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Homeschool curriculum for 13 year old

(27 Posts)
spwills Wed 23-Jan-13 19:38:45

Hello everyone,

So I'll start by saying that I am on mumsnet, but I am not a mother, or father smile.
I am 18 years old and currently homeschooling myself through A Levels. I decided I wanted to homeschool 2 years ago after reading "The Teenage Liberation Handbook."
I was not happy with school in general and this, along with other reasons, persuaded me that this is what I wanted to do. My parents supported me as I am an independent person, and I was old enough then to decide for myself how I wanted to be educated. However, they don't know much about home schooling, and think that school is just fine, so my brother and sisters go to school.

My 13 year old brother is extremely unhappy at school. He doesn't work, the teachers pick on him and has no good friends. He is desperate to homeschool like me. I currently use Oxford Home Schooling for my A-Levels, with brilliant tutors. But I am not sure if this would work for him, or be motivating enough.

As I have said before, my mother doesn't know anything about homeschooling, and is not keen on letting my brother quit school because she believes he won't work at home and will never get an education etc...

What I want to know is if anybody here knows of any good curriculum to use for homeschooling 13+. Something like distance learning would be good, as my brother would have the support from tutors. I'd really like to know what all you home schoolers use, in the hope of persuading my mother that this may be a serious option for my brother.

Thank you for reading! smile

Saracen Wed 23-Jan-13 22:30:11

I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm sure someone will be along soon with some suggestions.

Meanwhile, have you looked into the philosophy of autonomous education? By the sounds of it, this is what you yourself have been doing: choosing your own path and motivating yourself without your parents directing your education. However, by the sounds of it you chose a very academic direction, and besides that you were already 16.

If your brother were allowed to follow his own interests also, he might not make the same choices, at least initially. He's a different person who may not enjoy the same things as you, he has been demotivated by his school experiences, and his education is still your parents' legal responsibility. All of this might mean that if he were autonomously educated he would not choose to do anything which looks at all like "work" for a very long time, and that might worry them.

However, it still could be a very practical solution. He may need quite a long break from academics before he rediscovers his love of learning. In the meantime your mum would not have the challenge of trying to force him to do "work".

Given time, he will find his wings. He might then go on to do distance learning with enthusiasm, or he might go to college, or he might do something entirely different. Pushing too hard in the direction of formal study from the word go could backfire: it sounds like you and your mum have serious doubts that he would actually want to do the work.

If I were you, here's how I would put it to your parents: He isn't doing any work now. He isn't learning anything. He is miserable. In what way could a trial period of home education possibly be any worse than the current situation? Let him have a year off school with no pressure on, and see what happens. Many parents report that once all academic pressure is removed, their child's outlook is transformed. That could happen to your brother. And even if it doesn't he will be no worse off than he is now. At least he could have had some time to explore what makes him happy, and your whole family would have established that home ed isn't the way to go after all. What do you stand to lose by giving it a go?

Perhaps your mum might be easier to persuade if she heard it from people who've been there. Are there any home ed groups near you where she could go to talk to other parents who have taken teens out of school? If not, do you think she'd be willing to come here or on some other home ed forum to chat about her concerns and learn more?

spwills Thu 24-Jan-13 12:02:14

Thank you for your reply ! I love the idea of an autonomous education. However "school at home" would be a compromise between my brother and mother . She would be certain he is getting an education that will help towards later qualifications, and he would be able to explore his interests as well as do his school work . My brother leaves the house at 7 in the morning and doesn't get home until 6 in the evening . Homeschooling would allow him to do work in the morning and then use the rest of his day to explore his own interests and learn naturally.

I think my mother would be willing to come on here, as she has acknowledged the fact that homeschooling would make him a lot happier. I have hundreds or books on the subject, but she is so busy with 6 children to look after!

So I think an "academic" path would be right for my brother, and I think it's the best compromise that will also allow him to explore his own interests. School has changed him in a bad way and we hardly recognize him anymore .

Thanks again for your help, and if anyone uses or knows of a particular Key stage 3 and GCSE homeschool curriculum, I would love to hear from you! smile

spwills Thu 24-Jan-13 12:05:12

I also wanted to say that although a trial period of homeschool would be lovely, it all depends on what curriculum we would be using. I don't want my mother to pay a lot of money for a curriculum or distance learning and then for it to not work out. That's why I'd love to know what other people use !

ToffeeWhirl Thu 24-Jan-13 13:33:17

Hello, spwills. What a lovely big sister you are. Your brother is lucky to have you looking out for him.

I home educate my 13-year-old son because he was miserable at school, like your brother. He is so much happier now (one year since he left school) and often tells me how much he enjoys being home educated. Maybe it will help you to know what we did.

When we started out, I considered using Interhigh or Briteschool. I decided against these because they were costly and I suspected they wouldn't suit my son, but they might be worth looking at for your brother. I realise that money may be an issue, though, and there is always the problem that, as you say, the home education may not work out and then it's money wasted.

What I did pay for, in the end, was a course from Little Arthur Independent School, who specialise in home-education courses. I paid £135 for their one-year Science course, which gave me a textbook and regular marked assignments to do to ensure DS is keeping on track with the National Curriculum. He does one module every day. Of course, a lot of home educators would say this is a lot of money to pay for a textbook and a few marked assignments, but it gives me confidence that we are on the right track, and it is also cheaper and more flexible than the online schools. Little Arthur also provides courses on English, History and Maths, right up to IGCSE level.

I spend a lot of one-to-one time helping my DS1 with his work, which I realise your mother may not want or have time to do with your brother (especially with six children!). We do not use a set curriculum for the other subjects. We use Galore Park textbooks, internet resources, the library, DVDs and a tutor for Maths (because I'm lousy at Maths wink).

I hope this helps a bit.


CheerMum Thu 24-Jan-13 16:09:03

hi, i home ed my 11yo dd, and we use BBC education resources and a fair bit.
hope this helps

spwills Thu 24-Jan-13 17:29:57

Thank you all for your kind words! smile I will have a look at the things you have suggested. My mother seems much more enthusiastic today and relalises that this could be the best thing for my brother. Now we need to decide what resources to use,

ToffeeWhirl Thu 24-Jan-13 19:27:02

That's great grin.

You might want to tell your mum that I was incredibly apprehensive about home educating my DS1 (ended up having no choice because his anxiety about school made him too ill to go), but the difference in him one year on is almost unbelievable. His confidence has grown, he is much cheerier and he is thinking about things that he wants to do in the future.

And if the home education doesn't work out, your brother can go back to school again. It is not a final choice. He could always go back to school to sit his GCSEs if that is what he wants to do later.

Good luck!

Saracen Thu 24-Jan-13 23:33:54

That's fantastic! I am really pleased to hear that your mum is willing to give the idea of home ed serious consideration.

It might be very useful to involve your brother in discussions of resources too. Perhaps you and your mum could narrow it down to several programmes which you think would suit him and then let him have a browse, or he could spend a day working through sample materials from each provider. He may be able to say fairly quickly and accurately whether he feels that he'll understand and be enthused by a particular programme, or whether it is a big turn-off for him!

My friends whose children are doing formal learning say it is very common to need to try various things in the early months in order to settle on something that works well for the child. It's a process of exploring and getting familiar with his learning style. This may be new to all of you, if your brother has never had the opportunity to work on something chosen specially for him but has instead been lumbered with whatever approach is standard at his school.

MariscallRoad Fri 25-Jan-13 20:29:50

Congratulations for your independent thinking smile. You, yourself can home school your D Brother aged 13 in subjects that interest both of you. You can also discuss plans between the two of you. Young people are incredibly mature and have clear minds. I home schooled my son since he was v young.

Your Brother can start self reading GCSEs subjects..

I have for you here an online resource that your Brother - and you - might like to use. There are two sites and with hundreds of courses run by the top-est world universities free and for all levels. Browse with him the ‘categories' in the second site. Is he interested in Maths? he can self read the GCSE text and after his he can do the intermediate algebra. There are great English and History courses. Good luck

musicposy Sun 27-Jan-13 20:26:15

Here's one thing you could do if your brother came out of school, which might satisfy your mum and give him plenty of time to follow his own interests.

He could pick say, two subjects he is interested in and look at the IGCSE courses for those. (They're basically international GCSEs and all colleges and unis will accept them as GCSEs - maybe better). You don't need expensive courses for these. If you go on here you can download the syllabuses which tell you everything to cover and suggest books that will cover them for you. You can also use the board Edexcel but we like Cambridge better as the past papers are easy to get hold of.

He could then do a little work in each of his chosen subjects with the aim of taking those IGCSEs in either the autumn or next summer (this autumn would be perfectly feasible). The rest of the day he would have to do whatever he wanted. Once he's done them he could do a couple more. That way he could easily have a good handful by 16 - maybe better than school if he is not doing well there.

My daughter is 13 and we are doing 2 IGCSEs at a time. This summer she is taking Biology and Sociology and we're kind of working towards Geography. She already has Physics which she took at 11. She's not a genius (!) just motivated and we don't waste time on stuff she doesn't want or need.

My 17 year old did 11 GCSEs this way with very little hard work or pressure. She never worked for more than a couple of hours a day! She is now in college doing A levels and doing very well, but she does moan about how much time they waste! Home ed is very efficient and so you have lots of time for other interests (Skylanders and Pokemon for my 13 year old blush)

I can give you much more help and give you some good yahoo groups etc if you think this route is a possiblity. One thing we loved was that my elder daughter got all her GCSEs without any of the awful pressure you get in school nowadays.

You sound very caring, he's lucky to have you as a sister!

musicposy Sun 27-Jan-13 20:32:33

Oh, and I wouldn't bother with Key Stage 3. We did that for a year with my elder daughter when she came out at age 12 and soon realised it was a complete waste of time - just a holding pen between primary school and GCSE. Even maths you can go straight to GCSE. You can always start at foundation level and then work up to higher. With my younger daughter we finished the primary curriculum and then went straight to GCSE. It's worked fine.

Also, you don't have to cover every subject at once like school. You can do two or three and then later, another two or three. This means you can move very fast in your chosen subjects.

Jo1717 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:10:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Katiebellj10 Thu 30-May-13 17:08:25

Hello music post, I was very interested in your post. After failing with home ed for 6weeks I put my daughter into private ed, but now we like to try and get back into it, mainly for financial and practical purposes. She's 12 so in first year of secondary, she passed 11plus so is academically bright. I like the idea of jumping straight into igcses rather than ks2. I would like to ask you about Maths and English, do you choose to do these later rather than sooner? Do you think these subjects need more attention than the others? Cheers smile

Katiebellj10 Thu 30-May-13 17:09:21

Ps sorry meant to say hello musicposy, not post!

clair39 Sat 27-Sep-14 10:59:10

hi i am after some help in trying to home school a 13 year old on a budget i have removed my daughter out of school due to many problems that never seem to get sorted out and i cant stand it anymore but i am a single parent on benefits and dont have a clue were to start or even what i am doing but i cannot stand sending her to school every day knowing she hates it she makes herself sick to aviod having to go can someone please help me thankyou in advance xxx

ommmward Sat 27-Sep-14 11:06:39

Hi Clair39 - DON'T PANIC smile

OK, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath and take your time. Spend time with your daughter, help her do stuff she enjoys. The usual rule of thumb is to take a month for every year your child has been in school as time to "deschool", assuming there were no major problems with school. This is time that your daughter is going to need to recover - so you need to think in terms of doing nothing explicitly educational AT ALL until well into next year. You all need to recover.

Instead, it might be a good time to be hanging out together, doing the quiet domestic stuff, getting the groceries, going for a walk in the park. Treat it a bit like a convalescence (and the principle of a deschooling period is there in the 2007 guidelines for local authorities on Elective Home Education, so you can point the LA at that if they want to put you under pressure to be following syllabuses and things this early).

Watch nature programmes on the TV; chat about your daughter's hopes and dreams for the future (without pressure). Talk about your own hopes and dreams - think of ways that your new lifestyle might help you achieve the things you want to.

Once you're well into the new year, find out from your daughter whether she'd like to follow GCSE syllabuses, or build up a portfolio to help her get into college, or do some work experience - this is the moment when you can really help her become independent and self sufficient without damaging her in the way that school did. Wahoo!

ommmward Sat 27-Sep-14 11:08:31

Oh, and it can be a good idea to meet up with local home ed groups, and give her the chance to hang out in particular with rather younger children - my family quite often used to provide the "younger children" for an older child who had just been taken out of an unhappy school experience. It gives them a chance to nurture and be caring, and also be the "competent" one socially in that scenario. You might already have friends with younger children that she could baby sit or do some mother's help type work for a few ££.

clair39 Sat 27-Sep-14 12:37:28

hi ommmward thanks for replying to my post my daughter is eagar to start home schooling as she does enjoy learning and i hope with home schooling she can enjoy it more without the added stress of others but ive been looking on sites on the net and it all seems really expensive but i lost my job 4 months ago and we are having to rely on benefits that dont stretch that far is there a site i can look on thats more affordable i would be greatful for any kind of info as dont have a clue were to start xxx

ommmward Sat 27-Sep-14 12:47:04

You don't need to spend lots of money on anything, really. Charity shops, car boot sales etc for text books if/when you need them.

There are loads and loads of free resources on the internet (try out the Khan academy on youtube for starters)

The national curriculum is freely available on line so you can check out what the schools are teaching children her age

Get yourself hooked into your local HE network - there will be all sorts of things going on

Local museums and things are a good plan - especially if you go at quiet times - it's a matter of shutting the curators up rather than trying to get them to answer questions smile

clair39 Sun 28-Sep-14 08:55:51

thanks again ommmward i will look them up xxx

Long1 Thu 09-Mar-17 15:20:19

Hi, musicposy Please can I ask for your advice on home schooling. I am emigrating and want to home school my thirteen year old son. And don't have a clue were to start!! As it sound your doing really well with your children! And help would be very appreciated!

ScorpianQueen Sun 14-Jan-18 21:51:27

hi im new here !! i live in Deptford London , and im at my witts end sad
my 12 year old daughter whos in year 8 is having the worse time at school , i moved her from her first secondary school when she ending year 7 because of bullying and threats made to her so first day of year 8 she started a new school and the second week it all started again , my daughter is very small for her age and get bullied alot because of this but now it has gone a step further boys are being sexual towards her and scaring her saying they going to rape her and sending her porn pics and brushing up next to her when in the line and one un zipped his fly to show her his bits angry
i have done everything called the police talked to the teachers the head had how many meetings email exchanges got social services involved got a family support worker and the council and nothing is getting better for her . i am seeing my daughter deteriorate right before my eyes and i dont know what to do as im now suffering with depression because my heart is breaking for her ...... she has begged me to take her out of the school and home school her...... im a single mum and to be really honest not the smartest tool in the shed when it comes to these academic things i really know nothing about it and how to go about it and what to do ..... i dont have alot of money and worried that this is very expensive and i dont want the fact that money is stopping me to do this for her ... please help me someone i dont know how much she can take ( or me ) i dont want to lose my daughter xx im really desperate !! xx

ommmward Sun 14-Jan-18 23:22:38

Well,if you manage to avoid sexually harassing and bullying your daughter, you'll be doing a better job than the school can manage... They've set you a pretty low bar!!!

Get yourself hooked in with other home educators in your area - Facebook groups (try "south east London home education" or something closer to home like "Greenwich home educators". Once you've found one Facebook group they'll point you in the direction of others.

In the short term, recover, look after her, and you can start learning together. The internet completely revolutionises learning - it's all out there waiting for you to discover together, and it neednt cost money! 😍

Saracen Mon 15-Jan-18 04:52:45

Oh ScorpianQueen, your poor child! Just take her out of there. You can do it immediately just by sending in a correctly-worded letter to the school. She doesn't have to attend again. Here is a link to a sample letter:

There are many free and cheap resources. You will find some fantastic information on the internet. This doesn't have to be expensive, nor do you have to do it alone. There are bound to be other parents in your area who will be glad to meet with you to swap tips and offer support, and there are many national forums online where you can ask specific questions.

If your daughter wants to sit exams, there are costs associated with that. In due course you will want to start looking into that. However, that is a few years off and even if you did decide that home educating for GCSEs isn't feasible, there are other options. (For example, you might look around for another school, moving house if necessary. Some colleges offer courses to under-16s. She might wait until after 16 and then go to college to do entry-level qualifications. She might go straight into work without qualifications. And so on.)

But don't let worries about what might happen in a few years cause you to hesitate to save your daughter right now. This is a crisis. She needs to be safe and happy. Tell her she can be home educated for a short time while you figure out what to do. At worst, if you decide home education isn't going to work out in the long run, school will always be available to you. You can at least give your daughter a break from it.

However, I honestly believe that once you get stuck in you won't look back or have any regrets.

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