Can I homeschool my child in the UK? – The Sun
WHETHER you've recently found yourself with a more flexible work schedule or are already a stay-at-home parent, there's no denying that home-schooling can seem like an appealing prospect for your little ones.
Unlike traditional schooling, educating your kids at home gives them one-on-one teaching time and allows you to organise their term times.
Equally, home-schooling involves a LOT of work from parents too – here's everything you need to know before diving in the deep end.
Can I home school my child in the UK?
In the UK, it is entirely legal to educate your child at home and it can be done either full or part-time.
If your child is already in school, you will have to write a letter to their head teacher requesting to take them out.
If you’re taking your child our completely, they must accept, but they can refuse your request if it’s only on a part-time basis.
However, you must continue give your child a full-time education – but the government's website states that don’t have to follow the national curriculum and taking exams and qualifications are not compulsory either.
But if your child wishes to go on to higher education, many colleges and universities need some academic proof – so your child may sit their GCSEs or A levels in a local school.
How does home education work in the UK?
Instead of going to a mainstream state or private school, children can be educated less formally inside the home.
Parents may choose to home educate their child if they aren’t satisfied with the local schools, for religious reasons, or if they want to be more involved with their child’s learning.
Children can either be taught by their parents, by tutors, or form a co-operative group with other home educated children nearby.
These groups give the opportunity for children to be taught by parents that are more specialised, take the pressure off one parent for teaching all subjects, and interact with other children as they can take lessons together and even go on trips.
If you’re teaching your child, you can choose a timetable that works around you, and are not constrained to school holidays for trips.
How popular is home schooling?
The coronavirus crisis has seen more parents than ever before request to home-school their children permanently.
In August, Wolsey Hall Oxford – a leading homeschool provider – revealed it has been forced to suspend all GCSE applications due to the "overwhelming" demand.
The college, which has 3,000 students worldwide, has had applications from 3,000 students – the equivalent of three comprehensive schools – in the past three months alone.
According to the Oxford Home School Trust, who obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act, between 2006 and 2016, the number of home educated children increased from 8,361 to 38,573.
What celebrities home school their kids?
Lockdown forced all parents with children of school age to double up as teachers – and that includes celebrities.
In August 2018, mum-of-three Stacey Solomon revealed that she started educating her two eldest sons herself after noticing Zachary was becoming anxious and worried about school.
She explained: "He would come home from school embarrassed to make jokes and be silly and he became very quiet and a little sad. We spoke about this a lot and he explained to me that his behaviour was deemed naughty and disruptive by teachers and not cool by his peers."
Actress Patsy Palmer previously revealed she taught her brood at home.
The ex-EastEnders star home-schools Fenton so the pair can focus on their careers in modelling and acting.
Patsy, who now lives in LA, allows her children to study classes online so they are available to attend acting lessons and auditions.
Stacey Solomon’s home-schooling tips:
- Teach the hardest lesson first
- Only make the kids sit at a desk for an hour maximum
- Break up the day with time outdoors
- Make a weekly timetable to ensure you're covering all the important topics
How do I get started if I decide to homeschool?
To begin with, expert suggest making a timetable for your homeschooling to ensure you're covering enough topics on a regular basis.
Homeschooling support website Time4Learning has free lesson plans and homework diaries you can print off to help you and the kids to keep track of their work.
The experts recommend trialling different types of lessons in the first few weeks to see what your child responds to – for instance, are they visual, physical, verbal or auditory learners?
In order to figure this out, experiment by checking out some age-appropriate textbooks from your library and using an online curriculum and see what they respond to best.
However, it's important to keep adapting your home-schooling methods – as what works for your child now might not in future.
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