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In my last post I posed two thoughts for you to consider if you have been thinking about home educating. Now you have decided to take the leap, what next?
In this post I will discuss some steps you need to take next and some steps that you might like to take as you begin your home education journey.
If you child is currently enrolled in a school you must inform the school that you intend to remove them from the school to home educate them. A simple letter stating your intention should be enough to satisfy the school and they are legally obligated to remove your child from the school roll and inform the local authority that your child is no longer enrolled in the school.
And now you are free, and the adventure begins. No curriculum, no timetables, no school bells, no tests, no deadlines. The world is your oyster. The only stipulation is that the education you provide be efficient (meets it's goals) is full time (the government does not specify how many hours are "full-time") and is suitable for your child's age, ability and aptitude (you are the best person to know this).
This can be both exciting and daunting, where do you begin now?
With this newfound freedom and excitement comes the discovery of a whole new world of learning possibilities: Home ed Forest School, music classes, science clubs, sports sessions, home ed rock climbing and gymnastics, home ed maths and literacy, group classes, playground meets, online classes, big box curriculums, and any other kind of activity you can think of set up just for home educated children. These are just some of the many options out there that will help your child ,make progress, meet other people and fill up your diary.
Of course all these things are good and important, but if there is one thing I have learnt over my years of home educating, it is to SLOW DOWN! You'll probably want to sign up for every group possible, but the groups will still be there is a month, 3 months, 6 months time, put away your FOMO (Fear of missing out) and embrace your JOMO (joy of missing out). Groups and classes give us a sense of security because it feels like we must be succeeding if we are busy, and we feel reassured as we pass on some of the responsibility for our children's learning onto someone else. But remember you know your child better than anyone. You don't need to know everything in order to be your children's teacher, you can learn together based on your child's interests and pretty much all the learning resources you could possibly want or need are available to you online often for free. Remember you were your child's first teacher and your ability to facilitate their learning didn't stop when they turned 5.
So take some time to really get to know your child again, spend time in nature, read some really good books together, find out what their passions are outside of the social pressures of school, find out what "subjects" they love and which they despise, find out what motivates them and what leaves them disinterested, discover if they are kinaesthetic, auditory or visual learners, find out what their love languages are, go for long walks and talk, watch movies together, get up in the middle of the night just to look at the stars, dance in the rain... Enjoy all the little things in life that you were perhaps too busy to appreciate when you had places to be.
Don't rush, just enjoy.
As your home education journey begins to grow, you might like to think about recording some of the activities you get up to, this could be photographically or written notes or diaries, scrapbooks or journals. This will be useful for you to look back on and see your child's progress and as a way of gathering memories. There is no legal requirement for you to do this, but if there is ever any doubt as to your provision it is something you can whip out for the local authority to demonstrate that the home education you are providing is full time, efficient and is suitable to your child's age ability and aptitude.
Finally to quote Meryl Street in Death Becomes Her "now a warning!" But don't be worried, it's nothing to be afraid of: You might receive a letter from your local authority asking for a home visit to check on your provision. There is no obligation for you to accept this visit, no obligation for you to meet in your home, for them to meet your children or for them to see your child's work. You could meet elsewhere, such as in a library or playground or politely decline a visit altogether citing your knowledge and understanding of your home education responsibilities as a reason for not requiring a visit and that you'll let them know if you need any help. It can be useful to provide an educational philosophy explaining some of the activities you take part in and some of your general plans, but it would be wise not to be too specific with these as if you end up not following through with your plans this could be considered a failure to provide an "efficient" education. Keeping communication in writing (i.e. email) means you will have all your communications with the LA on record.
Home education can be a really beautiful and unique journey, remember you know your child better than anyone, you don't need to know everything before your child does, you learn together. I'd love to hear how you are getting on or if there is anything else you would like to know and I will do my best to help, I wish you all the best on your journey.
Here are a few links to websites providing free resources that you might find helpful:
And some books that may be of interest: