What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling can seem like a bit of an unknown if you're not familiar with it. In this section, we'll try to demystify the subject and discuss some of the key points. We'll cover how to start homeschooling, what the law says about home education and finally, how to be confident when choosing a curriculum.
Advantages of Homeschooling
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There’s a whole host of advantages to enjoy when it comes education at home. You can find a full break down in our extensive guide to The Benefits of Homeschooling, but here’s a quick look at some of the most significant pros.
Flexibility – there’s no school run or fixed schedule to stick to, so you can tailor your homeschooling routine to what works best for the family. That could mean shorter days, more outdoor activities or even devising a bespoke timetable that makes sense for you and your children.
Academic Freedom – while most state (and many private) schools teach the National Curriculum, you’re under no legal obligation to stick to this with homeschooling. That means you can do less of the subjects your children hate and more of those they love, or add a completely new subject.
Child-led Learning – with only your child (or children) to cater for, you can go at a pace which doesn’t outstrip their abilities or slow them down. You can also use the specific learning methods your children prefer, and spend extra time on topics they’re struggling with, as you’re not on a strict timetable.
Confidence – not only does homeschooling diminish the risk of bullying, but one-on-one teaching is also likely to boost confidence and independence. You might find that in a home environment, without a classroom of peers watching, it’s far less daunting for your child to ask a question or share an opinion.
How Does Homeschooling Work In The UK?
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Homeschooling in the UK is fairly straightforward. If you opt to educate your children at home, you become responsible for their education, and you’re required by law to provide an ‘efficient, full-time education’ from the age of 5, until the end of the last academic year, prior to their 16th birthday.
Here are a few things to bear in mind about how homeschooling works in the UK, if you’re considering making the change:
- If your child is currently going to school, you should inform the school of your plans to homeschool before you begin the transition.
- The school in question is at liberty to refuse if you put in a request to educate at home part-time.
- The UK government doesn’t provide any funding for families who choose to homeschool, but there are plenty of independent organisations that offer grants and financial support.
- As mentioned earlier, you’re not required to stick to the National Curriculum, so you have some creative license over what your children learn, and how they learn it. Take a look at our guide on How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum for more information.
- Educational qualifications aren’t compulsory in the UK, so your children don’t have to sit SATs, GCSEs, AS or A Levels.
- That being said, all these exams are open to homeschool students, so they won’t miss out if you’d like them to take formal qualifications. Oxford Home Schooling offers a wide selection of courses, ideal for GCSE and A Level pupils.
The Different Homeschooling Styles
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Over the years, a handful of different homeschooling styles have developed across the globe. If you’re not well-versed in these methods, the choice can seem a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together a quick break down of the most popular homeschooling styles, and what they entail.
One of the most popular methods of home education, School-At-Home is usually centred around a structured curriculum, and uses traditional learning materials, like textbooks, assignments and tests. You might keep normal school hours, have a designated study space within your home and stick to a timetable. School-At-Home is a great way to ensure your child learns at pace with their age group, especially if they’re planning to sit exams.
Using methods which date right back to Ancient Greece, Classical Homeschool focuses on three core staples of education: grammar, logic and rhetoric. These areas tend to revolve around the Classics, including reading, modern languages, history and maths. This style of homeschool is generally fairly structured, but can still be tailored to suit each individual child.
Project or Unit-Based Studies
This child-led homeschooling style is based on the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. With project-based studies, there are no set curricula or materials, and you won’t break your studies up into different subjects. Instead, you’ll pick a project theme – such as the Ancient Egyptians – and incorporate art, history, science and more into your approach to it.
Charlotte Mason Method
Developed in the 19th Century, the Charlotte Mason method values curiosity, imagination and growth over more traditional academic goals. Rather than relying on textbooks or worksheets, this style has a rich and broad curriculum, usually involving fiction books, famous artworks and music, as well as time spent outdoors.
More of an educational movement than a homeschooling style, there’s no set method of World Schooling, but it often involves travelling with your children, and encouraging them to interact in the world around them, and gain an insight into different cultures. This is a flexible choice, so you might have a loose curriculum, or enroll your children in schools wherever you’re travelling.
Homeschooling with Oxford Home Schooling
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At Oxford Home Schooling, we offer courses in a wide selection of subjects, for children studying at Key Stage 3 and upwards. Many of our more specific courses can prepare your children for formal examinations, like GCSEs and A Levels, but they can also be integrated into less structured curriculums, depending on your homeschooling style.
Our courses range from the sciences to modern languages, arts and humanities, geography, maths and more – so your child will never miss out on a subject they love. Based on the National Curriculum, Oxford Home Schooling courses can ensure your children are on the same track as their peers in the lead up to their exams, without the prescriptive environment of a traditional school.
Find out more about our courses, or make an application today.
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Can I homeschool my child?
Yes – if you’re a parent or guardian in the UK, it’s your right to choose whether you’d like to send your children to school or educate them at home. You can homeschool them yourself, hire a tutor to help or make the most of homeschooling groups in the local community.
Do children have to go to school?
No, children in the UK don’t have to go to school, as long as they’re receiving an efficient, full-time education at home from the age of 5. Your local council may carry out an ‘informal visit’, during which they check the standard of education your children are receiving, and can serve a School Attendance Order if they consider it to be insufficient.
How much does homeschooling cost?
With homeschooling, you cut out the cost of the school run, as well as pricey school trips, but essential supplies such as internet access, learning materials and stationery can’t be avoided. There are plenty of free resources like local libraries and online activities, but it’s worth noting that SATs, GCSEs and A Levels need to be paid for privately, if your children aren’t taking them at school.
Should I homeschool my child?
There’s a multitude of advantages to homeschooling, from increased one-on-one time with your children to tailoring the curriculum to suit them specifically. While it’s not a decision to be made lightly, homeschooling is increasing in popularity across the globe – take a look at our guide on The Benefits of Homeschooling, which might help you work out what’s best for your family.
What do I need to homeschool my child?
Working out what homeschooling supplies you need can be daunting – so we recommend starting with the basics, like Wi-Fi, a curriculum, books and stationery for your children. For a more thorough breakdown of what you’ll need, head over to our guide on Homeschool Supplies.