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Are you thinking about home educating your children? Have you got lots of questions about home education in the UK? If so carry on reading for how to start homeschooling in the UK.
Home Education Law: The Basics
We have been home educating now for about 8 months and although it is becoming more and more popular in the UK, there are so many people that don’t understand how it works.
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.https://www.gov.uk/home-education
The Reasons for Home Education
There are so many different reasons why people chose the home education route. For us, it was because Freddie wasn’t being pushed enough at school. You can read all of our reasons for why homeschool.
I am from a very traditional education background, and if I am honest I didn’t even consider home education as an option. I went to university to study accountancy and had worked as a Finance Director. I gave up work to become a full-time mum when Freddie turned 18 months old. Freddie had been to full-time nursery before I gave up work, and then went to preschool and then school. I didn’t know any different.
A friend of mine had taken her children out of school to home educate, and something clicked. This made absolutely perfect sense. Why hadn’t I even considered it? So I did a bit of homework and realised very quickly that this was the best option for my son.
Within about a week of homeschooling, he changed. He was much happier (I didn’t even realise that he wasn’t happy), and he wanted to learn. We are fairly structured with our homeschool day and still pretty much follow the 9-3, but I know that is not for everyone. But this works for Freddie.
Why Parents Choose Home Education For Their Children?
I have done some research from other homeschool parents to see why they home educate. What amazed me the most was less than 1% of the people asked homeschooled their child because they had been excluded from mainstream school. This was definitely my perception prior to actually getting an education myself on homeschooling.
I asked over 1,000 parents why they home educate and these are the shocking answers:
I had to keep some of the smaller options here as they were shocking. 10 people stated that their reason for home education was they had worked in the school system and didn’t want their children going through it! But the main reason by far was children with ASD were not being supported by the school system. Some of the “other reasons” included:
- Didn’t like who their children were becoming
- Initially temporary but saw immediate benefits
- Military Family so always on the move
- 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
Home Education in England
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. But, I have no experience in this field and it would be wrong of me to give any advice. However, I believe that you have to contact the Local Authority before deregistering them from the school named on the plan.
If you live in Scotland, I believe the laws are slightly different to above.
Home Education Curriculum
You do not have to follow the UK National Curriculum. This at first was the biggest surprise for me. Actually, we still do, as Freddie has decided he wants to go to university, so it makes sense for us to follow it. However, you don’t have to.
There are a number of different methods you could follow:
- Homeschool Curriculum
- Charlotte Mason
- Religious Studies
- Home education resources
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 for Home Education UK
As you have opted out of the state provided education, there is no financial support. Again this might be different if your child is under an EHC plan, but I am unsure.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
Personally homeschooling is saving us money, however, I know people who spend a lot more than they did while their children were in the school system.
For us, Freddie already attended after “school” activities such as Rugby, swimming and theatre school (on a Saturday afternoon). So this wasn’t an additional expense. There are so many free online resources that it really can be a very cheap option.
Is Home Education Hard?
The easy answer to that is yes. It is normally 24 / 7.
Learning happens all of the time, not just at a desk. Playing board games is educational check out our favourite educational board games.
Playing with Alexa 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.
Generally, and how we work is, Freddie is now with me 24/7. Although I don’t go to rugby with him anymore and his Dad does this, mainly so he can have a break from me!
This can be hard work especially if you are used to having them at school for 6 hours a day. It is so rewarding, but I am not going to tell you it is easy, because it is not. If you need some tips on homeschooling check out my recent post.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Homeschool?
As a parent, you do not need to have any qualifications to teach your children. Now as Freddie is still at primary school age (he is 9 years old) I find teaching him incredibly easy. There are so many free homeschool resources to help for all ages that you can use.
Once you hit GCSE’s there are so many home education 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.
Do you home educate your children in the UK? Please let me know in the comments I would love to hear why you have chosen this option.