Sunday, 29 November 2015

KS3 Structured Curriculum materials for newcomers to Home Education.

Structured HE - some learning resources just to get you started.

Please don't go spending a fortune at first, it takes a while to suss your child's preferred learning style. We think the real burning need for text books only comes when you hit the exam syllabus stage; and that until then most stuff can actually be gleaned for free or very low cost. Start with the free stuff and only make purchases when you are sure you actually need them. This will mean that hopefully you will have the funds available for any really critical things you may find your child needs further down the line such as private therapies. 

The Home Education community often negotiates group discounts on things like specialist dyslexia software etc. So do ask in our Face Book group, before splurging out on items like this. For most things someone, somewhere will have found a way of accessing it more cheaply.
Some ideas - We've included paid for resources but have a definite leaning towards totally free when possible. 


At 11 I would stick with this course for maths as its free, until you need a specific exam board textbook later on. That keeps the costs down for one core subject.


For science I really do love this range at KS3. very visual, fun & with an accompanying CD

Do check out

A couple of great courses coming up in the next term or so we'd recommend

- basic science experiments

- the science of nutrition

Khan Academy is great for Science and maths.


For languages - the bookpeople have a sale on at the moment with complete MFL courses inc audio reduced from over £100 to just £22. Language Boxes in the main European languages - here
The bbc and duolingo also offer a range of free MFL resources. 

English - Free again!
This is a fab structured resource. Most of the literary texts are available totally free through the site too. Gives a really solid grounding in English language and literacy. Incorporates History in a lovely way too - wonderful to read about how people really lived as its all interconnected so nicely. 
Amazon often do second hand textbooks for as little as a penny. You just pay £2.80 postage and 9 times out of ten the books are in near perfect condition. We've often had great success finding CGP textbooks this way.
Abesbooks is another place to find standard textbooks much cheaper than the RRP.

Need a FREE KS3 Poetry Course? We love this one from NI. Huge poetry teaching PDF for ages 12yrs plus. (Key stage 3 in Northern Ireland). This is a brilliant resource for older children and uses computer skills, research, poetry and reading comprehension. Really good.

English - reading comprehension and analysis!
Very good resource!
Book review reports, reading comprehension templates, critical analysis templates.

A common crisis - when Transition to secondary doesn't go as hoped.

Our stance

Children are sometimes withdrawn from the school system at crisis point, after failing to get the support needed to remain there. Parents are then left to cope unaided, with helping their children recover their mental health. Opting out of school does not mean opting out of health care too, yet as the referral route is unadvertised families are at risk of being left isolated as things stand.
School refusal, anxiety disorders and child mental health generally is a very complex area, and a burden parents should not have to shoulder alone. Nor should teachers, themselves not medically qualified to do so, be expected to perform mental health triage services to decide upon who is worthy of a rationed referral slot. As a first step the situation could be greatly improved if professionals & parents could work together to make the GP the first point of contact with the authority to refer children for expert support. Where children are unable to return to school, their educational needs including the ability to sit public exams should still be a key consideration of all involved. There are a huge variety of options available to choose from, from parental elective home education, thru LA home tutoring and online live teaching. We need to ensure parents are fully aware of all the options available, and that professionals fully engage with and listen to the child's own preferences, allowing that they may well change over time, if with support the child's mental health improves

What to do? 

The Transition to Year 7 is sadly when for many children with ALN it all starts to fall apart. Poor advance planning, lack of a statement as the previous Primary was coping, or just the sheer scale of the average comprehensive being too overwhelming means that this is a common time for folks to join us in the Home Ed community.

If this is your current situation here's a few pointers:-

1. Do not rush to de-register without first taking expert legal advice. Once electively home educating, in practice it can be very hard to arrange the support needed for a return to school should family circumstances dictate. We've listed a few of the places you can go to ask for help here:-

2. If after decent advice you still feel Home Education is the right way forward then come and talk to us on Face Book, and we'll support you through deregistration, help you find your local Home Education Group & generally offer moral support throughout those scary, early days and beyond. You'll also find lots of free or low cost specialist ALN learning resources listed in the files section of the group. This is a handy reference section when needed.

3. Your child's mental health is always more important than grades, so spend those first few precious weeks or months at home focusing on reengaging your child with that natural love of learning for the sheer fun of learning that all young children begin with. Take time to allow any emotional wounds to heal. Carefully observe your child and note what their preferred learning style is, and how they might enjoy learning best.

This phase is sometimes referred to as "de-schooling" in Home Ed circles, although a more proper term would be a "period of adjustment". It definitely does not mean that no learning is taking place. It would be much better to see it described as a critical phase of adjustment, to a whole new lifestyle and mode of learning for the child. It is fine to experiment during this phase with different pedagogues and approaches until you find the exact combination of methods, strategies and techniques that best suit your individual child's needs.

4. Take a look at our previous blog post "Dispelling the Myths" where a variety of real life home educators of children with additional learning needs have described how they approach home education. There are several Autonomous Education Blogs listed for those for whom that approach appeals.

5. For those who feel that a more structured approach might suit, we've put together a Skeleton KS3 Curriculum and some hints and tips for you just to get you started.  This will be our next post.

Author - Steph Shobiye.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Many children in Wales are now educated outside the traditional school environment. This group was set up in direct response to the ALN BIll Wales Consultation, which opened on 6th July 2015. This is in order to help parents ensure that the needs of those children who are not in school are considered properly in the upcoming legislative changes. We offer information help, and support to families across Wales.This legislation will impact 22% Welsh children with special or additional learning needs from birth till age 25. (A rise from 2.7% currently).

We are currently working on several initiatives within this remit, and the following posts will tell you a little about those. 

We've set up a Face Book Group - here

We hope the group will become a safe space to share our hopes, dreams and fears as we rise to the challenge of educating our special needs children here in Wales. We accept all families who EHE a child with Additional Learning Needs, whether diagnosed or not. Those who are very seriously considering HE will find us a safe place to ask all those tricky questions. We also invite those families who are designated EOTAS to join us.

In order to keep this a safe space for open debate and discussion, around what can be sensitive topics - we do ask that posts are not shared outside the group. Members who feel unable to comply with this rule, will be removed. 

The group membership is made of families & some professionals. These experts are carefully selected to be HE sympathetic in order to help us get the best possible deal from the proposed changes to a very complex area of law

Dispelling the Myths - What exactly is it that Home Educators do all day?

Dispelling the myths
– please find a list of blogs and web links produced by a variety of real life families who home educate. We hope that you’ll take a look and that it will help inform you as to what actually happens on a day to day basis in our homes, lives and communities. Home Education offers the incredible opportunity to truly differentiate and tailor make the education to suit a child's interests, while supporting their additional learning needs.

Please do note all opinions expressed are those of the authors, and they do not attempt to represent anyone but themselves.
Hey everyone! As some of you already know...I don't go to school! And I get…

Agi "Since I was 8 I have been making a yearly documentary about my relationship with My Little Sister Magdalena, who happens to have Down's syndrome. You can see the first episode for free here"
(for anyone who wants you can purchase the other 7 episodes).

Our bravest Autonomous Home Educator! Follow her trip across Africa with her autistic daughter.  

Four children with additional needs educated at home.  

Sharing creative ideas for other parents

Home educating with a large slice of autism

The Home education adventures of Bastian
ABA in Scotland.


A year 6 Autumn in Swansea

Ten reasons why we should not be forcibly registered.

A new twitter page about Home educating a child with additional needs
Logical Incrementalism - here

Funded Home - Help4Joss programme

 Living, running a business & home educating 2 boys on the spectrum
The trials and smiles of a home schooling mum as she shares her secrets on educating her autistic and…

And the Twitter for it is: @LifeOfStarGirl


ALN Bill Consultation Events across Wales.

Running list of all the opportunities for face to face engagements we know of so far.

SNAP Cymru: Pembrokeshire
23rd November 2015, 9:00am - 1:00pm
The Picton Centre, Haverfordwest SA61 1UG

WAG stakeholder events
Venue Cymru, Llandudno
24 November 2015, 9.00-13.00

WAG Stakeholder events
City Hall, Cardiff
30 November 2015, 9.00-13.00 - NOW FULL
Sinclairs Legal Firm with Mike Charles - to be confirmed.
Cardiff City Stadium 25th November 6pm.
SNAP Cymru/SHED: Swansea
7th December 1.00 - 3.00pm
Penlan Children's Centre, Swansea SA5 7AZ

BHEC & WAG Brigend - date/venue to be confirmed

Please do share the relevant details to your local HE groups. We also need to urgently get the word out that WRITTEN wag responses directly to the WAG consultation on their website are the only way to be sure that the voice of the EHE child or young person is heard.
The appallingly low (153) response rate to the EHE consultation earlier this year, is something that we MUST improve upon.
There is strength in numbers and we must utilise that!

More details of these meetings can be found as per usual in our Face Book group here