From avoiding unrealistic expectations to not trying to do too much too soon. In this blog post we’ll talk about what not to do when you start homeschooling.
Starting a homeschooling journey can be an exciting and overwhelming experience, but it’s important to approach it with the right mindset and expectations. It’s natural to want to do everything right from the start and ensure that your children receive the best possible education.
However, remember that homeschooling isn’t about getting everything perfect from the start. It’s about finding what works best for you and your child and being open to learning and adapting along the way.
That being said, there are definitely some mistakes that you’ll want to keep away of when you begin your homeschooling journey so you can avoid unnecessary stress and frustration. Let’s get started!
Is it legal to homeschool in the UK?
Yes, it’s legal to homeschool in the UK. If your child has never attended school, you do not need to do anything. If your child is currently at school, you’ll need to tell them you’re planning to homeschool and you want your child of the register. The school must accept this, they can not prevent you from homeschooling your child.
However, if your child has special needs and attends a special school, you’ll need council’s permission to educate them at home. You do not need the council’s permission if your child attends a mainstream school even if she or he has an education, health and care (EHC) plan.
How much does it cost to homeschool in the UK?
It depends. You can make your homeschool as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
These are some things that you can get or use for free:
- Library for books and various sessions (check out your local library to see what they offer, often they do arts and crafts activities)
- Various websites. There are so many educational and fun websites for kids that are absolutely free! Just to name a few, Oxford Owl for free e-books or Topmarks for fun educational games. There are many more out there.
- Worksheets found online. Yes, you can find tons of worksheets online that are free, including ours.
- Trips to museums, art galleries, parks.
- Meet ups with local home-ed parents and their children.
What you’ll need to pay for:
- Subscriptions to websites or apps that are useful but have to be paid for.
- Printer and ink
- Various arts and crafts supplies
- Any activities your child wants to take part in (such as swimming, sports, arts classes, etc…)
- GCSE, A level exam fees (if your child sits them)
So really, there is no one size fits all for costs of homeschooling.
Do you get paid to homeschool in the UK?
Because homeschooling is a choice parents make, currently there is no help or funding for home-ed families. That means you’ll have to cover all costs of homeschooling yourself.
What Not To Do When You Start Homeschooling
1. Don’t: replicate school at home
Learning at home doesn’t have to look the same as learning at school. You don’t need to start at 9 am every morning, have a whiteboard (unless you want to). Your children don’t need to wear uniforms or raise their hands when they want to go to the bathroom. There’s no need to follow a strict timetable, so if you find your children interested in a certain science topic and they’re having lots of fun learning, don’t feel like, you must move on to maths just because it’s 11 am now.
Instead, appreciate the fact that your children are no longer constrained by the school system and have more freedom in their learning journey.
2. Don’t: think it has to be 9am – 3pm
You’ll be surprised how quickly you can complete the same amount of work at home that takes children to do at school. You might get the feeling of not doing enough, but remember, not all time spent at school is learning.
Children have breaks, go through the register, attend assemblies, and take time to calm down after playing in the playground. Not to forget, the teacher needs to manage a class of 20-30 children, so have no doubt, there is always someone misbehaving, chatting or needing extra attention.
So if you find yourself done with workbooks by noon, don’t feel guilty. Instead, cherish all the free time you’ve got left and do other things, whether it’s going to the parks and museums, meeting up with other home-ed families, or letting your child get immersed in their hobbies (building lego, coding, etc…)
3. Don’t: over schedule and try to do it all
When you start homeschooling, you might feel tempted to say yes – to everything. We all want our children to have tons of different opportunities and we hate feeling like they might miss out on something.. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to fill every single day with structured activities, lessons and outings. In fact, over-scheduling can lead to burnout and frustration for both you and your kid and no one needs that.
It’s okay to stay home, have unstructured playtime, and take things easy. Find a balance that works for your family and listen to your children’s and your own needs. Remember to give yourself and your children the time and space to relax and recharge regularly.
4. Don’t: feel like you have to figure out your homeschooling method/style straight away
When I started homeschooling, I came across different methods and styles of it. You’ve probably heard of them too: Charlotte Mason, Montessori, learning by doing unit studies and many more. I convinced myself I must choose one and follow it, therefore, spent hours researching all of them trying to pick the right one. I didn’t have to and neither do you.
While there is nothing wrong in exploring your options, don’t think you must choose and follow one method of homeschooling. Instead, try different things and see what works for you and your children. A lot of parents end up following eclectic style of homeschooling (mixing and matching a variety of homeschooling methods and resources).
5. Don’t: think learning happens just on paper
Even though we’ve been made to believe it’s the only way to learn, it’s not true. Children can and do learn in many other different ways. For example, by cooking with their parents, listening to someone read a book, playing with their siblings or friends, building legos, and watching educational YouTube videos. So if you haven’t done any worksheets in the last couple of days, don’t stress.
6. Don’t: feel like you need to behave as a teacher (you are a mom first)
You might assume you need to take on a role of a teacher when you start homeschooling. But do your children really need to raise their hands if they want to go to the bathroom or have a snack? Probably not.
You don’t need to assign homework or fix their mistakes with a red pen. Remember, you are their mom first. You can create projects on the living room floor and read books on the sofa. Create a safe environment built on trust and compassion.
7. Don’t: think you must follow a school calendar
You can if you want to, but you don’t have to. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to customize your child’s education plan to fit your family’s needs and schedule. This means that you don’t have to follow a traditional school calendar.
Instead, you can take breaks and vacations when it works best for your family. Remember that education doesn’t have to be confined to a traditional nine-month school year, and taking breaks and traveling can be great opportunities for learning and growth.
8. Don’t: be unrealistic
Don’t hold unrealistic expectation when you start homeschooling. Don’t think everyone will be happy at all times and you’ll never lose your patience. You’ll have your bad days and your children will have theirs.
There will be times you’ll feel like giving up, there will be days you’re so tired, you won’t know if you can carry on. That’s why it’s important to know why you’re homeschooling in the first place, so that you can hold on to it when the not so good days come.
And while you will create beautiful memories and hopefully come to love homeschooling, don’t step into in being unrealistic.
9. Don’t: think you need a permission of friends or relatives
Because you might not get it and you need to do what’s best for your children. You need to realise that many people don’t really know much about homeschooling. They imagine a child staying at home throughout the week, having no friends and no one to play with. They might think that school is a must go-to place for high-quality education and might question your ability to teach.
Talk to them and explain what homeschooling is and what it isn’t. However, don’t wait for everyone to approve of your decision because they might not. Read more about how to handle disapproving family and friends.
10. Don’t: feel pressured to buy a curriculum straight away
You might feel tempted to buy a curriculum straight away once you start homeschooling but my advice is, don’t. A lot of moms spend tons of money on buying a curriculum they think is going to help them achieve success in their homeschool, only to regret it soon after. Don’t get ahead of yourself!
Get to know ways your child learns best. Is it through reading books, hands-on projects or watching documentaries? What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses? Take your time to answer these questions to make sure you buy a curriculum that both your child and you enjoy.
Who knows, perhaps you’ll decided not to buy one at all and mix match different resources and approaches to create a personalized learning plan for your child.
Don’t feel pressured to have everything figured out right away – homeschooling is a journey, and it’s okay to take your time and make adjustments as needed.
11. Don’t: think you must hold a degree to homeschool
You definitely do not need to hold a degree or be a teacher. As a parent, you naturally want the best for your children and so as long as you’re willing to put time and effort into educating them, then I can guarantee you, you’re more than enough! Besides, we live in times where information and help is available a click away, use websites, videos to help you homeschool.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that children at school don’t have gaps in their learning and all of them grow up to their best potential. A teacher at school has from 20 to 30 children that she has to teach. If a child is ahead of everyone, he’ll still need to wait for everyone else before he’s able to move on. And if a child is behind, well, most likely he will stay behind as teacher moves on.