The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling In The UK
Homeschooling or giving your child education at home is growing in popularity across the United Kingdom. The number of children being homeschooled in the country has doubled in the past four years, with records suggesting at least 48,000 homeschooled children between 2016 to 2017.
If you’re planning to give your child at-home education, either full-time or part-time, there are plenty of things you need to consider. This handy guide will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about homeschooling in the UK, including laws and learning resources.
What Are The Homeschooling Laws In The UK?
While other countries have stricter rules or bans on homeschooling, giving your child education in the comfort of your home is 100% legal in the UK. The regulations on homeschooling in the country are relaxed. This means you won’t be inspected and your child will unlikely need to take officials exams.
According to Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, parents must secure an efficient and age-appropriate education for their child, full time. Parents or educators should also adapt their curriculum to a child’s learning ability and aptitude.
Most homeschoolers teach their children the National Curriculum. This allows the student to receive official qualifications at GCSE and A-Level, which is a prerequisite to higher education and most careers. However, it isn’t mandatory to do so.
If you wish to give your child education at home, you won’t have to be a qualified teacher or hold any educational qualifications to teach your kid.
One important law that all homeschoolers in the UK must observe is that children must start receiving full-time education by the age of five.
How Do You Start Homeschooling In The UK?
Once you’ve decided to homeschool your child, you need to deregister them from school if they are currently enrolled. The process takes effect immediately, which means your child could walk into school the next morning and be deregistered then. Listed below are the steps you need to take to deregister your child.
- If your child is currently receiving formal education…
Inform your child’s school that you plan to pull them out to educate them at home. You can do so by writing a letter addressed to the head teacher and asking for your child’s name to be removed from the register.
- If you wish to “flexi-school”…
Flexi-schooling means your child will receive an education in school and at home. If you choose this option, you must get approval from the school. They can refuse this option, but they cannot stop you from homeschooling your child full-time.
- If your child hasn’t started school yet…
If you’ve already been offered a school place, you have to go through the process of removing your child’s name from the register. However, if you haven’t applied for a placement, you can begin homeschooling immediately.
- If your child has special needs…
If your child has learning disabilities, you need to get permission from the local authority to have their name removed from the registry.
- If your child has an education, health, and care plan (EHCP)…
You may need to contact the council. This ensures that their educational needs are being met. The agency may also offer additional help for their homeschooling.
How Do You Select A Homeschooling Style?
Once you’ve deregistered your child from school, you can begin your family’s homeschooling journey. To make it clear, you do not have to follow any particular curriculum. You are also not expected to recreate a traditional school setting at home if you don’t wish to do so.
As your child’s educator, you are free to choose how you want to go about their education. Do you want to travel the world? Do you want to give them the opportunity to choose what they want to learn?
There are many homeschooling styles in the UK and across the world. Homeschooling provides you and your child a chance to try out different at-home education styles to see which approach fits your needs and helps you achieve goals.
Here are six of the main types of homeschooling styles:
The Montessori method is one of the most developed styles of homeschooling. This method is effective for children who are just starting their learning adventure. Like other methods, the Montessori style aims to foster an environment that allows a child to learn at their own pace.
Waldorf/Steiner education begins from birth until a child is age 21. Each learning stage shapes the way a child feels about the world. Waldorf students are encouraged to live in the moment, helping them become critical-thinking and empathetic individuals.
Unlike other homeschooling methods, unschoolers do not follow a curriculum or a step-by-step process. Parents provide children with opportunities to help kids find what interests them. This often involves baking, cooking, and other real-world activities.
In Worldschooling, a family bases their curriculum on their travel destinations. However, children are often involved in building the study plan. They can decide where to go, what to see, and how much money they’ll spend in a specific area.
The Classical method focuses on helping students become wise individuals with a deep understanding of their chosen subjects. It also trains individuals to analyse data intelligently and think logically.
- Charlotte Mason
This learning method uses “living books” or high-quality literature to help a child learn self-discipline and master his academic subjects.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost In The UK?
Parents are not obligated to make compulsory purchases when you home educate your child. This means you can homeschool spending nothing. However, if you plan to set aside part of your budget for your child’s education, the cost would depend on several factors:
- How many extracurricular classes, workshops, trips abroad, tutors or books are you planning on getting?
- Do you want to create your child a toy theatre or buy full-priced tickets to local events?
- Are you looking to hire a tutor to oversee your child’s education?
- ow many children are you looking to homeschool?
There are plenty of ways to reduce your homeschooling costs. Here are several tips:
1. Don’t buy a homeschooling curriculum. There are plenty of free homeschooling curriculums online.
2. If you’re purchasing tickets for an attraction or event, ask for the educational rate. Most places in the UK give homeschoolers the same discount that school groups get. .
3. Get a library card. This will allow you to borrow books or take part in writing or drawing workshops without cost..
4. Join a group of homeschooling families to create opportunities for children to socialise or play. If one of you is a talented artist, consider running a little art workshop. Do you have parents who are bakers? Maybe you could teach other kids how to bake. .
5. Visit your local charity shops where you can find excellent quality, second-hand books, puzzles, toys, and other items you can use to enrich your child’s homeschooling experience.
Do you want to homeschool your child at zero cost? There are plenty of resources online that help first-time homeschoolers give their children a well-rounded education for free. Here’s a list of some of the best.
- Prodigy is one of the most popular online math resources for students from grades 1 to 8. The platform features a free parent program where you can monitor your child’s learning progress.
- Mystery Science is a free site for children from kindergarten to grade 5. Their distance learning program includes tons of hour-long videos discussing a wide range of topics related to science.
- Khan Academy is an online tool where children can learn interesting stuff about science, history, math, computing, and many more. The tool allows students to learn at their own pace and provides parents information needed to identify the gaps in their children’s understanding. .
- LearnEnglish Grammar is a free interactive phone app developed by the British Council. The tool features four levels from beginners to advanced. It also comes with over 1,000 practice questions to help your children learn English grammar.
- Kahoot! is a great tool for distance learners and homeschoolers. The platform gives teachers access to tools to help them create their own quizzes based on English grammar. They can also search and use games created by other education professionals.
Besides downloading free apps, you can also teach your child to be actively engaged in the community. Giving them volunteering opportunities would also provide them chances to learn how the world around them works. It can also teach them valuable life skills that they can use later in life. Several opportunities you should consider include volunteering at homeless shelters or animal shelters, playing instruments at your place of worship, or joining tree-planting activities.
If you’re looking for free resources, such as worksheets, colouring sheets, and other tools on topics deeper than English, Maths, and Sciences, you can sign up for a membership for our AB Seedlings program. We offer hundreds of resources for homeschooling students ages 0 to 11.
Our modules contain free resources that encourage independent learning and play that promote a holistic learning experience.