Organised resources for home education

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 guidelines, at least to begin with. Below are listed several online organisations which provide resources for home education.

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 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. You can find many of the recommended books free as e-books. You may find others at your library.

This is a ‘live British e-school’ with 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. It is not particularly cheap, but the course covers the National Curriculum in key subjects and prepares children well for exams.

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

This site has been established as a complete online secondary school since 2005. They welcome students from all ability levels who can study a range of subjects, from Key Stage 3 through to A-levels.

NorthStar Worldwide
A Christian organisation committed to secondary education via email and the Internet. You can select one or more courses at either Key Stage 3 or GCSE level. This could be  useful for children wanting to study a subject which the parent does not understand. There is a full prospectus 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.

Science Video Courses
Developed by a teacher, these are courses designed to teach science via video, to explain concepts thoroughly, as an addition to both primary and secondary school science curriculum.  Also material for students taking different IGCSE science subjects.

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.