“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” - Gandhi
Let’s start by saying that there’s no such thing as a typical day of homeschooling and that’s probably why you’re interested in it. These tips are here to help, but you don’t need to follow them to the letter and you can adapt them to your child.
A child’s age, preferred learning style, and the subjects they like all need to be taken into account when planning lessons. If you’ve decided to join the other homeschoolers in the UK, it’s probably because you want to provide your child with a better education than the one they’d get in regular schools.
It would be a shame to fall into the same problems as they’d have at school. Nevertheless, you can still plan lessons without following a schedule as they have at school. Effective planning can still help get the most out of homeschooling so just make sure you adapt it to them.
Adapting to Homeschooling
Each child is different and so is each family. Your situation will influence how you plan to homeschool your child and there are no right and wrong answers; it’s down to what works.
Someone living in the UK won’t homeschool the same way as a family travelling the world in the same way you won’t homeschool an only child in the same way as you’d homeschool several brothers and sisters. The child’s age will have a big bearing on how you choose to teach them and the type of teaching that works most effectively for them.
Every situation is different.
Firstly, you’ll have to get to know your children. Learn how they work, their strengths and weaknesses, and what they like to do. Plan your day around this and how you’ll be able to most effectively teach them.
You have to work to your strengths, too. You don’t need to fixate on the plan if it’s not working as you can always change things up.
You’ll also need to adapt the schooling to your budget. By homeschooling your children, you’re legally assuming the cost of their education and while there is financial help out there, you can’t guarantee you’ll get it.
A “Typical” Day of Homeschooling
As you’ll have understood, there are many ways to plan to homeschool. We’re going to give you a few examples, but it’ll be up to you to choose the methods that work for you and your children.
These plans are for different types of homeschooling. Generally, they’re aimed at younger children aged between 7 and 10 years old. This is the age where they’ll solidify their understanding of reading, writing, and maths.
Older students can be afforded more freedom and opportunities for independent study whereas younger students may enjoy more freedom or informal learning.
Morning Work, Afternoon Activities
This is a structure that is based on typical schooling. The child will work during the week and start their schooling in the morning.
Sleep is important for learning so don’t have them wake up too early. You can start at 9:00 with a couple of hours of teaching, aiming for around 10 to 12 hours of these classes a week with regular short breaks between subjects.
After lunch or a longer break, you can start with enriching and educational experiences and activities. These can be museum trips, nature walks, or scientific experiments. Trips are a good idea for social interaction, getting out of the house, and learning in a new environment. You can even dedicate a day of the week to extra-curricular activities like sports, dancing, singing, art, music, or even games.
At the weekend, you can do anything. There are no rules. Just try to include all the essential subjects that they need to learn:
- Foreign languages
- Art and music
Make sure that they bring their notebook with them on their trips and excursions as they can take notes or draw pictures.
Some parents choose to homeschool their children as they’re travelling the world. In this situation, children won’t have a very strict timetable. You’ll have to teach when you can and there won’t often be a structured timetable. However, you do want to ensure that your children have a good routine for sleeping. Of course, if they’re tired and sleep longer, it’s not a problem.
You can have a morning routine with sports, games, or even studying. Again, you might want the structured routine to be finished before lunch. Morning routines can focus on traditional school subjects.
In the afternoon, you can still visit places, read, watch educational content, or meet up with other homeschoolers for social interaction. This is probably the least formal of homeschooling approaches and it works great for foreign languages as they can learn by doing.
Homeschooling places the focus on the child. Unschooling also does this by trusting the child’s curiosity for learning and allowing them to take control of their education.
Generally, this focuses on what the child needs and wants to learn. They can choose what they want to learn as and when they’re interested in learning it. There’s less planning and structure, which can feel weird for some parents.
Before you start with unschooling, here are some things to think about:
- The child’s age and level.
- The theme of what they're learning.
- Finding useful resources.
- Preparing resources.
Unschooling can be particularly useful for homeschooling and is especially if you have several children to teach. The older children can help the younger, for example, since peer learning is incredibly useful for children. The idea is to spark their curiosity and let their thirst for knowledge be the driving force.
This also means that when a child is learning, they’re always learning what they want to learn. Our homes are often built and designed with adults in mind. Even the rooms themselves aren’t suitable places for children to experiment and learn.
With unschooling, you can make learning less formal and better adapted to children. You can plan workshops several days of the week where they can study whatever they want. Make sure you plan plenty of outdoor activities, though.
There are plenty of unschooling resources available online.
Don’t Go It Alone
If not done correctly, homeschooling can be a lonely situation. Children need to meet and hang out with other children, but fortunately for you, the UK is home to many homeschoolers.
There are networks and groups of homeschoolers that meet up and do activities together. They can also provide support, resources, and ideas to help you with it.
The internet is a great resource for homeschoolers. Even if you feel a bit lost or overwhelmed, you can get advice and help.
So when are you going to start?
Homeschooling requires that a child gets a full-time education, but this education doesn't necessarily need to be provided by the parents. Homeschooled children can get all or part of their education from one or several private tutors.
If you're interested in looking at private tutors to help provide your child with their education, consider searching for them on Superprof. There are many talented and experienced tutors ready to teach a variety of academic subjects, extracurricular activities, sports, and arts and crafts.
Even if you're planning on doing all the teaching yourself, you could get a tutor to help you with planning lessons and the curriculum for homeschooling your child.
A face-to-face tutor will often travel to the student's home to teach them one-on-one. They'll adapt the lessons to the student, what they need to learn, and how they learn best, ensuring that every minute of every session is spent as effectively as possible. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a price and face-to-face tutors will usually charge more than online tutors or tutors offering group tutorials.
If you travel around a lot or can't find any suitable tutors in your local area, you can always look for online tutoring. As long as you have a decent internet connection and computer, you can get help from tutors all over the world. This is particularly good for foreign languages as you can find native speakers, but it's also useful if your child is studying for UK exams but you're not currently in the country and need someone from the UK with expertise in GCSEs and A Levels, for example.
Group tutorials are an excellent option for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with the other attendees. If other parents homeschooling their children would like some extra help from a tutor, you could get your children together in a smaller class with a tutor and split the bill.
A lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so make sure to try a few different options out before picking the tutor or tutors that are right for you and your family.