14th August, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling and The Top Homschooling Resources of 2018!

By Dom G


In recent years there has been a growing buzz surrounding homeschooling (or home education as it is referred to by the UK government). With the rise of tech-savvy ‘mommy bloggers’ in the US alongside substantial increases in the numbers of Americans choosing to take on the role of educator, homeschooling has gradually started to gain attention from the British public too.

A recent report by the BBC highlighted a 40% rise in the numbers of registered homeschooled children in the UK between 2017-2018. Whilst this increase still only represents a relatively small 0.1% (48,000) of the school-aged population in the country, it doesn't seem to be an isolated case. The result is actually part of a trend that stretches back to 2014 and beyond, suggesting that this may be the start of a big shift in education.

Similar patterns of growth were seen in the US when homeschooling exploded in popularity in the late ‘90s. America now reports that a conservative 3.3% (approximately 2.3 million) of its children are homeschooled, a number which is likely to be even more substantial in reality due to there being no legal requirement to register homeschooled children in many states and counties.


Why are more people homeschooling?

So, are we heading towards a similar picture as in the US? It’s hard to say. A better approach may be to look at why people are choosing to take on the responsibility of educating their children. 

Whilst reports on the subject are a little wooly, the well documented struggles of state schools in recent years is likely to be a significant contributing factor. A number of councils across the UK have cited a lack of special educational needs resources, parental dissatisfaction with the school environment and an inflexibility of the curriculum as reasons that families have chosen to educate at home.


Who's homeschooling?

When you think of homeschooling many of people immediately have one of 3 distorted images spring to mind: ‘mommy bloggers’, the mega-rich jet-setters and those who don’t want their kids mingling with anyone else. But some major stereotypes aside, who actually does it?

Ok, so a lot of mommy bloggers are also homeschoolers, but it isn’t a prerequisite and a lot of these mums started blogging because they were homeschoolers, not the other way round. Many homeschooling mums (and dads) find that taking on their child’s education gives them a whole new profession, one that forces them to become experts in their field, so it makes perfect sense that they’d want to share their knowledge on the subject.

Whilst homeschooling does require setting aside some funds for your children’s education, the figure needn’t be excessive and in reality the wealthy make up a decidedly small proportion of homeschoolers both in the US and the UK. Neither are the vast majority of families that homeschool, social recluses. 

As we've already mentioned, far from being anti-social families, many have chosen to take on their children’s education where schooling options are severely limited. A significant proportion also have children with special educational needs which aren’t catered for by local schools, so make the choice to go it alone, to allow their child to get the individual attention they need and to get the most out of their education.


Should you start homeschooling?

There’s a wealth of reasons that people choose to homeschool, but what are the major pros and cons of taking the leap, what support is available and would it be right for you?

We’ve scoured the internet, studied the research and spoken to the experts to give you as comprehensive a list as possible on the pros and cons of homeschooling. Not only that, we’ve also gone and gotten you a list of the top homeschooling resources and curriculums out there today!

Read on to get all the information you need on homeschooling.


★Jump straight to Top Homeschooling Resources of 2018!★


The pros and cons of homeschooling


Pros:

#1: Greater Flexibility in Curriculum

One of the most popular reasons for opting out of traditional schooling is the greater flexibility and choice in the curriculum that your child is taught. Many parents feel that the current national curriculum offered in state schools is too results-driven, focusing only on teaching children to learn by rote and to effectively jump through hoops in exams, rather than teaching them to solve problems creatively. The concern is that children learn to pass exams but at the cost of developing a deep understanding of the subject.

Homeschoolers have the capacity to choose exactly what their children learn and ensure that there’s an emphasis on the art of learning and the joy of developing a lifelong mastery, rather than centring their entire education around tests and metrics.

The increased flexibility of the curriculum means that you can spend more time at inspiring places like galleries, museums and the great outdoors than you ever could whilst in school. But the kicker for most is that home educational allows you to tailor the curriculum to what your child is interested in, teaching them that the pursuit of knowledge is an exciting journey, rather than beating the excitement out of them with over-zealous testing.


#2: Working at a pace and teaching style to suit your child's needs

With the average class size in state schools now exceeding 30 pupils, with many sitting at a busy (and noisy) 35+ children per classroom, there are some very valid concerns surrounding the ability to find a happy pace and teaching style for every student.

This, coupled with the growing body of evidence that is overwhelmingly in support of individualised teaching strategies, all adds up to lend at least a little credence to the benefits of going for homeschooling.

With homeschooling, not only can you choose what to teach, you can also choose exactly how to teach it. Most people will have heard of the differences between visual, aural and kinaesthetic (those who learn by moving and doing) learners and the importance of teaching children in a format that enables them to best take information in.

What you might not have heard of is the many different teaching methodologies. From the arts focussed Waldorf method to the student-led learning of Montesorri-style schools and beyond, there’s a lot for homeschoolers to explore and educators have the benefit of finding a solution that fits their child’s learning style.

Many parents opt for a mixture of Montesorri and Waldorf learning, with some going to the extent of ‘unschooling’, foregoing any kind of structured education in favour of child-led play and exploration. The beauty of home education is that you can cherry pick what works for your child, whether that’s focusing on nature, imaginative play, the arts or something else entirely.

What’s more is that it allows parents to give their children the space to develop as a late bloomer. Rather than being forced into a lower set, which has the potential to damage a child’s confidence and thus limit their future attainment, you can nurture their abilities more proactively.

All of this also allows you to work to a speed that’s comfortable for your child, giving you the freedom to put more time into subjects they’re struggling with and to enjoy the process.


#3: Individualised attention and instruction

In busy modern schools, the percentage of time teachers spend actually teaching is limited, with time for individual instruction even less available. Unfortunately, this can lead to significant gaps forming in children’s knowledge and pupil’s being left behind in a rush to cover the whole curriculum.

The beauty of homeschooling is that your child or children have next to no competition for educational instruction in the classroom. There are a number of studies that have shown the benefits of individual instruction for academic attainment as well as for boosting pupil’s confidence, with educators able to focus on building not just their knowledge, but also their character and mentality.

Whilst a significant proportion of parents choose home education so that they can take a much greater role in their children’s education, many are now reinforcing the work they do with regular tuition sessions. It’s not obligatory and each family will have their own views on the best way to home educate their children, but many homeschoolers find that having an expert tutor to reinforce key subjects can have huge benefits.

For some, tutors are a great way to shore up weaker areas in parental knowledge, whilst for others tutors can be particularly helpful in the run up to GCSEs and A-levels, or for the transition from traditional schooling to home education.


#4: Improved Creativity and Aptitude

Whilst long-term studies researching the impact of home education on academic attainment when compared to traditional schooling are limited in the UK, all of the literature available to date in the UK, as well as the US, suggests that homeschooled children score at least as highly in academic attainment as the national averages for state schools and consistently score much higher in this as well as being more socially adept than their peers. 

Add to this, the well-documented benefits of 1-to-1 tuition, which have been shown to develop an increased depth of understanding, greater confidence and higher attainment in children and it appears to be a recipe for success . Whilst you may not have the experience of an expert educator, the individualised instruction that you can provide your child can have a significant benefit, especially if they are struggling in larger class sizes.

Potentially one of the most important aspects of homeschooling that is currently missed, or seen as a secondary priority, is creativity. Due to the funding limitations that many schools are currently experiencing, subjects such as art, music and design are severely lacking. The beauty of homeschooling is that you’re able to incorporate far more creativity into your curriculum, enabling your children to develop abstract and innovative thinking.

All of this can help you to develop the whole child as a creative, emotionally engaged intellectual, rather than simply ‘teaching to the exam’.


#5: Improved Family Relations

Whilst this will likely vary significantly across families, in general, homeschoolers tend to report an improvement in sibling relationships when home educating as well as much stronger bonds formed between parent and child. Whilst it would be difficult to test this feeling objectively, it’s understandable that increasing the amount of time that your family spends together will improve relations, especially when you’re all working towards a common goal and developing together.

In fact, a study performed in America on adults who were homeschooled, reported that not only were these individuals fiercely independent and involved in entrepreneurial and professional pursuits but that they also strongly emphasised the importance of family, suggesting a lasting impression from their home education on familial priorities.

For some, this might seem to be an intangible measure with which to judge homeschooling, but when compared to the timetables of conventional schooling, whereby most families class dinner as the only ‘quality time’ they spend with one another during the week, and the potential for a closer-knit family seem obvious.


Cons:

#1: Cost

Let’s face it, when you choose to take your child out of school and teach them at home, there is going to be some cost to it. You will likely have to have at least one parent who either works part-time or not at all, which is going to have a financial impact. You will also be entirely responsible for all resources, books, field trips and general teaching materials.

Another consideration is the cost of taking exams as an external entrant. Finding a school or college that will allow your child to take their exams alongside other students can be time-consuming, whilst registering for multiple exam boards can be a costly affair.

The cost of home education is not one that everyone can realistically afford and you may find that the opportunities to really 

There is light at the end of the financial tunnel however, with some of the more supportive Local Authorities offering small amounts of funding for schooling essentials and many activity centres offering discounted prices for homeschooling groups. On top of this, most homeschoolers estimate that their actual spend per year easily comes under £1000, which is considerably less than many private schools charge per term.

Ultimately, the decision to homeschool your child will have a financial impact and is not something to be taken lightly, but for many parents the opportunity to provide their children with a much more personal education more than makes up for the cost.


#2: Socialising

The issue of socialising is perhaps one of the most contentious of all when discussing home education, with many having concerns about the ability of homeschoolers to provide their children with adequate opportunities to form relationships with other children their age. Many parents and educators also worry about the lack of group-working opportunities and the development of social resilience in home educated children.

It is true that homeschooling can limit access to a good variety of views and personalities in exchange for those of the parents alone, but there is very little long-term evidence that homeschooling children are, on average, any less socially adept than their traditionally schooled counterparts.

Obviously each and every case is different, but there are a growing number of homeschooling groups in many areas of the country that provide excellent opportunities for kids to build relationships with children in similar positions and to act as a support group for parents who have undertaken the challenge.

Socialising will likely continue to be a major sticking point in the homeschooling debate, but with a shift towards the mainstream, opportunities to resolve the issue are likely to become more and more common.


#3: Qualifications

A concern that is valid for many families surrounds the issue of parents lacking the necessary qualifications to teach effectively. Whilst recognised qualifications are not obligatory nor always necessary, it’s important to realise that as a individual, you may not have the knowledge or the capacity to provide your child with the same level of education as a fully-funded school teacher can.

A full-time teacher has many hundreds of hours of experience and training under their belts so will have greater understanding for how to deliver a variety of subjects effectively. There are serious considerations to make surrounding the level of support you can offer your child in a subject you’re just not comfortable with. As a parent, the prospect of attempting to teach maths can be a deal breaker!

The potential for Local Authorities to get involved in homeschooling affairs can make this issue one that is far more important. Whilst many LAs are happy to allow parents to provide their children’s education unfettered, some have experienced involvement from officials who are concerned by the ability of the parent to deliver a suitable level of education.

Whilst there are plenty of options out there to explore, private tutors can be particularly helpful for mitigating this issue, shoring up any weaknesses that you might have in teaching particular subjects and boosting your confidence in your ability to provide an excellent home education.


#4: Access to higher education

Access to higher education can be a concern for parents choosing to homeschool their kids throughout the latter stages of their education. It can be difficult for parents to lend the same level of knowledge and support to the selection and application process that experienced sixth form and college staff can. You will also need to think about who you can ask to act as a reference for UCAS, as ordinarily this would be a senior school teacher.

Likewise, providing the support and resources required to achieve suitable A-level grades can be particularly difficult for parents who may have no background in these relatively advanced areas of study whilst science subjects, which require practical assessments, may also require some forward planning.

Whilst the attitudes of higher education institutions towards homeschooled applicants will vary, many, including Oxford and Cambridge, are happy to accept home educated students, so long as they fulfil the necessary requirements. Most universities will have full details on their websites, but it’s worth checking these out from as early as GCSE level to ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes.

Again, many of the issues surrounding access to higher education that are experienced by homeschoolers, such as personal references, meeting entry requirements and expert guidance on applications, can be mitigated by employing specialist admissions tutors. These tutors should also be able to offer some evidence of their success in getting candidates to their university of choice when asked.


#5 Parental work-life balance

One of the major factors to take into account when taking the homeschooling leap is that it will become a way of life. Unlike most jobs, you won’t be able to come home at the end of the day to diffuse and forget a stressful day - home is most likely the place where you will be teaching most of the time, so it’s important to take that into account and build in solutions as early as possible.

It’s also important to appreciate that whilst homeschooling your children can be hugely rewarding, it can also put a fair amount of pressure on you as an educator to keep lessons interesting, drive the curriculum forward at an effective pace and to brush up on areas that you’re not so confident in. Being self-aware enough to also recognise when your child’s learning needs are beyond your current capabilities is vital to ensure that they are benefitting from home education, not suffering.

Another aspect of the parental work-life balance is managing the expectations, opinions and occasional interferences of family, friends and even the general public. Home education in the UK is growing in popularity and public understanding and acceptance will likely develop alongside this. Many home educators find that friends and family can have strong and vocal opinions on the subject and may disagree with your decision to go forward with your choice. This can be difficult for parents, but it’s important to understand that this is largely coming from a place of care for your children.

All of the factors above can be tough hurdles to get over and can often feel quite isolating. The good news is that there is plenty of support out there in the form of homeschooling groups and communities which can help you maintain your sanity and provide opportunities to relieve some of the pressure of being a parent and educator.



Home education is a huge step and requires a lot of thought before committing to it. If you do choose to take the leap, you’ll need to be prepared for the hard work, learning and growing that are required. Home education isn’t going to be for everyone and whilst you can choose to go it alone, it does help to have a little bit of support along the way.

That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of the best homeschooling resources of 2018! We’ve got everything from home education curriculums, EdTech platforms and personal homeschooling accounts right down to the nitty gritty of homeschooling legislation and guidance for you to get your teeth into!


★Top homeschooling resources of 2018★



★ Tutorful ★

You can homeschool just fine without the help of a tutor and many families do so quite happily. However, many homeschoolers find that recruiting the help of a tutor can make a huge difference to their child's home education, whether used consistently or infrequently to add a little variety to the teaching.

Whether you choose to use a private tutor regularly, to assist in the transition from traditional education, or just for a one-off masterclass for those particularly troublesome subjects, tuition can be an excellent channel to explore.

We think our tutors are absolutely awesome, but you don't have to take our word for it; get chatting to tutors in your area straight away and you can find out how they can help you! Whether you're looking for in-person tuition or want to make use of our convenient state of the art virtual classroom, there are over 300 subjects for you to choose from, ranging from Maths and Mandarin to Piano and Programming. 


A to Z Teacher Stuff

An essential bookmark in your browser for downloadable and printable resources, or inspiration if you fancy making your own from scratch.

A to Z Teacher Stuff also hosts lesson plans and books as well as tips and a forum for discussion, with specific area for different educational ages and levels. Being able to share ideas and bounce them off of thousands of other home educators is an amazing asset to parents who want to educate their kids at home, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro! Either way, there’s always more to learn, so why not take a look?

Visit them here


A2Z

A2Z is right there for you from the first step. If you’ve only recently taken the decision to home educate your children, this site can get you off to an informed start that will help you make educated and confident choices as you and your kids move forward.

The tools provided by A2Z allow you to search your regional home education laws and legalities, as well as find support groups in your locale and search for opportunities to take field trips in your local area!

A2Z is a great itinerary for starting off on the right foot, so have a browse and tick these off your home educating to-do list!

Take a look


Absurd Math

Absurd Math is an interactive problem-solving game with support provided for both parents and teachers (or both, for you home educators!).

The player proceeds through a fictional world where progression relies on displaying mathematical skill and knowledge. There are hidden clues and areas littered throughout, and players can email the site staff for assistance any time they get stuck. Parents and teachers can also email for answer keys to provide their own support.

There is also a linked website by LearningWave for middle school level mathematics exercises, for a bit of practice!

Check it out!


An Everyday Story

An Everyday Story is run by former high school teacher Kate, who now home educates her two young children, Jack and Sarah.

Kate introduces her children in a candid bio page wherein she explains that Jack has both Cerebral Palsy and Autism, two demanding conditions that thankfully do not hamper his hunger for knowledge. Kate’s inspiration to home educate began with her discovery of the Reggio Emilia Approach, which relies on child-led investigations in free, open spaces. The approach emphasises a deep connection to nature, exploring, and creating.

After learning of Lori Pickert and her approach to these principles, Kate was hooked and has chosen to document her journey via her blog posts on An Everyday Story.

Read her story here



ArtBar

ArtBar is a site dedicated to raising creative thinkers with the confidence to express themselves.

Run by former graphic designer and art teacher Barbara Rucci, the site hosts a blog brimming with inspiration for those with an artistic flair! Barbara teaches art from her home and also has a wealth of resources to share from her own abundant experience.

Barbara’s focus and belief in the creative power of kids is a great inspirational standpoint for any parent who wants to home teach creative arts and need some ideas to lead them!

Find out more


The Artful Parent

The Artful Parent is founded on passion for creativity and art, and being able to share that with children and young people whether it’s at home or in the classroom.

The site is the work of Jean Van’t Hul, author and children’s art enabler who writes about all things art for kids and families. Her blog features unique ideas and tips to get your kids started with art and creativity.

Fostering a child’s imagination is an important part of learning engagement, and is essential if home educating is the way forward for your child. Take a look through The Artful Parent and find out how you can use art to open their mind!

Take a look



AtSchool

AtSchool (stylised @School) is an awesome, colourful resource for primary school education at key stages 1 and 2, with a section for special educational needs too! It also has classroom resources and links for teachers, as well as educational and extra-curricular information for parents to support their child’s education and get involved.

For home educators, AtSchool is an amazing source for printable worksheets and targeted learning in subjects ranging from English to P.E., tailored for your child’s primary level key stage. You could even use the guidance to construct your own curriculum!

For those early stages of learning, this is a must-visit place in your list.

Be inspired here


Babble Dabble Do

Babble Dabble Do is a nurturing community of parents, carers and teachers who want to help their children explore their creativity with easy, simple projects that can be done together.

My goal for readers of my blog is two-fold:

1. Help parents and kids connect through creative projects that are not only fun but also educational.

2. Present projects that are easy to set-up and use common materials so that parents feel empowered to work with their kids, not get overwhelmed by complicated materials and instructions.

Like many who have turned to creative blogging, Ana knew that she wanted her children to have intense curiosity and a creative spirit. Her and her husband now have three children, and her experience as a former architect and furniture designer has equipped her well for sharing creative projects.

I want families to feel energized and excited about creative activities and I try to give parents the tips and tools they need to be successful. My focus on STEAM is based on my own background as an industrial designer/architect; the principles of STEAM education are the same as those used in the design process.

I write my blog with an emphasis on explaining what STEAM components are being explored in projects so that families can start to see the connections between subjects in every activity they do."

Some of her suggestions are so simple, you can make them with common ingredients and supplies you’d have around the home. Why not take a look and try things out?

Check it out


BrainPOP

BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. have been enjoyed by many thousands of home school families around the world for over 20 years thanks to it nurturing of kids’ intrinsic curiosity and wonder.

The resources allow kids to independently explore the world around them in a safe and structured way across a full range of subject areas, and their popular animated movies offer a powerful way to express the most relevant information about curriculum concepts. That moment of sudden understanding - a “brain pop” - is how the company got its name!

They offer a huge range of ways to engage with a topic, and also provide a range of assessment options, which make it easier for parents to manage their kids learning outcomes.

Take a look!


Confessions of a Homeschooler

Confessions of a Homeschooler is a home educating website that offers a wide range of home education curriculum along with home educating help, parenting tips, home organisation tips, arts and crafts, curriculum reviews, video tutorials and eCourses to help encourage people looking for help with homeschooling, teaching co-ops, and classes.

They also host an online homeschooling community where members can discuss curriculum, get support, ask questions, encourage one another, buy/sell/trade curriculum, and share ideas. It’s an ideal hub for parents who want to take on the role of educators, so why not get involved and see what they have to offer?

Visit them here


Core Knowledge

Core Knowledge is the essential study aid for kids ages 4-11, containing everything they need to know if English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Music and Art.

The site isn’t just for conventional school use either. As Core Knowledge point out: “As a parent, you are the first and most influential teacher your child will ever have.” There are books, activities, reading material and accompanying questions, and more for you to access right away and starting using with your child to fuel their brain. No account is needed to access their resources, so take a look!

Visit them here

Education.com

Education has a bank of thousands of different activities, ready to be matched up and specifically picked for your child.

The program provides expert recommendations for the best activities for your kid, and they have a massive library to choose from! There are inbuilt trackers to monitor progress, and guided lessons to ensure that your young one is learning to their very best abilities with expert backing.

Even better, their site has completely free downloadables including worksheets, lesson plans, exercises, songs and more!

Hop in!


Ed Yourself

Ed Yourself is the work of Fiona Nicholson, and will keep you on the cutting edge of all things education!

Fiona has given evidence to government committees regarding elective home education, and Ed Yourself is constantly updated with analysis of home education practice and policy in England and Wales.

There is a free newsletter you can sign up for, as well as Fiona’s Twitter feed for every new update. For the legalities and structure of home education, there is no better resource to have to hand and saved for regular reference.

Keep yourself up-to-date!


Educational Freedom

Educational Freedom is a non-profit organisation that aims to equip all home educators with the support and information they need, completely free.

They have a support email/phone service to help with deregistering, dealing with a local authority and any matter related to home education. They can also help you find meet ups and assistance in your local area, and aim to cover all areas of the UK.

If you’re taking your first steps towards home education and you want to make sure you’re taking the right steps with the right information, this is the place to go!

Learn more now


Enchanted Pixie

Like most blogs, Enchanted Pixie started on a small and humble basis, with mum of four Polly blogging about her day-to-day life with her three daughters and her son, who followed on after the creation of Enchanted Pixie.

Polly frequently writes about parenthood, home education, and looking after oneself as a parent. For single parents who are planning to school their children at home, there are undoubtedly going to be more bumps in the road, and ones that you may have to navigate on your own. Having a source of inspiration and advice such as Enchanted Pixie is an invaluable tool if you’re facing such a scenario.

Polly also has the usual social media channels of Instagram, Facebook and YouTube which she updates regularly, so go take a look!

Dive in here!

Everyschool

Everyschool is a treasure trove of educational resources, whether you’re looking for activities or games – and it’s all free!

Their resources are broken down into subjects, topics and key stages, so you can easily navigate their simple website and find what you’re looking for. At time of writing, they have links to 1,727 resources, and it’s always going up. All of the core subjects are included as well as art and design, languages, and even PSHE.

For home education, this site is an amazing resource to have on hand and can save you a lot of time and energy. Original resources are great, but there’s only so much time in the day!

Check them out


First Wonder Box

First Wonder Box gives home educators a fortnightly new topic to explore with fresh and engaging content delivered through the letterbox. The boxes give the opportunity for a home educated child to enjoy a huge variety of topics and develop their understanding of the world.

Each First Wonder Box is unique from its theme, design and activities found within. They cover a range of themes across subjects to appeal to the 4-8-year-old age range. Each box is put together by a team of children’s writers and educational experts to deliver a wealth of activities - the heart of the box is the activity and fact book and from that grows engaging games, art and crafts and puzzles. There is also a specially chosen toy to encourage creative play!

Find out more


Home-ed.info

Exactly what it looks like, home-ed is a one stop shop for any questions or advice you need regarding home education and how to get started, whether it’s legalities, resources, or just how to get started.

Home-ed starts with the basics that are likely to cross the minds of every parent approaching home education for the first time: what the laws are for each country of the UK, why to home educate, and what spurred the site owners themselves to home educate? Equipping yourself with the right knowledge before moving forward is essential for taking on such a responsibility as home education, and home-ed.info can help you take that first step.

Learn more here


Homeschooling-ideas

Another entry on our list that does what it says on the tin! Homeschooling ideas is here to help you on your journey whenever you face a roadblock and need help pushing through.

They host a range of home education ideas and tips, from an F.A.Q. of the most common questions, to ideas for activities and field trips, and even a page where other home educators have shared what has worked well for them.

As they put on their welcome page, “everyone faces challenges sooner or later”. When your challenges arise, it’s good to know that there’s a place such as this to which you can turn, so take a look and add a bookmark to your browser!

Find out more

I Can Teach My Child

ICTMC is the creation of former first grade teacher and mother of three, Jenae. The blog started in 2010 as a personal project to help Jenae make the very most of the time she spent with her children, and it’s grown into a fantastic resource from there.

On her blog you’ll find valuable resources for parents, activities for kids, and the odd parenting tip from her experiences. The activities cover essential areas of learning for young children such as learning to read, learning colours, the alphabet, and numbers.

If you want to get a feel for the early years of home education, having an experienced educator such as Jenae sharing her thoughts and tips is the very best kind of leg up that you can hope for! Take a look at her blog and learn a thing or two!

Check it out


Kids Know It Network

The Kids Know It Network is a totally free educational resource that’s like a treasure chest of everything kids love! There are educational activities, games, videos, worksheets, posters, and articles for kids to self-explore.

It's got many of the most common subjects that kids love learning about in school such as astronomy, biology, geology, geography, dinosaurs, history, spelling, and maths. Each one of these subjects have colourful and fun games, videos, posters, and worksheets tailored to each subject. The websites are perfect for helping assist kids in their learning and allows kids to explore on their own and teach themselves. The Kids Know It Network is an incredible resource which teaches kids about the world around them and shows them that learning should be fun!

Take a look!


KidsActivities

Kids Activities has an abundance of, well, activities for kids! With over 65,000 members, you’re sure to find something that resonates with you and your kids!

Each entry accommodates likes and comments, allowing submissions to be popularised according to user feedback and experiences. There is also an ‘Ask Holly’ section, where Holly Homer, one of the site admins, writes about her experiences as a parent, all of which are conversations for site members to comment and discuss!

If you’re looking for a big source of inspiration for curious, busy minds and a community to discuss and share them, look no further!

Take a look


KidsKonnect

KidsKonnect hosts a massive library of printable worksheets which can save you hours out of your week! As we said earlier, original resources are great, but life doesn’t always give you the time.

KidsKonnect has three tiers of membership, the basic level being free and giving you a considerable amount of worksheet access. The highest level of membership will run you up $199 (about £153), but this puts you in permanent access to their 11,000+ worksheets plus any future additions, and that’s for a one-off payment. For a potentially limitless future of home education, that’s not bad.

If you’re unsure, why not try the basic membership? It’s free after all!

Try it out


LearningWorks For Kids

LearningWorks For Kids takes a contemporary standpoint on education, being founded on the idea that digital media can be powerful tools for sharpening children’s minds just as effectively as traditional methods.

LearningWorks posits that this is particularly true with alternative learners, those who struggle with conditions such as ADHD or dyslexia. LWK have developed a range of apps and playbooks, alongside recommendations and educated advice, that point parents in the right direction with their kid’s education so that they can pick up the critical thinking and learning skills for them.

If you’re planning to home educate a child with a unique set of demands, you’ll want to take a look at LWK.

Go ahead!


Maths Goodies

For free help on the maths topics that prove to be common barriers to kids’ learning, look no further! Maths Goodies features interactive lessons, worksheets, games and puzzles, and you can even purchase their CD with 168 lessons packed in!

Maths can be a highly tricky topic to teach, with many of us learning complex mathematical concepts in school only to rarely, if ever, use them again. As a home educator, you’re sure to be strongest in some areas than others, so Maths Goodies is a fantastic back up when you’re stretched on how to break down fractions or turn X into Y.

Check them out


Meri Cherry

Fun fact: Meri Cherry is the site owner’s actual name!

Like many of our blog owners in this list, Meri is a former teacher with an impressive 15 years behind her, and she soon found a new start as a private art teacher, something she had always wanted.

Meri uses her talent to write about different projects that kids can take on at home that you can help them with, so why not let her experience and creativity help you to feed your child’s artistic abilities? Self-expression is its own reward!

Check it out


Moving Beyond the Page

Moving Beyond the Page is a complete home education curriculum. Their literature-based curriculum encourages critical and creative thinking, provides challenging and engaging projects, and supports different learning styles.

Hands-on, creative, and gifted learners have a lot to gain from their varied approaches to delivering educational material. A traditional or classical approach will often leave these children bored and uninspired, which is a major problem if they’re learning at home!

Find out more about the different ways you can structure education to make it varied and differentiated by taking a look at their site!

Follow here for more


Muddle Puddle

Muddle Puddle is a fantastic site for new starters to home education, with the need-to-know essentials, information about local support groups, resources on different educational styles and more!

There is also a blog which, sadly, is no longer updated, but still has years and years of insightful and touching posts that reach back as far as 2003 and are all based on site owner Merry’s experiences raising her kids.

The resources and information this site are fantastic on their own, but you must read the blog if you want real, unedited insight into the challenges and joys of home education.

Read all about it

Mysteries in Time

Subscription boxes are not uncommon now, and you can find them for tonnes of different goods from food to hygiene and healthcare. Mysteries in Time builds on the same model and provides personalised ‘time machines’ for kids to learn about fascinating periods in history.

Every month, a new box is delivered to your door, starting with Ancient Egypt. The boxes include a story, a themed bookmark, work puzzles and other activities, and a free world map and timeline in your first box.

The subscription can be cancelled at any time, so why not try it out for a month or so?

Take a look


No Time for Flash Cards

No Time for Flash Cards is the work of Allison McDonald, who started her blog in early 2008 founded on her passion for early childhood education. Whether it’s at school or in the home, Allison’s mission is to help adults make education enjoyable and enriching for their kids.

Here you’ll find activities, crafts, resources and purchasable thematic picture books for preschool age level. Early learners can benefit greatly from the content of sites such as these, and the blog posts are worth poring over to get the benefit of Allison’s experience as an educator.

Read on here


NurtureStore

NurtureStore hosts links to tonnes of purchasable ebooks and downloads covering a range of subjects and topics.

While they host affiliate links, and as such can’t set their own prices, they have free ideas hosted on their website that relate to the available ebooks. The books themselves are reasonably priced and affordable, so for the early years of home education, you don’t need to invest a lot of money to get your hands-on quality learning materials and resources!

Also, sign up to the newsletter and get free access to the printables library and a free weekly play planner!

Check it out


Play Kids Games

Play Kids Games is a simple and easy-to-use website that hosts a myriad of online games made specifically for young kids in mind.

The site was made and is run by parents, so the content is built from the ground up to teach and test essential skills for children to learn such as computer skills, numeracy, literacy and more.

Education can be pretty intense whether it’s taking place in conventional school or at home, and young minds can get burnt out easily. With games that can help kids wind down and relax whilst still educational, sites such as these are invaluable for a bit of well-earned downtime!

Take a peek


Real Life at Home

Real Life at Home’s mission is titular, as you can probably imagine. Angie Kauffman, the lady behind the site, writes with a strong focus on family life and learning alongside one another at home.

Angie previously set up four separate sites that now make up RLAH – so she’s no newbie to running a domain! There are reams of pages to inspire and inform you and your child, whether it’s cooking together, learning to read, or making home-made gifts!

Angie’s blog is a treasure trove of inspiration, so take a look, bookmark your favourites, and try something new with your kids!

Check it out


Science Kids

Science Kids is one of a trio of sites dedicated to supporting kids in Maths, English, and Science, and it’s jam packed with videos, quizzes, facts, experiments and lots, lots more!

The site is helpfully broken down into areas of interest that kids are free to choose for themselves, for example, technological facts over animal or chemistry facts. If your child has a passion for a particular aspect of science, this is the perfect place for them to pursue those interests and lead their own learning!

They break down their topics in a similar manner, making the site effortless to navigate and particularly friendly for even the most techphobic household!

Take a look


Sheppard Software

Amassing over 20 million visitors in the last year with over 5 million hours of learning between them, Sheppard Software is no small space when it comes to education!

Brad Sheppard Jr. has been designing educational software since the 1980s, and its with this experience that he first set up the website. There are games for all kinds of topics and for learners of all abilities, even adults! Sheppard Software’s games are colourful and engaging, with multimedia elements to hold attention that will draw in even the most easily distracted learner.

Find out more


Simple Homeschool

Simple Homeschool hosts a massive collection of free worksheets, games, quizzes, and facts! There are also tools such as probability and trigonometry calculators, and even test preparation exercises.

Not only do you have access to all of these free resources, but there are also flashcards and colouring pages, opening up activities and learning methods for even more ages and ability levels. The site is constantly updated with new material, so keep an eye on it and you’ll never be short of resources for your kids!

Check it out!


Structured Home Learning

Structured Home Learning provides packaged curriculums for home educators that closely follow the national curriculum. This means that home educated kids can have the freedom and focus that home schooling provides whilst still getting a balanced syllabus and a comprehensive education.

These curriculums help to provide a steady flow of education, as overloading a learner with too much can be just as harmful as not giving them enough to take in. All of the planning is done for you, and SHL provide guidance for children with special educational needs.

You’re guaranteed to get high-quality, up-to-date resources in your learning packs, so if the lack of a set curriculum is off-putting to you as a home educator, take a look at Structured Home Learning.

Find out more


Syvum

Syvum is truly a learning tool for kids all over the world, providing homework and education help to over 180 countries! It also has international versions covering French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hindi.

There are quizzes, lesson plans, word games, test preps, and so much more! The educational content is fantastic, but the ability to differentiate between languages really helps it shine through. Parents of bilingual children who have emigrated, been displaced, or been adopted or fostered into a family have a fantastic tool at their disposal, either for supporting home education or for helping children to catch up outside of school and excel alongside their peers.

Have a browse!

Teacher Tom’s Blog

A blog written by Tom – can you guess his occupation?

The posts shared by Tom on this blog are expertly written and are highly absorbing, and he muses on all kinds of topics and relates them back to the learning experiences of the kids he teaches. His philosophical writings on early education provide valuable insight into how to not only be a teacher, but an educator with all of the leadership and self-improvement that demands.

The blog posts are bite-sized enough to read through a few on a bus journey, so take a look and see if he can’t shift your perspective, even if only enough to make you think differently!

Read on here


Teaching Ideas

Ever feel stuck for inspiration? That’s where Teaching Ideas come in!

They host free download resources, videos, age-appropriate books with reviews, and much more to provide kids with a colourful and fun area to explore and learn! Teaching Ideas is a great support tool for home educators as many of the resources build on common interests, such as a worksheet that challenges kids to write a short bio for their favourite football player.

Print out some of the free resources and give them a try in your home-based classroom!

Take a look


The Happy Housewife

The Happy Housewife is a site run by military wife and mother of seven, Toni. Toni homeschools all of her kids, and writes about all kind of pastimes and interests to help maintain mindfulness in between educating her children.

The homeschooling section of Toni’s blog is an inspired collection of topical activities for kids, handy how-to’s, projects and printables, and general tips and advice for leading a home education household, of which she’s written so many it’s a virtual encyclopaedia!

Knowing that somebody else is meeting the same pitfalls and successes as us can often make any undertaking easier, and that’s where blogs like The Happy Housewife shine. Why not read through some of Toni’s entries and find out more?

Check it out!


The Parenting Passageway

The Parenting Passageway is the work of Carrie, a home educator and mother of three who has worked with children and families in many capacities including paediatric physical therapy, public speaking on homeschooling and parenting, a consultant for homeschooling parents and more!

Her site provides guidance for educating children and helping them grow every step of their life from birth through to age 15, and she also writes about family life, breastfeeding and general wellbeing at home. Some home educating parents may often end up busier than others, so insights from a parent juggling lots of different aspects of her life is the perfect source of comfort and inspiration!

Take a look


Time4Learning

Time4Learning has lesson plans covering all important subjects and across a range of educational grades, from preschool/nursery ages to high/secondary school.

More importantly, they host an information page for building a homeschool curriculum, and they go into great detail about what you’ll need to consider making your own, such as the learning styles of your child, the subjects best for them, and how to incorporate technology into their education.

By using Time4Learning’s platform for creating a homeschool curriculum, students get a personal login and get to work at their own pace. Let your kids lead their own learning and get the best out of a home education!

Get started


TinkerLab

TinkerLab is styled as an online school to nurture creative minds, focusing on the curiosity, self-expression and will to explore of which all kids are capable.

The site was created by Rachelle Doorley, a passionately creative person who is also an experienced arts educator and community builder. Rachelle has turned her hand to many different forms of creativity and self-expression, and as such she knows the best way to bring it out of budding young minds.

TinkerLab’s blog documents her adventures a creative mother of two, and her blog has been featured on sites such as Parent Map Magazine, Craft Gossip, Family Fun Magazine and many, many more! Why not see what all the buzz is about?

Get creative!


Understanding Evolution

Evolution can be a tricky topic to teach, with many complexities and concepts that can be difficult for a young learner to wrap their head around. To help home educators broach the topic of the origins of species, Understanding Evolution is here!

The site has breakdowns of critical concepts which are necessary to understand the bigger picture of evolution, as well as ‘evo in the news’, which explains topical issues such as the fact that drugs may stop working whereas vaccines won’t. These questions are sure to the open the minds of young learners, and satiate the curiosity of those who already ask many questions about the world around them.

Evolution is a subject that has come under attack in the past and had its teaching in school obfuscated, much to the detriment of students around the world. Take a look – you might even learn something yourselves!

Find out more


WebMath

WebMath is packed with all things mathematics, covering trigonometry, algebra, geometry, calculus, and more!

WebMath generates answers to specific math questions and problems, as entered by a user. The answers are given at the moment a web user types in their math problem and clicks "solve." In addition to the answers, Webmath also shows the student how to arrive at the answer.

As a tool to help with homework and exam preparation, WebMath is absolutely invaluable, and the explanation of how to arrive at the conclusions to maths puzzles is perfect for teaching learners how to tackle problems in the future moving forward.

Try it out!


Wonderopolis

Wonderopolis is a delightfully simple site that presents a ‘Wonder of the Day’, now numbering at over 2,100 and counting!

These wonders are presented as questions, such as ‘What are prosthetics?’ and ‘What is an airplane boneyard?’. The topics are varied and as broad as the world itself, giving kids a huge range of different subjects to learn a little bit about every day. This is the perfect little ‘mind break’ from heavier learning in a home education setting, and would make for a great little daily treat as a reward for hard work!

Start wondering!


Whether you choose to homeschool or not will be a big decision, so it’s important to research the topic as much as possible. Whether you choose to make sure of a private tutor or not, we’ve got a huge library of helpful tips and resources for all sorts of subject areas, from maths and history to reading and science, to help you get started.

Log In