If you’ve been considering home-schooling your children, maybe you’ve explored the wealth of information available to you online. It can be confusing and stressful to work through all the opinions and advice. We’ve put together the ultimate guide for parents on the hunt for straight-forward answers regarding home-schooling. We’ll work through the process from start to finish, discuss the educational bodies to consider, and the essential steps to beginning your home-schooling journey.
Why Choose Home Education?
The benefits home education can offer are compelling to say the least. Here are a few reasons parent opt for it:
- A curriculum for your child, by the person who knows them best: Home education is flexible in that you have the control to personalise your teaching style to exactly the needs of your child. Create lessons around their interests, engage them in ways you know will work for them. You’ve got the ability to hone in on the areas they excel, and help them improve in areas where extra support is needed!
- Your schedule, your rules: One of the perks of choosing to home-school is the ability to create the most ideal schedule for yourself and your family. If you find that your child is dysregulated early in the morning, you have the freedom to wait until later in the day to get started. Likewise, if your child enjoys engaging in activities, you can carve out time in the day for real-world exploration and experiences.
- Strengthen your relationship with your child: The extra time you’ll have with your child is obviously invaluable, and one of the main reasons many parents choose this method. But what many don’t consider is the role-shift going between parent and teacher. By creating a nurturing and secure environment for your child to not only live in, but learn in, can feel quite different! But if done correctly, your relationship with your child will flourish.
- One-to-One Support: Because your children will be the only pupils, they’ll benefit from one-on-one attention, which has been proven to ensure a deeper understanding of concepts and texts.
- More social than traditional schooling: Many roll their eyes at home-schooling, accusing it of producing socially-awkward adults. Home-schooled children end up having ample opportunity for social interaction through co-op classes, clubs, sports, and community events. With the ability to use the day however you like, your child will be able to be as social as you’ll allow.
Getting Started with Home Education
Research and Familiarize: Make sure you understand the legal requirements surrounding home education in the UK. Know your rights, and familiarise yourself with the laws and guidelines set by your local education authority.
Plan Your Approach: Having a clear plan of action established will make all the difference to you when it comes time to start. Consider your child’s age, learning style, and educational goals. Consider if you have the educational understanding to meet their needs at each stage. If you’re feeling less than academically up-to-scratch yourself, there are painless ways to get there. Online childcare courses are an excellent way to feel confident in your teaching abilities, and they can be studied around your parenting duties. Home-childcare training specialists, Association of Learning, work with parents every day to help them prepare for home-schooling. They recommend parents choose their course based on the needs of their child or areas they need extra support with. Special educational needs, teaching assistant training, early years, and child psychology are all qualifications you could earn in less than a year to boost your standing.
Opt for Resources and Materials: By making sure you have all the materials necessary for your home-schooling journey, you’ll create a better learning environment for your child. Create a well-stocked classroom with books, stationery, educational toys, and learning tools. The local library is a great resource for getting extra materials for low or no cost. Online groups like the ones mentioned above are also a limitless source of educational resources, as parents share useful tips and hacks.
Seek the Help of Tutors: Opting for a tutor’s assistance is a smart choice when homeschooling your children, especially if they’re tackling a demanding program like the International Baccalaureate (IB). Consider a homeschooled IB student facing the challenges of subjects such as Chemistry. This subject’s intricacies can be quite daunting, making a qualified ib chemistry tutor an invaluable asset. They bring expertise to the table, making complex concepts clear and ensuring the student fully comprehends the curriculum. Personalized support from a tutor equips the student for success in IB assessments and exams, significantly boosting their academic achievements. Beyond knowledge transfer, a tutor cultivates essential skills and confidence in independent learning, contributing to a well-rounded and effective homeschooling journey.
Education Space: The space where you decide to homeschool your child should be conducive to concentration and creativity. While some parents choose to dedicate a room within their home for homeschooling, others explore innovative solutions like a multi-functional Garden Office in their backyard. These purpose-built structures offer a tranquil and distraction-free setting for learning, allowing your child to focus on their studies while enjoying the benefits of natural light and a comfortable atmosphere.
Preparing for Future Transitions: While you want to enjoy your child as they are now, you have to consider their future. Do you see them wanting to gain their A Level qualifications or GCSEs? Perhaps they’ll want to attend university or become an apprentice. Try to ensure they have the necessary qualifications and skills to open doors for their ideal future. You will need to alter your home-schooling plan to suit their needs, as well as provide guidance to help them find their path.
Understanding the National Curriculum
The freedom to design your curriculum can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming! While you’re not obligated to stick to the national curriculum, you should be aware of it and its content. The learning objectives they’ve outlined will help you make informed decisions about the education you choose for your own child.
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that home-schooling parents must provide ‘suitable education.’ this means that:
- You must provide full-time education.
- You must provide an efficient education.
- You must provide a suitable education.
What it means
Your child must spend twelve or more hours a week in education.
Your curriculum must achieve learning milestones.
Your curriculum must be suited to your child’s age, ability, and needs. The education you provide must set your child up to thrive, and not limit them later in life.
The national curriculum currently covers the core subjects of: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, and more. Home-schooling parents have the ability to choose whether to align their curriculum with the national standards, or to create a customised programme that suits their child’s interests and aspirations.
Ofsted Inspections: What You Need to Know
Luckily, if you choose to home-school, you won’t have the looming fear of routine Ofsted inspections!
But, this doesn’t mean you can skimp out on educational quality and standards. It’s best for your child that they receive a well-rounded education. Here’s what you need to know to keep your ‘school’ up to scratch:
- Self-Evaluation: Be constantly vigilant of your child’s progress. Document their achievements, and benchmark their progress. Keeping a portfolio of their work is a great way to keep a record, including projects, assignments, and assessments.
- Support Networks: There are many online communities you can join to support yourself during this journey. Joining a local home-schooling group is a wonderful way to connect with other teacher-parents. These networks can provide you with the support, advice, and valuable insight you need to thrive in your home-school.
- Optional Ofsted Registration: Some parent-teachers choose to register voluntarily with Ofsted. While this isn’t mandatory, it can be useful if you know that your child wants to pursue formal qualifications in the future, or if you plan to access certain resources.
For both you and your child, home-education can be a hugely rewarding experience. Being able to nurture your own child’s love of learning, create a supportive educational environment, and embrace the freedom it offers are massive positives of home-schooling. However, there are still many considerations to sit with before you leap in. Take your time, and make choices that are right for both you and your child. If you do end up choosing this path, please enjoy the journey, celebrate the milestones, and witness the growth and development of your child in their academic life. Good luck!
Note: The information provided in this blog post is for general guidance purposes only. It’s recommended to consult with local education authorities and seek professional advice when necessary to ensure compliance with specific regulations and requirements in your region.