Wednesday, August 01, 2012

New blog: Catholic Home Education UK

Home schooling /education is quite big in the UK. The legal regime is favourable, compared to many other countries (it is banned in Germany), and there are some good organisations which helped fend off the most recent attempts to impose onerous regulation. But the Catholic population here is not huge, and while Catholic home schooling is very significant in the USA, it makes very little impact here. So it is great to see a new blog on the subject, designed to stimulate debate and share resources:

Amanda Lewin is a long-standing home-schooler, with her oldest children approaching the A-level point, so she's been through a lot of the schooling process with them. She is also part of a traddy home-schooling hotspot around Oxford and Reading; there are quite a few families who attend the Oxford Oratory and St William of York Reading (served by the FSSP) who teach their children at home.

These families by no means all do the same thing. Amanda's blog is specifically aimed to help with the process of using UK qualifications, rather than American courses. UK qualifications, most obviously the IGCSE (International GCSEs, which don't have masses of course-work and so can be done from home more easily). Preparing children for IGCSEs fits in most seamlessly with getting children into either University or into a school or six-form college. It can look quite scary: you need five or more GCSEs to cut the mustard in University entrance. But it is not impossible to achieve this, if you know where to find the resources.

The St Catherine's Trust Summer School exists, in part, for home-schoolers; more than half of our pupils this year were being taught at home. It gives them experience of class-room teaching, interaction with a large and different group of children, and time with teachers with different interests to those they get at home. It is also a good advert for home education: the home ed children are consistently the ones who will put their hands up, answer questions, and articulate their thoughts.

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