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How to Get Started with Homeschooling in the UK

Deciding not to outsource the education of your children, and instead take on full responsibility for it is a BIG deal and a scary thing to do. But you don't have to do it alone we're here to help!

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Below you'll find our Getting Started with Home Education in the UK guide, along with links to some of the best resources we've found as we we're getting started ourselves

What to Do First

If you're unsure whether home education is for you, or if you've decided it is your chosen path but you're now thinking, So now what?, here are a few things to do which can help you plot a way forward:

1. Define your Educational Philosophy

This is something you do to clarify your stance on education which can then help guide any further decisions you make about how you approach educating your children (and yourself!).

An educational philosophy doesn't have to be complex, it simply helps identify your own personal beliefs on education, the purpose of it and how best to achieve it for your own family.

As is suggested here, you may want to consider the following:

  • The purpose of education
  • Role of the student in education
  • Role of the teacher in education
  • Role of the teacher in the community

As well as:

  • Why do you want to teach/guide/facilitate?
  • How are going to teach/guide/facilitate?
  • What are going to teach/guide/facilitate?
  • Where are you going to teach/guide/facilitate?

When you're clear on your views and beliefs on education, you'll likely find it a lot easier to make future decisions because you've taken the time to clarify your own views, and can stand behind them knowing you've consciously defined them.

Remember : Your philosophy and views are uniquely yours they're not right, nor wrong, simply YOURS.

What do you believe the purpose of education is? And what kind of education would best suit the learners in your family?

2. Consider the Potential Impact

If you're still undecided about whether you can make home education work for you and your family, these are often the common areas of impact families like to consider:

On Happiness home-schooled children can be happier children, but not always; especially as children get older, it's obviously vital to include them fully in the decision to home educate and to respect their opinions.

Additionally, parents often experience a happier family when home schooling, but not alwaysIt can be stressful, you may often second guess yourself and you are forever questioning whether you're doing a good enough job.

If I may share the things that help me whenever I experience the doubting gremlins

  • You don't have to know everything now, including what will happen when your child hits X age you've got time to figure it out as you go.
  • Your kids won't suddenly go wrong or appear to be stupid you'll have plenty of time to notice any issues and adjust.
  • Focus on your and their happiness, and use their (and your) natural appetite for learning and curiosity, and you won't go too far wrong.

On Finances in the UK there is NO financial assistance specifically for home educating families but there are discounts, deals and offers available as a homeschooling family. This is an excellent resource for news on available offers.

Home education can have an impact on your finances not only with the costs you may need to bear for equipment, resources and learning materials (although there is so much that is freely available), but also by impacting your capacity to earn.

This, in particular, is one reason we're so passionate about ongoing learning for adults at the Trivas Foundation.

On Self-Confidence (Yours!) many parents considering home education come up against the question of whether they're qualified enough to teach their kids. This can impact your confidence and make you question your ability to do this.

Our belief? There is no-one better qualified to teach your kids than YOU, and you have after all already been doing it since birth, right?

Plus there is no rule saying you have to do it all alone bring in tutors if you can, tap into wisdom and knowledge of friends, family and community members, where you can. Its not your job to know everything who does?

On Practical Aspects the decision to home educate can have an impact on some of the more practical aspects of your life. You may want answers to questions such as:

  • Where you live do you have/need more room to home educate? Do you question whether you need better transport options to visit better learning opportunities?
  • The support networks you have access to are you remote/isolated from other home ed networks and communities? How/where can you access support if you need it?
  • Your daily schedule and timetable how will this impact other responsibilities you have? How much time will this require?
  • The rest of your family do you have other children who aren't home-schooled (but want to be or not)? How do your other children feel about you home-schooling a sibling? How supportive is the rest of your family?

No-one can give you definitive answers on these and you may not get them until you take the plunge.

At the very least, when you've considered them you can be confident that you're going into this with eyes wide open, having consciously considered the impact this decision will have on all areas of your and your familys lives.

How will home schooling impact your and your family's lives?

3. Understand the Process

If you're children are already in school, many experienced homeschoolers recommend a process of 'deschooling' that is, getting school out of both your & your children's systems!

Some parents find this a tricky process, because the conditioning, mindset and systemised approach are so ingrained in the way they've been brought up and experienced education.

The general rule of thumb appears to be 1 month of deschooling per school year attended.

If you're children haven't yet been to school, the process is simpleyou continue doing what you've been doing and start home schooling from where you are!

Are you ready to home school? Only you can decide

What to Do When Youve Decided

1. Inform the authorities (or not)

First and foremost, understand this:

It is your legal right to home educate your children in the UK.

Although as you'll discover, the process for doing this and the involvement of and mileage you get from your local authority may differ!

If your child is in school, you will need to de-register your child, then possibly de-school. The first is a more formal notification to the school that you intend to homeschool; the second is a process by which you wash the school system out of your own systems

If your child has never been to school, you don't actually need to inform anyone of your decision to home educate and can simply get on with it.

For tips on dealing with both paths especially if you're having problems with your local authority, check out this community group on Facebook.

2. Figure out the practicalities the how & what

Its natural to be apprehensive and nervous about taking on the education of your child, but it can also be an amazing, exciting and life-expanding opportunity for you all. There are some practicalities you'll need to figure out, including:

Your Approach To Education Are you unschooling (autonomous education)? Replicating school at home? Roadschooling?

Your Curriculum If you're going with a more formal approach, you'll need to decide on some kind of curriculum.

Your Timetable You may choose not to have any kind of set timetable at all, or you may have a more structure approach whatever works best for youbut do experiment to figure it out, and do not let yourself be swayed by what anyone else does or believes you should be doing.

Your Resources If you'd like to use additional learning resources and materials, it's a good idea to start gathering these/links to these and get yourself a bit organised. Theres a wealth of resources available free, for fee, online and locally so start putting together your own resource folder now and you'll have plenty of ideas for when inspiration deserts you!

You may not know or have any set ideas to the above yet now is a good time to begin asking yourself these questions so you can begin to consciously explore the answers.

Useful Resources

These are a summary of resources mentioned above, and in addition to:

  • A wiki to help home educating families whose children want to take exams.
  • A community group on Facebook for deals, discounts & offers for home schoolers in the UK.
  • A support group for help dealing with your Local Authority (LA) and need practical advice and support from people who've got plenty of experience.
  • A telephone helpline staffed by experienced volunteers, to help you in a home education crisis.
  • UK-based crriculum resources including what's covered in thenational curriculum, online learning using the national curriculum, and other UK-based learning programmes.

If you're looking to get started with home-schooling your children, in whatever form, and youre keen to join a positive, forward-looking and progressive community of global home schoolers (we can learn so much from the global community, not just our fellow UK home schoolers), join us here.

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Posted in Childrens services Post Date 01/28/2017