One of the principles of home education is that a child can learn at their own rate, but how you do make sure they're actually making progress?
Parents have a responsibility to ensure their children get an efficient and suitable full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, at school or otherwise. While your child won't be taking formal tests like SATs if they're being educated at home, the local authority could make contact with you to check how they're getting on, and will want to see evidence that your child is making progress.
But this doesn't have to be through formal testing: your evidence could be, for instance, examples of your child's writing from across the year, a list of books they've read, maths workbooks or a scrapbook about a project they've worked on.
'Children learn very quickly if they're interested in something, such as reading the stories they want to. The difference, compared to a school approach, is that you aren’t insisting they learn something if they don’t want to,' says Dr Thomas, senior lecturer at the Institute of Education, University College London . 'You will know your child is progressing if they're taking an interest and happy to learn.' Collecting evidence of this as you work with your child is the best way to demonstrate that they're making progress.
If you're following a more structured home education programme, perhaps with a set daily timetable and workbooks covering the curriculum subjects, you may prefer a structured approach to measuring your child's progress, too. At school, this is done in a number of ways: through observation, teacher assessment and testing. All of these can be replicated at home. For example, with observation, you might set your child a science practical to see how light affects plant growth. By watching them do the task, you can observe whether they've fulfilled the learning objective.
With ongoing assessment, you might give them a weekly writing or maths challenge, and see how their work develops and matures over time. Using workbooks can be helpful in structuring your child's learning and allowing you to see if they're making progress.
You can also give them tests at set intervals - perhaps at the end of each half-term, as would be the case if your child was at school. You could use past and practice papers (available online) to see how they're progressing in core subjects.