Tuesday 24 August 2021

Home Educating Secondary Age Children

Several times, recently, I've been asked about home educating secondary aged children. I'm no expert. For what it is worth, I am home educating two children who are now secondary age and have another who is a home education graduate and is now at university. I have no experience of home educating sixth form age students nor of home educating children who have left school close to the age when they would sit GCSEs.

These are just a few thoughts:

  • Reasons for home educating don't change just because a child is a bit older. 
  • Keep a long term view. If you plan for your child to take UK exams and go to a sixth form then the sooner that you work out how many I/GCSEs they need the better. Do you have a local exam centre? What do they charge? The go-to site for information about exams is the HE Exams Wiki. 
  • You don't need to, and probably can't, teach everything. There are group lessons, online courses, paper courses with marking provided and tutors. Yes, there is a cost implication for all of this. Group lessons can be particularly good value. If you don't want to pay or can't afford to pay then there are helpful free online videos, particularly for maths and science. These are a couple of examples, Corbett Maths and Free Science Lessons. There are many more!
  • Secondary education at home is costly either in time or money or probably, realistically, in both. That isn't necessarily a reason to avoid this route but do count the cost!
  • It is easy to get over focused on exams. Secondary education is about more than just exams! Don't forget the rest of life. We carry on with morning time. The books we read change and we discuss more complex issues. Pre-pandemic, we went on trips and met in groups. We hope this will all gradually restart over the next few months.

    Have you home educated secondary aged pupils? Any advice?
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  1. I have homeschooled all my five children here in the U.S. The first one just finished his B.A. and is moving on to a law degree/M.A. (dual degree). My second one is in the middle of her B.A. My next one is finishing up her last year of high school (grade 12). I also have a tenth grader and a sixth grader. I know that the educational system for secondary education is quite different in the U.S., but it is possible to get your children into universities when you educate them at home. I have found the high school years (grades 9-12) both rewarding and also exhausting. One thing we have done is to make sure that children at that age take classes out of the home (either online or at a local college/community college) in order to see what it is like to be in an institution and to get grades from some other person (and not only mom). Only one or two classes per semester have worked well for us, all other subjects are still covered at home. We have also made sure that our children at that age engage in community work and participate more in church (like church choir, lectors, etc.). That gives them a chance to be part of a bigger community and at the same time contribute something to the common good.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I am sure that having something transitional really helps. I have enjoyed having my children explain subjects about which I know next to nothing from classes and it has been a helpful experience for them.