In 2013 we had been considering home education for a while. Our son was unfulfilled at school and it seemed to us and him that he was wasting his time when there was so much more to learn than the national curriculum was providing. Some additional factors kicked in and we began researching it (home education) in more detail. We looked at a number of curriculums that were ‘National Curriculum’ based, that is they provide the materials you need to match the ‘National Curriculum’ in any given year. There are plenty of suppliers that do this such as Icthus, but as our son had been bored with the school fayre, we deeded to shoot a little higher. We eventually settled on Galore Park. In Galore Park’s own words:

Galore Park specialises in preparation for 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance exams and leads the market in textbooks for pupils studying at independent schools. Our Key Stage 2 and 3 textbooks and revision resources are rigorously checked by teachers and examiners before going to press, with most titles endorsed by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB).Galore Park Website

At the time we looked they also claimed to supply curriculums to over 200 private schools in the UK and provide superior content to the national curriculum. Of all the programmes we looked at it seemed to be the best for our needs so we went with it. The years programme we required was for an 8-9 year old so the equivalent of year 4 in the UK. In total for the year it cost around £200 to cover a number of core subjects like English, Maths, History, French, Science. We supplemented this curriculum with extra learning around these subjects and bought some extra books for Geography and additional learning. We had Art covered as this is the field of both parents and we have half a lifetimes-worth of beautiful art books. We also had a great discount for monthly piano and violin lessons from the local music centre, so when combined this formed quite a robust curriculum. As our son had a hand in selecting all his learning materials himself he was extremely enthusiastic about them. When they arrived, upon opening them the quality of the content could be easily discerned. The maths book alone was 3-4 times the thickness of the NC equivalent and absolutely packed with content.

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We have worked through most of these books now with great effect. They certainly come with quite a high recommendation from us and are ideal if you want to segue from the structure of school in smaller steps. They are a little more involved than the NC materials but remember you’re now giving your children much more attention and support. The books are a little dry because they are rigorous, so we supplemented the courses with other resources (which had always been our plan) such as lap book and project work. Whilst the books provided our core learning especially in science and history, they also prompted us to wander off along other lines of enquiry. Nothing is more valuable in home education than the time you get with your children, and this much improved one-on-one time gives you the opportunity to dwell on subjects and points that may be giving your little ones a little trouble. These aren’t always what you expect and small points that would be skipped over in a class of 30 children can be ironed out neatly before you progress. We give the Galore Park books 3 and a half stars.