So you have withdrawn your child from school and began your Home Schooling journey.
After the first few weeks the LEA (Local Education Authority) will arrange for an officer to meet with you and discuss how things are going and address any concerns or questions that you might have.
Although it’s not a legal requirement and some people prefer not to go ahead with this, but we did and would recommend others who are just starting out in Home Education.
You can arrange for them to come to your home, or maybe you would prefer to meet on neutral grounds away from home, perhaps a library, cafe etc. It is totally up to you whether you wish for your child to be present or not during the meeting. Our Son was present, he was happily eating his lunch and playing with his toys. The Officer had a lovely casual chat about what he was playing and left him to it.
Prior to our first visit we read a lot of other people’s stories online to know what to expect from our meeting and some experiences sounded an absolute nightmare to be honest. Some were stating to NEVER invite them into your home, they will pick faults with your methods of learning, try to catch you out and so forth. This was not the case with us at all.
I have firmly believed from the word go that if you are doing your very best to ensure that your child gets a solid education then why would anybody want to try to catch you out or pick faults? If you are doing your very best then there should be no need to worry, after all the LEA are there to assist you and your family.
Prior to your appointment get together a small collection of your child’s work so that the officer can take a look at what you have been up to. Perhaps you do a lot of work online? Then make a list of some of the resources you use for your teaching and how you incorporate it into your sessions. Outings? Tell them all about how you use outings for learning (if you do so) visiting castles, or zoos and so on. It just helps give them a picture of your approach to Home ed’ and they can give you suitable advice or resources that could be of help.
Our officer gave us lots of very useful resources to look into, it was certainly welcomed as we had just started out and although we used quite a few online sources already, she made us aware of several others which we now use too.
They can also put you in touch with organisations close by to your home who participate in home ed group meetings and workshops.
They will be taking notes, but don’t feel intimidated by this, it’s routine.
I would suggest you do the same, jot down useful tips, advice or pointers. And make sure you address any concerns or any questions you need answering, they will be more than happy to help. Normally they will post you a copy of the meetings notes a few weeks afterwards for your reference.
That is pretty much it. Our meeting lasted around 45 minutes and it went very well indeed. Not once did I feel intimidated or scrutinised in any way, shape or form.
Coming up in the next issue of Learning Without Limits – Helpful Resources for Home Education.