If you’re wondering how to home school and are looking for some tips, the first thing to understand is that home learning isn’t just about Maths and English – it’s also about life skills, applied learning, and developing the relationships and personality traits that kids pick up both inside and outside the classroom. Whether you are interested in fulltime home schooling or supplementary home learning, there are endless ways of bringing structured lessons to life in a home environment – and we’re going to introduce some of our favourites to you now.
But first, the benefits of home learning.
The Benefits of Home Learning
One of the main reasons why so many people are looking into home learning today is that it allows for child-led learning – whereas a standard classroom at school has to follow much more of a formal approach. By allowing you to focus solely on just one or two children in a home environment, the child is encouraged to be more confident and comfortable, with different lessons led entirely by their own understanding. If, for example, your child is particularly confident with one area of learning but struggling with another, home learning allows you to channel focus into those areas where they need support rather than spending time on concepts that they are already comfortable with.
Another benefit of home learning is that it nurtures individual development and gives children a better relationship with the education system. It gives parents or educators more of a say over the way their child is taught and allows them to integrate life skills and individual morals into the curriculum.
How to Home School
Home schooling is all about creating a productive, comfortable, and engaging environment – allowing a child to learn and develop without the benefit of peers and other social lessons. The UK government states that home learning and home schooling must meet certain requirements although it does not necessarily have to follow the national curriculum – so long as a child is receiving fulltime education.
Once you have made the decision to start home schooling or supplementary home learning, you will need to let the school know your plans, deregister from the official schools register, and sign up for support groups and communities where you will receive guidance from others going through the same as you.
Practical considerations are important when it comes to home schooling, so make sure to plan out your timetable, work arrangements, budgets, and where you plan on setting up your home school. Ideally you want an environment where your child can focus without distraction, and where they feel comfortable but are still able to separate their learning space from their relaxation or play space.
Home Learning Ideas
There are so many different styles of learning and home schooling – so much so that the question “how to home school a child” is one with many varied answers. The first thing to do before you dive in is to work out the best style of learning for your child, create a timetable or structure which works both for you and for them, and then find the resources you will need to support their learning – for example home schooling workbooks and other ideas.
Children are born to learn, and more often than not are very interested in learning and finding out new things. As such, you shouldn’t need to try too hard to get them engaged and involved in something new – provided you approach it in a way which is interactive and fun for them. Trying to replicate school at home rarely works – so simply talking at them is very unlikely to work. Instead, factor movement and discussion into the school day; encourage self-learning and research which will open their eyes to their own new things; make learning interactive by changing environments regularly; create your own games and rituals.
Some of our most engaging ideas include:
- Take Maths and Science classes outside and immerse children in nature and the great outdoors. This brings topics like biology and plants to life and can test Mathematics skills by integrating counting and equations into the natural world.
- Study literature and books that your child enjoys. Following the national curriculum will limit your options – but didn’t you pick home schooling for the freedom and expression it allows your child to learn with? By studying and discussing books they enjoy, you will both get a lot more out of each session.
- Focus on activity as well as learning. Regular “P.E.” and sports is important at school and should be important as part of home learning too.
- Encourage interaction with other children, whether at home learning group sessions, sports, playtime, or other recreational activities.
- Create your own award and reward systems that matter to your child. If they misbehave or refuse to engage, it is much more powerful to take away technology time or TV time than it is to threaten detention.
- Use home learning resources to give them time to learn for themselves. Not everything has to be led by you – sometimes children can and should be left to discover things for themselves using workbooks and research time.
- Experiment with different styles of learning and try new things.
- Factor life skills into every school day – from helping prepare lunch or dinner, to housework and chores, interacting with others, creating healthy food shopping lists, etc.
Home learning can be a great way of supporting your child’s development and giving them an opportunity to learn in a way that is optimised for and built around them. For more ideas and suggestions on home learning, check out our home school resources and workbooks.