Have you considered home-schooling for your children
All parents want their children to receive the best form of education possible. Unfortunately, many parents are unsatisfied with the choice of the schools at their disposal; attending your preferred public, grammar or private school can often mean long transportation times, but sometimes even that is not enough to ensure the desired quality of teaching is provided. In these instances, home-schooling can serve as an ideal solution because it equips parents with the ability to eliminate the trials and tribulations of the daily school run whilst simultaneously offering their children an exceptional curriculum that has been individually tailored to bolster their academic strengths and supplement their weaknesses.
At Eden Private Staff, we are committed to enriching all aspects of our client’s lives, and that extends to your family’s academic aspirations. Subsequently, we have created the following guide which will answer any questions you may have regarding home-schooling. By utilising this informative guide you can address any concerns that you may have had regarding your children’s education and decide for yourself whether home-schooling may be an ideal solution for your family.
What is home-schooling?
Although most parents will have heard about ‘home-schooling’ in passing, many remain unaware of the exact legal guidelines surrounding this form of education and how it could benefit their children. As matters stand, the term ‘home-schooling’ is referred to as the process through which parents take the full responsibility to provide an education for their children in ways other than conventional full-time enrolment at a primary or secondary school. Home education (HE) is legal across the entire United Kingdom and has been granted equal status with schools under section 7 of the Education Act 1996. As the Act states;
“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise”.
Since the passing of this Act, many parents have chosen to home-school their children. In fact, in 1996 Roland Meighan of the University Of Nottingham School Of Education wrote an article on home-schooling which advocated how;
“In the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, a quiet revolution has been taking place. More and more families are taking the option of home-based education in preference to school attendance…families display considerable diversity in motives, methods and aims. The second is that they are usually very successful in achieving their chosen aims”.
Since Meighan’s article in 1996, when approximately 10,000 British students were home-schooled, records show that there are now roughly 80,000 children home-schooled across the United Kingdom.
Moreover, as more and more children begin to be home-schooled, the ways in which you can educate your children from home have also increased. For instance, if you do not feel confident home-schooling your children completely then you can do so part-time. Often referred to as ‘flexi-schooling’, part-time home-schooling must be entered into with the co-operation of your child’s head teacher. Although flexi-schooled children are classed as being fully enrolled in a school and must follow the national curriculum, they are able to be taught at home for a short period of time such as following an illness or due to bullying. At the end of this extended period of time you can then decide whether to enrol your child in a school on a full-time basis or to commit to home-schooling. What’s more, although flexi-schooling has its benefits, your child will still be subject to the national curriculum and conventional testing requirements such as the SATs and GCSEs.
However, if you decide to home-school your children on a full-time basis then you will have the liberty to educate them as you please. Children who are home-schooled can be educated through a variety of mediums; from workbooks and home-schooling schemes which are available online to group sessions which are organised with fellow home-schooling parents and educators. You also have the option of educating your children through other learning mediums such as practical activities. In the same way that children taught in schools enjoy extra-curricular trips and sports events, you can arrange to take your children on similar trips to museums, galleries and alternative sites of interest in order to broaden their cultural horizons, historical knowledge and social skills. You could even invest in local community arts and crafts workshops to further consolidate your children’s creative interests.
Furthermore, with regards to formal assessments, your home-schooled children will be able to register as external candidates and sit their examinations at educational institutions such as colleges, local schools or online. Although you may have to pay for some of these registrations, they will enable your children to receive the same SAT, GCSE, AS and A2 Level academic certifications as fully enrolled students.
The benefits of home-schooling for children of all ages
As illustrated above, there are many benefits to home-schooling your children. One of the main advantages of this form of education is the ability to customise your children’s learning environment and curriculum to suit the academic abilities and personality traits of each child. In this manner, home-schooling can enable children to accomplish more academic achievements than they would have been able to attain via conventional schooling practices because they can be taught on a one-to-one basis at a pace which suits them. Parents can also tailor their children’s daily tutoring schedule to devote more time to subjects which each child finds most difficult and to set higher tiered work for subjects within which each child excels.
In this manner, home-schooling equips parents with the liberty to use whichever educational materials are best suited to their purpose. For example, whereas schools teach excerpts from texts in ‘reader’ materials, home-schooled children can take the time to read complete works of literature which they find interesting; from picking their favourite Shakespearean plays to reading all of J.R.R Tolkien’s novels. In this manner, children can rediscover a passion for learning. After all, according to Kathy Sylva, professor of educational psychology at Oxford;
“high-quality early education makes the child a more effective learner – not just better at letters and numbers. High-quality education turns the child on to learning”.
Therefore, by receiving targeted home-schooling that has been tailored to their academic needs from an early age, children can discover a passion for learning and knowledge; traits which will benefit them throughout their childhood and into their adult life.
Similarly, home-schooling enables parents to focus on particular subjects in greater depth than conventional primary and secondary schools. For instance, subjects such as Biology, Physics and Chemistry often suffer in schools because the educational institutions in question lack the funding to carry out sufficient experiments with classes that consist of over twenty children. Fortunately home-schooling does not face this dilemma, and as such you can arrange fun experiments with your children using online resources and home science kits. You could even arrange trips to your local science centre or museum to pique your children’s interests in these scientific subjects. As an American home-schooling website quotes;
“I was once trying to explain homeschooling to a CEO I knew. He just wasn’t getting it, and then I saw the light go on over his head. “You mean,” he exclaimed, “You learn from places like the Smithsonian for history, NASA for space science, and maybe French from a real French person! Why would anyone ever send their child to school ever again!”.
In addition to teaching these traditional academic subjects, home-schooling can also help parents to instil practical life skills within their children from an early age. By growing up home-schooled and witnessing their parents’ day-to-day household chores and administrational duties, children can learn maintenance skills, cooking, sewing and budgeting, as well as refining their time management capabilities and self-discipline. Home-schooling enables children to witness and hone these ‘real-world’ attributes in a way that most fully enrolled children will not have the chance to experience.
Moreover, research has shown that home-schooled children are more inclined to forge stronger relationships between their parents and amongst their siblings in comparison to most enrolled children. As a study by Raymond and Dorothy Moore suggested;
“early school attendance may actually inhibit childhood development. They suggested that being under the influence of warm, loving parents and allowed to learn through exploration was infinitely more successful at an age when the brain is not sufficiently developed to benefit from the strict regimen of formal school classes and rules”.
Finally, one of the main concerns which parents harbour towards home-schooling is the fear that their children will not develop sufficient socialisation skills. However, this does not have to be the case. In fact, home-schooling can actually help children to develop better socialisation skills than they would assimilate in conventional school education. This is due to the fact that children who are enrolled in schools can be subjected to peer pressure and bullying from other children. On the other hand, whilst home-schooled, parents can arrange for their children to socialise with fellow home-schooled groups. Within these supervised interactions, parents can rest assured that their children will be free from negative influences that can unfortunately occur in mainstream schools. Given that a US study revealed that 59% of home schooled adults reported that they were “very happy” with their lives compared to just 28% of the general US population, home-schooling can be extremely beneficial to the long term welfare of children. As Benjamin van Loon, a man who was home-schooled as a child, explains;
“It was my choice to be home-schooled. I was in kindergarten at a public school in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Every day I was coming home angry, depressed and exhausted. I wanted change, and somehow, somewhere, I heard about this strange idea where you could do school at home. I asked my parents if they could do it for me. No playground fights, no connect-the-dot Santa drawings, no bully teachers”.
How to start home-schooling your children
Ultimately, if you decide to home-school your children then there are several legal guidelines which you may need to follow. For instance, if your child is currently enrolled in a British school then you must have your child removed from that school’s register. You can do so by writing a letter to your child’s headmaster to inform them that your child will be receiving an education at home, otherwise than at school, in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996. Within this letter you should ask for your child’s name to be removed from the school’s register as from the date you wish for them to leave, and ask for the school to confirm in writing that your child has been removed from the school register. You should also send this letter by recorded delivery to equip yourself with documentary proof of your actions.
After doing so, it is strongly advised that you connect with local home-schooling groups within your local community in order to equip yourself with additional learning resources and support. You can find information about these organisations either online, from your local council or even from your child’s school. From arranging social interactions between your children and other home-schooled children of their own age, to receiving recommendations about the best online and offline home-schooling resources which your family can utilise, these organisations can prove extremely beneficial because they will enable you to glean exclusive insights from parents who have already begun to home-school their children.
Additionally, many parents who decide to home-school their children also find the targeted domestic support of a nanny or governess to be incredibly helpful. This is where Eden Private Staff can provide practical help. Regardless of whether you require full-time domestic support whilst you tutor your child, or temporary assistance whilst you transition your children from fully enrolled education to home-schooling, our team of housekeepers, nannies and governesses are ready and willing to lend assistance. From general household maintenance, tutoring, lesson planning or valet services, our bespoke consultancy service will match your family with exceptional private staff candidates who will help your home-schooled children to receive the exceptional standard of education that they deserve.