Homeschooling Without a Tutor
Try to think of yourself as a student not a teacher
If you cannot afford to appoint a tutor across various subjects then the role of teacher will no doubt fall on your shoulders. Many home-educators are deterred by the misplaced understanding that they have to become a subject expert and lead from the front, so to speak. It helps to consider yourself as a fellow student who is embarking on a learning journey. Make it clear to your children that you are not supposed to have prior knowledge but you will learn together and guide them in their studies.
No doubt you will have strengths and weaknesses and strong memories of which subjects you enjoyed, or probably disliked at school. Having subject strengths is certainly an advantage but don’t be deterred by your self-perceived weaknesses. Learning as an adult is far easier and you may find a return to Mathematics sees you achieve far higher than you ever thought you would. You may also have been slightly overwhelmed in recent years when asked to help out on the odd bit of homework, or you may have panicked at the public reaction to how difficult SATS papers have been. However, once you will be starting a course from the beginning and learning all the necessary skills and content as you go. Try to remind yourself when fellow parents make a comment that a certain subject is far too difficult or complicated, that is usually because it is years since they were in practice and the occasional glance at a Physics problem over the shoulder of their child will give them a totally different perspective than how it feels when you are touching these subjects every day.
The process of ‘finding out’ for yourself and your children is not only very rewarding but it also teaches them the understanding that they are quite capable of finding out and researching information for themselves. Remember to keep them on track. It is very easy with home-education to diverge off track and enjoy the luxury of indulging in vast amounts of related content. This is a good and important thing but it is essential to also understand that the content and skills required for the actual exam are rather more limited and there are no prizes for going extensively ‘off-piste’ or wowing the examiner with unheard-of knowledge. Impressive though it is, unfortunately it is deemed to be irrelevant and unlikely to merit any additional credit. Sadly, this is one of the most disappointing tales of home-education and although it is truly wonderful to know more than necessary, do remember that public exams are a finite test from which comparisons can be made across a year group of school children. Exam technique is extremely important and must be an essential part of your exam preparation; you need to respond in exactly the way the exam board has prescribed.
After a couple of years of home-education it is quite likely that your son or daughter will be able to self-teach to some degree. It is a huge advantage that these children become autonomous and are able to follow a specification, decide on good resources and manage their learning without a teacher telling them exactly what to do. However, not all are able to do this and it does take time. Be patient and be mindful not to be in a rush when you are working with them. A fixed timetable and good home structure should enable you to focus on their needs before facing your own work and home responsibilities.