Starting new things can be stressful, especially when they are quite big and important decisions. Especially when they affect not only your life but also your child’s and when you may not have all the information. Home schooling is no different.
Home schooling is becoming more and more popular with each passing year. So, it would be no surprise to us if you have already heard a bit about it. Or if you have even considered whether it is a viable option for you and your child. Whichever boat you are in, it’s important that we address any concerns you may have about having your child home schooled. This is especially important because the answers can often be quite straightforward to understand.
Continue reading for more information about home schooling. This guide can be especially helpful if you are considering this idea and/or have some worries or concerns about it.
Table of Contents
What is Home Schooling?
Home schooling is a movement that is getting more and more popular in the UK. With the figures of home schooled children in 2016/2017 being about 48,000 pupils. This is compared to the 54,656 pupils in 2019 that were being home schooled. This increase only surged even more due to the pandemic. In 2020, the number of home schooled children in England increased by a dramatic 38%. For more information about these figures click this link for the article from theukrules.co.uk and here for theschoolrun.com article.
While its name implies that it is self-explanatory, it can still be confusing to know exactly what home schooling means. At least in the UK, home schooling is where the parents or legal guardians take their child’s education into their own hands. In this form of education, students forego the traditional desks and chairs of mainstream schooling and instead learn at home. Students may be taught by parents/legal guardians or tutors. For more information check out this article from tutorhouse.co.uk.
Can You Home School Your Child?
The idea of taking your child’s education into your own hands to make sure that they get the right attention and support they need in their studies can appeal to some. But at times it can seem too idealistic, especially as you may only see it in American films or TV shows. This can even lead you to wonder if it is even possible in the UK.
You may feel glad to know that it is. In the UK, you can teach your child or children at home on either a part time or full-time basis. This is officially called elective home education. If your child already attends school, then you should tell them before beginning your home education plans. If your child has a school attendance order, then you will also need to ask permission from your local council first. For more information about this check out this governmental guide.
Do You Need Qualifications to Home School Your Child?
When considering whether to home school your child, a common area of concern is the qualifications you need to be able to do so. This can even cause you to stress and make you feel unqualified to take your child’s education into your own hands.
However, in the UK, it is not necessary for you to have any kind of qualifications or pass any exams to be able to home school your child. This is because home schooling your own child is very different to being an actual teacher to a class of other people’s children.
In this way, the qualifications you need for home schooling is much more similar to that of tutoring. Both being none. In fact, you don’t even have to have a personal academic interest. Although, this could be useful if you plan to carry out your child’s education on your own. For more information about the qualifications, you need (or not), check out this article from adventuretravelfamily.co.uk.
How Much Does Home Schooling Cost?
In the UK, school can be quite expensive. In 2016, it was estimated that to send just one child to school parents were paying an average of £1519 per school year. The main costs that parents had to cover include childcare, uniforms, technology, school clubs, commuting and lunches. For more information about this estimate check out this article from primarytimes.co.uk.
Due to this, it’s no wonder that home schooling is considered financially beneficial. This is especially as it’s possible to do even with a very tight budget. But it does also have costs of its own.
How Much Do the Equipment and Resources Cost?
As part of the entire idea of home schooling, you get to tailor your child’s learning to their needs. In the same way, you can tailor how they learn and what resources or equipment they will use to your budget. Due to this, the costs for equipment can vary drastically.
The most essential things that you will need to pay for are a computer, broadband, stationary, textbooks and other learning resources. On top of that you may want to take your child on trips to museums, zoos, castles which may have an admissions fee. Or sign them up to clubs which may also have a fee. This could easily come to £145 or less per month. See how this blogger Hannah Canavan manages their home schooling costs. For more information about how much home schooling costs in the UK, check out this article from tutorhouse.co.uk.
What Is Flexi-Schooling?
Flexi-schooling is a form of education that blends traditional education with home schooling. In this way, students will attend traditional school for part of the week and then be home schooled for the other part.
Due to this, you will have an arrangement with the school that your child attends. As the home schooling is only part time, the school that your child attends currently are allowed to refuse this arrangement. For more information about schools being able to refuse part time home schooling, check out this governmental guide.
How Does Flexi-Schooling Work?
Flexi-schooling will need to be arranged with the head teacher at your child’s school as you will need their permission before you can even begin. For them to agree, you will need to prove that this form of education is in the best interest for your child and that it will benefit them. To do this, you may want to write up a proposal to explain to them what the benefits are specifically to your child and their needs. You may also want to have a meeting with the head teacher to explain it to them in person.
If the head teacher does agree, then the process can start. On the days that your child is in school, they will need to follow the national curriculum as they will be taught in the same way as if they were attending school full time. However, on home schooling days, they will not need to follow the national curriculum. This is the same as full-time home schooling. For more information about what Flexi-schooling is and how it works, check out this guide from theschoolrun.com.
How Much Do Exams Cost?
While the costs of home schooling are typically lower, this isn’t true for everything. This is especially because of the costs that you don’t even have to think about in traditional education. One of the most important examples of this is exam fees.
In the UK, if you home school you have to pay to take exams such as GCSEs or A-Levels. This is because you are entering the exam as a private candidate. Typically, taking a GCSE as a private candidate will cost you between £37 and £200 per exam. This is because you have to pay for both the exam fee itself as well as for the centre you take it at. For more information about these costs look here at ncchomelearning.co.uk. For a more detailed guide on how to take exams, such as GCSEs, as a private candidate check out this great Think Student article.
What Are the Other Costs Involved?
Resources costs and exam costs are easily predictable and so easy to plan ahead for. However, there are some other costs involved with home schooling that can make it a little more expensive than you think. It is important to know what these costs are, so they don’t take you by surprise. Also, it means that you can take them into consideration when making your home schooling budget.
These costs include the increased heating and electricity bills from being at home more often. As well as a potential loss of earnings as at least one parent will have to be home, if the child is too young to be on their own and in general to enforce the home education. Also, more wear and tear from walls to furniture to clothing due to being home more. For more information about these other hidden costs of home schooling check out this article from castleviewacademy.com.
What Support Do You Get If You Home School Your Child?
Starting home schooling can be a big step. Especially as it is probably something that is completely new to you. This can be scary at times, and you may feel hesitant to actually start the process. This is even worse if you don’t know where to get the support or even if there’s any out there. Continue reading the following sections for more information about what support you can get.
To start with a positive, you can join a home schooling support group. This can be a great way for you to make new friends with like-minded parents. On top of that, you may be able to get some nifty tips and tricks or even ask for advice from other more experienced members. This can be a great way of really making the most out of home schooling.
These groups may be online, especially on platforms such as Facebook. Alternatively, they may be more physical and face-to-face. For an extensive list of home schooling support groups in the UK, you can check out this A2Z guide. Please note that there are many for several different locations (rather than simply being online) so make sure to find the best group for you.
While home schooling can be a lot cheaper than sending your child to school. It can also be quite difficult to get all of the equipment and resources that you need for your child’s learning. This is even more true if you’re on a tight budget. Please check out this article from theschoolrun.com about home schooling on a budget.
As this can be difficult, you may have wondered what financial aid there was to offer. In short, the answer is none. There is no funding or grants available specifically to aid with home schooling. This is likely because home schooling styles can vary drastically and so the costs of such education does too. On top of that, it is technically form of private education although without the premium prices. For more information about this look at this article from homeschoolfor1.com.
Can You Claim Benefits If You Home School Your Child?
If you already claim benefits, whatever type that is, switching to home school will not directly change any of it.
However, please note that if this changed that amount you are able to work, then this is a change technically caused by home schooling. You will also likely need to contact HMRC to sort everything out.
On top of that, child benefit will end when the child turns 16. This is unless the child remains in approved education or training. If this is the case, child benefit can continue until the child turns 18. You will also need to inform HMRC about this. Home schooling can be included in the approved education category. This is only of it was started before the child turned 16 and so is just a continuation. For more information about claiming benefits and home schooling from the blogger Hannah Canavan check out this article.
Is Home Schooling Hard for Parents?
Everyone is different with their preferences, strengths and weaknesses. In the same way, everyone has their own home schooling style that may work for some but not work as well for others. Due to this, judging whether home schooling is hard for parents is difficult and as always incredibly subjective.
However, there are a few elements of home schooling that can make it a lot more difficult. For one, everything is down to you. You have to make all of the decisions, prepare all of the resources, make sure that your child gets something to eat, make sure that your child is actually learning, etc. The responsibilities involved in home schooling as a parent are almost endless. This puts a lot of work on you as a parent as the home schooling won’t properly work if you don’t. On top of this, this can make you feel a lot of pressure, which can also increase how stressed you feel.
Other than that, being around your child or children all the time can be a little… overwhelming. Although it can be great for you, sometimes you may feel that you just need a break. Especially as your child gets older. For more information from homeschool-your-boys.com about the hard parts of home schooling look here.
Why Do Parents Home School Their Children?
There were about 60,500 students registered as being home schooled in England alone in 2019. So, in turn there must be many different reasons for why people choose to home school. For more information about home schooling statistics in England, just like this one, check out this document from the House of Commons library.
For some parents home schooling may feel like the only option due to a bad experience from traditional schooling. Bullying, exam pressure and stress are all problems that their child may face due to traditional schooling. For these parents, they may feel that home schooling is a good escape from these negatives of traditional schooling. For information from the Guardian about how home schooling is increasing and why some parents are choosing it, look here.
Other parents may have never sent their children to school in the first place. This may be because due to the laws in the UK, they know that home schooling is an option. For some parents the option of home schooling allows them to be more flexible with their child’s education. On top of that, it allows them to focus better on their child and their needs. This child-led focus can really benefit the child’s learning and help them to better engage with what is being taught. For more information from the Guardian about good reasons to home school look here.