Homeschooling at Key Stage 2

If you have a child in school at key stage two and are considering moving to home education, this post explains everything you need to know and also suggests some resources you might like to use when homeschooling at key stage 2.

Key stage 2 refers to English school years 3, 4, 5 and 6, so roughly 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 years old.

A note on language: In my posts, I refer to “homeschooling”. In the UK, the correct term for educating your child at home is “home Educating”, with homeschooling referring to a child doing work at home that has been set by school. I use the the term homeschooling in my posts because many people who are new to home educating will use the term homeschooling when searching online and I want to make sure they can find the information.

How do you Start Homeschooling at KS2?

The process to start home educating is fairly straightforward if your child attends a mainstream school in England. You simply need to send an email to the head teacher informing them. There is some legal wording you should include which you can find in this post on deregistration letters.

The school is then required to inform the Local Authority of your decision, you don’t need to do this yourself. It is considered good practice for schools to offer you a meeting to discuss deregistering, however you are under no obligation to attend.

Some schools will tell you that they can’t remove your child until the local authority agrees or say that there is a cooling off period before they are removed. Neither of these are legal requirements however, you can simply ignore them as once you have sent the deregistration letter you have done your part. Once it’s action it will be backdated to the date on the letter so you can’t be fined.

Most schools will accept an email for deregistration but some may asked you send a signed letter.

If your child attends a special school or is in school in Scotland you will need to seek permission from the local authority to deregister them. Educational Freedom has a template for special schools and Scottish schools.

Once you have deregistered you should have a look at the Elective Home Education guidance for your country. Here are links to the English Guidance, the Welsh Guidance, the Scottish Guidance or the Northern Irish Guidance.

Will Anyone Check up on Me?

The Local Authority has a duty to identify children who are not receiving an eduction and as part of that duty they will contact home educating families and ask them to demonstrate that they are providing an education. Have a look at this post on the Local Authority for more information.

What does my Homeschooled Key Stage 3 Child Need to Learn?

There are no set rules about what home educated children need to learn, the Education provided should be full time and suitable for their age, aptitude and ability as well as any special needs they have.

“Full time” isn’t defined in law but is usually interpreted to mean taking up a significant amount of a child’s time. Many people feel that because we are learning all the time, the number of learning hours can’t be quantified.

“Suitable” is also not defined in law but is usually taken to mean that education should prepare them to live in their community as an adult and not stop them from functioning in other communities.

Local Authorities usually take the view that this means children should develop literacy and numeracy skills as well as not being overly isolated.

Literacy for Homeschooling at Key Stage 2

Literacy is the way we use reading, writing and speaking in our lives. Literacy doesn’t have to look like English lessons at school.

Children can practice reading through things like playing board games and reading the instructions, reading recipes, reading stories, magazines, non fiction books, posters in the street, signs in shops, instructions on toys and a million other ways. As a parent you can support them by discussing what they are reading to help them understand it.

Writing can be practiced through writing stories, shopping lists, to do lists, goals, diaries etc. Remember that it isn’t just handwriting that counts. Typing also helps to practice spelling and putting our thoughts into words. Plenty of games have chat functions so playing with friends can help, even sending text messages practices literacy.

Speaking can be practiced through conversations; with parents, siblings, friends, relatives and staff in places that you visit.

Numeracy for Homeschooling at Key Stage 2

Numeracy is about the way we use numbers and mathematical skills in everyday life. Like developing literacy, developing numeracy doesn’t have to look like maths at school.

Here are some ways that your child might practice numeracy while homeschooling:

  • Reading maps
  • Planning journey times
  • Weighing ingredients
  • Adjusting quantities in recipes
  • Measuring for new furniture
  • Working out the volume of paint needed for a room
  • Working out distances
  • Calculating percentage discounts at the shops
  • Working out best value when choosing products
  • Working out how much more they need to save up for something they want

If you would like to use more formal methods for literacy and numeracy you’ll find some resources towards the end of this post.

Socialising for Key Stage 2 Children

Everyone worries about how home educated children socialise but there are actually lots of opportunities. If you search Facebook for “Home education” and the name of your county or town you will likely find an active Facebook group full of meet ups and activities for home educated children.

If your child isn’t ready for groups yet you can also post to see if there are any children with similar interests who would like to meet up one to one.

Remember that social skills can also be developed through contact with family friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, the librarian, the milk man etc.

Exercise for Home Educated Children

It’s also important that your child has enough opportunities to move their bodies and keep fit. At lower key stage 2 age, the park is an easy and free way to do this. Walks, skating, skateboarding, riding bikes and riding scooters are also great cheap/free options.

If you have some budget available you’ll probably find that there are a number of sports based activities for home educators in your community. We have access to football, gymnastics, dance, martial arts, athletics and swimming in our immediate area. If I drive for 30 minutes I can also add circus skills, boxing, tennis and fencing to the list.

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What about SATs and the Times Tables Check?

Both the KS2 SATS that take place in year 6 and the time tables check that takes place in year 4 exist to measure the schools success in teaching your child. This means they have no relevance to homeschooling at key stage 2.

If you are planning for your child to go to High School in year 7 you may be worried about your child missing SATs. While secondary schools do take SATs results into account when “setting” pupils at the start of year 7, they also do their own assessments once the children start and will move children to different groups as they see fit. This means that if your child gets put in the wrong set, it won’t be very long.

The Transition from School to Home Education

The transition from school to home education can be a big one for both you and your child. Letting go of the idea that sitting at a desk and being told information to memorise is the only way to learn can often be more difficult for adults than children.

Deschooling is often discussed in the home education community as a period of time when you first start home education and are letting go of ideas around school style learning. While education must start from the first day you deregister, that learning can look however you like. The term deschooling can be misinterpreted (especially by local authorities) as meaning that no learning is taking place. The idea is actually that you don’t do any school type sit down learning and learning happens through life and following your child’s interests.

It is usually suggested that you need a month of deschooling for every year of school, however in my opinion the time required depends a lot of what the school experience has been like. Children who had a traumatic time at school will likely need need longer than those who didn’t.

Learning Resources for Homeschooling at Key Stage 2

There are many resources available if you would like to do some formal learning with your key stage 2 child. They range from free resources like worksheets to full online schools. The information below will give you an idea of what’s available.

Books for Home Educating at Key Stage 3

You may be able to find generic English and Maths workbooks quite cheaply in shops like The Works or Home Bargains.

CGP books are a popular choice and are available from Amazon. There are different variations but you’ll want to get the ones labelled as “The Study Book” or “Targeted Study and Questions” as those ones explain the concept whereas the workbooks only really include the questions. If you’re looking for subjects beyond maths, English and science CGPs “Study and Learn” series covers various history and geography topics.

Worksheets

Worksheets can be a good way to practice but bear in mind that they won’t usually explain a topic, just ask questions about it. Here are some good sources of worksheets:

  • Twinkl – Twinkl has a vast number of resources for all school years olds including worksheets. There is some free content but you have to subscribe to get access to more. There is a free trial and they sometimes offer home educators discounts through their home education Facebook group.
  • Learning Resources – Learning resources offer free worksheets on a wide range of Key Stage two topics including STEM and coding
  • Teachit – Teachit offers lots of free resources, you just need to sign up for a free account to download them.
  • TES Resources – TES resources has a mix of paid and free content including lots of worksheets.

Websites for Home Educating

There are lots of websites out there for teaching children, some free and some charging a subscription fee.

  • BBC Bitesize – Bitesize offers lots of resources for learning at key stage 2 age. They cover art, citizenship, computing, English, maths, geography, history, music, Religious education and science. They include plenty of videos, quizzes and games to keep it interactive and it’s all completely free.
  • Oak National Academy – Oak National Academy was set up during the pandemic and provides free video lessons at key stage 2 level for art, design technology, drama, english, maths, science, geography, history, computing, music, PE, Spanish, French and religious education.
  • The School Run – The school run is a subscription service where you can access resources for KS2 maths, English and topic work.
  • IXL – IXL is a subscription website with some free content that offers practice questions for KS2 in maths and English 
  • Doodle Learning – Doodle learning is a subscription service that teaches maths and English. There is a limited amount of free content and then a monthly fee.
  • Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds – This pair of programmes teach reading and maths respectively through a staged programme. There is a monthly charge after the free trial. Both of my children used these programmes.
  • Edplace – Edplace is a subscription site which offers a limited amount of content for free. For Key stage 2 it covers English, maths and science.
  • Teach Your Monster to Read – This a free reading programme from Usbourne that my youngest really liked.

Online Classes for Key Stage 2

There are lots of online classes available at a range of different price points. Some are live classes where children can interact and some are prerecorded.

  • Learn Laugh Play – Learn laugh Play offer a wide range of subjects at KS2 including maths, English, science, crafts, pottery, Spanish, French, Mandarin, history, animal care, art and Minecraft.
  • £2 Tuition Hub – £2 tuition Hub offers lots of classes for Key stage 2 age at just £2 per class payable in blocks. Some subjects include, maths, English science, Japan, art, piano, geography, French, cooking and yoga.
  • Theatre of Science – Theatre of science offers free online science lessons including an all ages home education science lesson and a lego story time. You can watch live on Facebook or YouTube or catch up on YouTube.
  • Outschool – American based live classes, big range of subjects many of which are appropriate for KS2
  • Homemade Education – Homemade education has some online courses suitable for the upper end of Key Stage 2 (9-11 years). Subjects include art, science, history, maths and English.

Online Schools

Online schools offer a “one stop shop” for home educators, covering a full curriculum as well as school type extras like assemblies and pastoral support. The online schools below cater for Key Stage 2:

If you have an older or younger child you might be interested these posts, homeschooling at KS1, homeschooling at KS3 and homeschooling at KS4.

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Mum and son learning together, text reads "starting homeschooling at Key stage 2"

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