My wife and I have been homeschooling our boys (aged 10 and 8) since they were born. Because of coronavirus and the lockdown, we’ve been sharing tips and links with family, friends and those new to the world of home educating. Our Master asked if I would pen a few words for the Company.
Emily and I were inspired to homeschool for many different reasons; my wife’s cousin home educated her children, whose eldest has subsequently gone to Cambridge University; the wise words of Sir Ken Robinson, on schools and creativity, in his now-famous Ted Talk of 2006 (65m views at the last count) and the current obsession with relentless testing.
But we’re all homeschooling now. Reassuringly, there have never been more resources to help you in this brave new world. Once Easter is behind us, you and your children can both enjoy and thrive with the flexibility that home educating brings.
Homeschooling ranges from unschooling, which allows a student's interests and curiosities to drive the path of their learning, to those who strictly follow school curricula. You have to find the approach that works for you and your family. You may find you move away from the ‘one right way’ of more conventional classroom-based schooling. You may find it isn't just from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm, for three terms a year.
Education Otherwise is the mothership of homeschooling in the UK. They take their name from the Education Act (1944), which states that children must be educated and that it is parents who are responsible for their children's education, "either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."
Its Resources page is an invaluable place to find things to help you succeed. EO have also launched additional help and advice due to the Coronavirus schools’ closures – this includes guidance, news articles and a special resources list. Just follow the link at the top of the resources page. There are also links to local groups of people who will have been home educating for years and will be happy to give parents, the new home educators, advice and help.
As we’re all in this lockdown together, celebrities have come out to help. You can now have a full daily schedule from 9am to 1730, with Joe Wicks, Mylenne Klass, Maddie Moate, Oti Mabuse, Carol Vorderman, Dan Snow, David Walliams and Jamie Oliver.
One final note for those who are at the A-Level stage in their education: a lot of universities have published a vast range of free resources online (Harvard being one of the best - for both undergraduates and adults). Nothing could be more useful than gaining a head start on the course you wish to study by diving into the subject at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.
And finally, I did not write this last link, but it’s well worth a read. The anonymous author talks through the real pros of homeschooling.