We have had so many queries from people wanting to find out more about home education that I thought it might be easier to put a reply on here.
If any other home educators would like to add anything please do. As we know, there is no right or wrong way to home educate but a million different ways! With as many of us sharing, guiding and encouraging, hopefully we can reassure anyone at all that they too can do it. And if you are someone considering it or would like to know more please do email or leave a comment below. (You’ll need to sign up as a member to comment on the site).
Here is a copied and pasted reply:
You don’t need to follow any kind of curriculum or structure at all when you home educate. Some people take an autonomous approach, by which they pretty much follow whatever a child is interested in and take opportunities as they present themselves throughout a day. So for example, a walk in the park might lead onto a discussion about the flowers, which leads onto learning about photosynthesis, where you can then go and grow a plant and learn about it, or grow a plant which is also food, then cook it, and then write about it e.t.c. You see how one simple thing can lead onto learning in different ways without actually feeling like learning?!
OFSTED have no involvement and neither do the local authority. They might ask to see you or your child’s work but they actually have no right to do so, and you have every right to refuse. I only ever had one visit way back when I first removed Stephanie from Junior school nine years ago. It was during the summer holidays and he didn’t want to see any of her work or even see her! He was actually quite supportive and told me how they would prefer that a child received at least an education in Maths, English, some science and IT. Anyway, they nor anyone else has any say in how, why, or where you choose to home educate.
There are no SATS, no curriculum you must follow (the decision to buy any workbooks or curriculums at all is completely up to you), no tests – not even workbooks if you don’t want them – it is completely and entirely up to you what you do and don’t do.
I found autonomous learning worked fine when I only had one child to home educate but when it came to jumping in and committing to home edding all my children I decided I wanted more structure. I certainly couldn’t research and plan several different subjects for different ages and abilities whilst also running a home, a large family and two businesses, so we buy in our curriculum from TEACH.
Curriculums are so hard to come by in the UK and I’ve yet to find a decent (and not extortionate) alternative that doesn’t need shipping in from the US. It is the ACE curriculum so it’s Christian-based although nothing too heavy really. I’d be happy to show some examples to anyone interested. The subjects include Maths, English, Science, Social Studies, Bible, Word
Building (spelling) and Literature & Creative Writing. You don’t have to do them all, in fact you can pick and choose. It’s recommended that your child does 12 books in each subject per year so if the approximate cost per workbook is £3 plus £2 for the score key (answer book) you’re looking at about £500 per year for first child. You’d only need to buy the workbooks for subsequent children as the score keys can be kept and re-used.
The books are well laid out and self-explanatory. If your child can read they pretty much get on with it and only need your input if they need something explaining in further detail, so you don’t need to be sitting with them constantly. It also encourages a child to become good self-learners and researchers, and to think independently - skills not really encouraged by schools!
The children have ‘goal cards’ which is a week’s timetable. On each day they’ll set their ‘goals’ which are the number of pages they’ll do
in each subject. For example, on Monday they may set pages 4-6 in Maths, 5-8 in English, 4-6 in Science etc. Once they’ve done their set pages they cross it off their goal card and write down the page numbers (goals) to do the following day. At the end of each book is a ‘Self Test’ which goes over what the child has been learning in the book. If they pass the Self Test they then go on to do the PACE test the following day.
If you like your child can continue onto the higher level through which they can gain a certificate of education which is the equivalent
to GCSEs and accepted at Universities worldwide. They can finish on a
number of different levels from foundation GCSE equivalent, to intermediate, to higher, to a-level or uni entry level. You can find
out more about it at http://www.christian-education.org/.
If you don’t want a Christian curriculum you could consider getting some CGP books or workbooks by Letts or similar, and doing it in the same way of setting x amount of pages per day or even y allowing your child to pick them up as and when they feel. We are considering switching this ourselves as, though the ACE curriculum is good and well laid out, the service – we’ve found – is very questionable.
We’re normally done with workbooks by lunchtime so afternoons are free and flexible for anything else they want to do… or not! So even if they want to play in the garden all afternoon or we head off to the beach in the summer while everyone else is in class and at work we can!
I’ve rounded up the most popular posts regarding home education from our site, where I cover things from why we decided to home educate, our verdict four years on, home education and socialisation, and why the education system doesn’t actually work for a child’s benefit as it should. You may be interested in reading these posts especially if your child is creative.
I hope I’ve covered everything but if you do have any more questions please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to help. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or leave a comment below.
Since writing this post we have changed the curriculum we use, finding ACE no longer suitable for us. See our reasons why we switched and what we changed to here.