Getting started

There’s a lot of useful information available on the internet relating to ‘home schooling’, ‘education at home’, ‘education otherwise’ and ‘home education’. There is also a range of books and other publications that will offer help and support.

How to provide home education

There’s no single ‘right way’ to provide home education for your child.

Think about how your child learns best: is it by reading and answering questions in books? Perhaps they prefer to listen and talk about things, or they may need to make things, draw things or do it themselves. Try to find out what might work best for them.

Giving them feedback

Even if you don't mark your child's work in a 'school style', it’s important that you quickly deal with any mistakes or explain anything they’ve misunderstood. It’s equally important that they know when they’re getting things right.

Checking their progress

You should regularly review your child’s learning. This can help you to plan, and may also show if a particular teaching style or set of resources is working better than another.

The National Curriculum can help you to check your child’s progress. One way to do this would be to use worksheets or tests for your child’s age, or to borrow work, tests or worksheets from friends with children who are still at school.

If your child is aiming to take an exam, try to get copies of past papers (and mark schemes). Exam board websites usually have copies that you can use.

Celebrating their success

Home educators use a wide range of methods to celebrate their child’s successes and often go far further than the occasional tick for a 10/10. The list below gives only a few examples:

  • Sticker charts: 10 stickers = a treat. A tried and trusted approach, if a little predictable, but the treat can be anything from a bigger sticker, choosing tomorrow's meals, a trip to the cinema or extra time to watch the TV or play on the computer or games console.
  • Cool Wall: a visible area dedicated to your child’s best work.
  • Verbal praise: although obvious, this can have extra impact if it’s from a family friend, relative and / or 'expert'.
  • Special folder / box: Similar to the Cool Wall, but including your child’s best work in a special folder / box instead.

The last idea can also become part of an ongoing 'CV'. Where work isn’t so easily kept (perhaps a large model or a science experiment), a photographic record or video can be a great alternative. This can be very useful when talking to colleges, universities and employers who may have had very little experience of home educated children or young adults.

Some home educators take a different view of 'reward' for learning and believe that children can sometimes simply learn in order to please the adult and get the reward. They feel that, if not done thoughtfully, a reward system can detract from the joy of learning itself.

Socialising with other children

It’s important to allow time for your child to mix informally with other children. This might not be a problem and your child may wish to keep in touch with friends from school and/or they may have friends in the neighbourhood.

As well as being a good source of advice, ideas and support, contact with other home educating families can also offer opportunities for children to socialise.

You may also decide to encourage them to join local groups, such as the scouts, sports clubs, music, dance or drama groups, wildlife or astronomy clubs.

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