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So what about maths and English?

So what about maths and English?

Home educating parents often say that there are no set subjects and they are right, but woe betide anyone who takes that literally! This requirement comes from precedent (you might know the term ‘case law’) and the lofty heights of the European Court of Human Rights, but nowhere on that journey was there any stipulation that you must teach your child specific subjects, just that they must be enabled to be numerate (can do maths) and literate (can read and write). So what does that mean in practice?

Look at your own child as an individual, as it is not about the average child, or a child at school, it is about your child. Have they learnt something which they could not do before? Is what they have learnt suitable to their age (easy one), ability (skills and knowledge that the child has), aptitude (potential that can be improved) and special needs? If the answer is ‘yes’, the maths and literacy part of the education is suitable.


To give an example of a child who is not having specific lessons, but who is obsessed with scooters (random example!): If all the child does all day is ride their scooter, that is not a suitable education. However, if the child calculates routes to use to ride the scooter and how long it will take to ride that route (calculations of speed, distance and time), is saving money to budget to buy a new scooter and manages their own bank account (practical maths), if the child has studied forms of scooters and calculated best value for money, or interest rates, then the child is receiving a suitable education in terms of numeracy. If the child has special needs and could not ride a scooter, but watches someone who can and, after a lot of struggle learns to say ‘one scooter’ that child is receiving a suitable education in terms of numeracy.


If the child keeps notes of each journey (writing), or makes written plans in advance (writing), writes to friends telling them about their journeys (writing) and reads about scooters online regularly, then that covers the literacy requirement of education. The special needs child who has learnt the meaning of a new word (scooter) has received a suitable education.

Do you really not do any maths and English? Or has your child been reading, writing and making calculations? If you view it as lessons, then the answer might be ‘no’, but that is not how home education works. Look at what your child has done and look for examples of numeracy and literacy: does he or she read? Do they type on a keyboard? Keep a notebook? Work hard to master a new word, or count on their fingers?

Your individual child and your individual method of home educating do not need to be forced into the square hole of ‘make it look like school’, celebrate your child as the individual they are.