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Should I follow the National Curriculum update?

You don’t have to follow the National Curriculum when you’re in the process of creating your own homeschooling curriculum, although there are some advantages; should your child ever return to school, by having followed the National Curriculum they’ll have comparable knowledge and skills to their peers. The National Curriculum also provides a well-designed framework of knowledge and skills for life. EdPlace is National Curriculum aligned from KS1-KS4, and our activities can help you to frame your home education curriculum. Whether you choose to stick with the National Curriculum or not when it comes to homeschooling your child, EdPlace are here to help your child with English worksheets, maths worksheets and science worksheets.


Click here to find out what’s in the National Curriculum

There are some advantages to following the National Curriculum; should your child ever return to school, by having followed the National Curriculum they’ll have comparable knowledge and skills to their peers.

Miss Amy, teacher and homeschooling writer

Ensuring they’re ready for exams

The National Curriculum is a framework for learning, but it doesn’t cover everything that exam boards expect children to know at KS4. At this level you’ll need to choose an exam board and work from their specifications. There are lots of boards to choose from; AQA, CCEA, Eduqas, Edexcel, OCR, SQA and WJEC.

When choosing your exam board there are a few things to consider; should you wish your child to return to school at some point it would be useful to know which exam boards that school uses. Schools in Wales use WJEC, schools in Northern Ireland use CCEA, Scottish schools use SQA whilst schools in England can choose exam boards. You should also consider the methods of assessment, and if you are able to cater for them at home. Finding a location for your child to sit the actual examinations is also a deciding factor.

Using past papers from your chosen examination board’s website can be useful to test understanding. When teaching at KS4 it’s important to remember that whilst it’s important to cover the content which could be assessed in the exam, you can also explore other topics and should not consider yourself limited by the exam board specification. There’s a big world out there to learn from, not just a list of topics provided by an exam board.

Deciding “working hours”

Most schools teach 25 hours of lessons per week. You might decide that you want to teach for more or less than that to fit in with your homeschooling program goals. The minimum amount required to receive Child Benefit as a homeschooler is 12.5 hours per week, but the amount you teach really depends on what is right for your child and it may take you a few weeks, at the outset, to establish what is best. Deciding on the working hours is as important for your homeschool curriculum as the content!


You have flexibility when it comes to your home education program; you can fit your teaching and learning hours around other commitments and work out what suits you. Remember, not all learning hours need to be in the traditional book learning setting; visits to museums or other establishments count. As will cooking in the kitchen, or any other activity where your child is able to learn or put their skills into practice.

When you have decided on your learning hours, it’s a good idea to break this time up into lessons - homeschool lesson planning is one of the most important parts of the process! These lessons shouldn’t be too long; we all struggle to maintain concentration for a long period! A good rule of thumb is that most learners’ maximum period of peak learning is about 30-40 minutes, so a 30-minute lesson might be an advisable place to start. If you feel your child might benefit from longer lessons, feel free to extend them as they develop.

When you have the maximum number of lesson slots you want to teach, invest in a wall chart or use one of the many free online calendars such as Outlook or Google Calendar to map in what you are going to teach and when.

The minimum amount of hours required to receive Child Benefit as a homeschooler once your child has reached the age of 16 is 12 hours per week, but the amount you teach really depends on what is right for your child and it may take you a few weeks, at the outset, to establish what is best.

Miss Amy, teacher and homeschooling writer

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