Welcome to our introductory series on Homeschooling where we are taking a look at the emergence of homeschooling.
In the second part of our 3-part articles, we will look at what Parents need to understand in order to determine their suitability and readiness to start schooling at home and beyond.
With the prospect of spending lots more time with your child, you may need to think about your relationship with them- and whether it is suitable to cross over and become not only the parent but a teacher too.
Before you decide, you need to be sure homeschooling really is the right decision for you and your family. As there are many different types of homeschooling methods you need to make sure you understand the pros and cons of each one, and if you are going use more than one method, do they tie in with each other?
Individual family situations play a large role in the decision about when and how to start homeschooling, but the major two are the suitability and readiness of your child/ren. If you were placing your child in a school setting, the school would normally give your child a settling in session or visit your child at their nursery/pre-school if they go, to assess their readiness. You can do a similar assessment at home by answering these three questions.
- How well does your child listen and follow directions?
- Does your child have the necessary fine motor skills?
- Is your child enthusiastic about learning?
You know your child best, but if you want a second opinion about whether your child is ready, you could consult a paediatrician or other family members and friends who have had multiple opportunities to observe your child.
Deciding to homeschool children is not an easy decision to make. There are also a lot more challenging questions that you may want answering before hand.
Here are 10 more significant and common homeschooling questions you may want to consider while making the decision about home education...
1. Diversion of Roles
choosing the roles if your are homeschooling with a parent
there is no financial assistance available to supplement home educated children’s education
considering what kind of budget that will work for your and your family
Traditional (Curriculum Based), Montessori, Charlotte Mason Classical Education, Reggio Emilia, Project Based Homeschooling, Autonomous Education (‘Unschooling’)
how you want your days, weeks and months to look like
6. How to answer questions about home education
you may be asked the same questions over and over again by other parents who may be curious or just closed-minded and rude
7. Engagement with the Local Authority (Council)
how you will provide some examples of how you are educating your child/ren
how are you going to let your children socialise?
9. Contribution to the Home Education Community
skills and interests that may benefit to home education community, or running online support and information groups
being mindful of looking after yourself as you will be spending a lot of time with your children.
Reasons why a parent might choose to remove their child from school:
- Distance or access to a local school
- Religious or cultural beliefs
- Dissatisfaction with the system
- Child’s unwillingness or inability to go to school
- Special educational needs
This may be a short-term intervention or a longer-term solution.
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him [or her] to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his [or her] age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs he [or she] may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. - Section 7 of the Education Act 1996
Before you start to discuss homeschooling with your child/ren, you need to start to identify who else is homeschooling in your community because then this will allow you to fund local resources and support to start learning from experienced homeschoolers. Building a network will give you access to how to get started, what pitfalls to avoid, how to handle local regulations, as well as how to communicate your decision to homeschool to family and friends. Also, current homeschoolers can form a backbone you need for future emotional support, teaching guidance, ideas for field trips, lesson, and opportunities for going instructions, which will introduce your child/ren to new people.
Parents do not have to teach the National Curriculum, provide a broad and balanced education, have a timetable or have set places or hours to teach their children. Neither do they have to have specific qualifications to teach their own children, teach in term time only, mark work or formally assess progress and development. They do not need permission to home education unless the child is a registered pupil at a special school. If the child is already enrolled in a school, the parents should start by writing to the child’s headteacher if they are planning to take them out of school.
Homeschooling parents should look at planning ahead to ensure they are following core subjects- if a parent is struggling they can always approach their local council for help in this area. Extra tuition can also provide a source of support for parents who want an external opinion on how their child is doing, and someone to talk to about their child’s development that they would have had through school.
Is it suitable to homeschool your child?
‘Suitability’ in case law has been defined as education that ‘primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he/she is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole. As long as homeschooling does not foreclose the child’s options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he/she wishes to do so’ and which is: ‘1. To prepare the child for life in modern civilised society, and 2. To enable the child to achieve his/ her potential’, there is no reason why homeschooling isn't suitable.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to start from the time your child turns five-years-old, you can start earlier if you feel your child is ready. One of the benefits of home education is that you can lawfully and thoroughly meet the needs of each child according to their individual development. There isn’t this ‘working within the expected level of attainment for his/her age, working towards the expected level of attainment, working below the expected level of attainment, working beyond the expected level of attainment’ system. You can go at the pace that is right for your child.
- Homeschooling laws (if there are any)
- Child’s temperament
- Parent’s temperament
- Older or younger siblings
- Research of ages and stages of child development
- Teaching approach
- Readiness skills
We hope that this helped you to determine your suitability and readiness to homeschool as well as considering new factors which may not have been apparent beforehand. We believe that the key to success in homeschooling is to establish a solid foundation and understanding many of the factors we outlined in this part of the series.
In addition to this, we look towards the third and final part of our introductory series - The Curriculum.
In the next part, we will be looking a number of various and popular types of Homeschooling currently in practice around the world.