Home Schooling

HOME SCHOOLING

Background

There is no legal obligation for children to attend school but the law says they must receive an education. They can be taught by parents or private tutors and the guidance from both the English and Welsh education departments is that it must be a “suitable education”.

As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5 but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

In the UK, it is entirely legal to educate your child at home, and it can be done either full or part-time. … However, if your child wishes to go on to higher education, many colleges and universities need some academic proof, so you child may sit their GCSEs or A levels in a local school as an independent candidate.

Legal Status:

Homeschooling is legal in England and Wales under the 1944 Education Act, which was consolidated in 1996. … Under the “or otherwise” phrase in the law, families can legally homeschool.

Home education

  • You can teach your child at home, either full or part-time. This is called home schooling.
  • You can get help with home education from your local council.
  • Write to the headteacher if you plan to take your child out of school.
  • As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5 but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

If your child has special educational needs

Your council may be able to help if your child has special educational needs and you want to educate them at home. You only need to tell them if your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

If the council wants to check on your child’s education

The council can make an ‘informal enquiry’ to check your child is getting a suitable education at home. They can serve a school attendance order if they think your child needs to be taught at school.

Truancy, School attendance & Absence

Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason. They can give you Parenting Order, Education Supervision Order, School Attendance Order, Fine and Prosecution.

BOLTON HOME EDUCATION TEAM

What do they do?

  • the service works with parents and carers in partnership
  • provide advice and support, including GCSE’s, resources etc.
  • offer opportunities to meet other home educators through arranged events

The law

  • The responsibility for a child’s education rests with the parents or carers.
  • In England, education is a child’s right and the parent or carer must ensure that this happens between the ages of 5-17.
  • This can take place at ‘school’ or ‘otherwise’.

What should I do if I wish to home educate?

If you are taking your child out of school and he/she is of statutory school age, you must write to your child’s school stating that you wish to educate your child at home.

The school will inform the Achievement Cohesion and Integration Service (ACIS) that you have chosen to be responsible for the education of your child at home and you will be contacted within four weeks. However; if you have not heard from ACIS, please contact them.  The school will no longer be responsible for your child’s education.

I have de-registered my child – what happens next?

ACIS will contact you and offer you a home visit or a meeting to offer advice and support in developing the educational programme for your child/children.

Funding

When you as the parent or carer decide to home educate you assume full financial responsibility for the education of your child.

Contact in Bolton

  • Email:                            Send an email to acis@bolton.gov.uk
  • Telephone:                                 01204 338055
  • Address:                      Achievement Cohesion and Integration Service (ACIS)

Acis International, Family Centre, Shepherd Cross Street, Bolton. BL1 3BY

CURRICULUM

Home educators in the UK do not have to be trained teachers. Nor do they need any special qualifications to educate their children. Although some families choose to use a structured ‘homeschool’ curriculum, others pick and choose educational books from bookshops.

In the UK, many home educating families don’t use any curriculum at all. They might choose regular text books from big educational bookshops if they want to study academics, and follow their children’s interests. They don’t worry about grade levels and there is no testing, unless teens want to study for and take the public ‘GCSE’ exams which are usually done at age 15-16. The National Curriculum, required in state schools, is not necessary for private schools, nor for home educators.

But if you want to use a curriculum of some sort, how do you know which one is going to be best for your child? There are dozens available, which follow the National Curriculum. That may be useful if you think your children might go to school at some point.

Find out as much as you can about the various options. Many of them have web sites where you can find out about the philosophy and pricing. You can usually register and order online. Some of those are linked in this article. Before making any decisions, do talk to other parents who have used them, if possible.

If you don’t know anyone who has used the curriculum you are interested in, ask if you can see some samples. It is important to look at the style of material, and discuss with your children whether the courses look inspiring and interesting. What appeals to one child will not necessarily appeal to another.

Children’s interests and learning styles

Take note of your children’s interests and learning styles. A child who learns through his hands, for instance, is unlikely to be inspired by a curriculum with a lot of reading and writing. A child who is advanced in some areas and slower in others (for instance a child with dyslexia who has excellent understanding of maths) will not want to be limited by a curriculum that has rigid ‘grade level’ expectations.

Then, before you order, do look at second-hand shops, or find out of any local home educators have used material in good condition which they might sell you. There are some second-hand curriculum suppliers on the Internet – and don’t forget to browse second-hand book sites such as Abebooks and Awesomebooks.

BRITISH HOME EDUCATION CURRICULUM

  • InterHigh offer an interactive, accredited British education to UK and overseas students aged 10 and upwards, across KS3, KS4 and KS5.
  • Briteschool is for primary and secondary age students. It is particularly aimed at home educated and expatriate children.
  • Wolsey Hall is distance learning course provider. They supply courses for home educators around the world. English, maths and science are  offered at primary level; each child has a tutor and a lot of support.  They offer a wider range of courses at secondary level, including GCSE and A-level studies.
  • ACE (the European version) for teenagers starting when they were about 12 and 14, so they could get certification equivalent to GCSE and A-level exams. This is an American curriculum with some parts adapted for European usage. This provides a distance-learning certificate programme (the National Christian Schools Certificate) without exams which is acceptable at British universities.

AMERICAN HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM

  • Five in a Row – a relaxed, literature-based programme currently available for children aged 4-8. The scheme is based on quality children’s books that are read aloud every day for a week, and then provide the basics of study in all subjects, related to the book. Parents are encouraged to be flexible, choosing from the suggested ideas, or developing their own. There are further programmes available for older children.
  • Sonlight Curriculum – If your family enjoys literature and extensive reading together – particularly historic novels – you might be interested in the Sonlight curriculum. It offers a choice of several maths programmes produced by other companies. However the majority of the curriculum is literature-based. It is more demanding than Five in a Row, but much less rigid than many others. Sonlight is fairly time-consuming for parents, if you follow all the guidelines. But it’s possible to be flexible and concentrate on the reading only. For students who enjoy reading, their catalogue lists many excellent books for different age groups. These can be ordered fairly inexpensively from Sonlight without using the curriculum as such.
  • The Konos curriculum is a little different from the majority, in that it offers projects intended for a group of like-minded families to work together. If you have a local support group who would like to do educational work together, you might like to investigate this – perhaps as a supplement to what you do at home. For children who are hands-on learners, and dislike extensive reading or writing, Konos may well be a good choice if you want to use an official curriculum.

MATHS CURRICULUM

Since many parents seem to struggle with maths concepts, there are extra maths curricula of all varieties, from old-fashioned and rigid through to more modern and flexible. Here are a few available ones:

  • Singapore maths, English and science – an increasingly popular curriculum covering these basic subjects, with most available currently for maths. This curriculum originated in Singapore, so has the advantage of metric rather than imperial measurements! It uses manipulatives and is recommended by Sonlight as an alternative to their other maths programmes.  Singapore maths is now available to order from the UK, from the site Maths – no problem.
  • Mathusee – a manipulatives-based programme with levels for all ages, teaching videos and a manual. This is ideal for kinaesthetic and visual learners, or indeed anyone who struggles to understand maths concepts on paper. It can be used alongside other home education programmes such as Sonlight, or used by itself for parents who feel comfortable with autonomous style education in everything other than maths.
  • Miquon maths – This is more similar to the way maths is taught in UK schools than the US. It involves concepts such as early algebra and geometry from the early levels, rather than focussing primarily on arithmetic. Again, this can be used in conjunction with other curricula, or by itself.

FLEXIBILITY IN HOME EDUCATION

Children will learn some things very fast and may take longer with others. It doesn’t matter! There are no rules, unless you’re in a country or US State that happens to impose some. But even then they’re likely to be minimal. Children who have never had any formal teaching or any curriculum can still go to college – and often do. Certainly until they are 13 or 14 there is no need to do anything formal, unless your children want it.

If it’s important to your children to have high school accreditation, and they don’t want to work at local colleges or adult education classes, it may be worth following more formal courses such as those available at Northstar (UK) and/or registering at an umbrella school such as Clonlara (USA), although these are expensive options.

WHY HOME EDUCATE?

If your child likes going to school, and you are happy about all they are learning, then there is probably no reason to consider any alternative. Unfortunately, many children are bored or frustrated in school. One problem is the number of tests that British children have to take these days. Other children struggle – often in vain – to understand what they are taught. Still others simply don’t seem suited to a classroom environment. Not all children can – or should – sit still for lengthy periods; some do not learn in structured, classroom environments.

No group of thirty or more children are going to learn in the same way at the same rate. This is why good schools have ability groups, and extra assistants within each classroom. But no matter how good the school,  a teacher’s job is a difficult one. It is more so nowadays, with increased regulations and paperwork. There is little time for individual attention to all the pupils.

Moreover, some sensitive children may be badly hurt by teasing or feeling incompetent in some way. Some, wanting to fit in with their peers, resort to drugs or rebellion in their teens. Truancy is a serious problem in the secondary years. Students may have no interest in school and take days off, frequently dragging others into trouble.

RESOURCES

HOME EDUCATION RESOURCES

These pages list a variety of educational resources which can be used for helping your children to learn at home. In the UK there are no requirements for following any specific subjects. However some families choose either to use National Curriculum text books, or a pre-packaged curriculum. In some other countries there are legal expectations for parents teaching their own children. For these cases a set syllabus may be the easiest way to get started.

BUILDING YOUR OWN RESOURCES

The widespread use of computers makes home education far easier than it was in previous decades. There are a vast array of resources on the Internet. More than one home educating family has gathered together some of the best, many of which are relevant to British school-type topics. For pre-school or primary age children, one of the most useful sites is MuddlePuddle – an ongoing project with links, ideas and resources. There are some more ideas for projects, and inspiration for getting over burnout at Homeschooling Ideas.

If you want to think in terms of school-type subjects, at least initially, but are uncertain how to get started, or what books might be helpful at different stages, these subject pages will give a few suggestions which may suit your family. Choose from Maths, English, History, Science, Geography or history.

For older children, you might like to see some collected links for relevant topics. See: art and craft, English, geography, history, foreign languages, maths, music, religious education or science.

One of the most useful sites, dedicated to education in home and school is the BBC Learning site. You can also find a wide selection of useful resources, sorted by subject and age range, on the TES resources pages. You may have to register to use some of the resources, which are inevitably intended primarily for pupils in schools. But for those who want an idea of how the national curriculum translates into classroom learning, there are some useful lessons plans.

There are a variety of text books and other resources. Some of these tied in with the UK National Curriculum, and some were for more general interest. These can be bought from The Book Depository, Play.com or Amazon UK, at CGP books or at large bookshops in their towns. A site more specifically related to educational curriculum is TPS Publishing. This site has inexpensive lesson plans available. It also has some books developed for parents to use at home with children of all ages and abilities.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES

  • Cochranes – This site has a range of hands-on science kits and teaching apparatus for chemistry and DNA structure (molecular modelling kits), physics, astronomy and mathematics.
  • Maplin – This shop has a wide selection of electronic equipment, including most components as well as some kits. Useful as first port of call for anything of this nature. Maplin has several shops around the UK which can be worth a visit, if you have one nearby.
  • Rapid – This site has a wide variety of tools and educational resources. These include kits, electronic components, and even some kitchen gadgets for use in food technology.
  • SciChem – This site has a range of specifically educational supplies, but will sell to individuals or home educators as well as schools and colleges. It can be particularly useful for laboratory equipment.

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF HOME EDUCATION

Many people can see that, academically, home education is likely to be an improvement on classroom teaching. One obvious reason is that children have the chance to learn at their own rate, with one-to-one attention. Research shows that home educated children tend to achieve academic goals easily. They are welcome at university or vocational courses, and are easily able to think for themselves. Most can learn anything they want to learn with confidence. But time and again, home educators are asked about ‘socialisation’.

There are often reservations from family and friends about whether home educated children are able to socialise or be sociable. Concerns include several issues, some of which are good questions:-

  • Are they isolated from other children? Are they able to make friends with a wide variety of people?
  • Will they be able to fit into society as adults if they haven’t been through the ups and downs of school life?
  • Do they become too dependent on their parents?
  • Are they reluctant to go out to meet new situations and people?

Yet, if asked directly, many people find it hard to describe what they mean by ‘socialisation’.

People, on the whole, are social creatures. Being sociable is part of our nature.  If we allow children to develop in their own way, they will begin to relate to other people when they are ready.  Clearly children need to meet people in order to be sociable, but home educators don’t tend to be isolated from the community!  A child is just as likely to be sociable with one or two people he meets at home than with a class of thirty children who just happen to be the same age as he is.

More importantly, a home educated child is more in control of his social life than he would be in school. Parents – who know their children best – can observe, and encourage, and introduce a shy child to other people at relaxed times. They can meet other children in safe environments, rather than forcing them into situations where they may become withdrawn, or angry, or upset.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY SOCIAL SKILLS ?

Social skills include culturally appropriate manners, knowing how to greet different people, and joining in conversations.  They are the ways we learn to relate to people in order to build relationships. They help us to communicate and spend time enjoying company.  Our children will primarily learn their social skills and cultural expectations from their parents and those they see around them. Thus the most important thing you can do is to model the kind of behaviour you would like to see.

Children at schools may well develop other social skills which relate to school culture. However those are not a lot of use in the rest of the world. Regular spates of truanting, depression and aggression by British schoolchildren show what serious damage can be done to a sensitive child when the environment is not appropriate.

Undoubtedly there were times when children feel a little isolated or lonely. However, children in schools report this at times, too. Being in a crowd is no guarantee of happiness or sociability. Nonetheless, there are extra options for afternoon and evening activities than did most of their schooled friends, as they had so much more time. Moreover, they did not limit their friendships or general socialising to people of their own age.

When they leave home, they settle well into social situations. Mostly, home education had in no way damaged their ability to socialise as young adults.

GCSEs FOR HOME EDUCATORS

Home educators can start GCSE courses at any age. Some begin quite young and take just one or two at a time. Others wait until they are 16 and then enrol at a college to take GCSE subjects appropriate to their future careers. Some study for them at home, and some don’t do any GCSEs at all. This kind of flexibility allows full research and study into each subject rather than simply focussing on getting lots of exams. Note that each exam board may have specific requirements. General GCSE books or ‘revision guides’ give an overview of what is likely to be required, but you will need to see past papers, and probably use books required by your chosen board.

GCSEs taken in schools usually include a significant amount of graded ‘coursework’. This consists of projects, essays or other work done during the year which counts towards the final grade in the exam. This is ideal for students who find exams stressful. It can be encouraging to know that they have already achieved twenty to forty percent of the grade. However home educated students sometimes find it harder to manage coursework. This is because an independent person has to mark it. For this reason, some choose the IGCSE (International GCSE) exams which rely entirely on exams. This suits some students, but not others. You can read a lot more about IGCSEs, including information about several specific courses, at online Tutorial sites.

If you are interested in discussing GCSEs, A-levels and alternatives for home educators with others who are on the same path, there’s active online group you can join, HE Exams. This has helpful advice for anyone looking for a centre to take exams of any kind, or wanting to know about the different types of GCSE that can be taken by home educators. There is general information, compiled by people from this list and elsewhere, on a new Wiki page about exams for home educators.

It is important that a child takes GCSEs because he or she wants to. Perhaps this is because it will be useful for future education or career options. But it is worthwhile doing as much research as you can. Some A-level courses can be taken without the relevant GCSE, and some vocational courses or careers do not require paper qualifications. There is little point putting a home educated child under pressure to take exams unless it is their own decision.

WAYS OF DOING GCSEs IN HOME EDUCATION

There are three main ways in which home educated students have taken GCSEs:

  • by correspondence courses where a tutor is usually assigned to give advice and mark work;
  • by enrolling at a local college or adult education class; or
  • at home doing their own research, choosing appropriate books and buying past exam papers. The latter is only really appropriate for exam-only IGCSEs, unless you can find a suitable independent person qualified to grade coursework.

The advantage of using a correspondence course or enrolling at a college is that a tutor is available. They may be able to help more than a parent, and can grade work. The disadvantage is usually the cost, if your child is under 16. Most colleges offer free or inexpensive courses to those over 16. But they may charge high rates to younger students, if they admit them at all. Some colleges will not admit younger students, particularly if they are popular and likely to be over-subscribed.

Another advantage of a college is that they will often arrange the exam room. With a correspondence course you usually have to organise that yourself. This involves registering your child as an external candidate at a local school or college, at additional cost.

It may be possible to register a child in a school part time with a flexi-schooling option, if the school allows this. Books and tuition will then be provided and you will probably not have to pay an exam fee. If your child is approaching 14 and wants to take several GCSEs, you may want to consider a couple of years in a local school if you can find one which you like. Some home educated children have followed this option and obtained excellent results. This is even if they have had no formal teaching prior to this age.

GENERAL HELP FOR GCSEs

For general help in most GCSE topics, look at the BBC Education: GCSE help. You may also find some help at the TopMarks site. Select age 15-16 and the subject that interest you to find a list of useful resources.

If you want to see in past papers, you can find a few online, and may be able to buy some at bookshops. For instance, you can find past papers with sample answers for maths at the GCSE maths past papers site. You may need to order others directly from the relevant exam board. Make sure that you check specific requirements for your year and board.

If you would like to use a paid agency for one or more GCSE or A-level options, you can find some organisations on the GCSE correspondence course page. These offer some distance learning or tuition possibilities for those who prefer outside help with GCSEs. Please read their terms and conditions carefully before making any financial commitment. The styles and resources supplied vary, and may not be suitable for your child.

A list of all the home education websites available to help with homeschooling UK. A number of these homeschooling resources UK are free.

HOMESCHOOLING UK: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Homeschooling UK: The Basics

 You can teach your child at home, either full or part-time. This is called homeschooling. You can get help with home education from your local council. … As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5 but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

Why Homeschool?

There are so many different reasons why people chose the homeschool route.

Main Reasons to Opt for Home Education

  • Poor state education system
  • Greater growth potential
  • Diverse learning
  • Safeguarding
  • Robotic kids  produced by rigid state system
  • Developed social phobia
  • Family time – Dads schedule is opposite to school schedule
  • Wanted healthy discipline not peer pressure
  • The parents missed their children
  • Personal rights and freedoms for children
  • Holistic development
  • Unsuitable, irreligious teaching materials e.g. RE, RSE, PSHE
  • Flexibility


WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HOME EDUCATE IN THE UK

If your child has never gone to school, then you don’t need to apply for a school place. If like us and your child was in the school system, you must write a letter to the Head of the school telling them that you are deregistering your child and for them to remove your child from the register. It is the Head’s responsibility to inform the Local Authority.

You do not need to give any notice to the school. As soon as you have deregistered your child you are fully responsible for their full time education.

If your child is under an EHC plan then I believe the rules are slightly different. Normally, you have to contact the Local Authority before deregistering them from the school named on the plan.

You do not have to follow the National Curriculum.

  • Your children do not have to do GCSE’s if they don’t want either. If they do want to do them though you will have to find a local centre that accepts external candidates and there is a fee for taking them.

There Is NO Financial Support If You Homeschool

  • As you have opted out of the state provided education, there is no financial support.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive to Homeschool

  • There are so many free online resources that it really can be a very cheap option.

Homeschooling is 24/7

  • Learning happens all of time, not just at a desk. Playing board games is educational check out our favourite educational board games. Playing can be educational, reading books, drawing, cooking, learning life skills. The list is endless. So from the minute your child wakes up to the minute they go to bed, they are learning. Whether it be in the traditional sense or not.

You Do Not Need To Be A Teacher to Homeschool

  • As a parent you do not need to have any qualifications to teach your children.
  • There are so many free online resources to help for all ages that you can use.
  • Once you hit GCSE’s there are so many tutors out there if you need them, or even paid for online subscriptions. But this is only if you need them. It is certainly not a requirement.

TYPICAL PRIMARY SYLLABUS TIMETABLE – KS1 KS2 EXAMPLE

  MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
9AM   LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY
9.40AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
9.50AM   NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY
10.30AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
10.40AM   LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY
11.20AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
11.30AM   NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY NUMERACY
12.10   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
12.20   LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY LITERACY
1.00PM   HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME
           
TEACHING HOURS 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3
           

TOTAL TEACHING TIME = 16.5 HOURS

TYPICAL SECONDARY SYLLABUS TIMETABLE – KS3 KS4 GCSE EXAMPLE

  MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
9AM   ENGLISH LANG-LIT ENGLISH LANG-LIT ENGLISH LANG-LIT ENGLISH LANG-LIT ENGLISH LANG-LIT
9.40AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
9.50AM   MATHS MATHS MATHS MATHS MATHS
10.30AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
10.40AM   SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE
11.20AM   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
11.30AM   COMPUTING COMPUTING COMPUTING COMPUTING URDU
12.10   BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK BREAK
12.20   RE URDU RE URDU RE
1.00PM   HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME HOME TIME
           
TEACHING HOURS 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3
           

TOTAL TEACHING TIME = 16.5 HOURS

GCSE EXAMS: TOTAL 9

  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE                                                                                  X 1
  • ENGLISH LITERATURE                                                                                X 1
  • MATHS                                                                                                            X 1
  • DOUBLE SCIENCE / CHEMISTRY – BIOLOGY – PHYSICS                      X 3
  • COMPUTING                                                                                                   X 1
  • RE ISLAMIC STUDIES                                                                                    X 1
  • URDU                                                                                                                X 1