Organised resources for home education

While some UK home educating parents like to educate in an eclectic or autonomous style, choosing their own resources as and when they seem appropriate, others prefer to use a set syllabus or some kind of guidelines, at least to begin with. In some countries there are legal expectations for parents teaching their own children. In these cases, a set syllabus may be the easiest way to start. If you prefer to explore and build your own resources – or, indeed, if you would like to find educational books and equipment in addition to using a curriculum – you might like to see the general home education resources page.

Note that most of the organisations listed require fees, some payable in advance. Please read a site’s terms and conditions before signing up for anything. Check the cancellation policies, and ensure you know in advance exactly what fees or other costs will be charged. 

Organised resources for home education – UK based

Ambleside Online
This excellent site provides a good compromise between building your own resources and using someone else’s. It is based on Charlotte Mason’s ideas about education, and the need for good ‘living’ books. There are extensive reading lists for each year and a 36-week schedule to follow, if you want to. It emphasises flexibility, and the importance of adapting to your own family’s needs. Best of all, the entire curriculum is free. Many of the books recommended are available free as e-books, so the only cost is any books that you might want to buy.

This is a ‘live British e-school’ offering virtual classrooms. There are real teachers online for about six hours a week at primary level in core subjects – literacy, numeracy and science. They offer up to eight IGCSE subjects for secondary age students. Not particularly cheap, but if you want to ensure your child covers the National Curriculum in key subjects and is well prepared for exams, this might be worth considering.

This site offers interactive tutorials and worksheets for students of all ages up to GCSE level. English, maths and science are offered, aligned with the UK national curriculum.

This service service, offers full tuition in several National Curriculum subjects for students aged 11-16. Has the possibility of GCSE in the final year. There are 2-3 hours per day of ‘virtual tuition’ online.

NorthStar Worldwide
A Christian organisation committed to secondary education via email and the Internet. One or more courses can be selected at either Key Stage 3 or GCSE level. Could be very useful for children wanting to study a subject which the parent does not understand. Full prospectus and details available on the web site.

Old-Fashioned Education
If you want to educate in a classical style, using out-of-print texts and traditional (American) styles, then this site has some excellent resources and links, all free. Even if you do not want to use all the resources, they can make good additions to any other home education programme.

Periplus Education
Online education support for for secondary students (ages 10-17). This organisation provides a spectrum of online learning tools. For home educated teens and others in the UK and abroad.

For details of other UK organisations offering GCSE exams, and in some cases A-levels, see my GCSE page.

Organised resources for home education – USA based

School of Tomorrow (ACE)
This is a popular Christian curriculum in the USA, now adapted somewhat for European usage. Rather than being in ‘grades’, each child is tested and then given workbooks at his or her ability level in each subject. Children select their own aims and take responsibility for their learning. Once the child reaches the level roughly equivalent to UK schools Year 8 in any subject, they can enrol for the ‘International Certificate of Christian Education‘ programme which leads to diplomas equivalent to GCSEs and A-levels, acceptable by many universities in the UK.

For a freer approach based on literature, particularly useful if you are not living near a library. This is a Christian curriculum but could be used by anyone, and has a fair amount of flexibilty built in, as well as the option of supplying art and science supplies by mail. You can send off for their full catalogue from their web site. There is a discussion list at yahoogroups for British families using the Sonlight curriculum.

Other popular American Christian homeschool curricula can be found at:

A-Beka books
Alpha Omega publications
Konos Curriculum
Bob Jones Press

For more details about some of these packages, and to help you find your way around the bewildering array of available resources, see  The curriculum minefield. If you are particularly interested in secondary or GCSE courses, see the GCSE page which lists various options for home educators.