What Are The Options For Online Schooling From Home In The UK?
When we hear the word ‘education’ most of us are automatically programmed to consider a traditional school setting, complete with whiteboards, teachers, uniforms and other pupils. This is a setup which is largely considered ‘the norm’ in the UK, and it can seem challenging to try and break away from this. However, with the advent of the internet, online schooling is a real possibility for many children.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is an alternative way for children to receive their education; not merely within the four walls of a classroom. Instead, more and more parents are opting for a different form of education which allows creativity, freedom, and flexibility. This can be delivered via online schooling at home.
As the name suggests, online schooling is a method of home education where learning is delivered via the web. There are two main types of home education, both of which can be supported by various forms of online schools and both have pros and cons depending on the individual, their future plans, and their learning styles.
Autonomous learning takes full advantage of the fact that legally, any child who is home educated is under no obligation to follow the National Curriculum or any form of strict timetable. This gives children more choice over what they learn, how they learn it, and when learning takes place. Natural curiosity, as well as the interests of the child, are usually used as springboards, and this interest is pursued to wherever it may lead. This is a more relaxed approach and is a particularly good option for children who have had issues such as school anxiety or refusal, which has given them a fear of learning and school or if they simply want to adopt a less prescriptive learning regime.
Structured approaches can also be beneficial, depending on the type of child and their learning style. This is where a timetable is implemented, and more traditional subjects are studied in a manner similar to a school, but in a home setting. This can be useful if you are planning to enter your child into formal exams later on, or possibly even return to school.
Why Online Learning?
There are a variety of reasons why a parent may choose to home educate their child from the start or remove their child from a traditional setting in order to homeschool. Some reasons given by parents include:
Bullying At School
Unfortunately, bullying can be a very common reason for making the decision to home educate. Some children become so traumatised and negatively affected by bullying and unpleasant behaviour from other students that they develop a resistance to education and the school environment. Homeschooling offers a chance to receive an education and any desired qualifications without the fear of bullying or intimidation.
Some Lifestyles Don’t Fit In With Traditional School
Some parents and families find that homeschooling is an option which fits in much better with their preferred lifestyle. This can include parents who travel a lot and spend a great deal of time out of the country, not remaining in a fixed area for any length of time. In addition, parents who have certain religious beliefs and lifestyles may find that homeschooling is a better option for managing and imparting these views, and helping to maintain the preferred belief system and lifestyle. Some parents may be worried about peer pressure or other unwanted influences from other pupils, and opt to remove their child from such a situation.
It is no secret that school can be tough, but for some children this goes even further, resulting in long-term anxiety and fear of school. The surroundings and building may prove too much, and the consequence is that the child misses out on crucial learning. Homeschooling helps to avoid the school environment, while still supplying a well-rounded education.
How Online Schooling Can Help
Home education takes a variety of forms, and one of these is online schooling. This is something of a hybrid of traditional education and the classic interpretation of home education, taking key elements from each in order to ensure the best outcome for the student.
As the name suggests, online schooling works by allowing the child access to a programme of study, with all courses and units being taken online. There are two main types of programmes; teacher and parent-led.
Parent-led online school programmes are those whereby the parent purchases a course which is studied independently, or with assistance from the parent, depending on the age and ability of the learner. These are often cheaper, as teacher support is not included, and can be an ideal way to add structure to a home education situation, without being as rigid as a formal school setting. Oxford homeschooling is an example of this.
In teacher-led online school programmes, the parent will pay a set fee and in return receive a full set of lesson plans, as well as access to recorded and live classes given by teachers. These will often include live sessions which the student can join in with from home or access at a later date. These programmes will often work steadily through a predetermined course, with tests, assessments, and check-ups along the way. Brite school is an example of this.
In some cases, the fee to sit a formal qualification such as GCSEs and A-Levels are included in the cost, as well as assistance in finding a suitable study centre, and places to take practical science examinations. This support helps a child to receive the grades they need to pursue a dream job or further study such as University. One of the best examples which are similar to this is the Open University, a scheme which allows learners to enrol in courses set, taught and assessed by qualified professionals, and from which a formal qualification can be obtained.
Online schooling can be an ideal way to carry out homeschooling, especially if parents are concerned that their child may fall behind, or lack confidence in their ability to deliver and teach specific subjects to a high enough level. For many, there is comfort in having qualified teachers available for support and guidance when a tricky topic just won’t stay in the child’s brain, or when their understanding needs to be checked and pushed that little bit further. It can also lead to formal examinations and qualifications, which have the potential to open up the future of your child, and lead them to pursue their wildest dreams with confidence.