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Home Schooling and GCSEs

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 5 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Education Gcse Children Home Schooling

Home schooling students who want to take GCSE qualifications (which usually last two years, and in schools culminate in exams usually taken at the age of 16, in school year 11) have several options to consider. While the school norms for GCSEs are outlined above, GCSEs can in fact be taken at any age, and while some home schooled children do decide to take these exams at 16, many decide to take one or two GCSE subjects per year from the age of around twelve or thirteen up to whatever year they decide to stop, perhaps continuing on to an A Level syllabus, or opting for vocational qualifications, or deciding not to take any further examined qualifications.

At 16 some home schooled students may alternatively decide to enrol at a college - either part time or full time - to take GCSEs, that is, to end their fully home schooled education. The latter option is most often selected when home schooled students require a particular qualification for a certain career or university course.

GCSE Examination Boards are not all the Same

Parents of home schooled children who are looking at taking GCSEs should be aware that not every examination board will cover the same subject, or have the same requirements. With literature subjects, for example, boards will set different texts in their syllabi, while some boards will include coursework as part of their examination requirements but others may not.

These issues should all be researched before embarking on a GCSE course. This information can be found in most GCSE text books, but some are board-specific so be careful about buying these (and in fact many libraries stock a large variety). Another good place to look is revision guides, which tend to provide information on the which boards ask for coursework, exams, oral examinations, etc. Past papers, available in high street book shops as well as online and from the examination boards direct, are another way to gauge which board's GCSEs you wish your child to take. There is usually a fee for these, however, so you may want to look at some online or wait until after a course decision has been made before purchasing them.

GCSE Coursework and Home Schooling

For many students coursework is a popular option as it lessens the importance of single examinations and can lead to reduced levels of stress (some marks are already 'in the bag' so pupils may worry less about making a mistake in an exam.) Coursework may include things like art or design and technology projects, essays, question responses or similar written work; it is carried out during the year in which GCSEs are studied and the marks from the coursework go towards a student's final grade.

Coursework can be difficult to arrange for a home educating teacher, however, as it must be marked by a neutral person and some boards have rules about who that person can be, his or her qualifications, etc. It is best to look into this before embarking on a GCSE course which includes coursework; another option is to take International GCSEs, IGCSEs, which do not have coursework components.

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Hi, I have home schooled my two children for ten years.It works for us as a family. Never allow anyone to question your decision on what makes your children happy, confident and spending more time with their parents.Avoid negative people and if this is not possible show you are confident in your decisions. After all, you taught then to walk, talk and learn, never underestimate yourself! I ordered a catalogue from Schofield and Sims. I mark off the books I have ordered for example KS1 Maths, KS1 English, KS1 Science and continue on with each subject as we learn. When my child is confident in that subject we move on. History, I use CGP Books, again marking off the subject in stages. I do the same for History with CGP. WHSmith have all the language books if you need them. Encourage sewing, cooking, first-aid, art, anything to encourage learning. Join a local Scout group, martial arts, visit museums, swim, pack a picnic and enjoy nature! Most of all enjoy watching your children learn and become confident. I hope this helps. All the best!
Lisa - 5-Dec-18 @ 2:56 PM
I live near Rugby and I want to resit my French GCSE exams. I have heard there is an exam centre in Coventry, can you tell me if this still exists? Or if there are any other exam centres nearby? Thank you.
Mike - 2-Dec-18 @ 12:24 PM
My son is 14 in year 10 and I've decided to home school him as he struggles with subjects were just going to concentrate on English and Maths he started his option Gcse in year 9 where do I start ? What do I need to do to get started haven't a clue .
Turks - 21-Nov-18 @ 11:31 PM
Hi. We left UK for personal reasons and have relocated to Portugal. My 13 year old was devastated to leave his friends and has spent a year in a Portuguese school where he was treated dismally by a teacher because he could not communicate in Portuguese. Want to homeschool him for year 8 but have no clue where to start. His self confidence has gone from 10 to 0 and is displaying worrying signs of rage. Help please?
Lilly - 15-Oct-18 @ 2:30 PM
Hey, I have just gone into year 11, meaning this is my final year until I do my GCSEs in June. However, I have just started doing homeschooling and have no idea what to do. Is there some curriculum that tells me what I should be learning? Do I have to talk to someone? Can someone please help me as time is of the essence. Also, I know that you are required to have at least 5 GCSE qualifications at grade c or above to do your A-levels but how many do homeschoolers need? Do homeschoolers have to take 5 GCSEs too? If so how do I go about taking those courses. For example, how do I do homeschooling for business studies? I'm really confused and any help would be amazing! Thanks, Scarlet.
Scarlet - 3-Oct-18 @ 11:53 AM
Just recently took my 13 year old daughter out of school now home schooling. How does she go about meeting other kids thst are in same situation for friendship, support etc would be grateful for ant advice.
Chel - 24-Sep-18 @ 8:05 PM
Hi .. like many of the other comments here we have also found ourselves in a position where our son currently year 11 is now out of school it was our decision to pull him out and begin the process of homeschooling him through his final year. Unfortunately the lack of qualified teachers at his last school, the drop in grades, making him have low self esteem and feeling under too much pressure eventually led us to this position we are now in. My husband and I both work full time so finding enough time to tutor him ourselves is hard we have now got a one on one maths and English tutor coming twice a week and actively looking for a science tutor but we don't what to do as regards GCSE'S that are also marked on coursework ? We obviously want to best for him and any help or assistance we would be most grateful .. thank you
LLMarie - 17-Sep-18 @ 9:26 PM
Miranda - Your Question:
I’m 14 and in Year 10, is it possible to move to homeschooling even though I have already started some of my GCSE courses? I don’t fit in at school anymore and feel really left out all my best friends have got other best friends which they’d prefer to be around so I’m left on my own.

Our Response:
If you have someone (a tutor etc) who can provide you a suitable education/supervision, this is possible. We suggest however, that you talk to your form tutor, head of year or pastoral team about your concerns first.
AHomeEducation - 12-Sep-18 @ 12:55 PM
I’m 14 and in Year 10, is it possible to move to homeschooling even though I have already started some of my GCSE courses? I don’t fit in at school anymore and feel really left out all my best friends have got other best friends which they’d prefer to be around so I’m left on my own.
Miranda - 4-Sep-18 @ 4:50 PM
Em - Your Question:
I’m 16 in October and home educated, wasn’t planning on doing any GCSEs as I don’t need them for the profession I want to learn. If I decided I wanted to get a Maths and English Language GCSE would it be too late??

Our Response:
It's never too late to take qualifications in English and Maths, it's handy to have them if you decide to change career anyway. Ask at local FE colleges and 6th Form colleges to find out how you can go about this.
AHomeEducation - 24-Aug-18 @ 2:20 PM
I’m 16 in October and home educated, wasn’t planning on doing any GCSEs as I don’t need them for the profession I want to learn. If I decided I wanted to get a Maths and English Language GCSE would it be too late??
Em - 24-Aug-18 @ 12:58 AM
So sad to read some of these comments. I took my son out of school at the end of Year 10 due to his depression and anxiety. School had tried everything to help but he was on a downward spiral. He was also receiving support from CAMHS which was amazing.I work 4 days a week so I wasn't sure how I would manage to home school him effectively.All I knew was that we couldn't continue as we were.He immediately dropped 2 GCSEs so that he was only learning 7.I spoke to the school and checked which board they were using for each exam, then I bought from the internet the Student Guide, revision and exam style questions in each subject.School were very supportive and allowed him to take his exams there along with the other children but they allowed him to enter the exam room first so that he wasn't overwhelmed with queuing with the rest of the children.School booked him on the exams and I paid them a small fee to do this.I split my day off into two half days so that I could be with him for at least part of 2 days.My mum had a day with him each week, initially doing fun non curriculum activities but later on she helped him with some revision.I employed a tutor for his language GCSE from the start but he taught himself 3 subjects and I taught him the other 3.I taught myself the subjects I was teaching him from watching U-Tube videos. By the time he took his exams he was confident and happy.He gets his results on Thursday and is now excited about his future.Home schooling him was the best decision I ever made.
Homeschool mum - 21-Aug-18 @ 1:22 PM
My grandson is 15 and I am about to start home schooling with him as he has struggled to cope with school since year 7. He thinks home schooling will be good for him as he says he is too easily distracted in the classroom. He is not worried about the social side as he is a very confident lad socially and has friends. Could someone tell me how I book him into an exam centre and which exam I should be choosing for him to sit for English and Maths as this is my only worry in terms of home schooling. Laura. 8/7/18
Laura - 8-Jul-18 @ 11:35 PM
I am 13 years old, for at least a year now I have been feeling really down, I have a medical conditionand it makes me feel really down about my self however, I can not cope in school any longer- my mom is really supportive with this and says we’re going to see how the summer holidays go then if they don’t go well we’re considering to go into home schooling I need advice the subjects you can take when home schooling
Jorja x - 5-Jul-18 @ 8:21 PM
I am 15 and was very depressed at my old school for around 7 months, so when things were at its very worst we decided to move. However my new school doesn’t feel like it fits me at all. It’s a private school and The culture is so different and I feel very restricted and like I can’t be myself, as well as the students being very different to me. On my first day I came home crying. We’re now looking into home schooling but it’s hard cause I have my GCSE exams next year. Can you still get good grades being homeschooled?
B3th - 20-Jun-18 @ 9:07 AM
Hi I am 15 years old and like a lot of comment I have read i have really bad anxiety and feel like my mom's not taking it seriously.I cry before school most nights and I'm really anxious about tests,I have my mocks coming up next week and I don't think I can make it through it,I really want to be homeschooled but my mom doesn't like the social aspect of it.any advice?
Dev - 18-Jun-18 @ 5:21 PM
My yr 10 daughter suffers with terrible anxiety. School have been patient and done all they can to support her, care plans, reduced time table. She is under CAMHS. I am now considering home educating her to at least get her through math and English GCSEs. She is very intelligent but unable to cope in the school environment. I am worried as to whether this the right move. What help is out there. Could she continue with art GCSE? Where on earth do I start ?
Helen - 31-May-18 @ 12:52 PM
Hi My 15 year old daughter who should be on course for taking 9 GCSEs this year with predicted grade B or above. She fell ill 4 years ago and hasnt been able to attend school. She will only have 3 GCSEs at the end of this current academic year and I can not find out how to get her either studying for 2 more GCSEs (psychology, sociology and/or criminology) or A levels of the same subjects. I can not home school her. Any thoughts? Regards PRE2612
PRE2612 - 15-May-18 @ 5:47 PM
Elziee - Your Question:
Since the beginning of year 7 till now (year 10) I have had nothing but trouble at my school, to the fact that I constantly break down in tears when I get home to show my mum how much I don’t want to go is there a course I can take for my maths English and science gcse? And by law is that allowed? I need help please

Our Response:
Talk to your school or local education authority if you feel you cannot continue. They will be able to provide you with addtional support or perhaps alternative options.
AHomeEducation - 20-Apr-18 @ 12:36 PM
Since the beginning of year 7 till now (year 10) I have had nothing but trouble at my school, to the fact that I constantly break down in tears when I get home to show my mum how much I don’t want to go is there a course I can take for my maths English and science gcse? And by law is that allowed?I need help please
Elziee - 18-Apr-18 @ 7:42 AM
Ari - Your Question:
I’m 15 this month, I’ve struggled with public schooling since year 7, I suffer with anxiety and depression and I have a couple of fake friends in school which until a few weeks ago I didn’t even realise school made it 10 times worse. In school holidays I’m myself but in term time I’m constantly in that “dark hole” I’m panicking and missing a lot of classes and crying myself to sleep most nights. I really want to be homeschooled but it seems really complicated and we don’t have the money for online schooling and my parents don’t have the time to tutor me, any advice would be appreciated

Our Response:
Please talk to the person in charge of pastoral care at your school. They will be able to discuss your options. Your parents could also try talking to your council's education welfare officers to ask whether there is any help locally for home schooling etc.
AHomeEducation - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:21 PM
I’m 15 this month, I’ve struggled with public schooling since year 7, I suffer with anxiety and depression and I have a couple of fake friends in school which until a few weeks ago I didn’t even realise school made it 10 times worse. In school holidays I’m myself but in term time I’m constantly in that “dark hole” I’m panicking and missing a lot of classes and crying myself to sleep most nights. I really want to be homeschooled but it seems really complicated and we don’t have the money for online schooling and my parents don’t have the time to tutor me, any advice would be appreciated
Ari - 2-Apr-18 @ 3:35 PM
I’ve got a 15 year old who is in year 10 now She hate school with a passion . From year 7 she been bullied which involve the police .since then she thinks of every excuse not to go . The school never once stood buy her when she was bullied. She wants to leave and do her gcse at collage .but don’t know where to start to get her in. Birmingham
Cas - 14-Mar-18 @ 6:13 PM
I am 15 years old and i have had a very difficult past, i have been kicked out of school due to some problems and i have not been in a mainstream school since October 10th 2017. During my time in school, i have had a lot of people strive to bring me down, quite a lot of the times they have succeeded in this. I have honestly tried my hardest to work and study on my own, but i keep on getting distracted by social media. There was a big problem that kept on disturbing me, this was i listen to a lot of songs with vocals in them, so i decided to only listen to music that is just instrumental because then i wont focus more on the lyrics. I have missed out on a lot in school but i am really trying my hardest to build up my knowledge once again. i would like to know what i can to do to help me pus forward
Lonelyblood_ - 12-Mar-18 @ 7:28 PM
My son turning 15 next April. He is doing very well and ready to set IGCSE this June. However, we live overseas and we have to go back to UK in the middle of his exams as I have to leave job. I don't want my son to spend next year for IGCSE as he is prepared very well. How can he set October Novemberdiet ? I asked colleges and schools and they advise him to join for year 11 to be able to set exam next year. Can he set as private candidate and home education? Regards
Aym - 10-Mar-18 @ 7:11 PM
We have had to relocate to another town and my daughter is 15 in year 11 and I can’t get her into another school. She’s not academically minded and has a college interview tomorrow Forbes a courses in sept that doesn’t require gcse students for entrance and does maths and English GCSEs along side her course. Do I legally have to registers her for gcses? Can she just be homeschooled with me til exam time? Thank you
Diane - 24-Jan-18 @ 5:04 PM
I'm 16 and just started school again after being off for two weeks due to having teeth extractions. I physically can't bare to be at school anymore, I'm so unhappy and I can't bare the thought of going there. I really need some advice on home schooling
leah - 22-Jan-18 @ 11:33 PM
Hi. I' m 16 and I'm homeschooled. I am one year back because I went to an independent private school. I wasn't really educationally active in between year 7-9 but I made that up in school. Now I have literally a few months left and I'm in need of help. Unfortunately my parents are not that supportive and cause of cultural stigma I'm not sure if they are going to. Please help. Thank you. What can I do.
Zaina - 27-Dec-17 @ 10:15 PM
Hey, I’m 14 and I’ve just started my gcse year (it’s coming up to Christmas). I find my school atmosphere so stressful and unbearable. The sheer thought of going to school makes me feel physically sick. I luckily have a great and highly supportive family which helps so home if a very happy place for myself. I am really considering online schooling because I’m so far behind on some of my gcse choices and feel that I should t be taking them anymore. I’m really not sure of what to do? Any suggestions?
Emelia - 1-Dec-17 @ 10:44 PM
tolly - Your Question:
Hi My daughter liver with her mum, Weve been seperated a few years. My duaghter is 15 and being homeshooled as she suffers from terrible anxiety and depression. Her exams are cuming up next year and im concerned about her sitting her gcse's. Her mum is not putting pressure on her to do them and said shes probably going to do them when shes ready at college. I was just wondering on the law and if she has to sit them when she is 16 or she can do them when she tries college. Thanks

Our Response:
There are no laws surrounding the education that a child receives if they are home educated. Some local education authorties are more engaged with home schoolers than others and might take action if they do not consider you to be giving a "suitable" education.
AHomeEducation - 27-Nov-17 @ 12:40 PM
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