Dealing with different educational preferences within home-ed

skyscrapers with the words 'LOVE IS THE ONLY FORCE' written above.

How you home-educate your child is down to you

Everyone has their own reasons for home-educating. Some people dislike the structure and authoritarian nature of the school system; some children have endured bullying; some people just want the pleasure of spending more time with the children. Whatever the reason, our choices are unique to us and reflect what we believe to be best for our children, and our method of home-educating will often be a reflection of this.  Again, this is our personal choice and no one has the right to tell you HOW you should home-educate.

Respecting differences

I recently had an unbelievably ridiculous conversation with someone about the use of textbooks in home-ed. I for one don’t like and don’t use textbooks with Kai(at present), and bear in mind my son has only been out of school just over two weeks. Our focus at the present time is to concentrate on things that he finds interesting while also doing some maths and other things that I feels he needs. The person I was talking to found it strange that we did not follow any curriculum and even went as far as to say I could find myself in court when Kai hits ks3 age?!? Absolute nonsense…and from someone within home-ed.

How people home-educate is a personal preference and there is nothing in the education Act that states how this should be done:

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that:

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(2) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.(Ed Yourself)


The Government’s home education guidelines say that the parent is not required to provide any particular type of education and is under no obligation to:

teach the National Curriculum
provide a broad and balanced education
have a timetable
have premises equipped to any particular standard
set hours during which education will take place
have any specific qualifications
make detailed plans in advance
observe school hours, days or terms
give formal lessons
mark work done by their child
formally assess progress or set development objectives
reproduce school type peer group socialisation
match school-based, age-specific standards.( Ed Yourself)

While the law stipulates that a child should receive an education, it does not dictate how this should be done–how could it? The assumption is that parents will educate their children according to their particular needs.

I understand that some people may choose to follow the national curriculum–that’s great for them. But don’t impose your beliefs on those of us who want to do things differently! Quite frankly, if I wanted to follow the national curriculum I would have left Kai in school; the teachers are far better trained to deliver the curriculum than I am. We don’t follow the national curriculum because it wasn’t designed for my son and his particular skills and abilities. Why an earth would I allow my son to follow a curriculum that was designed by someone who doesn’t know him when we have the freedom to tailor make his learning specific to his needs? Children are constantly changing and growing and the ideal learning environment should reflect this. A few days ago Kai has been playing an addition game on, and I noticed that he could definitely do some work on his number bonds:  7+8. 6+7, etc. So we will be spending some time on this amongst other things. By watching him and paying attention to his interests and his needs, I can make sure he gets what he needs to fulfil his potential.  Again, some people may find that studying the national curriculum gives them the structure to cope with loose nature of home-ed and I totally respect that.

Okay, rant over.

So you  don’t follow the national curriculum; what do you do?

As Kai has just come out of school ( for the second time) things are pretty fluid. He’s quite keen on making things, so he will go on YouTube and find something to make: a dagger, drawing, origami animals, Harry Potter wands, etc. I occasionally suggest activities but he’s pretty good at finding interesting things to do. We’ve been going to our allotment quite a bit and doing lots digging and weeding;

school curriculum vs real hands-on learning


Kai quickly learn’t how to weed effectively.

weed root

The weed’s not gone until you get it out by the root.

Kai with resident cat, Sunny.

We also go to  home-ed groups/centres. We don’t quite have a fixed routine as we’re still finding our feet.

Picture credit: Gordon B, Hinkley







About SJ

A mother, writer and free-spirited home-educator with a passion for challenging the norm.
This entry was posted in First Steps, Learning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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