“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.” - Charlotte Mason
Would you like to homeschool your children but doubt your ability to teach them?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! While you do need skills to homeschool children, rest assured that you’re not the first person to have doubts about it. Teaching a couple of children isn’t the same as a class of thirty.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can homeschool your children and whether or not you have what it takes.
Legally, you don’t need to be a teacher or even have any qualifications to homeschool your children. You don’t even need to have finished school yourself. There are no requirements for parents wanting to homeschool their children.
The only thing you need to do is provide them with an “efficient full-time education”. This is pretty vague and it also allows you a lot of freedom. Technically, you don’t even need to let the local authorities know that you’re homeschooling. However, it’s a good idea to let them know. After all, the local authority won’t be able to tell the difference between a child that’s not attending school and a child being homeschooled if you haven’t told them.
Don’t stress too much about your level of schooling as there are plenty of resources available to help you.
Learn About the Different Ways to Homeschool Children
There are many different ways to homeschool children. You could have them taught remotely or participate in distance learning courses. This means their work can be marked and graded by teachers.
Each term, they’ll get their results and a report on how well they’re doing. In this case, they’ll also closely follow the academic calendar. It’s a good idea if you’re worried that you won’t be able to keep up with their learning or work too much to help them.
You can also teach them yourselves if you feel capable. You’ll take on the role of the teacher and be in charge of their education. The local authority does have a duty to check that the child is getting a suitable full-time education so may check in with you periodically. In this case, they’ll want to see examples of work done and you don’t have to agree to meet with them, but it’s usually better to do so. After all, the local authority has to promote and safeguard a child’s welfare and education and it’s harder for them to do this if they can’t meet with you.
Learn to Do Your Research
There are several challenges to homeschooling children. It may have been a while since you were at school yourself and not everything will be fresh in your head and there’ll be moments where you’re not an expert on what you have to teach your child.
Regardless of the subject, you may need to teach yourself about a topic before you can teach your child:
- Learn to do effective research on a wide range of topics so that you can effectively teach your child.
- Consider researching with the child so that you can learn together and the child can learn other valuable skills.
The second option is a really good idea as you’ll both learn about independent research and the topic at hand.
Effective Teaching Approaches
If you’re going to teach, you need to know how to teach. This is much easier said than done.
After all, we’re not all natural-born teachers and if you don’t know something, you need to learn and understand if yourself before you stand any chance of passing this knowledge onto somebody else.
You could always enlist the help of a tutor in a given subject if it’s not your forte. With foreign languages, this is a particularly good idea.
You also don’t want to put too much pressure on your child or yourself by trying to teach something when you’re out of your depth.
Effectively explaining concepts is an important part of being a good teacher and during traditional schooling, children will often encounter topics that they don’t understand the first time they hear about them.
Vigilance and Patience
Drawing the line between being a parent and a teacher is difficult. In some cases, you may need to clearly define when you’re the teacher and when you’re the parent.
Not every child will get this at first, especially if they’re in primary school. You can let them know that during lessons you’re their teacher and outside of them, you’re their parent.
With homeschooling, there’s technically no homework, either. Each child can learn in a way that works for them whether it’s with the teacher or independently.
You need to be aware of how they’re progressing and what they need help with. That said, when you’re in teacher mode, you won’t be the same as when you’re acting as their parent and making them lunch or getting them ready for bed.
While you don’t need to follow the curriculum, it’s still a good idea to have a plan or a schedule. Be flexible, though. After all, homeschooling allows you to change things up whenever you need to.
You can change the weekly schedule if you need to. Perhaps you want to change things up to keep it fresh or do something more engaging than a traditional lesson. Perhaps your child learns better in the morning and it’s worth having a half day.
Don’t be scared to change the plan if it’s not working.
Become a Master of Organisation
This might seem paradoxical, but you need to be organised if you’re homeschooling your children even if you often don’t follow the plan. You’re free to change the plan, but you need to be organised enough to be ready for anything.
Disorganisation won’t help your child to learn. A routine is good, especially when it comes to sleep. A child needs to learn discipline, especially when it comes to interacting with others.
It’s a good idea to schedule break times, lunch, and lesson times to ensure that they don’t get too hungry or tired. You can still plan around them, though.
It’s Always a Good Time to Learn
Outside of school, you can still learn. A child can practise maths when cooking, writing the shopping list, or playing board games. Use these opportunities to check their learning.
Remember that both adults and children learn better when they get to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. It allows them to see the usefulness of what they’ve been learning.
Don’t worry! With the right skills, any child can be effectively homeschooled.
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.
On Superprof, you can enjoy face-to-face tutoring, online tutoring, or even group tutoring. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which methods will work best for you, your family, and, most importantly, your children.
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 are homeschooling their children and 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.