Today we’re bringing you the second part of Suddenly Mummy’s information on Home Educating. If you want to read the first part, it’s available here…
Exams and Tests
While the National Curriculum and its SATs are not necessarily applicable to home educated children, many do choose to take formal examinations, especially at GCSE level. The first step is to find exam centres (usually schools or colleges) in your area that will register you as a private candidate for the exams you wish to study. Some FE colleges do offer complete courses that home educated students can enrol on which makes the process much easier for subjects with a practical element such as Music or Art – check with your local college about the possibilities.
There are several online and correspondence courses available through organisations such as NorthStar which offer complete GCSE courses with online support. Many families achieve success simply by studying the core text books at home, perhaps supplementing with a little tutoring. There are many ways to approach formal examinations, but choosing home education does not mean that your child cannot succeed academically and go on to study at university and beyond if they so wish.
There are a lot of home educating families out there. Wherever you live, it is likely that there is a group of home educators near you. If you are considering home education, a little time spent on the internet will almost certainly yield results in terms of local groups, online groups and other networking options so that you can meet some home educators for yourself and get a feel for what it’s all about.
Many parents worry about the question of ‘socialisation’ – how do home educated children make friends? Well, apart from the usual extra-curricular activities that most children get involved with such as sports, Scouts and Guides, dancing, etc., home education networking can be a valuable way for children to meet others of all ages and different backgrounds who share their out-of-school lifestyle.
While home education may not be right for every child, or every family, it can be a life-changing choice for some. Research published by the National Home Education Research Institute (US) indicates that home educated students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ educational level, and that adults who were home educated are more likely to be involved in activities outside the home such as volunteering, sports, politics, community service, etc.
As parents, we needn’t be afraid of taking on the responsibility to ensure that our children get a suitable education, whether that’s through fighting their corner to get what they need from their school, or taking on the job ourselves.
Some useful links:
Education Otherwise http://www.educationotherwise.net/
Gov.uk page on HE https://www.gov.uk/home-education
The Home Service http://thehomeservice.org/
Gateway Christian Education http://gatewaychristianeducation.org.uk
National Home Education Research Institute http://www.nheri.org/