These pages list a variety of educational resources which can be used for helping your children to learn at home. In the UK there are no requirements for following any specific subjects, but some families choose either to use National Curriculum text books, or a pre-packaged curriculum. In some other countries there are legal expectations for parents teaching their own children; in these cases a set syllabus may be the easiest way to get started.
Building your own resources for home education
The widespread use of computers makes home education far easier than it was in previous decades. There are a vast array of resources on the Internet. More than one home educating family has gathered together some of the best, many of which are relevant to British school-type topics. For pre-school or primary age children, one of the most useful sites is MuddlePuddle – an ongoing project with links, ideas and resources. There are some more ideas for projects, and inspiration for getting over burnout at Homeschooling Ideas.
If you want to think in terms of school-type subjects, at least initially, but are uncertain how to get started, or what books might be helpful at different stages, these subject pages will give a few suggestions which may suit your family. Choose from Maths, English, History, Science, Geography or Church history.
One of the most useful sites, dedicated to education in home and school is the BBC Learning site. You can also find a wide selection of useful resources, sorted by subject and age range, on the TES resources pages. You may have to register to use some of the resources, which are inevitably intended primarily for pupils in schools, but for those who want an idea of how the national curriculum translates into classroom learning, there are some useful lessons plans.
Finding books for home educating
When we were home educating, we liked to use a variety of text books and other resources, such as CD-Roms, some of which tied in with the UK National Curriculum, some of which were for more general interest. We buy most of our books from The Book Depository, Play.com or Amazon UK. Other home educators have found useful books, specially geared to education and related to the UK national curriculum, at CGP books or at large bookshops in their towns. A site more specifically related to educational curriculum is TPS Publishing, which has inexpensive lesson plans available, as well as some books developed for parents to use at home with children of all ages and abilities.
If you want a specific book second-hand, or one that’s out of print, the Advanced book exchange is an excellent resource, listing second-hand bookshops in the UK and elsewhere. Another good site, with a ‘Bargain Bin’ including a wide variety of used books is AwesomeBooks. It’s a good idea to look out for anything educational at jumble sales, second hand bookshops and car boot sales. Even if a book seems too advanced for your child now, it may be useful one day. Questions can arise at any time and it is always a good idea to be prepared!
Science and technology resources for home educating
One of the regular questions asked is where to get hold of science and technology supplies for use in the home. Many sites will only sell to schools or other registered organisations. However, there are some sites which allow individuals to register and order. Please check delivery rates and times before using any of them. They include:
Cochranes – This site has a range of hands-on science kits and teaching apparatus for chemistry and DNA structure (molecular modelling kits), physics, astronomy and mathematics.
Maplin – This shop has a wide selection of electronic equipment, including most components as well as some kits. Useful as first port of call for anything of this nature. Maplin has several shops around the UK which can be worth a visit, if you have one neaby.
Rapid – This site has a wide variety of tools and educational resources including some kits, electronic components, and even some kitchen gadgets for use in food technology.
SciChem – This site has a range of specifically educational supplies, but will sell to individuals or home educators as well as schools and colleges. Particularly useful for laboratory equipment.