Currently in the UK, there are over 60,000 children registered for home schooling, and it is becoming increasingly popular. There are both advantages and disadvantages to teaching your children yourself, but it is certain that home schooling is a big change from regular school. As a parent, there are lots of questions to be asking yourself, one of which is what you actually plan to teach. It’s important to thoroughly research each subject and what will be required of you for each before making the big decision to home school.
It is not compulsory to follow the school syllabus if you are home schooled, but it is definitely possible. The Department for Education advises that the parents of home schooled children find a curriculum either designed by teachers or taught in schools in order to give their children a well-rounded education. However, it is equally as important to find a syllabus suited to your child. Parents are able to base their curriculum off the national curriculum and it does not have to be identical as long as it is appropriate.
Continue reading this article to find out more information about choosing a home school syllabus and deciding on whether home schooling is right for your child.
Is it compulsory to do the school syllabus?
As mentioned before, there are no legal statements saying it is absolutely necessary to follow the school syllabus if you’re home schooled. The advisory information released by the government simply states that a child must receive a full-time, age-appropriate education.
This means that as a parent, you essentially have free reign to choose what your child will learn and which qualifications they take in the future. Although this can seem daunting, it means you are able to either choose a ready-made curriculum or design your own around the needs of your child.
However, if this seems like a daunting prospect, it is equally as possible to follow the school syllabus, if you think that’s what will be best for your child.
This Think Student article provides all the information necessary on what the options are for home schooled students of a GCSE age.
How can you choose the right syllabus for your child?
There are several factors to take into consideration when starting the process of home schooling. The first thing to think about is where you want your child to go post school. The curriculum you choose could impact which options are open later in life, including universities and job prospects.
At a younger age, this is less important as they’ll be able to catch up later, but for home schooled children in Year 10 and above, the curriculum they follow can have a massive impact. Therefore, it’s important to weigh up all the pros and cons before closing off any paths to a future career.
With this in mind, you’re free to choose whichever syllabus you want, factoring in age, ability and your child’s work ethic. If you’ve opted to teach the school syllabus, there are hundreds of resources available online from the government, exam boards and some schools guiding parents in home schooling.
This article from the government will lead you to some of these resources and provide more information on the national curriculum.
However, if you are not opting to follow the school curriculum, there are far less resources to guide you in that. Just remember that in whichever syllabus you choose, there should be plenty of options open post-18. On top of this, you want to make sure there are lots of guidance notes available from the creators of the syllabus to make sure you are teaching it correctly.
For more information, not just on the syllabus available, but on the process of home schooling in general, see this Think Student article .
Can you design your own home school syllabus?
For the parents of younger children, it is often the case that their home school syllabus is self-written. This is definitely a possibility, although it is strongly advised that you do not write the syllabus for children and teenagers of an older age.
When writing your own syllabus, you should think about which subjects you want to teach, what you know about them, and whether you will need further assistance from a tutor to educate your child. This is where the benefits of home schooling come in, as you are able to focus your child’s learning on the subjects they excel in.
Once you’ve chosen the key subjects, it is advisable to look for lots of resources online that can be used to teach each course. These can be textbooks, online courses, worksheets and anything else you can get your hands on.
Doing a quick google search beforehand can massively improve the organisation and quality of your curriculum. This will enable you to see what other parents and schools are teaching so that your child doesn’t miss out on anything.
For more information on the process of creating your own syllabus and how to monitor your child’s progress, you can read this article, from noodle.com.
Is home schooling the right choice for your child?
Deciding to home school is a big decision, and one which can affect your child for the rest of their life, either positively or negatively. For this reason, you should take time to consider the pros and cons of home schooling before taking the leap.
The first thing to take into consideration is the extra cost. Where going to a state school in the UK is free, you would be required to supply everything from paper and pens to computing software. Additionally, as a parent, it will cost you the extra time which is required to properly educate your children.
The main benefit of home schooling is that you have a massive amount of freedom and flexibility. Not only can you choose what you’ll teach, but you can also decide when. As long as your child is receiving the correct amount of teaching time, you can decide on your own hours and holiday time.
The other massive bonus to this is that you can stop early on days when your child is struggling, such as really hot summer days. For example, add extra time on days when they have the motivation to work.
Is socialisation an important part of school?
One of the other major differences between school and home learning is that children are not exposed to the same level of socialisation.
It’s very important that children are taught how to behave in social situations, and school is the perfect opportunity for this. If you deprive your child of this, it could cause them to miss out on an important life experience. However, for some children, learning to socialise in a different way is very important, particularly for those with special needs. Some conditions such as autism cause children to react differently in social situations, and so they need to be introduced to other people in a different way. Lots of special needs children go to schools designed for this, but home schooling is another valid option.