To homeschool or not to??(7 Posts)
I have three children, 8,6 and 3. My youngest is due to begin foundation in September. I am seriously considering homeschooling them all as of September. It is something I have always wanted to do. My two sons are mildly ASD and I just feel would benefit more from a home school approach. I realize it is a big step and I just wanted some general advice on how I would go about starting out and what the legalities are? Any advice on the subject would be welcomed ! Thankyou
I think "Foundation" is a term used in England and Wales, so I assume you are in one of those countries? In order to start out, you need to send a deregistration letter to the school your older children attend. Without that, their names cannot be removed from the register and so you'd get into trouble over truancy if you just stopped sending them. If they are at a mainstream school, it's as simple as that. There is no notice period and you don't need approval. (Children at a special school do need the LA's consent for deregistration, but this should be a formality.) They are then officially home educated, and you have great freedom in deciding how to go about it. In the case of your youngest, you simply don't register him/her at a school in the first place, and you don't have to inform anybody that you intend to home educate.
The Local Authority has a duty to intervene if they have reason to believe that a child in their area is not receiving a suitable education. LAs vary widely as to how they interpret this. Some are quite pushy about wanting to have regular "inspections" of all families, a policy which is in clear breach of government guidance. It is a postcode lottery. The government guidance to LAs in England is clear and useful: I'd advise you to read it so you know what the score is. If and when your LA gets in touch, feel free to post on here to ask whether you have to do whatever it is they are asking you to do, and people can point you towards the relevant legislation and outline your options for responding. People have different individual preferences for their contact with the LA, but it's important to know that you have a choice.
You might enjoy meeting up with families in your area for a good chat and to see some examples of how home ed can work in practice.
Here are a couple of good websites to have a browse round. Both have sample deregistration letters as well as links to national and local forums:
Home Education UK
Hope that helps. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like!
Thank you so much, I'm just completely in the dark, do I have to follow a curriculum and what would the local authority expect me to be achieving in terms of education with my children ?
There is no requirement to follow a curriculum. There is no requirement to offer a broad education; you could technically work on just one subject, such as maths and never consciously teach other subjects. (However as you get into HE you'll discover that by learning one topic you invariably learn far more wide ranging knowledge and skills just by living a full life.)
As far as what the LA expect your children to achieve, they are looking to see whether your children have progressed. Basically that they have learnt something and continued to develop in a suitable manner.
Here's one way of looking at development. It's called SPICE.
S - social
p - Physical
I - intellectual
C - creative
E - emotional
(there are other theories with their own lists of areas of development)
You'll probably see that things we traditionally consider to be the things taught at school tend to all fit into one area = intellectual. However the LA should be looking at every area when they inspect.
Another thing about development is that we all do it at different rates and excel in different areas. If you look up what a child should be doing at a certain age then remember that whomever has written that information is looking at average development. Therefore the LA can't say a child must be at a certain stage. However they can say that the child should be at a higher stage than last year. This is the 'progress' that they will be looking for.
No, you don't have to follow a curriculum at all, and if you want to use one, it can be one of your choice. Many families like to put one together themselves. For example, they might use different suppliers for English and maths, and create their own history programme by just reading historical fiction and nonfiction and going on day trips.
The LA's expectations aren't really relevant. You should be looking to what the law requires, and of course following your own sense of what your children need. The law is quite vague, as you'll see if you read the legal section of either of the websites I linked above. For this reason, in practice, it's very unlikely that your education would be found lacking by a court so long as you have given it some thought and are prepared to explain what you are doing and why.
You don't have to have everything planned out in advance either. It is perfectly okay to work it out as you go along. It is generally accepted that you could take about six months to come up with your initial approach and that you would then adapt it as you continue. After all, as time passes you will get a better understanding of what works with each of your children and of course they will change as they get older!
Yes I figured you were probably in the UK but the law is slightly different in the different countries of the UK. (For example, in Scotland you cannot deregister children from school on demand.) So whenever you go on a home ed forum with a legal question, mention which country you are in.
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