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Home education, typically called homeschooling, is on the rise worldwide, and the UK is no exception. In three years, the number of children being homeschooled in the UK has risen by almost 40%. Numbers show that in 2014 there were around 34,000 home educated kids, and 2016 brought 48,000. These numbers are expected to continue to increase.

Why are More UK Parents Homeschooling?

Each family chooses to homeschool for different reasons, but many parents say mental health issues and exclusion from the classroom are two top reasons. An increase in bullying problems has also been stated as a factor many parents cite in their decision to home educate.

School policies also cause parents to make the switch. Parents dislike the lack of school choice and the issues that arise if their child has poor attendance. Poor attendance has become a wide-spread issue, and parents are frustrated with the problem. Other parents simply want to provide a better education for their child, and they believe they’re able to do this at home.

How to Start Homeschooling

If you decide home education is the right choice for your family, here are a few steps to follow.

  • Write to the head teacher to let them know your plans to take your child out of school. Children must receive a full-time education from the age of 5, but it's not a requirement to follow the national curriculum.
  • Decide on the materials you want to use. No rules require you to teach exactly like the schools. You don’t have to teach the same subjects. Parents love the freedom! The district, at some point, will want to see proof that you are, in fact, educating your child to your child’s age, ability, and aptitude. Most likely, the local education authorities will ask to visit you, but you can opt to refuse a visit and send in a report instead.
  • Try deschooling first. If your child had problems in school, such as bullying, a period of deschooling may be important. During this time, you can relax as a family, talk about goals and ambitions, and decide what education means and looks like for each member of your family.

The Ins and Outs of Homeschooling

As the trend continues to grow, more parents are starting to ask questions and wonder if it’s the right decision for their family. Here are some ins and outs of homeschooling in the UK.

  • Parents don’t need a minimum level of education to home educate nor do they need any teaching qualifications.
  • There is no set number of hours that you must educate. The law tells parents that a child needs a “full-time education,” but that leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
  • Many children sit their GCSEs around the age of 16, but that’s not a legal requirement. Your child can take them at any age.
  • Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive. Like anything in else, it’s what you make of it. The general costs include the GSCEs, books, fees for any groups you decide to join, computers, and other supplies. Some parents opt to bring in tutors, but that is, once again, a personal decision.
  • Kids are still socialised! A common misconception of homeschooling is that the kids miss out on interaction, but any homeschooling family can tell you that their kids aren’t lacking. Between organised sports, lessons, and homeschooling groups, most kids create strong, lifelong friendships and socialise just as well as kids who are not homeschooled.
  • Homeschooling takes place at home, but you can outsource as well. Many areas offer services and you can pay tutors to help your children with subjects you aren’t comfortable teaching.
  • Home educated young adults are able to get a job after school just as easily as their school educated peers, especially if they take their GCSEs earlier. Homeschooling is rarely a reason why a young adult is unable to pick their choice of employment.

Pros and Cons of Home Education

If you are contemplating making the switch, taking a look at the pros and cons of home education may help you make a decision.

PROS of Home Educating

Control Over Your Child’s Education

You are able to decide what they study and you can adapt their education to suit their particular learning style.

More Time Spent with Your Child

When your child spends a large portion of their week in school, you miss a lot of time with them, especially if you or your spouse work different schedules. Homeschooling allows your family to maximise the amount of time you have together!


Homeschooling brings freedom to the family. You are able to take sick days, study what interests your child, and take interesting field trips that they will enjoy.

Create a Supportive Learning Environment

When your child is one of almost 30 kids, it's hard for a teacher to give each child the individual attention necessary. Home education allows parents to create a supportive learning environment. Kids often get the most out of having one-on-one tutelage, even if there are multiple siblings! They still receive more direct learning.

CONS of Home Educating

It Requires Time

Teaching your child takes time. You will spend a few hours each day on education, plus you have to plan. However, most homeschooling parents find the planning part enjoyable! You have to be prepared to invest that time into your child.

Parents Must Juggle Both Roles

It can be hard for your child, if they attended school before, to learn how to distinguish your roles as an educator and parent. Both the parent and child will find the balance, but it does take time!

Homeschooling May Be Right for You

If you feel as if homeschooling is right for your family, take some time to talk to families in your area who do. Check to see if there are local support groups. The process is easy once you get started, and your children might benefit from home education! It is rising in the UK for good reasons, and families are thriving.

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Centre of Excellence User
Centre of Excellence User
— November 9, 2018 14:59:45
Our youngest daughter was homeschooled, starting in 1993, when she was just starting into 3rd grade, and we continued until she was halfway through 10th grade, at 15 years old. At that time she decided to get her General Education Degree (GED) and apply at our local 4 year college. She passed the GED, and after testing, was accepted at the college, but was on probation for the first couple of years due to her age. She did extremely well in college, graduating with the top grade point average in her class, and with the highest honors. She finished her college degree in 3 1/2 years. During her early years of home schooling, she showed a talent for performing, so we encouraged her, and she performed in both live musical theater (at a local professional theatre every Summer for years) and dance. She was fortunate enough to have an early dance instructor who saw her talent, and who helped her to blossom, introducing her to the local dance professor at the college. Being only 12 years old at the time, she was used to being around people the normal-aged students' age, and blended well. She also performed with them for shows at the college. She was also welcomed by the music professor at the college, to perform with the students, so she was well used to the college routine by the time she joined them for real at barely 16. She also started a little free newspaper when she was in 5th grade and started to deliver it to local schools. Soon it became popular and local businesses looked forward to her delivering their copy. She only sold enough advertising to cover the cost of the printer's expenses. Her free paper was soon being delivered to over 400 individuals and businesses in town and by mail. They looked so forward to her little 'feel good' newsletter that they tried to be the first in the office to read it. ;-) She was learning business during her homeschooling as well, and started a pin-on button business, soon selling her handmade buttons for events, elections, and also selling to donate money to causes. She donated over $2,000 to the Firemen's Children's Fund after the tragic 9-11. Socialization was not a problem, because she was able to make friends with ALL ages, rather than just children of her own age, so she ultimately became a much more well-rounded person. She could speak as easily with a 75 year old, as she could with a child. She graduated from college at 19, and chose to seek a career in what she loved - performing. She auditioned at a large audition in Memphis, TN, in front of theatre directors from all over the country. At the end of the day, she had something like 35 call-backs, and of course had to pick and choose which ones to attend, with the time she had. She felt very fortunate. One of her call-backs was by a Disney casting director, and when she came to our car after the long day, she mentioned it, and filled us in on her day, but was just ready to keep forging ahead if nothing came of the audition. She never let much grass grow under her feet, so as a fallback, she started work at a local dept. store. She had only been there less than a week when she got a call from Disney. The rest is history, for her. :-) She loved everything Disney as a child, and now, at 33 years old, she is still living her dream. She has been "friends" with several of the princesses on both the Main Stage of all four Disney ships, as well as currently at Disney World. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty - Aurora, the Little Mermaid - Ariel, Snow White, and other fun characters - the Blue Fairy, Haley Comet - Tomorrowland Christmas, and she had lots of fun "knowing" Cruella DeVille. She has seen the world, lives such an interesting and exciting life, and is married to a fellow who loves Disney and performing just as much as she does.
Mark Harrison
Mark Harrison
— November 12, 2018 15:19:28
Thank you for sharing your daughter's story. Sounds like an amazing life!

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