What does the law say about homeschooling in England?
Homeschooling is not an easy option but it can be very rewarding for both you and your child. Before you start, you need to consider whether you have the temperament, the long term commitment and the finances to take this route.
After all, you may have to give up working in order to do it, so one of the main considerations is whether your household can take such a hit on its finances.
Firstly, if you are going to homeschool, you need to inform the relevant authorities.
In the UK you have to conform to the Education Act. In the USA you should contact your local State authority because rules differ from state to state. Your child may need to be tested to ensure that their education is adequate. It is not illegal to remove a child from school but it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the child is in full-time education. There may be some support available to homeschoolers.
According to homeschooling parents, the key to success is planning. You need to have a timetable in place and ensure that your curriculum matches with that being taught in schools. Your child may be young now but sooner or later they will need to be able to apply to university or further education so it is crucial that there are no major gaps in education.
Online schools are a fantastic resource for learning. It gives your child access to structured lessons and fully trained teachers. You can also buy textbooks and workbooks so that your child can work through the same course as they would at school.
You need to decide on the physical learning space in your home. Where will you be carrying out the lessons? From the kitchen table, a designated classroom space with a blackboard, or somewhere else? You need to organise a space where you can keep all your work and your child’s work together so that you can carry out the lessons without distraction.
Joining a homeschooling group is important. Meeting up with other homeschoolers will help you through and not only enables you to learn more, but it also encourages your child to socialise. Many homeschool groups pool specialist skills such as science or language learning. They can be a great support to parents and children alike.
Socialisation is important for any child’s development and when you home school it is important to ensure that your child has plenty of opportunity for mixing with other children outside the home. Check out local groups and sports clubs in the area depending upon your child’s own interests.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. However, there can be real benefits to children, especially in areas where the schools are failing, and there are additional issues such as bullying, anti-social behaviour or crime. Homeschooling enables your child to reach his or her maximum potential in learning and confidence so in many cases leads to a happier child with better life chances for the future.