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Home School Education and the National Curriculum

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
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For some home schooling families, the National Curriculum has no impact on their home learning and home teaching - because, by law, it does not have to have any role in a home education. Home schooling comes under the bracket of the Education Act which refers to provision for 'education otherwise', which outlines the idea that while parents have to ensure their children receive an education, the exact style, method, and content of that education is not made explicit, except that it has to be suitable for a child's age, aptitude and ability.

While some parents use that freedom to allow their home schooled child to focus learning on his or her own interests and discoveries, others appreciate the framework of the National Curriculum despite its lack of legal importance within a home schooling education. This article looks at what the National Curriculum is, and how parents may decide to use it within a home school environment.

What is the National Curriculum?

The National Curriculum is a structured created by government education experts and used by all state (maintained) schools as a way to help make teaching and learning consistent and relevant to all school children. The National Curriculum describes issues like the knowledge, skills and understanding required in each subject, attainment targets for children studying individual subjects, and the marking and assessment of pupils. The National Curriculum divides up into chunks of years - 'key stages' - which include Early Learning Foundation Stage, then key stages one through to four.

The National Curriculum offers parents and teachers the opportunity to compare their child's attainment levels and individual progress at a particular subject to that which is regarded as 'normal' or typical for a child of his or her age. An example is that by the end of key stage two, many children will have reached level four in their attainment reports. There are also tests at the conclusion of some key stages, for example at the end of key stage two, children across the country have tests in English, Science and Maths. There is no national test at the conclusion of key stage three, while the end of key stage four usually concludes with GCSE exams.

The Curriculum in a Home Schooling Environment

While few home schooling parents follow the National Curriculum in its entirety, many decide to use some National Curriculum-based textbooks, courses and or assessment criteria while teaching at home. Some of the core skills focused on in the National Curriculum that parents who are home schooling their children may also want to integrate into their education provision include creative skills, social skills, linguistic and literary ability, mathematical and scientific knowledge, moral and spiritual awareness, and technological and physical knowledge.

Often, mainstream schools and their teachers use the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) schemes of work in order to plan their curriculum and ensure that their lessons fit into the National Curriculum's framework - the QCA's work plans enable the integration of the National Curriculum's intentions into practical teaching and learning work. Home schooling parents might also like to do so, and can find more information about this on both the QCA website and that of the Department for Children, Schools and Families' website on Standards.

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[Add a Comment]
Mum of Homeschoolers - Your Question:
Hello,My 6 year old will start year 2 from Sep and I just wanted to ask if there is a way to assess if the children are on track using the national curriculum expectations or is it simply up to the parents to follow it or not? Also, I am hoping that she will take the SAT at the end of the year and if anyone knew what support we can get abroad for this?Thanks!

Our Response:
You don't have to follow the National Curriculum but you can get more information about this and about SATs preparation from your local council.
AHomeEducation - 16-Jun-17 @ 2:11 PM
Hello, My 6 year old will start year 2 from Sep and I just wanted to ask if there is a way to assess if the children are on track using the national curriculum expectations or is it simply up to the parents to follow it or not? Also, I am hoping that she will take the SAT at the end of the year and if anyone knew what support we can get abroad for this? Thanks!
Mum of Homeschoolers - 14-Jun-17 @ 12:33 PM
Just looking in to home schooling. Have not made desisions yet as need to find out more info .Not just on a w website are there any meeting places ?I live in Middleton on seawest Sussex .Thank you
ambergold - 4-Sep-16 @ 8:34 AM
I am seriously considering homeschool my 7 year old son who is begging me to learn from home. I am a single mother . Can any one give me any information on how single mothers manage this ? Can they work from home and educate their child/children at the same time?
Maria - 6-Mar-16 @ 4:01 PM
deedee - Your Question:
I've been Home schooling my 12yr old son for over a year now. I took him out of secondary school a few weeks after he started yr 7 due to them not being understanding or supportive of his autistic traits and behaviour. I currently teach him a range of different subjects, and he is doing really well. However, he struggles with his handwriting and spelling, although his reading is good. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can help him to improve his handwriting and spelling as I've tried and he gets upset and frustrated when he can't spell a word, or I say I can't read his writing?

Our Response:
Have you sought advice from any of the autistic organisations and charities? There may be someone in the National Autistic Society community who can help. It might also be worth researching various handwriting/spelling software packages available or for additional books/materials specifically for autism related problems.
AHomeEducation - 20-Jan-16 @ 2:21 PM
This is in response to Donna's question. I decided to teach my son what is guided by the national curriculum, although you don't have to follow it. We discuss what he Would like to learn from the guidelines they set, and I plan it from there. He wanted to learn German instead of French so we do that, and there is an app called Duolingo that helps with languages. I do pay more attention to maths and English, as I feel these are more beneficial for his future. There are many websites that offer free lessons in various subjects, and ones that you can download and print off worksheets or lesson plans. I'm not a qualified teacher, and at first I found teaching him maths quite a challenge, but there are websites that really help, with video explanations aswell.
deedee - 20-Jan-16 @ 1:51 AM
I've been Home schooling my 12yr old son for over a year now. I took him out of secondary school a few weeks after he started yr 7 due to them not being understanding or supportive of his autistic traits and behaviour. I currently teach him a range of different subjects, and he is doing really well. However, he struggles with his handwriting and spelling, although his reading is good. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can help him to improve his handwriting and spelling as I've tried and he gets upset and frustrated when he can't spell a word, or I say I can't read his writing?
deedee - 20-Jan-16 @ 1:38 AM
My 13 year old daughter was bullied from the age of 5 to 11yrs. I moved County and started her at a new school but unfortunately she mentally crashed after a week. She has an Eating disorder and anxiety and hasn't been back to the school for 17 months. The school have supplied work now and again but haven't been supportive so I am deregistering her. I needhelp to understand what I should be teaching her from home etc. I am dyslexic so a little worried. Can you help?
Donna - 8-Jan-16 @ 11:56 AM
Well, I've only just come across this post. How have you gotten on with your daughter, Eddie? Did you find anyone to help you? I was a headteacher for many years and I am saddened by your experience. I would be most happy to offer or find better advice and guidance than you received. Good luck, and it would be nice to hear how you are all getting on now. Best wishes Rob
RobRoy - 17-Mar-13 @ 3:55 PM
My daughter went blind over 6 weeks last year she hates school as she left peimary being able o see and went to high school blind. we have found it a struggle being a single mum with a 14 year old healthy boy as well to take care of. My daughter hates school noisy busy not accesing what she needs and your website has made me beleive she could be homeschooled i thank you for a little bit of light for us and making us beleive it is possible has made my daughter alot happier. I just need to know how to access resources for my girl and how to work out what is my first move.
eddie - 12-Jun-11 @ 10:19 PM
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