Feeling confused? You’ll find your answers right here.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE A TEACHER TO HOME EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN?
There are no requirements for the people teaching children from home to have any academic or other qualifications. I would suggest that the qualifications most necessary are: A keen interest in the child/rens education and welfare, Respect for ones child/ren and their own decisions about their education, A willingness to try things you haven’t done before, Resourcefulness, A willingness to ask questions and not be afraid of feeling foolish for not already knowing the answer yourself!
HOW CAN YOU TEACH ALL OF THE THINGS THEY TEACH IN SCHOOL?
You don’t have to.
But, that is not to say that you can’t if the child wishes to learn it. This is the most important factor. These days all the information that teachers pass on to children is readily available outside of schools for parents and children to access. The progress in information technology since compulsory education began, makes acquiring this knowledge much easier.
This is not to say that if you do not have access to a computer at home, then you can’t home educate. Computers are becoming more widely available in libraries and open learning centres. Also it is important to remember that they are not the only source of information. Parents need to be facilitators, available to help their children access the information they want. Sometimes parents will need to, or choose to, learn alongside their children.
DO YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM?
As in independent schools, there are no requirements to follow any particular curriculum or indeed any set curriculum at all.
Experience shows that if young children are not formally taught at all, they can still learn as much or more than they would in school, if they have varied life experiences, a stimulating environment and an adult around who is willing to answer umpteen questions, or help to find the answers. If you wish to be a little more structured, home education has the advantage of being able to follow a particular child’s interests.
In this way during the early years it is easy to cover a wide variety of ‘subjects areas’ by studying one or two ‘topic’ areas, which also encourages basic literacy and numeracy skills. It is as well to remember that the National Curriculum is just one group of people’s idea about what is suitable content for a child’s learning. It happens to be compulsory (presently) in state schools, but the variation of possible curricula is endless.
Children who have never been to school or have been out of school for a long period, retain or regain the natural pre school inquisitiveness that determines what and when they learn. If children choose to take formal exams when they are older they may then wish to or need to follow a particular curriculum.
Experience shows that home educated children readily adapt to the imposed curriculum for courses that they have chosen to follow.
DO YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW A TIMETABLE?
Home education has the benefit of children being able to study what they want, when they want, which is more likely to be productive than forced learning. Some people imagine that left with this free choice, children will not choose to work, but on the contrary, given autonomy over their learning, children often study for very long periods and in greater depth than parents would impose.
Even if they don’t, the quality of learning that happens in a short burst of interest is likely to be more useful than hours being forced to sit and study when the mind is focused elsewhere.
Many parents would find it hard, even in retrospect, to timetable their child’s education because their informal style means learning happens all the time and can’t be defined as times when books and paper are evident.