Written by: Steven Petter
Put quite simply you are legally required to ensure your child is engaged in full time education, relative to their age and ability, however you are not required to send your child to state school. This opens the door for home schooling and gives some parents the chance to educate their children themselves. Whether the decision to home school is the right one is down to you, as it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure a full and inclusive education is enjoyed by their child but you should probably know the facts.
Why home schooling?
The reasons for Home Schooling can be various and wide ranging, from religious views to supporting special needs, even in some cases the parents have sent their child to school but decided the school does not give their child the level of education they want, so they take them out and do it themselves. A lot of parents lose faith n the school system and feel they can do better, or some children simply find it hard to adjust to school life and find themselves on the fringe of their class. For a parent who has already had a massive influence in the learning of their child, from learning to walk, to potty training, eating and many other important motor skills, home schooling is the natural progression to just continuing what they started from a young age.
If you are in a position where you feel that you may want to try home schooling your child then there are support groups and information available where you can gain access to the vital information you will need to support your child during this time.
Create a learning environment and routine
Some parents chose a structured approach to home schooling by creating a similar environment to school in terms of the timetable structure and subject delivery, for example Maths before lunch then English in the afternoon. Others will chose a more fluid structure where the subject is chosen by the child in a more organic learning system similar to the way they would have learnt other skills as a small child, so rather than being pressured to engage in activities they may find uncomfortable the subjects are integrated into life skills and the development of knowledge is integrated into learning other skills, for example taking your child shopping and having them add up the prices to ascertain the total, or counting out food items for lunch, adding weights and measures whilst cooking or writing on a computer.
The likelihood is that your teaching methods will change as the child grows, maybe creating a more structured environment as the child gets older and their concentration skills develop. There are companies that offer structured packages for home schooled children and can support later with exams, you may also find that if you want your child to sit exams they can sit with other GCSE students at private schools or colleges if they agree, however a large proportion of home schooled children do not sit exams at all, so you will want to carefully consider these options when you are weighing up the pros and cons of home schooling.