ask that you don’t use any of our images without permission. We hope that Leiden Home Learners can be an inspiration to other home learning communities wishing to start their own networks.

We ourselves are grateful to Angela van Maurik of our sistergroup Amsterdam Home Learners for her help with translating our English website into Dutch.