18 Feb 2020

What Is Homeschooling: Pros And Cons Of Teaching Your Child At Home

Homeschooling is when you give your child a home-based education rather than sending them to school. It often leads to high-achievers and it can bring families closer together.

In the UK, tens of thousands of children are currently being homeschooled, and the numbers are rising drastically each year.

While it’s an option that is often misconstrued by parents, it’s worth considering whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, full-time worker or if you work from home.

Why do some parents decide to homeschool?

Many parents choose homeschooling for their children from the age of five and then consider putting them into the school system at a later stage. The reason for this is that many parents feel that kids start school too early in the UK and need more time at home with the family before they join a school.

Some parents may choose to start homeschooling their children after they’ve already experienced school life. This could be due to various reasons, such as the child’s academic ability or confidence. Other motivators include religious reasons and the child not getting enough attention in the classroom environment.

Then there are those that want the best of both worlds. Some parents choose to use flexi-schooling; with the agreement of the school’s headteacher, the student may go to school part of the time, and spend the rest being homeschooled.

15 Benefits of homeschooling in the UK

But just as there are pros and cons of sending your child to school, there are advantages and disadvantages to being a homeschooler, and we’ve put together a detailed list of them to help you make an informed decision about whether home education is for you and your child.

1. Tailor your own timetable.

The law states that every child over the age of five must be in full-time education. However, it doesn’t state the number of hours. This means homeschoolers can set their own timetables, and manage time to be more proactive and productive.

2. You choose your curriculum.

While you have the choice of using the National Curriculum, you don’t need to! You can pick from hundreds of homeschool curriculums, selecting the one you feel is the perfect fit, or you can even create your own.

white rose maths curriculum example

Companies such as White Rose Maths provide their own schemes of learning, that still line up with what’s covered in the National Curriculum.

This kind of educational freedom is very popular among parents who believe the National Curriculum lacks individualism and balance.

3. Your child will benefit from one-to-one teaching.

Instead of being one of around thirty faces a teacher has to work with in a traditional classroom, your child will be the sole focus during their one-to-one lessons. This degree of attention will make the learning more personal, and it will allow them to grasp concepts more easily.

4. They will gain more confidence and speak up about topics they’re unsure of.

Many children feel embarrassed to raise their hand in a classroom full of other kids, but if they’re in a one-on-one session with their parent or tutor, they’re more likely to speak up when they need extra help. This will ultimately lead to an increase in confidence as they understand more about their subjects.

5. You can tailor lessons to fit the child’s interests and needs.

In homeschooling, your child is the ultimate priority. Unlike in public schools (where there are many pupils being taught at the same time) your lessons can reflect your child’s individual needs and interests. This is sometimes referred to as ‘unschooling’.

Unschooling also means you can focus on areas they’re struggling with (or really passionate about) as opposed to moving onto the next area because it’s part of the teacher’s class schedule. Just be sure to avoid unhelpful, outdated teaching ideas such as ‘learning styles’!

6. Your child will be taught at their own pace.

Expanding on the last point, your child may pick up some things quickly and other things slowly. When you homeschool, they will be taught at a pace that’s right for them, whether that means covering something very quickly or spending lots more time on it.

At a traditional school on the other hand, children get taught in bulk and teachers might not be able to consider every individual’s ability.

7. You can hire a qualified home school tutor.

It’s one thing supporting kids on their homework while they’re in full-time education at school, but it’s another thing to teach them all the subjects from home. It’s not an easy job. But don’t worry, the pleasure of homeschooling is that you don’t have to do all the teaching alone.

You can benefit from high-quality teaching delivered by your very own private tutor. Most tutors have a specialty so if your child is struggling in a certain area (or if you aren’t able to deliver certain lessons yourself), a tutor can teach them.

This is a great option as there is such a wide range of specialist tutors to pick from, such as Matr‘s one-to-one online maths tutoring.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Maths Puzzle eBook

Help your child engage with maths at home with this sweet selection of maths puzzles, inspired by Charlie & The Chocolate Factory!

8. There are affordable online tutors.

Many parents believe that tutors are over-priced but there are great deals online. For example here at Matr, the largest maths tuition company in the UK, you can book weekly online lessons for your child (age 6-12) from just £9.99 per week.

9. There are more online resources than ever before.

Homeschooling has never been easier than it is today with so many online resources available and free to download. This means you’ll get quality teaching material, and your child will get insightful learning material, just a click of a button away.

matr online resource example

Sites like Matr, as well as offering online tutoring, also often provide online resources for free.

10. No need for children to take standardised tests.

Homeschooled children are not required to follow the National Curriculum, so they do not need to take national exams like SATs.

This means that your child won’t have to stress about exams throughout their childhood, which many education experts argue are unnecessary. For example, in countries such as Finland (where education is said to be the best in the world) there are no standardised tests.

Of course, many parents decide to have their kids to take these exams anyway to help them in the future. The beauty of homeschooling is that you have choices.

11. Increased flexibility.

Parents of homeschooled children can enjoy more flexibility. You’ll be in full control of your child’s educational schedule and will not be a slave to a school’s opening hours.

This will give you more freedom as a parent and you can even beat school holiday price hikes by taking a family holiday when it suits you.

Looking for affordable maths tutoring for your homeschooled child? With sessions starting from £9.99 per week, Matr could be perfect for you!

Maths can be a difficult subject to teach while homeschooling, and private maths tutors can often be expensive – especially if you want them coming to your home.

That’s where we come in – Matr’s online, one-to-one tutoring brings the best of private tuition into the comfort of your own home at prices that won’t break the bank.

Our specialist maths tutors are all available online at times that suit your timetable, with lessons that are tailored to your child’s needs thanks to the Maths Level Test we use to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in maths.

We also provide a special revision programme for the Key Stage 2 maths SATs. So if you’re considering entering your homeschooled child for these standardised exams but you’re unsure of what they’ll need to know, we can help. We even offer a double-up version of our SATs Revision Programme (where you have two sessions per week instead of 1) for any last minute revision!

Book a free lesson today to see how our online tutoring works, and how we could help you teach maths at home.

12. No more school runs or rush hour chaos.

Another perk that parents love is the fact that they no longer need to take their kids to and from school which can often lead to headache and a lot of running around (and waiting).

13. More family time.

What’s more important than family? Children that are homeschooled get the benefit of being surrounded by their loved ones. And parents get the pleasure of seeing their child develop and learn in their very own home.

homeschooling family time

Homeschooling allows you to spend more time as a family – even when your kids are learning!

14. You can get more involved in the community.

When you have the freedom to create your own timetable and curriculum, you also have the freedom to organise learning experiences beyond books.

You could get more involved in community activities and socialise with other homeschooling families and workers, take field trips whenever you want them, even organise things like homeschool sports teams!

15. Your child doesn’t have to stress about moving school.

For kids, one of the hardest parts of learning in public schools is moving from primary school to secondary school (also known as high school in some parts of the UK and in the United States).

Especially if they’re moving from their local school to a grammar or private school, children can often feel upset about not seeing their old friends, or having to make new ones.

Homeschoolers don’t have to worry about this; they can stay friends with the same children they’ve known from 5 all the way to 18 and on, if they want to!

7 Disadvantages of homeschooling in the UK

While there are clear advantages of home education, it’s important to also note the potential disadvantages and what parents can do to overcome them.

1. Your child may get fewer opportunities to make friends.

One of the biggest concerns about home education is the social aspect. A big part of the school environment (and childhood in general) is social interaction and making friends. Homeschool students can sometimes be at a disadvantage (especially if they’re an only child) as they’re studying from home with no friends around.

How to overcome this: There are home education groups where you can speak to other parents and arrange family meetups. You should also be able to find various groups on Facebook of homeschooling parents in your area. Other options include drama club, community centres and scouts.

2. Homeschooling is time-consuming.

While parents who work from an office or at home may homeschool their school-age children, it’s most popular among stay-at-home parents due to the fact it’s so time-consuming. Not only do parents have to consider the time taken to teach, but they must also prepare lessons.

How to overcome this: It’s advised to hire specialist home school tutors to help with certain subjects (especially those that you’re less academically skilled in).

matr online tutoring multiplication lesson

Online tutoring sites like Matr provide their own lessons and resources, saving you time (and money!)

It’s recommended that parents schedule regular private tuition (online or in-person) at an ongoing rate throughout their child’s home education. This will help the child’s development as well as give you time to do other things besides teaching and preparing lessons.

3. You must comply with homeschooling UK laws.

Many parents get put off of homeschooling as they get scared about the homeschooling UK rules to follow. However, as long as each parent understands the law, there’s nothing to worry about and it’s not a downside at all.

The law simply states that’s each child must receive a full-time education, and a child can receive this from home as well as from a school.

How to overcome this: Read through the UK government’s guidelines on home education so you have peace of mind.

4. The costs of homeschooling.

Homeschooling is more costly than sending your child to a state school with various fees applying such as private tuition, examinations and teaching materials. This means that there is no fixed amount that each parent pays.

How to overcome this: Set yourself a monthly budget, take advantage of free online resources and find affordable online tutors.

5. Preparing for national exams can be complicated.

If your child was attending a school, exams would be organised for them, but if you want your homeschooled kids to sit national examinations such as SATs, GCSEs or A-Levels, you will have to organise it yourself. Some parents find the process of booking and preparing for the exams to be stressful and complicated.

How to overcome this: There are a few things you can do to help when preparing for national exams. Just remember that everything is easy once you know how to do it – simply read the guidelines and instructions set by the exam board.

You must choose the exam board, such as OCR or Edexcel, and register your child onto the exam(s), find a qualified person to assess coursework (when applicable), and arrange the appropriate dates. The exam centre location varies according to exam boards.

OCR website screengrab

Navigating sites for exam boards such as OCR can seem overwhelming, but there’s nothing to worry about.

Hiring a specialist tutor is advisable to help your child during the preparation and they can also advise you as a parent. You may also join various Facebook groups with other homeschooling parents in the UK for extra advice.

6. You will get questioned (a lot).

“Why is your kid homeschooled?”

“Don’t you think they should be in a school?”

“Do they have any friends?”

These are just a few of the questions you may face as a homeschooling parent. You’ll find that the parents of children who attend a school full-time will be curious about the educational choices you made for your child. This can get a little annoying when it’s all the time.

How to overcome this: Be prepared for questions and trust in your answers. Most people are just generally curious and you may even be able to advise them.

7. You’ll have a lot of responsibility.

Clearly, you’ll have a lot of weight on your shoulders. You are responsible for every aspect of your child’s education and it can be overwhelming, and if your child has any special needs it can feel even harder.

How to overcome this: Know that you’re doing something truly life-changing and important. Be proud of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek advice, hire qualified tutors and take advantage of online resources.

So, is homeschooling for you?

As we’re sure you’ve now gathered, homeschooling can be a great option for your child’s education.  While there are arguments for and against it, there are ways to overcome the downsides.

Of course the biggest disadvantage can be the amount of responsibility on a homeschool parent, but you have to remember that it doesn’t all have to fall on you. A parent isn’t expected to do all the teaching themselves, nor the preparations. You’re encouraged to get additional help from tutors and other parents alike.

And if you have a gap in subject knowledge, don’t worry. If your weakness is maths, for example, our online maths tutors here at Matr are an excellent and affordable option for tutoring children aged 6-12. Indeed, there are endless resources and supportive people online, communities that thrive on helping each other.

So, do you think home-based education is for you and your child? If you have any further questions about home education, feel free to contact us and we’d be more than happy to help. In the meantime, good luck and happy teaching!


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