The decision to home-school your child, can be triggered by a different number of things. For example, they could be struggling to cope with the pressures of a structured school day, or they could be the victim of bullying. Therefore, home-schooling can be the best option, for the happiness of your child.
In order for your child to start to be educated at home, you must first take them out of their present school, and take them of the school register, which you can do in person or by letter. Once you have done that, the school have to inform the Local Education Authorities (LEA). The Head may call you in for a meeting, in order to discuss whether you’re doing the right thing for your child. However, you do not have to attend meetings, because you are legally allowed to home-school your child, but if you might want to keep in contact with the school, then it might be good to go, in order to discuss potential options of your child returning later on. If they have been studying there for at least a year or two, it should be a gradual and informal process.
The next step is called de-schooling. Often, children will go through a period of a few weeks where they won’t do anything related to their education. However, after that period, they will start asking questions which will show that they are ready to continue with their education in their home.
As time goes on, you should observe your child’s progress, and see what they enjoy learning about, and their best methods of learning about it. For example, if your child is already thinking about their future, and what careers they are interested in, then you should discuss with them, the best methods in order to gain the qualifications, like GCSE’s and A-Levels, that they will need to get the future that they would like.
There are five different methods of home-schooling your child. Firstly, you can use ‘relaxed education’. This method, involves using whatever resources are available instead of following a set book. Education comes from many different sources, but most parents who home-school their children answer questions, follow their child’s interests and let them follow their interests and make them stronger. You can also use books to search for information that your child would like to find out, and you can use the library to take out books, educations disks and in some cases computer disks with programmes on them, that will be useful for your child and their style of learning.
Another method is by using the ‘computer’. A Google search can find out specific information straight away, and there are many websites which are available for you and your child which discuss specific topics that they’re interested in. However, there are limits to how long a child should spend in front of a screen.
A 7-18 year old should spend a maximum of two hours in front of a screen, whether that’s a TV, computer, iPad etc. You could also follow a structured way of educating your child, by following the school curriculum, textbooks, and workbooks. Your child could wake up at a specific time, get dressed into a uniform, have set learning and break times, they could sit at desks and raise their arm when they want to ask a question. Or you could still follow a school-like structure, but in a more informal way. ‘Unit studies’ is another way, and you simply choose a topic that interests your child, and do different tasks, like write an essay or do a project on it, for a set time period. It could be a week, or a few months, depending on how much you need to cover. Finally, you can ‘educate autonomously’. You and your child follow their interests, explore new topics, and do everything at the speed that they’re comfortable with.
Every day is different when you’re home-educating your child. There will be different questions asked, if you get side-tracked it won’t be an issue, because you’ll be following your own education system with your child and the speed that they are comfortable with. So, if you believe that your child would benefit from being home-schooled, it is legal, the LEA can’t stop you, and it is a different, yet still an effective way of educating your child.
Article writen by Anya Livtchak from Help The Kids Charity