What Subjects Does a Home Schooler Have to Teach?

Many new home schooling families are surprised to find that there are no laws or regulations in place through Government Acts like the Education Act regarding the curricula that children who are experiencing home schooling need to undertake. In addition, the same is true of Local Education Authorities, (LEAs) and any other local educational bodies – there are no laws in place regarding a home schooled child’s education.

As such, the number and type of studying that a home schooled child undertakes is completely up to the child and/or his or her family or home tutor. This means that it is likely that no home school education will be exactly like any other – each parent or tutor will choose to teach their child or student in a different way, focusing on different topics of interest, emphasising some subjects over others, perhaps, and organising the home tutoring and learning routine in a personal way.

In short, there are no subjects that a home school tutor is forced to teach: home schooling comes under the Education Act’s provision for ‘education otherwise’ – parents have to ensure their children receive an education, but the nature of that education is not specified. So for most home tutoring families there will be not average day of learning or timetable of subjects, but this article will look at the general issues that many home schooling families cover, as well as the variant ways that it is possible to cover them – which usually goes further than a textbook based, school style education.

Subjects on the Curriculum for Most Home Schooling Families

While reading this article it is important to remember the word ‘most’ – the personalised nature of home schooling cannot be overemphasised, since it is this that is a major feature of a home education for the majority of home schooling parents and children. As such, some children may benefit more from spending more time learning about some topics that especially interest them than others, and home schooling allows the possibility to adapt a timetable or subject emphasis to embrace that level of interest.

With that proviso in mind then, these are some of the topics that many home schooling families incorporate into their child’s learning and education: maths, English language and literature, reading, spelling, creative writing, science, history, geography, foreign languages, art, design and technology, music, cookery, computing, plus ‘practical subjects’ like citizenship, sex education, traffic safety, health and fire safety.

Home Schooling Subject Lessons Tend To Be Flexible

Home schooling philosophies usually emphasise the idea that all learning is educational, not just textbook based education or the traditional style of learning that we usually associate with school. As such, subjects of learning might be wider than new home schooling families might expect. ‘Maths’ might take place at the supermarket check out, adding up prices faster than the check out till can! Or French might involve a trip to France where speaking English is banned, or a French pen pal, or online interaction with French TV, etc. Home teaching often means the flexibility to re-define education, so many home schooling families would resist the phrasing ‘what does a home schooler have to teach’ since there are no rules.

Starting as a New Home School Teacher: Two Options for a Subject Timetable

New home schooling families usually follow one of two patterns, both very distinct. Many new home schooling parents opt to ‘deschool’ their child just after he or she has left school; this is regarded as a time for a child to develop an interest in learning for its own sake, so parents would avoid setting a timetable with a certain subject at a certain time, or drawing up a structured day with set numbers of studying hours, for example. Instead, the home schooled child would be encouraged to participate in independent reading, and visits to things like museums and exhibitions.

Another option for home schooling educations is to instigate a teacher-led education right from the start, so instead of a child learning about subjects which match his or her own interests, parents draw up a timetable and/or follow a curriculum, since some children prefer a structured day, especially when they have become used to that within the school environment.