How To Choose a Homeschool Curriculum | Oxford Home Schooling

How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum

In the UK, the national curriculum is the framework which all comprehensive (and many public) schools use to teach, from Key Stage 1 right up to Key Stage 5. One great advantage of homeschooling is that there’s no pressure to follow the national curriculum – but it can be a good place to start if you find choosing your own a little daunting. There are several key factors to consider when you’re figuring out a curriculum – like whether you’re going to pick all the content yourself, or ask for your child’s input too. It’s also a good idea to think about how flexible you want the curriculum to be. You might decide to purchase select courses on core subjects, or alternatively opt for one whole-package curriculum. Keep reading as we breakdown how to choose the right homeschool program for you and your child, in more detail.

Different Types of Homeschool Curriculums

Back to Top

Homeschooling is a spectrum that can incorporate many different kinds of learning. Before you go about choosing your curriculum, you might do some research on the different philosophies of education, and establish which one resonates most with you and the needs of your family. There are any number of these to choose from, but we’ve put together a few of the most common below.

School-at-Home

Using traditional textbooks, worksheets, assignments and tests, School-at-Home is a great way to keep your children learning at the same pace as their peer group. This structured method may involve designating a specific classroom in your home, and exclusively learning during school hours – a familiar routine like this can be especially useful for those who are only being home-schooled temporarily. Like a lot of online course providers, the majority of Oxford Home Schooling courses fall into this effective and reliable category of homebased education.

Classical Homeschool

This is a popular and prestigious branch of homeschool education, based on the idea of learning in three distinct stages: grammar, logic and rhetoric. Classical homeschooling tends to focus on reading, modern languages and history; it’s also one of the more controlled approaches, and works well with a clear schedule, but there’s still plenty of room for hands-on experimentation and creativity.

Project-Based or Unit Studies

Founded on the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, project-based homeschooling doesn’t break things down into conventional subjects. Instead, you’ll pick a theme for a project or unit, and holistically combine English, Maths, History and more, through the lens of this project. This method might require a little more help and planning from parents than others.

The Charlotte Mason Method

The Charlotte Mason method emerged in the UK in the 19th Century, named after the educator and favours the use of literature and “living-books” that tell stories, rather than textbooks. With a Charlotte Mason curriculum, curiosity, imagination and growth are prioritised over absorbing and repeating facts. Time outside and the arts are also encouraged as a means of learning.

How to Decide What’s Right for Your Child

Back to Top
  • Consider their learning methods. Most children sit somewhere in the VARK model – meaning that they learn best through either visual, auditory, reading and writing or kinaesthetic lessons. In school, teachers try and cater to every kind of learner, but at home, you can tailor your curriculum to your child, so they get the most out of each subject.
  • Take their interests into account. While you might want to choose which subjects they study, the topics you include and approach you take can revolve around your child’s interests, to make the material more engaging. Interest-led learning is an especially useful tool if your child doesn’t respond well to the structure of conventional school work.
  • Which year group are they in? This affects the difficulty level of the content in your curriculum – although you can be flexible with this, increasing it if your child is more advanced and vice versa. If your child is approaching Key Stage 4 or 6, they’ll also need to choose which GCSEs or A-Levels they want to sit. At this point, you can select the exam boards you want to use – each board has its own specifications regarding what to cover in your curriculum.
  • What about when they finish school? If your children are a little older, they may already have an idea of what they’d like to study at university, or whether they have another path in mind. It’s worth factoring the future into your curriculum – for example, if your child has expressed an interest in being a doctor, you might choose a science-heavy subject set.

How to Decide What’s Right for You

Back to Top
  • What are your preferred teaching styles? Work out how to teach a curriculum by narrowing down which teaching methods you enjoy the most, and also which are the most successful. You may like taking a more hands-on approach, or letting your child do the bulk of the lesson themselves – either way, there are courses which can suit your needs.
  • Can you teach your child at the required level? It’s important to recognise your limitations – there are sure to be areas you feel less knowledgeable or confident teaching. For these subjects, you can rely on more instructive materials. At OHS, all our tutors are equipped with either a PGCE or degree in education, and every course includes regular contact, plus tutor-marked assignments.
  • Weigh up your resources. You need to choose a curriculum which you have both the time and means to implement. That means establishing your budget for the curriculum as a whole, and identifying which subjects you’re going to prioritise, but also working out how available you can be to help your child.Once you’ve selected a homeschooling style, had a think about learning methods, teaching styles and the extent of your resources, you’re in a good position to choose (or design) a curriculum that’s compatible with you, your child and your lifestyle. When you’re ready to start browsing, why not take a look at some of our courses?
  • What are your preferred teaching styles? Work out how to teach a curriculum by narrowing down which teaching methods you enjoy the most, and also which are the most successful. You may like taking a more hands-on approach, or letting your child do the bulk of the lesson themselves – either way, there are courses which can suit your needs.
  • Can you teach your child at the required level? It’s important to recognise your limitations – there are sure to be areas you feel less knowledgeable or confident teaching. For these subjects, you can rely on more instructive materials. At OHS, all our tutors are equipped with either a PGCE or degree in education, and every course includes regular contact, plus tutor-marked assignments.
  • Weigh up your resources. You need to choose a curriculum which you have both the time and means to implement. That means establishing your budget for the curriculum as a whole, and identifying which subjects you’re going to prioritise, but also working out how available you can be to help your child.

Once you’ve selected a homeschooling style, had a think about learning methods, teaching styles and the extent of your resources, you’re in a good position to choose (or design) a curriculum that’s compatible with you, your child and your lifestyle. When you’re ready to start browsing, why not take a look at some of our courses?

FAQs

Back to Top

What books do you need for homeschooling?

The books you need for homeschooling depends on age group, as well as subjects and curriculum. Exam boards usually publish textbooks which cover everything your child would need to know for their qualifications. Every OHS course comes with a full set of course materials, which includes lessons (divided by modules), self-assessment tests and assignments.

How much does a homeschool curriculum cost?

The cost of a homeschool curriculum will vary according to how and what you’d like to teach, but there are many ways to do it on a budget. There are plenty of free and low-cost resources available online, like GCSE Bitesize, and you can also save by utilising public libraries. You can find out how much OHS courses cost over on our prices page.

How many hours a day do you have to homeschool?

It’s a legal requirement in the UK for your child to receive a full-time education, but the number of hours this translates to is subject to interpretation. While School-at-Home teachers might stick to regimented hours, like 9-3, others might adopt a less formal timetable to work around other commitments.

Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests?

While a full-time education is legally required, there is no law which states that it’s necessary for home-schooled children to take SATs, GCSEs or A Levels in the UK. Entering your children for these examinations is entirely up to you.

Can you hire someone to homeschool your child?

If there are subjects you don’t feel qualified or confident teaching, hiring a tutor is a great way of ensuring that your child still gets the help and instruction they need. Every OHS course comes with regular tutor interaction, so your child will be supported throughout, as well as tutor-marked assignments.