Making the leap might seem scary, but we’re here to break down how to start homeschooling your kids with an expert’s blog about busting out from the confines of the classroom
It’s a fact: the opportunities for educating our kids have changed for good. 2020 has opened up all sorts of possibilities regarding alternative types of schooling, and that little aspirational dream you had to start homeschooling your kids has now never been closer to reality.
Lockdown showed us what it was like to live alongside our kids whilst they learnt, and whilst it’s true we might not’ve always had the time or skills needed to help them ourselves, every parent got a clearer idea of how their child learnt, what they wanted and what they needed.
Now, post-Lockdown, so many of us are working from home full-time, and that vision we were afforded into our kid’s schooling – and how it could be different – is not going away. Homeschooling has always offered the possibility for the fully bespoke and unique education that every parent dreams of for their child. Lockdown broke the spell of the old: there’s never been a better time to start homeschooling.
In this post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about homeschooling and how to kickstart the future of your child’s education, using our expertise to break down your options into simple, manageable pathways.
What is Homeschooling, and Why Does it Matter?
Quite often, homeschooling conjures the image of a child transplanted from school to living room, forced to carry out exactly the same kinds of dreary schoolwork without the social aspect that traditional schooling offers. Thankfully, here at Minerva, we founded our world-leading homeschooling facilities with those kinds of pitfalls in mind. Plus, being a family-run company, we know what it’s like to safely create a stress-free family dynamic when it comes to learning and working at home.
At its most basic, homeschooling means providing your child with the same rigorous and recognised level of education as they’d get at a private or state school, with them benefiting from the all important one-to-one contact, and the fact they’ll be learning from a carefully curated and totally bespoke curriculum.
At Minerva, we see homeschooling going further, ensuring that each child is uniquely tailored for and that whatever they’re learning is explored in more depth, with more room for curiosity and individuality and with more real-world ‘applied learning’ than the grade-oriented teaching you might get at school.
We can help with every aspect of your child’s education, from timetable management to exam registration and unique field-trips or on-site lessons, whilst also offering extra-curricular mentoring to make sure that your child is able to feel like learning isn’t just an obligation or a chore.
This is all important because, all too often, the desire to learn and to explore the world around us is often supplanted in a child’s mind by the feeling of being forced to do so, and therefore they struggle to connect why what they’re learning in the classroom is relevant for real life at all.
When you start homeschooling, you realise that education is not just something confined to the classroom and the exam hall, but a rich, joyful experience that will influence the way your child sees the world for the rest of their life. In short, homeschooling isn’t just about what they learn, but how and why they learn, too, and that’s something that never gets old.
How to Start Homeschooling: The Three Pathways
1. Doing It Yourself
Going it alone is the most cost-effective path to take in order to start homeschooling. It all depends on whether you’ve got the time to give your child the attention they need, but schooling your child yourself can be a rich and highly rewarding route to go down.
In the UK, you don’t have to follow the National Curriculum if you don’t want to, and this frees up a great amount of room to create a highly unique education based around wherever your child’s natural interests take them, and however they learn best. 95% of our homeschooling clients do choose, however, to stay within the National Curriculum, and so if you start homeschooling yourself, it’s wise to conceive of yourself as a full-blown teacher, helping your kid through a pre-existing syllabus and towards official exams at the end of most school years.
If you choose to start homeschooling your child yourself, there’s some careful thinking and planning to be done beforehand.
You need to know:
- exactly which subjects you’re going to teach
- exactly which subjects you can teach
- how you’re going to set up the weekly timetable
There are other key administrative aspects, such as knowing which exam board will allow you to register your child as a private candidate, and then knowing which subjects can be studied as a private subject – not everything can. Check out our Homeschooling Advice Centre for all the details.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’d like to teach your child yourself, it may be difficult to maintain full-time work alongside it. After all, you’ll effectively be working as a full-time teacher. This option might require a two-parent household who alternate the teaching and working roles, or for one to take on the role entirely.
2. Hiring a Tutor to Help
If the above seems a little daunting, there’s certainly a balance to be struck.
Hiring a tutor to help makes it super easy to start homeschooling safely in the knowledge that it’s not all down to you alone. We can work with you collaboratively, providing tutors for the subjects you can’t teach, or to take the strain on days when you’ve got other things to do.
If you love the idea of homeschooling your child, but have no extra time yourself, then Minerva offers a full replacement of the school programme, all from the comfort, safety and sanctitude of the home space. Without a doubt, this is the highest quality of education a child can receive.
With this kind of homeschooling, you’re getting a crack team of four or five tutors, each teaching two or three subjects and each expert in those fields. Every question answered with one-on-one, full attention: a child can totally transform via the holistic way of learning this kind of homeschooling offers, and it’s great for kids with special educational needs, or who are part of families that move around a lot, or for those whom a traditional school setting isn’t conducive or practical for learning. What’s great about this is that we can offer not only expert, specialist tutors for any and every subject under the sun, but also the mentoring, time management and guidance needed for your child to flourish fully as an individual.
Hiring a tutor or two to help substantially eases the pressure on you, your time and your work if you’re working from home. This means you’ll still effectively feel like you’re homeschooling your child, with all the benefits it entails – collaborating with them on curriculum, tailoring their learning to particular styles and modes, ensuring they’re fully engaged and supported – without having to be around and ‘on it’ 24/7. Our replacement school programme means you’re more like a headmaster than a teacher, envisioning how the school is run whilst we do the daily dual tasks of inspiration and administration.
A common question we’re asked is how to maintain the social side of school life when you start homeschooling, and whilst it’s true that this can seem initially difficult to replace, parents often say they enjoy enrolling their kids in extracurricular clubs and activities with others of the same age in order to scratch that itch. Plus, the social side of school can be exactly what’s holding your child back from learning and developing as an individual. Still, if it’s something you’re worried about, then it’s time to turn to the Virtual Academy…
3. Signing Up to Minerva’s Virtual Academy
Minerva’s Virtual Academy is an online school for Years 9 – 13 where your child can start homeschooling with minimal disruption and maximal opportunity. It’s been designed to make our one-to-one homeschooling expertise more accessible, offering it at a more affordable price and enabling students from all around the country to study the British Curriculum with a team of expert private teachers and tutors wherever there’s an internet link.
All the best bits about school are carried over – live group lessons, extra-curricular activities and even weekly assemblies – and put online, helping do away with any issues around a lack of social interaction for your child. The live online lessons are mixed with self-taught modules and exams to ensure your child maintains all the advantages of homeschooling that suit the curious, engaged mind. This helps you rest easy in the knowledge that your child is just in the next room, being fully looked-after, and you can chip in and be a part of whatever they’re learning as much as you want. In many ways, the Academy offers the best of both prior pathways, whilst maintaining the social side of schooling thanks its live group lessons.
The great thing about this is that, if you’re working from home, you can really work – get settled in for longer periods on your phone or laptop – without having to worry about your child and whether they need further cajoling or stimulating. The balance between live group lessons and self-taught periods means they’ll get a good balance of group-time and me-time day, every day – and so will you.
This means you can start homeschooling your child easily and comfortably from home or wherever you might be in the world, with a sense of routine – a jam-packed and exciting school week – coming reliably right into your living room.
So, there you have it: three different pathways to consider if you’re thinking you’d like to start homeschooling. Now it’s just about choosing which one is right for you and your child. We’re here to help with any queries at any point: just drop us a line at and we can help you narrow down your options and tell you more about our tutors, our broad-minded approach to education, and answer any questions you might have about homeschooling in general.