A Conversation for Home Education

Different Education Styles.

Post 1

Bernadette Lynn_ Home Educator

When people first explore HE they are often unsure how to start. Most people seem to think that they have to replicate school, but there are in fact as many approaches as there are families.

Contrary to popular opinion, it isn't necessary, at least in Britain, to follow the national curriculum; to study from workbooks or even to formally study at all. The only actual requirement is that an education must be provided. (Luckily for some schools, it isn't even necessary that the child actually learns anything, as long as the people responsible are trying to give lessons).

Home Education (which rarely takes place entirely 'at home') can follow many routes, from the completely structured, timetabled and assessment driven approach through to the completely autonomous way.

Curriculum based education can be done as a correspondence course, in which you receive a professionally selected set of materials and send completed work off for marking; as an internet course, where you take part in an online class; or by buying a course and studying it on your own. You can get courses designed for every stage of education from primary through to the OU.

You can design your own curriculum, make a timetable and choose your own study materials (most bookshops have an education section). This give you the flexibility to ditch the timetable and spend an entire week or more working on only one subject if the fancy takes you, catching up on the rest when you feel ready.

You can study one or two core subjects for a few hours a week, filling the rest of the time with whatever else interests you, or you can move to a completely autonomous style, in which no study takes place at all and you learn entirely through pursuing your own interests.

All methods have merit: the important thing is that, whichever method is chosen, it should suit the child involved. Probably the most successful Home Educators are those who allow their education to evolve according to their child's personality and interests, and the needs and lifestyle of the family.

It's terribly exciting however you do it.

Different Education Styles.

Post 2

Pinwheel Pearl, GURU, Post Book Reviewer, Muse of Japanese Maples and Owlatron's Thundercat

Your comments are really helpful, I hope people who read my entry also read this thread. Do you have experience of HE yourself?

Different Education Styles.

Post 3

Bernadette Lynn_ Home Educator

I was home educated; we started off with a full correspondence course, but later just bought the syllabus for the exams we wanted to take and bought books to fit.

I found the structured way a bit too restrictive, to be honest, but being at home we were able to cover the day's work in a fairly short time and had the afternoon to do our own stuff, as well as days off if anything really interesting came up.

My children are HE now, and almost entirely autonomous, which seems to be working very well. They're loving it, anyway.

Different Education Styles.

Post 4

Pinwheel Pearl, GURU, Post Book Reviewer, Muse of Japanese Maples and Owlatron's Thundercat

How are you going to get round exam time? This is the problem my parents had when they tried to home educate me. I left school a year before I was due to sit my GCSE's because of horrendous bullying and couldn't find a centre locally where I could sit my exams. I ended up going to college to sit the exams there, but they would only let me do this if I studied at the college as well.

This was a very expensive option but turned out best for me as I ended up sitting only 2 GCSE's, in Maths and English and doing 2 AS Levels alongside. Because of this I met some wonderfully mature people who have remained friends and my confidence came back in spades. (Especially as I could brag to anyone I bumped into from school that I was 'sitting AS Levels a year early'smiley - biggrin)

Different Education Styles.

Post 5

Bernadette Lynn_ Home Educator

I'm not sure that GCSE/AS Level/A levels are necessary.

There were six of us, and five of us got into the college of our choice, to study the subject of our choice. The 'O' levels that we had may have helped, but I was offered my place on an interview, before I'd even mentioned my qualifications. I went to see the college's Summer Show and liked what I saw so much that I told the department head that I wanted to go there, and was offered an interview on the spot(which admittedly may not be possible in today's over-regimented red tape society).

Three of my sisters went to music college, getting in on the strength of an audition rather than exam passes. My fourth sister never went to college but made a very good living teaching privately and at a private school until she gave it up to have a baby.

My fifth sister chose, after working for a few years, to do an access course - one year intensive study - and will be starting a degree course in September. GCSEs would not have helped her much as at the time she should have taken them she thought she was going to do something completely different with her life.

If you want to do exams - and many HE children do them - there are many routes. You can do IGCSEs which require no coursework - and there are a growing number of exam centres which offer them. You can go to a college, as you did. You can do a vocational qualification, or you can do an Open University foundation course.

Or of course you can just start work - there are very few professions which require qualifications.

I hope my children won't feel pressured to take GCSEs just because schooled children take them. I hope they only take exams as and when they need to in order to further their ambitions.

Different Education Styles.

Post 6

Pinwheel Pearl, GURU, Post Book Reviewer, Muse of Japanese Maples and Owlatron's Thundercat

Good point.

I had to do my GCSE's or my Dad would have killed me! He's very traditional.

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