Is home education legal?

Each country has its own rules, regulations and laws for home education.

We home educate according to UK law. UK legislation states all children must receive an education sufficient for their ‘age, ability and aptitude’. The law additionally requires this education to be full time but as there is no definition of what this means, there is no obligation to dedicate a specific number of hours to meet this requirement.

Are homeschools inspected?

Home education is not (currently) inspection-regulated in the UK, however it is possible the local authority will contact you to ensure your children are truly being educated at home. Keeping a record documenting your child’s learning progress and the education they’re receiving is a good idea; a portfolio of completed/ongoing work to demonstrate how you’re facilitating your child’s education.

Do you have to use a certain curriculum?

No. One of the biggest benefits of home-educating is the ability to tailor learning to each child individually. The National Curriculum is available online as guidance for what children are expected to learn aged 5 to 16, but exactly what is taught and how is up to you and your homeschoolers.

Aside from Maths, English and Science – the core academic subjects most higher-ed institute/entrance-level job will expect – what constitutes an education is a matter of interpretation. Home education offers the freedom to pick and choose from curriculum subjects, ideologies and teaching styles.

What proof of education do you need to keep?

Legally, none. However, keeping a record of proof of home education is beneficial not only to you, as the parent, to answer any potential LEA queries, but also to you as an educator and your child as a student – tracking progress is important.

Regardless of what proof of education you need to keep, keeping a portfolio of a child’s work has numerous benefits. Think of it as an education folder..similar to an end-of-term report with examples of what they’ve done.

Do you have to study 9-3?

Absolutely not – though you can if you choose. Home education allows you to make schooling fit your schedule rather than school defining it. There is no legal number of hours during which children must be educated.

Is home education expensive?

Home education can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to home education for less than the cost of school uniform; likewise, it is possible to spend thousands. Defining a budget for home education resources is an important part of planning for homeschooling.

How do home-educated children get qualifications?

GCSEs and A-levels are options for home-educated children if you choose to follow the UK standard of qualifications. Most homeschoolers will sit IGCSEs, sitting the actual exams at an exam centre. GCSE and A-level exams not entered via a school or college do incur a cost: GCSE’s currently cost (circa) £50 per exam.

Is homeschooling hard?

Yes. And no.

Homeschooling is like parenting – beautiful and terrifying, easy and impossible. Home education is an unpredictable adventure that brings challenges and problems, costs, and complications. It is also the most wonderful adventure, that liberates your family from time constraints and rules imposed by a system focused on exam-based achievements. To home-educate is not easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard.

Can you work from home and home educate?

That depends on your work contract, your child and the style of home education your homeschool is following. Home education allows flexibility both with the timings of lessons and input levels of parents, which means it may be possible to work around providing your child’s education. The Covid-19 lockdowns showed WFH and homeschooling isn’t always the easiest combination to balance – but homeschooling through lockdown wasn’t an example of real-life home education. With planning, it is possible either by simultaneously WFH and homeschooling, or playing around with lessons times to make work fit. Don’t forget that one-on-one teaching greatly cuts down the hours needed to teach a subject.

Do you need to teach every subject?

The curriculum your children use is yours to create. There is no legal obligation to teach any specific subject. It’s generally advisable to ensure home-educated pupils achieve qualifications in core subjects (Maths, English, Science) to ensure they graduate from home education on par with their schooled peers.

Can home-educated pupils attend university?

Yes. Home-educated pupils can apply for (UK-based) university courses through the same UCAS system as pupils who attend school. Students who wish to study abroad likewise apply through traditional routes. Some universities have specific intake routes for home-educated students.

Can I start homeschooling after my kids have started school?

It is common to make a decision to home-educate after children have spent some time in the school system. Legally, you have every right to withdraw your child from school and provide an education at home. Practically, transitioning from school to homeschooling can be a challenge. It is recommended that a period of deschooling occurs before starting home education. Deschooling is beneficial in many ways not least in giving pupils time to rediscover learning on their own terms.

Can you stop home-educating?

There is no obligation to home educate. If home education isn’t a good fit for your child, or circumstances change, children can be enrolled in school at any time. However, there are natural transition periods that make it easier – the start of secondary school, before GCSE classes begin etc; and going into the system requires a little more planning than stepping out of it, from a practical perspective. It is always a good idea to ensure home-educated students are on academic par with their schooled peers which would make moving to school-based learning an easier experience for the child.