Welcome to our homeschooling page for information and links for anything to do with teaching your child and developing their learning.
Why do parents make the decision to home-educate their children?
There are so many reasons that people decide to take their children out of school and start to teach them at home.
Beginning to home educate your child can be scary. There are a lot of things to think about like 'Will my child become isolated with no friends?', How will I be able to help them learn?', 'Will I be breaking the law?' 'How will my child cope? and many more questions. But for some children it can be the right decision to make.
You will have so much to think about from working out what kind of homeschooling do you want, how will you teach your child, how will you find the resources you need and will it be the best thing for your child.
It is a leap into the unknown and a journey that you can both share and learn through together. If you do decide to take this step, then your confidence will grow along with the confidence of your child.
Home Education can have many advantages over sending your child to a main stream school.
They are free to choose the people they want to associate with instead of being forced to mix with people that do not respect them or their interest.
They have more opportunities to learn the social skills that are useful in adult life because they are able to mix with a greater range of age groups, and not be confined for a great deal of the day to associate with just people of their own age.
They have greater opportunities to learn about real world issues
They have more opportunities to learn life skills, including use of equipment and tools.
They are free from bullying and the trauma that a lot of children are affected by in relation to their peers
They can study at their own pace and follow their interest
They can study a topic in greater depth than they would be able to at main-stream school where time is a constrant
They are free to be themselves and grow in confidence
So how do you actually get the ball rolling?
You have to de-register your child from school, and how you do this will depend on where you live. In some areas, this is done by simply writing to the headteacher and stating that you would like your child to be de-registered because you are home educating them from this date. In other areas, this might be slightly different.
It also becomes more complicated if your child is disabled or has special educational needs and has a SEND document.
In all cases, it is best to check you local areas rules on homeschooling by looking at your borough's website.
If you are on a waiting list for a school then you will need to inform the local LA to inform them of your intentions. There is a lot of advice on just how to do this on the internet.
You can even print out a sample letter that you can take into school.
An example of a letter for parents to withdraw a child from a state school in England and Wales. It should also be suitable for use in Northern Ireland although parents are advised contact HEDNI beforehand.
If you modify the letter then make sure you state that your child is currently receiving an education otherwise than at school, or is home educated, for it to be valid.
Dear [insert the head teacher's name here]
After careful consideration I have decided to withdraw [insert your child's name here] from school in order to take personal responsibility for their education.
Please delete their name from the register in accordance with Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 8(1)(d) 2006, as they are now receiving education otherwise than at school.
Please will you confirm receipt of this letter and inform us of the date that [insert your child's name here] was removed from the register.
[insert your name here]
What kind of home education will it be?
Structured learning or Traditional learning - is a more formal approach. This way you will use a timetable for lessons and curriculum of subjects. This might be a good approach if you think you might be planning to send your child back to school at some point. In this way, they will still be familiar with this style of learning. It might also help with children that need more structure in the day or if you have planned a timetable of clubs that you want your child to join. Some children enjoy this kind of learning as it gives them anchor points to hold onto.
Semi-Structured learning - similar to structured learning, but it might just be structured for Literacy and Numeracy and for a set time each day. Some children need some sort of structure in the day to help them, even if it is only a short time in the morning that is structured. This leaves the rest of the day to follow other interest.
Project-Based learning - The learning can be divided up into more holistic projects rather than subjects. Using a theme such as “The Ancient Egyptians”, children explore lots of different aspects of learning through a specific focus. Starting with a mind-map (see blog post) of ideas allows you to explore lots of different learning areas including Literacy and Numeracy. Use of Lapbooks for topics is a very good way to encourage reluctant writers. You also have a chance in this type of learning to include more hands-on activities such as making food dishes, dressing up and making costumes, visiting sites and museums, artwork and design and technology and so much more all around the subject.
Religious learning - Most often Christian or Muslim families, these home educating families purchase a homeschool curriculum that encompasses learning about their chosen religion; this may include scriptural and moral education too.
Charlotte Mason learning - Developed in England in the 19th century, this method encourages children to focus fully on their task as long as they are developmentally capable of, and to prioritise love of learning over facts. The arts and nature are big players in a Charlotte Mason home educating family household.
Autonomous learning is flexible. It more about following your child's interest. It allows them to decide when and what they want to learn. This approach could work well with older children. You are the facilitator rather than a teacher, providing the opportunities, experiences and resources your child needs to follow their interests. If your child didn’t respond well to the structured school system and is self-motivated, this could work well depending on their age. It is underpinned by the ideas that children do not need a set curriculum or to study a particular topic or subject but learn by rich environments around them.
Worldschooling - Home educating families who use travel as a primary method of education. Good homeschoolers using this method will ensure that their children are exposed to new and exciting adventures.
We follow a semi-structured style with Literacy and Numeracy followed 4 sometimes 5 days a week, usually in the morning. In the afternoon we follow a project style of learning. We also have two dedicated Science lessons each week. As well as trips out.
Whatever style you choose it will have to suit the needs of your child. You might not know at first what style that will be or it might be that your style will change over time.
Deregistration in England and Wales
In England if your child attends school, then you will need to go through a deregistration process in order to remove them and educate them at home.
This is quite straightforward and involves writing a letter to the Headteacher of the school.
You do not need to get permission from the school or Local Authority to home educate, you simply need to inform the school of your decision and the school is then required to inform the Local authority that they have removed your child’s name from the register. You do not need to inform the Local Authority yourself.
Special educational needs children
For Special Educational Needs Children (SEN) not in special schools then the process for deregistration is the same as above. Unless the Statement specifies provision at home to be made by the LA, the statement becomes a legally unenforceable document. The LA will no longer have a statutory duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement and nor will the parents.
The LA are still under a duty to review the statement at least annually, until such time as they cease to maintain it. Where a child is established in Elective Home Education, it is reasonable for the LA to conclude that it is no longer necessary for them to make provision or to continue to maintain the statement.
For Special Educational Needs Children (SEN) in special schools the parents need to seek Local Authority consent to home educate.
Where a child is a registered pupil at a special school under arrangements made by the LA (so this excludes those who attend special school placements not funded or arranged by the LA), LA ‘consent’ is required to delete the child’s name from the register of the school. Write to the school in the same way as above, but ask the school to inform you when this has been done. A sample letter is available for download at the end of this article. The child should attend school until you are certain that they have been taken off roll.
A sample letter to the LA for a child attending a special needs school.
Mr/Mrs Director of Education
Anytown Borough Council Education Department
Full Address and Post Code
Dear Re - (Child's name - date of birth - special school attending)
We are writing as the parents of the above named child, who is a child for whom the LEA currently maintains a statement of special educational needs and who is a registered pupil at (name) Special School, (address).
After very careful consideration, and following amicable discussions with staff and teachers from the above named school, we have now decided to take full responsibility for providing for our son's education, 'otherwise than at school' in accordance with section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.
We therefore seek the consent of the Local Education Authority to allow (child's name) name to be deleted from the admission register of the school, in accordance with Regulation 8(2) of the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.
Once consent has been given we will provide our son /daughter with an efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, aptitude and to his special educational needs. We look forward to consent for (child's name) name to be deleted from the admission register being given to the proprietor of (name) Special School in the very near future and request that confirmation of such action be forwarded to us within the next 14 days.
If you live in Scotland, you need permission from your education authority in some cases when your children are in school. Always check with your local authority.
The National Curriculum and Home Educating
By law, you do not have to follow the National Curriculum when home educating.
Home schooling comes under the bracket of the Education Act which refers to provision for 'education otherwise', which outlines the idea that while parents have to ensure their children receive an education, the exact style, method, and content of that education is not made explicit, except that it has to be suitable for a child's age, aptitude and ability.
You have the freedom to educate your child as you wish, but the framework of the National Curriculum can be a useful tool and maybe you should not be too hastly in disregarding it.
The National Curriculum describes issues like the knowledge, skills and understanding required in each subject, attainment targets for children studying individual subjects, and the marking and assessment of pupils. The National Curriculum divides up into chunks of years - 'key stages' - which include Early Learning Foundation Stage, then key stages one through to four.
Use the National Curriculum like signpost in their learning journey. When we started our learning journey at home, Tiny was about two years behind where the National Curriculum levels would have put him.
I use those level indicators to help me prepare for the next stages in his learning.
For links to the National Curriculum and for the Early Years Foundation stage then go back the the Education page.