Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Experience Being Homeschooled // FAQ

If you didn't know already, I'm currently being homeschooled for the second time in my life, and obviously it's made a huge difference to my personality, attitude and pretty much everything else, so I've decided to blog about it and answer some frequently asked questions.

When did you become homeschooled and why?

I was 7 when I first became homeschooled. I left because:
  • My school was the worst in the area.
  • I was getting bullied a lot by other kids.
  • The teachers were not nice people at all.
  • I started to get really scared about attending school - it just generally wasn't a nice place.
The school environment just wasn't for me, and after researching homeschooling, I knew that was what I should be doing instead.

I then attended school from ages 11 to 14 because I wanted a full secondary school education before doing my exams. That almost went to plan, but I became homeschooled again because I started to suffer from really bad anxiety and panic attacks, which I've written about here, and I couldn't handle being in a school environment or any other busy places.

Does homeschooling = no socialisation?

If I had a pound for every time I'd been asked this question, I'd be rich. A common misconception is that homeschooling means you have to stay in your house all day every day, and you're not allowed to leave... much like a school. It's not like that at all, and people seem to forget that the definition of 'socialise' is "mix socially with others." That includes talking to friends and family in person, by phone and online, and simple things like talking to the cashier as you pack your shopping, or talking to the postman in the morning... even playing role-play games like Club Penguin (it's the only one I could think of, don't judge me) or other multi-player games is socialising. 

At home - or wherever else you might be spending your time as a homeschooled kid, because it's not always at home - you can do these things. You can't do many of the things I mentioned at school, can you? In fact, I'm pretty sure it's common for friends to get separated in class if they so much as talk to each other... just saying. ;)

Who teaches you?

The first time I was homeschooled, it wasn't structured. That means I didn't have a set time when I would work and I didn't have a set curriculum - I just learned whatever I felt like learning whenever I wanted to. If I needed something explaining, my Mum would tell me or we'd look it up online/in books. I would occasionally do worksheets or work on my own projects, but I mostly learned through doing things - going places, talking to people, reading, and just asking questions. It's surprising how much a child will want to learn if you leave them to their own devices, trust me.

Now I go to InterHigh which is an online school, so I have a qualified teacher for each subject I'm doing. You can find out more about InterHigh on their website or by watching my video (which I just realised has over 1K views - woop!)

How do you do exams?

Not all homeschooled families choose to do exams, but I have. It's also important to know that if you're homeschooled in the UK, you do IGCSEs, not GCSEs.

You register with an exam centre and then, when the time comes, you go to do your exam in a hall just like people in mainstream school. It's pretty simple!

Is it expensive to homeschool?

Not usually, no. I've heard so many people say things like, "I was going to be homeschooled but my parents said it costs too much." Homeschooling in its simplest form is completely free. The only things that could cost are optional, such as:
  • Exams (each exam you take will cost a small fee)
  • Workbooks and textbooks
  • A tutor (which isn't necessary but you might want one)

If you're thinking about becoming homeschooled or you're considering it for your child, my advice is... just go for it. Something I've realised is that school can be a springboard for some but a drawback for others. Since leaving school for the second time I've done so much that would never have been possible if I was still in mainstream school. Homeschooling isn't right for everyone, but it's perfect for me!

I think I'll leave it there but if you have any more questions, leave them in the comments and tick the box that says 'Notify me' so you'll see my answer, or you can tweet me @MileLongBookS.


  1. Love this post, Amber! I can totally relate with practically all of these questions seeing as I'm a fellow home-schooler! ;D

  2. I completely understand why you choose to be homeschooled. Unfortunatly It wasn't an option for me at the time I was in school so I had to survive 5 years with classmates with IQ's of a potato who enjoyed bullying me (here you are put in one class and you have all classes together, it's not like some other countries where you change classmates in some classes according to your schedule). At least things got a bit better when I changed schools to go highschool and didn't have any of those idiots in my classes. Then came university and I could finally breathe because ZERO went to the one I got in (only 5 of us got in xD).
    Things get better after highschool - it's not a myth :p

  3. Here in the Netherlands being homeschooled isn't that common and only in dire situations can you choose you get homeschooled, which means I don't know a lot about it. I am always surprised when I realize how many more people in other countries get homeschooled. It was interesting to read about your experience with homeschooling and I can imagine why this form of education would work better for some people.

    1. in portugal it isn't usual. I don't even know a single person in that situation

    2. That's interesting, I didn't know that. These days I know more homeschooled kids than mainstream schooled kids :)

  4. Hi Amber, I've got a bit of a random question for you. I was wondering how you're going to study your A-Levels; if you are going to study them. The reason i ask is because I read the guardian article that you were in and you said that you do your a levels online, so i was wondering if you're going to study your A-Levels that way too. if you are, can you tell me which website you're going to use. im asking because I want to study another a level but don't want to go to college for it, the thought of being in a new college with people I don't know is giving me anxiety and i was hoping you may have some insight in studying online instead

    1. Hi Rebecca! I don't plan to study A-Levels but you can do those at my online school, InterHigh. :)

  5. Study A-Levels, I want to do this very early. I'm pleased to know that I can complete my study in your online school Amber. By the way, I like this types of homeschooling what you shared here. Thanks.