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How can an online school support parents who home educate their children?

How can an online school support parents who home educate their children?
mother and daughter sitting in front of a laptop

This blog considers:

  • Homeschooling is growing in the UK
  • Why do parents homeschool?
  • How does homeschooling work?
  • How online schooling can support homeschooling

Homeschooling is on the rise

The numbers of children who are educated at home in the UK has doubled in the last six years. Around 30,000 children were homeschooled last year, receiving all of their education outside a mainstream school. These figures are recorded by local council authorities, who oversee the transition from schooling to homeschooling.

Why do parents choose to homeschool?

There are a huge number of reasons why parents may choose to homeschool their child. These include good local schools being oversubscribed, parents preferring to use their own alternative methods of education, or wanting to free up more time for extracurricular activities and sports. Military, expatriate, or travelling families also use homeschooling to accommodate their lifestyle. Children may particularly benefit from homeschooling if they are unable to attend mainstream schooling. This may be because they have Special Educational Needs (SEN), are facing exclusion, are bullied at school, or cannot learn at school due to disruption. Many parents feel that they have no other option but to withdraw their child from school due to their specific needs. The numbers of parents home educating a child with special needs has grown by 57% in the last five years. Local authorities will often pay for online schooling for such children, as it is cheaper than providing a one-on-one support worker, and has been proven to bring more successful learning and examination outcomes than school.

How does homeschooling work?

Every parent in the UK has the legal right to withdraw their child from school, as long as they provide an education to them at home. If a parent wishes to do this, the Department for Education requires that they write to the headteacher of their child’s school. The headteacher must accept the decision to withdraw the child completely from school. Some children may continue to attend part time. Parents who homeschool don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Children may be schooled by parents, guardians, or join online schools. The local education authority monitors the education that the child is receiving to ensure that it is suitable and safeguarding standards are being met. Support is available for homeschooling from many charities and online platforms. These provide advice, support, learning resources, and foster an online and local homeschooling community. Local authorities can provide counselling and financial support for parents and guardians.

How can online schooling be used to support parents who homeschool?

Parents who homeschool their children often choose to register their children at online schools. provides a national curriculum led British education, and the chance for students to take their GCSEs and A Levels without having to attend school. This reassures local authorities with fears that children are getting a getting a substandard education at home.

Children are taught properly from home, by real qualified and experienced teachers, in real time, using Skype like software. Students can study from anywhere in the world as long as there is a stable internet connection. Students have lessons from a quiet study, kitchen, or living room with a computer or laptop. They use headphones, and take notes to aid their learning. The teachers get to know the students and can cater to their individual educational and learning needs. They give regular feedback and termly reports for parents. This means that parents are not responsible for planning delivering an entire educational program of lessons for their children each day, whilst juggling work and other commitments. Lessons mostly finish by the early afternoon, which frees up time for students to pursue hobbies, sport, and socialise. While online schooling can never replace the social aspects of mainstream education, it may be the best alternative for parents who feel that they have no other choice.



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