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How to Start the Homeschooling Journey

It’s never too late to take control of your child's education.


If you’ve been considering homeschooling due to a lack of confidence with the mainstream system, have no fear. It’s not too late to take action. Even if your child has been enrolled in school this year, you still have the legal right to begin an alternative learning journey.


Many parents are becoming disillusioned with government funded education. Class sizes are increasing, teachers pay is shrinking, their hours are growing and it simply isn’t possible to give each child the attention that they deserve. Some feel that the system is outdated and no longer fit for purpose and others simply find that it doesn’t suit their families changing needs and wants.


If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You don’t need to wait until September to withdraw your child, and the process is not as difficult as you might expect. The government website states that you ‘should tell the school if you plan to educate them at home’. All this means is a simple letter telling the school of your decision. This is not asking permission but informing them, so that they can update their records. Although not strictly necessary, it can be useful to follow this step in order to avoid confusion with the school and reports of school refusal.


And it’s as simple as that. Homeschooling in the UK is a legal right and you don’t need to take any steps other than the first. However it may be prudent to research the ins and outs of homeschooling and how to best set you and your child up for success.


Research and plan your strategy.

There are many ways to homeschool and lots of voices stating that their way is the only way. The truth is that the right way is your way; the way that works for your family. If this is unschooling, Montessori or online education there is a growing library of information to you out there. Read what you can, take what you need and leave the rest. Once you find what resonates with you the day to day becomes so much easier.


Find the resources you need.

This can come in the form of individual worksheets and presentations, similar to what you can find on twinkl.com; it may be a beautiful package curriculum like the many found on etsy; or it could be finding a service that will do the heavy lifting for you. Look for things that interest you and will interest your child. Co-learning is a bonding experience and can ease you into homeschool life. Don’t be too influenced by the worksheets or activities with the most impressive illustrations. These can be an incredible supplement but they often lack substance and may not have been created by someone with suitable knowledge on the subject.


If you are looking for comprehensive cover for a full term or even the full year, online schools may be a good starting point. They can offer options that suit all needs, be that live lessons or self-study, and can take the weight off the homeschooling parent. Instead of spending evenings trawling through pinterest you can be sat on the sofa sharing a story with your child.


Create a learning space.

Children rarely need expensive equipment or specially designed and bought tools. They need a calm, clear environment where they can think. This can take the form of an office, their bedroom or even the dining table. So long as it’s quiet enough that they can focus and be free from distractions.


It can be helpful to prepare some things in advance such as writing equipment, colouring pencils and an organisational planner, as well as printing out or having any resources you will need for the day to hand. If using an online school a good wifi connection is a must, and perhaps a good headset depending on where your child will be learning.


Set a schedule.

Don’t be too overambitious with yourself or your child, especially in the beginning. Give yourself a grace period and the space to learn what suits you and your child together. You may have assumed that the afternoon would be the best time to actively participate in lessons, only to find that your child is distracted and unable to sit still. You may have initially wanted to finish all lessons by noon but chores are getting in the way. However you fit in your learning leave room for life in between. Homeschooling should be about flexibility and freedom and keeping too tight a hold on the reins may lead to refusal from your child and in house arguments. Keep an open dialogue but once you’ve found what works for you keep it up. Routine and rhythm are the best balance.


Evaluate.

What you thought might be best before you started may not be working but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You haven’t failed, you’re just learning. It can be useful to go back through the steps; rethink your approach, your resources or your schedule and see if any improvements can be made. You can always reach out to our homeschool experts for any advice you may need.


Remember homeschooling is never ridgid. The benefit is that you can reinvent your ‘school’ to best suit your child’s needs and your families as and when it suits you. If you know that you’ll be busy with a new baby or a promotion for a few months and won’t have time to find resources or actively teach, qualified teachers are on hand in online schools to give your child support when they need it. Or if you know that you want to take a four week holiday to show your child something new, homeschooling gives you that freedom.


If you have any questions, queries or concerns, never hesitate to get in touch and see what support we can give you or your child in a transition away from mainstream education.


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