Are you at the start of your homeschooling journey and have no idea where to start. Do you feel unsure of how to create the ‘right’ curriculum for your child? Or how to ensure that you cover all parts of their educational development to give them the best possible chance of succeeding in the future?
In England and Wales, educating your child with a full-time education program at home is a legal form of education, known as homeschooling. There are few restrictions or guidelines for parents or guardians that elect to homeschool their child. The 1996 Education act only states that a compulsory and full-time education is provided to all school-age children over the age of 5, either in school or otherwise. Meaning that according to the law, enrolling your child in Public or private education or opting out to have them homeschooled, is not seen or treated differently as long as they are getting a suitable education. There are no homeschooling laws in the UK that will block your parental rights to choose what you think will be best for your child and you do not need to be a certified teacher to start homeschool programs.
Homeschooling has many benefits, such as allowing your child the attention and flexibility of learning in a way that would be neglected in mainstream schools, due to the sheer number of students. Having the ability to use your child’s interests to create your home education schedule or curriculum, is also another huge benefit. Not to mention the safety advantages for your child, from sickness and exam stress to peer pressure and bullying. You may notice that their academic performance increases rapidly if you organize a way to evaluate their progress on a regular basis.
Providing your child with a full-time education. Photo Source: Unsplash
If you are thinking about alternative education such as home-schooling your child, then one of your primary considerations will be how to set up your homeschool environment, schedule and curriculum. When your child is enrolled in public schooling, everything is set out, and the child follows a national curriculum. The school has created this curriculum to guide the children to reach specific goals by the end of each school year.
This is the main reason for testing, assessments and parents evenings. They have set a goal, created a plan for how to achieve this goal, and then they make a regular assessment to check if the child is on target.
Although you are not required to follow the national curriculum in the UK, you can certainly use the structure of the mainstream school system as a foundation to get you started. There are also an endless amount of online homeschool resources, from lesson plans to worksheets. All of which can support your independently created home school curriculum and planned goals for your child.
When at the start of your homeschooling journey the sheer number of options that are available to you can be overwhelming. It can be even more confusing when you try to make a choice from all of this information about what is the right option for your child? Where do you start?
It can be very intimidating in the beginning, and you may find that you have more questions than answers, you may also be worried about missing a crucial part of your child’s educational development. How can you ensure that you have covered everything that you need to teach your child?
Reading this step by step guide will give you some ideas and support you on the journey to creating the perfect curriculum for your child.
Creating the perfect curriculum for your child. Photo Source: Unsplash
Homeschooling is not regulated; there is no central body that you can go to for advice. So while setting up your homeschool, it can appear to be an overwhelming and solitary experience. But you must realise that you are not alone. Before you start your homeschooling journey or while you are in the process of setting it up, you can look for help.
You can contact other parents just like you out there who have successfully taught their children for years and will gladly share their experience, advice and understand. They will have the first-hand knowledge about what you are going through and where you are starting from.
This support will be invaluable to you, it will give you the help you need, an outlet for your questions and provide you with ideas for how to get started successfully. Modelling the success of other parents and homeschool curriculums, will set your mind at ease and allow you to get started confidently.
You will find homeschooling and unschooling support groups online and perhaps via your local authority.
One of the key benefits of homeschooling for your child is that they are going to be able to have a curriculum that builds on their strengths and supports their weaknesses. You have the power to wholly create the curriculum in a way that is completely personalised to your child. Additionally, you can see where your child is excelling and where they may need some more support, and you can fill this gap to level out their skills in different areas.
Knowing your child’s interests and passions will also be a massive advantage to the homeschooling curriculum. If you are able to incorporate their interests and hobbies into the curriculum, you will be able to readily use this to engage your child in the learning environment. Ensuring that they wake up each day eager to study and learn all that you have prepared to teach them.
We all have a preference for how we learn information and this is generally via our 3 primary senses, Sound, sight and touch. Once you understand your child’s learning style, you can shape the curriculum to play to their liking.
If they prefer learning by sound, then you can set your curriculum to teach using music, audiobooks, and conversations etc. If they have a preference for sight, then you can teach using movies, online games, or flashcards. If their preference is learning by touch, then you can best teach them by visiting museums, physical objects or role play etc.
Once you have found your child’s preferred learning modality, you will discover that they will be much more engaged and learn much more naturally than if were to ignore this.
Now that you have a good knowledge of your child’s strengths, interests and learning style. You can begin to get an idea of what will be possible to achieve in a school year. Think about what goals you would like your child to accomplish.
Would you like them to be able to speak a foreign language or learn how to read, Would you want them to understand how to do basic maths or paint landscapes. The goals that you can create are entirely your choice, but they are essential. Because you should know what outcome you would like to achieve and your child should finish the homeschool year with a definite advancement in their knowledge and education. The meaning is that each year your child should progress as you see fit towards a self-defined outcome.
If your goal were for your child to learn to read by the end of the homeschool year, then you may create your curriculum to focus on reading, writing and exercises that will raise their confidence and skill in this area. It would be advisable to break this goal down however into bite-sized chunks which would be more achievable for the child.
For example, you may plan that if you are to reach this goal. That after 3 months the child should be able to read the alphabet. After 6 months they should be able to read short words. That by month 9 they should be spelling simple words and reading picture books and that by month 12 the child can break words down and sound them out confidently.
Once you have the goal broken down into achievable bite-sized pieces, you can break it down yet again and allocate these micro goals to the homeschool curriculum by week or month. If you know that at the end of the month the child should be able to read the alphabet, then it is clear that for that month your curriculum will revolve around the letters of the alphabet.
It is imperative to be purposeful in your planning if you would like to achieve your goals, but at the same time, you should be flexible in the way that you follow the curriculum. Always taking into account the child, their preferences, strength and weaknesses.
To support your child in retaining the maximum information from each of the lessons, it is essential that they enjoy their study without stress or anxiety. Although having a curriculum is advisable, you should be prepared to change it. If your child doesn’t seem to be doing well with the curriculum, you will need to adjust and improve it until they are successful. Also be ready to keep improving your approach until you are able to balance your child’s learning ability and retention with their enjoyment of learning.
Research is a significant area when it comes to creating your curriculum. If you plan to teach your child at home, you have to be creative and active in how to teach them. Focusing on how to best get the message across not just for understanding but for maximum engagement and retention of the information.
Create the ‘right’ curriculum for your child. Photo Source: Unsplash
If you were worried about homeschooling and how to guarantee an excellent curriculum and home education for your child, then you are not alone. All parents and guardians who decide to take the step to homeschool their children will go through some manner of uncertainty.
We have shared some step by step ideas in this post for how to set up your own homeschool curriculum. We wrote this post with the aim of supporting you out of worry and towards what matters most. Teaching your child.