WEEKDAY mornings are mayhem for most families as they jostle breakfast, doing last-minute homework, finding stray bits of uniform and finally tackling the school run.

By contrast, 11-year-old Indie Kidd has a more leisurely approach to the day. "In the morning, I get up and dance in the kitchen, then I go on the trampoline and look after the chickens. I like cooking so I will make breakfast, maybe bacon and eggs or American pancakes or an omelette. I like reading too, especially books that make you think about a different world."

If Indie wanted to, she could stay at home all day and get lost in a book of her choice. She is one of the many children in York who don't go to school and who are educated at home.

According to the City of York Council, around 75 local children are home educated in our area. It's a small number, just 0.31per cent of the school population, however that figure could be higher because not all parents inform the local authority they are teaching their children at home.

The law provides for parents to home educate their child, and it must be "appropriate" to that child's needs. The local education authority can check that this is being carried out. If not, it can insist the child return to school.

The York and District Home Education Group has 271 members and is growing. We met some of them on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Museum Gardens to find out about the pros and cons of home schooling. The children, aged between seven and 14, were dressed in summer gear and were enjoying playing in the sunshine while most of their peers would still be in the classroom.

Louise Greenhill has five children, but only one has been home educated. Louise took seven-year-old daughter Libby out of school earlier this year following illness. "She had been diagnosed with a chronic fatigue illness and was barely in school. She was miserable and unhappy so I made the decision to take all the stress away and to work around her. We are really enjoying ourselves and she is doing brilliantly."

Louise is a trained Montessori pre-school teacher and admits her days with Libby are a bit more organised around lessons and learning than other home educators. Libby shows me a project she has done on butterflies. It is beautiful and has obviously taken care and time to complete. It's not too dissimilar to what she might have done in school, but with one big difference - she could take her time and do it at her own pace. Louise said: "Libby finds time restraints really stressful. If you ask her the benefits of home education, she would say having the time she needs to do what she wants to do with the pressure gone."

Louise said home-school parents vary in the amount of educational input they offer their children. "It's about encouraging the independent learner," she said.

That has certainly been the experience of mum-of-two Viv Chamberlin-Kidd, mum to 11-year-old Indie and 14-year-old Zack, who like his sister has never been to school.

Viv says they both taught themselves to read and that Zack is now an IT whiz. She has no regrets. She said when Zack was little, he was far too busy running around and climbing trees to be ready for school. "Schools tend to be more geared towards girls than boys."

She has a hands-off approach. "I don't teach them anything, they teach themselves. I tend to facilitate, I don't do lessons." She reels through a typical week for her children, it includes self-defence classes and drama groups, and spontaneous days out to places such as Castle Howard. On Monday afternoons, Viv's mum, Sue, a qualified music teacher, takes Zack and Indie as well as some other home-educated children for music lessons.

Sue has taught in schools and says this group of children with different ages and abilities is special. "They have a confidence because nobody tells them they ought to be doing something by a certain age. They come with enthusiasm and they don't belittle each other if they can't do something. It is less competitive, less structured and more fun."

Tracey Mulryne is a former primary school teacher who has chosen to home educate her two children, Connor, nine, and Katie, seven.

She said she loved teaching, but when she became a mother, she changed. "I had a home birth and it put my head in a different place. Things don't have to be done in a mainstream way."

She met other home educators in York and decided to take that route.

All the parents we meet are quick to defend a common criticism of home-educated children: that they lack the opportunities to mix and socialise with their peers.

Tracey says: "They mix with kids down the street and they go to things like drama groups with children aged from seven to 16. It is amazing how well they get on."

Many of the families meet up regularly for organised activities and play dates - giving children another opportunity to mix.

As these parents watch their children play together happily in Museum Gardens, it's clearly not an issue they are concerned with.

In fact, they have to think hard before coming up with any negatives at all. Having to live off one salary seems to be one they agree on. Some of the mothers said they had hoped to job share with their partners, but in the end, the task of looking after their children has largely fallen on them.

But it's not a complaint. It is through choice, explains Caroline Hind, who has home educated her three sons, 11-year-old twins Corem and Jaimie and 20-year-old Charles. She said: "There is a loss of income, but it is a lifestyle choice. We chose to buy a house we could afford on one salary. Our plan was to have a slower lifestyle."

Being out of school does not mean the children won't sit exams. Many will take GCSEs - if they want to. The parents are confident they will be motivated to do so. Caroline's elder son James followed this path and took GCSEs then went to York College to study for his A Levels and is now studying politics at university in Bradford.

She said entering formal education at the age of 16 was no problem for him: "He said it wasn't a big deal because he had chosen to do it."