As thousands of school children sit their exams at this time of year, there’s another group also doing the same, without having been through school. Home educated youngsters will be taking exams also, although most people are unaware that they do so.
Home schooling families take GCSEs, and some do A Levels too, independently of schooling and go on to achieve good grades alongside their school peers.
There are plenty of resources to help them achieve this; courses and course books, online resources and tutor facilities like this one. Most of the examining bodies running the courses provide recommendations for books and these can be supported and cross referenced by using information accessible online.
Also, as more and more families turn to home education there is a building network of groups, both physical and online via social media, to support families through study, overcome concerns, and give opportunities to work together. They can travel to exam centres together and have a familiar face alongside during the exam.
It can be challenging to study for and sit exams independently, but it is equally challenging to do so through school, it’s just that the challenges are different.
The advantage though is the choice that becomes available. There is more choice in subject and content, which would usually be decided by the teacher or school. Independent learners can choose modules which suit their preferences and strengths. And there is a wider range of subjects than those normally offered in school.
They can also make other choices about the time they choose to study for and sit an exam. School children are required to do their GCSEs between the ages of fourteen and sixteen normally. And often do up to ten subjects all at the same time.
Independent learners can choose how many to do and when, based on their personal skill and maturity, spreading them out over different time scales if they wish. For example, some families have taken one exam when their child was fourteen, two the following year and two the year after. This brings them the required five for Uni entrance and although you may think they have to beat competition with others who may have more, Unis seem very open and welcoming to home educated students, knowing they are motivated to study independently, and usually ask them for interview. Other families do them in different time scales – the choice is up to them.
Children can also study at the time of day which suits them best. As I discussed in an article before, some learn much better later in the day, particularly teenagers, so they plan their time to suit their individual needs.
So, as school children undertake their exams at the present time, home educated students will be doing the same. They will have approached their study quite differently from school children, but in nearly all cases they will achieve the same good grades as a result.