Guide to starting to home-school in the UK 

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

28 thoughts on “Guide to starting to home-school in the UK ”

  1. good, we are in India, Tamilnadu, Coimbatore

    our daughter 5th std 11 years old – home schooling

    help us to engage her activities in different ways

  2. if your child is not with a school at the moment do we as parents have to inform the LEA that we will be home schooling.
    if so how do you go about this ?

    1. No you do not have to inform them as your only legal obligation is to educate your child so they can survive as adults. However informing them may be a good idea as you can get help from them and if/when you chose to send them to school they can help you faster.

  3. Hi,
    I would like information on homeschooling options in the St Albans, Hertfordshire County, I have just arrived in the area from South Africa. We have been homeschooling for 4 years back home, but need to continue due to no vacancies for the kids at schools in the area.
    The kids have done cambridge syllabus.
    Please help.

    1. I would be interested to know more about your situation and what it is we can help you with. I can point you in the direction of some resources to continue your home education curriculum. Also it is worth keeping on at the LEA as they may be able to get you a space alternatively please look at your councils website https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/schools-and-education/at-school/educating-your-child-at-home/educating-your-child-at-home.aspx

  4. I am a student in school at the moment and was interested in homeschooling because I am not happy at school. Is there any way I could do the work they do at school at home?

    1. You really need your parents on board, your parents could work with the school or LEA to seek a transition. We’ll put up some posts about how to continue working with a willing school at a later date. It is important not to leave school as a way out of education, home education is serious and many times more challenging than school when done right. It also takes alot of self regulation and control by the student. The school day also mostly takes a very different pulse and rhythm. My suggestion is to stay in school and talk openly with your parents and maybe someone at school.

  5. Im thinking about taking my child out of school and home schooling instead as school for many reasons.
    How much does this cost?

    1. Depends how you want to educate. Some do it on a shoestring others spend alot. If you do pull them it would be worth seeing if your LEA has an elective education program, you may wish to seek help from them. There are also a number of groups on facebook that could be of use.

  6. Hi. I’m interested in home schooling my daughter. I’m in Bedfordshire luton area and i’m not sure where to start. I was hoping some1 can help me thanks…

  7. Hi.
    Like many parents of children on free school meals we are constantly let down by local schools .My son is 16 and was turned away by his school as his exam grades were not up to the required level. Can i teach him at home and coach him through his gcse,s . We are in oxfordshire and dispite emailing the local council education dept. i can find little assistance on how to go about things, like, as he is 16 and no longer in full time education do i still need to get him removed from the school register. How do i obtain exam space for him.

    1. If your child has been permanently excluded I would think they are no longer on the register. It is up to you to supply them with an education by law, you can do this by finding him another state school that will accept him, get him into a private school or like you have indicated Home school. In terms of GCSEs unfortunately this is also up to you, all you need is to call the exam board and ask for a guide to taking gcse’s a private client. Another option would be to ask his old school if they would arrange his gcses as an outside student if you tutor him (this doesn’t impact their ranking as your child’s results won’t be counted).
      Each exam would require an entrance fee which is about £12-£40 each.

  8. I have been home schooling my children for a few months now but it isn’t a permanent arrangement as I am trying to get them into a new school. I have bought them work books and printed off worksheets but they have nearly finished the work books and the sheets are too easy for them, do you have any good resources for work I can get for them please? They are 7 and 9 so year 3 and year 5. Thank you

    1. Sorry for the late reply,
      There are alot of great resources, please see this link http://www.helpthekid.com/learning-resources/
      It is great to see you are taking the transition period seriously. Home education in this period can be invaluable in helping your children to return to school successfully. Keeping them up to speed now can help them stay in the loop of their peers, ensure they stay emotionally ready for school, and help keep them in school once they return. You are doing the right thing for your child.

  9. Dear Admin
    This is an extremely interesting article. I am a tutor, and would be willing to homeschool other people’s children. I live in Ware in Hertfordshire and have 8 years experience of providing bespoke home-schooling and tuition using a number of methods outlined in your article including following a syllabus, experiential learning, the computer and the VAK method (visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues.
    I am happy to provide the tuition 1-1 in the Hertfordshire, Essex boarders area (Harlow) if parents purchase the syllabus and pay for exams if required.

    Is this something that you get many enquires about?

    1. No we tend not to get many quiries about this as most people looking for a tutor will do so locally. Also you can not homeschool other peoples children, this is called school or tutoring. If you are intersted in teaching other peoples children then you may wish to look into the governments free schools, https://www.gov.uk/set-up-free-school . Also if you want to or are currently educating anyone other than your own child you must be registered with ofstead.
      Tutors can be a great source of benefit for many children and can help them to stay in or return to school as sometimes the main barrier to staying in school is the child is struggling to keep up and so more likely to skip classes, days or not attend at all.

    1. I think you are talking about tutoring. Tutoring offers its own benefits and can help children who need a little bit of extra help. It can mean children get more out of school or even homeschool. This comment is not relevant to the article. We will be doing a piece on tutors at a later date.

  10. Hi, I live in Edinburgh, my son 11 yr old, is not that happy at school and I am considering home schooling. The main thing I am concerned about is the lack of socializing. I was hoping there are other families out there in the same position as us and we can get together, support each other. Would really appreciate if you could send me any links on home school groups in Edinburgh.

  11. Hi, My 13 year old daughters has been bullied since year 6. She has stuck this to the point now she is having bad thoughts. She only feels safe at home. Her education is going down the drain which is not fair as the bullies are sitting getting educated. I want to home school my child and I know we can do it between us. She is very intelligent. I would just like to receive information on how to start home schooling my daughter and the best text books etc to purchase.

  12. My son has social anxiety and it is a fight everyday (that I don’t always win) to get him to go to school. He has just started year 10 and has already missed 4 days of school. I am interested in home schooling him but I do not have the resources to pay for inter high for instance at £3000 a year plus extra for added subjects? What do I do and how do I go about it? We live in West Sussex and could you give me advice on where I can get the education for him?

    1. You don’t need to spend alot. I can’t tell you how to educate your child. If you serious about HE it is a huge commitment, if you are struggling with the anxiety then HE may be a bad choice as you could end up loosing a fight ever waking hour. On;y you know if HE is right for your child. There are good resources on managing anxiety and school refusal.

  13. I am looking into home schooling my 15year old grandson up to and Zincluding his GCSEs. Is there any information you can give me or advice as to where I can get the information regarding this, where I can get the required lessons etc.

    Many thanks
    Wendy

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