As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5, but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum. However, we expect that you will wish to provide the best possible education for your child.
Some families follow their own “home-made” curriculum using the internet and a compendium of published resources, but experience has shown that as the children get older and they may move to more formal qualifications and learning then the planning may have to become more structured, although this should not lessen the learning experience and the involvement of the parent.
The curriculum should be broadly based and include many of the features of a good education. This will enable your child to return to full time education in school if this is what you choose to do.
It is with this in mind that we make the following recommendations:
A broad and balanced curriculum would probably cover much of the following:
- Information Technology
- Physical Education
- Personal Social and Health Education
- Religious Education
- and for secondary age pupils a modern foreign language.
The equivalent of four hours teaching time a day, for 200 days per year is sufficient time for providing a broad and balanced curriculum. The following features will promote effective learning and achievement:
- regular planning of a variety of activities and tasks appropriate to the age, ability and aptitudes of the child
- keeping records of what work is planned and has been covered, of educational visits, of activities undertaken
- teaching listening, helping, asking questions, and encouraging progress as well as setting work
- regular marking correcting mistakes, giving feedback on how work can be improved, celebrating achievements, keeping a record of progress
- a range of resources and equipment for example books, materials, paints, educational games and puzzles, TV, computer, plus things normally available in the home: kitchen utensils for cooking, tools for working with wood, gardening, etc.
- suitable space to work
- regular use of local facilities and amenities such as libraries, museums, galleries, sports facilities, parks.
- opportunities for regular physical exercise
- opportunities for the child to mix socially with other children of similar age.
One of the advantages of Home Education is that families can move their children along the curriculum at a pace to individually suit the child. They can forge ahead on subjects where they have strengths, and consolidate with parallel material in areas that present difficulties.
In order to best support the learning of a young person it is a good idea to have a happy medium between an overly structured approach, which may put the young person off learning, and a totally hands off approach, which if too chaotic and not effective can lead to very little learning taking place.
There may be a tiny percentage of mature students who can totally lead their own education, but the vast majority of young people need to enjoy their work and for it to be structured and corrected at regular intervals. Without this stimulus they may lose focus.
Camden produces a termly newsletter for home educators with a range of curriculum resources and information. Copies are emailed to home educators when they join the mailing list.