Home Education Article

We have resources to support you in teaching your child at home

Parents in Touch is packed with useful resources to help you if you are a home educator. Our 'Help Your Child' section has guidance on how to teach a wide range of topics and you will find these invaluable. Here are just a few examples:

Illustrated below are a few of the thousands of resources available on Parents in Touch.

How to teach phonics
The start of handwriting
How to help with Foundation stage maths
English ideas for FS
How to help your children learn
How to stimulate your child to write stories
Explaining numbers
Teaching time
Under the sea storyboard
Growing plants
Spelling tips 1 and 2
A progression in teaching Fractions
Help children enjoy reading
Help with English grammar
Introduction and how to teach equations
Topics for science revision KS2
The Tempest questions
20th century medical advances
Planning a tour of England
Mind maps and how to use them

This is only a tiny sample of the wonderful resources we have available - we urge you to browse through the site to get an overview of everything on offer. We are sure you will be impressed! For all our resources, see the Worksheet Finder

Maths and English are covered extensively, in progressive teaching order. We have excellent coverage of Foundation Stage to KS3 of historyscience,  geography, RE and citizenship, so you can ensure your child covers the necessary material.

Information for KS3  For information on syllabuses, past exam papers, revision and teaching guidance see our Worksheet Finder and search under 11 - 14. There are links to pages on choosing options, career paths and post-16 education. Information on the IGCSE can be found here.

We have included this ‘Topic on Buildings’ for you as it illustrates the Areas of Learning used in the Foundation Stage. The topic highlights the methods which can be used to stimulate learning, observation and extend vocabulary. There are numerous different teaching techniques used from computer programming, building bricks, observation, play dough and paint to ensure every child enjoys learning and understanding. Have fun at home! The other links also cover the Areas of Learning and provide a comprehensive resource for teaching.

Foundation Stage topic on buildings
My mum is fantastic topic
The gruffalo FS topic
Topic on underground

Every parent has the right to educate their child or children at home. This forms an intrinsic and essential element of our education system. It is clearly understood that no one way of educating can possibly cater for the needs and interests of all individuals. Every parent wants their child to reach their full potential and for all children to be prepared for life in modern society.
All the Education Acts including ‘The Education Act 1996’ make it quite clear that education is compulsory but school attendance is not.  Section 7 of the Education Act 1996  The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude, and to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.It is therefore the parents’ responsibility to ensure that the child is educated and it is entirely their decision whether this is at school or at home.

There is no need for the parent/carer:

  • to seek permission to educate 'otherwise'
  • to have regular contact with the LA
  • to have premises equipped to any particular standard
  • to have any specific qualifications
  • to take the initiative in informing the LA
  • to cover the same syllabus as any school
  • to have a fixed timetable
  • to observe school hours, days or terms
  • to adopt the National Curriculum
  • to make detailed plans in advance
  • to give formal lessons
  • to reproduce school type peer group socialisation
  • to match school, age-specific standards
Every child learns at a different rate, matures at different stages and is capable of concentrating for varying lengths of time. Children start learning from parents, adults and siblings right from birth. No two children even within a family walk or talk at the same time. Some children are more mathematically inclined that others and each does need a very individual approach to learning. Children have their own personalities and strengths which should be allowed for in all types of education.There will therefore be diverse approaches to home education but the principle of parental choice is essential. The most suitable educational approach may be taken by the family and hence a variety of alternatives in education is important. The law allows for this diversity.
There is nothing in the Education Act which requires any LA to monitor the provision of where a child is receiving education except in schools. The LA will only become involved if it appears that a child is not receiving a suitable education. The parent may chose to not to reply but it is usually sensible to do so. The LA has no right of entry to a parents’ home but the parent may chose to give the authority re-assurance in one or more of the following ways:
  • a written report
  • samples of work
  • a meeting at their home, with or without the child being present
  • a meeting elsewhere, with or without the child
  • an endorsement of the educational provision by a recognised third party

What Your Year 5 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 5 Education by E. D. Hirsch

This is a truly excellent series, both for home educators who want to ensure they cover everything in the curriculum as well as for parents who want to know what is being taught in school. Like the others in the series, the focus on English is exceptional, with a wide range of all kinds of texts to share with children as well as a section on language. The maths section is equally comprehensive and is usefully divided into 7 key areas. There are many maths and English books around but the inclusion of history, geography, visual arts, music and of course science, provide a really well-rounded curriculum. Everything is explained clearly, there are plenty of illustrations to support learning and the colour coding makes finding resources easier. Especially interesting are the boxes which refer back to work studied in previous books - excellent for revision (assuming that you have, of course, got all the books!). There are also useful boxes which cross-reference between topics and these help to inter-relate learning. Perhaps unexpectedly, we find that all the books in the series are really interesting reads for anyone - learn about literature, brush up your history or try some practical craft activities.  It is important to remember that, while this book is an excellent resource to see what the general expectation is at Year 5, every child is different and it is up to the parent or teacher to decide what is appropriate; by all means take this as a guide but choose work appropriate for your child - a child can be above average in one subject but need a little extra help with another. A worthwhile investment for everyone who wants to support their child's learning.

What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 4 Education by E D Hirsch

Like all the preceding books in the series, this contains a huge amount of well-rounded and balanced information that should be at the heart of every child's learning. Home educators, especially, will find this book invaluable in helping them provide a well-rounded curriculum. Parents of children in school will find this an excellent basis for understanding what is being taught and it will also enable them to give their children experiences and knowledge outside the limits of the National Curriculum. A particular feature is the emphasis on subjects not normally covered, such as Visual Arts and Music. We also like the inclusion of extensive extracts in the literature section - ideal for whetting the appetite for further reading. The information is clearly presented, highly readable and well illustrated - a real pleasure to read. Other reviews we have read of the series express concern that the information given is too prescriptive, but like everything else in life, you need to take what you want - in the case of these books, use the book for reference, find out what the expectations are and adapt to suit your child. The information is valuable and comprehensive and there is something here for everyone to benefit from. Highly recommended.

What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know ed by E D Hirsch

This really is turning into an invaluable series. They are for everyone, whether home educating or with children in school, who want to know what their child should be learning in each primary school year. Language and literature, the arts, history and geography, maths and science are all covered. The topic could be dry and boring - but far from it. The writing style is lively and engaging and the book is full of illustrations cartoons and practical examples. The references back to earlier books are a useful feature for consolidation. Not just what you should cover, but plenty of teaching material as well, for example poems and extracts from books, mean this book is a great resource to use through the year. Don't be intimidated -  you can dip into this and use just what you need - it's simple to navigate and full of practical advice. An excellent buy - highly recommended.

What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know edited by E D Hirsch

Following the success of the book covering Year 1, Year 2 is an equally comprehensive look at the curriculum for the year. The series answers a question common to many parents, who are bewildered by the curriculum and want to know exactly what should be covered each year, whether they are home educating or their child is in school. By far the biggest section is Language and Literature which has an extensive and very useful selection of texts in  a variety of genres; surprisingly, maths is much smaller. History and geography, Visual Arts, Music and Science are also included - it's excellent to see guidance for these oft-overlooked subjects The book is packed with supporting activities, which are clearly explained and fun to do. The presentation is excellent - it is very readable and approachable, either to read through or to dip into as the occasion calls (better still, do both, so you have read the book and know how it can help when a specific topic arises). The colourful illustrations add to the appeal and there are also extra resources listed. An excellent support for children in Year 2.

What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know by E D Hirsch & John Holdren

So often at Parents in Touch we are asked 'What should my child know in Year...?' This book helps to answer the question for parents of children in Year 1. Adapted from the US model to suit the UK, it covers the basics children will need to start them on the journey of learning. It should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all of what children need to learn but is a starting point. It is an ideal book for those undertaking home schooling, so they can ensure an awareness of many of the key areas covered in Year 1. The book covers Language & Literature (with lots of stories and poems), History & Geography,  Visual Arts, Music, Maths and Science - it's good to see all areas of the curriculum covered. It is written in clear accessible language, making parents aware of the correct level of work to expect from their children. There are lots of discussion points and activities, again geared at the right level for the year. This is an excellent book, copiously illustrated throughout,  for parents who want to support their children at home, as well as those who are home educating.


Learning Without School by Ross Mountney

Many would like to home educate but wonder if they have the necessary skills to do so - this is a practical guide for those parents. This book explains what home education is and its pros and cons. There is practical guidance on how to begin home educating and what you need to do. Many are concerned about how home education affects children's social skills and friendships - there is a really practical chapter on this. It also covers technical aspects, such as the curriculum, core subjects, exams and timetables. Best of all - this book is written based on personal experience, so you know the ideas are tried and tested. Children with learning difficulties are not forgotten either. Different options are given so the reader can select what works best for them - the book is not preachy but practical and realistic. It is a reassuring book for those who home educate and an enlightening one for those who don't. An excellent read.

A Funny Kind of Education by Ross Mountney

Ross Mountney's children were struggling at school - they were not enjoying learning and it seemed as though the life was being crushed out of them. So she and her husband made the momentous decision to home educate. This is her story - the excitement, panic and hilarity of home schooling life; a story which may change your view of education forever. There is joy, there is also sadness but most of all there is realism - this 'tells it like it is' and the book will give invaluable insights to those already on the home educating path and to those considering it - and also to those who judge others. A thought-provoking book which challenges pre-conceived ideas on home education, and brings a whole new perspective to the topic. Written with touches of humour, it is eminently readable and highly recommended.


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