If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know we’re pretty eclectic, low-tech, kind of unschooly homeschoolers.
So it may come as a surprise to learn that we’ve been using Education Perfect for a while now.
I mean, it’s a full curriculum! It’s fairly structured and school-like!
And it’s SCREEN-BASED!
But we’ve found it fits in surprisingly well with our casual, child-led, but academic approach, and in this post I’ll tell you why we’re homeschooling with Education Perfect and how it works for us.
The Perils of Homeschooling Teens
In the primary years my kids were keen for most things. We did lots of crafts and activities, hands-on learning, and used fun curriculum resources.
Homeschooling primary school was pretty easy, to be honest.
But as my kids reached the teenage years and their knowledge became more advanced, and their interests more specialised, the available resources seemed to shrink significantly.
AND they got much less excited about the ideas I came up with.
(I’m blaming it on teen apathy, because I think my ideas are pretty good).
Plus they became capable of studying pretty independently, and wanted to.
And so we needed to find a new approach to bridge the few years until they could begin work or tertiary study.
MOOCs worked well for a while, but my kids ran out of topics they were interested in after a year or so.
High school textbooks were pretty boring, and if we didn’t understand something and we couldn’t work it out with Google (hello physics) it was frustrating and got neglected.
And I was stuck with semi-bored children who wanted to do SOMETHING that felt like they were achieving and making academic progress, while still leaving plenty of time for their hobbies and interests.
How we started using Education Perfect
We started using Education Perfect for their fantastic competitions, way back in 2016. At the time my kids enjoyed it, and we thought about paying and making it a regular part of their work, but Education Perfect wasn’t really geared to homeschoolers back then – it was very expensive and looked like I’d need to dedicate a lot of time to learning how to navigate the system. So we stuck to the competitions.
But since then they’ve overhauled everything to make it easy for parents and homeschoolers to use (and very affordable) so in 2020 I started looking at Education Perfect again.
I thought it would be a pretty good way for each child to spend a few hours a week learning and covering topics in a way that is more engaging and effective than the average textbook.
And so we started using it as a supplement to all the interesting things we do at home.
Sound good? I’ll tell you what EP is all about.
What is Education Perfect?
Education Perfect is an online curriculum which is aligned with multiple countries’ national curriculums, plus each state’s curriculum in Australia.
Yes, we have a National Curriculum too. But the states like to be difficult and ALSO use their own.
Anyway, EP covers
- Technology and Design
- Digital Technology, and
- LOTS of languages (it started as a language-learning platform)
Within those subjects there are over 35,000 lessons, more than 10,000 videos, and over 50,000 questions.
So there’s a LOT of content!
Right now it covers all of high school, and they’re building out primary school content too.
OK, so that’s all well and good, but how do we use Education Perfect in a rather unstructured homeschool?
How we use Education Perfect
We’re still pretty relaxed, unstructured homeschoolers – adding a curriculum hasn’t changed that. Here’s how we fit it into our weeks.
The Australian-New Zealand competitions are still our biggest thing. My kids are OBSESSED with them. They each choose a couple a year they want to get a high certificate for, and then go on a week-long binge.
Luckily EP limits use to 8 hours a day, so it can’t get TOO out of control.
Plus there are new homeschool-specific competitions, so I guess I’m going to be seeing an increase in frenzied typing.
Gabrielle used her results and certificates in her university application, and all the girls have their top results listed on their resumes. They’re an easy way for people and institutions who don’t know a lot about homeschooling to see that kids are capable of academic achievement.
Holli and Asha are 16. They log in and do whatever they feel like, usually for around an hour per weekday. This is in addition to their study for a Certificate IV in Ageing Support.
I checked out Holli’s learner report for the past few months and can see she’s been doing mostly maths, with a huge range of topics between years 7-9, plus quite a bit of vocabulary and spelling. She also went through the Year 9 NAPLAN content (you know, just for fun).
Forrest is 12. He started out asking me to set lessons for him so he would have a schedule and due dates.
To be honest, I ditched scheduling his lessons when we moved interstate recently. We were busy and our schedule was unpredictable, so it slid off my to-do list.
But when I check his learner record I can see he’s been doing a bit of everything. A fair bit of French and maths, some grammar and spelling, plus science.
He’s since decided that he’d rather me print out the homeschooling lesson plan for each subject, and he’ll go through it at his own pace. He enjoys the feeling of progress as he ticks off each lesson and it helps him structure his progress through the units.
Rex is 15 with special needs. Most of the work is too advanced for him, but he sometimes sits down with one of the girls and they’ll work through a few lessons with him.
As a bonus, he doesn’t need to read the content, he can press a button and have EP read it aloud! It’s a great accessibility feature.
So it works well for us – the girls remain unstructured while they’re studying elsewhere, Forrest gets his lessons organised and structured to make his type-A personality happy, and Rex gets to participate and hang out with his siblings while learning.
Great features of Education Perfect
Our casual approach means we barely use any of the Education Perfect features. Here are some other features that are fantastic for homeschoolers.
Mapped to Australian Curriculum. This makes registration and reporting easy, and reassures kids (and parents) who like to know they’re ‘keeping up’. It’s also great if you’re taking a temporary break from school, such as for travel, because you can slip in and out of the school system pretty seamlessly.
Homeschooling registration help! Education Perfect are VERY aware that registration and reporting can be a huge issue, and so help you make it as easy as possible. You can even book a chat with their Homeschooling Community Leader for more personalised assistance.
Homeschooling Lesson Plans. These are a fantastic new addition based on user requests (yes, EP listens). Simply print these out, schedule, and grade/tick off as you go. You can see the entire year’s content at a glance, an estimate of how long each section will take, and what you’ve completed. These can also be digitally edited if you prefer. They make it incredibly easy to plan.
LOTS of help. The customer service is absolutely amazing. There is a huge help section plus a parent-specific mini-course and webinars. There’s also a homeschooler Facebook group and 24/7 live chat support if you get stuck.
EP put huge amounts of effort into supporting homeschoolers and so if you run into any problems or get confused you’ll get personalised help very quickly.
Competitions. I know these aren’t for everyone, but my kids love them. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen them do 6+ hours of maths in a day, and the certificates are great to add to university and job applications as a socially-accepted way of showing achievement.
Self-paced. My kids have spent their entire lives learning at their pace. They like that they can pick up any subject at any level and tackle as much or as little as they want to in a session. There’s no schedule unless you impose one.
Low-stress academics… If your child tends to have meltdowns at any sort of academic stress you can set it up perfectly for them. They can work at a completely self-paced and independent speed, or you can set the lessons at exactly their level, and they can move through at a pace that suits them. Smart Lessons adapt content and review based on your child’s results, to keep it at just the right difficulty for them.
You can even tailor the assessments to make them low-stress – you can offer multiple attempts, make them untimed or generously timed, and allow them to pause partway through. This all helps build the small wins and steady progress they need to help them gain academic confidence.
..OR very structured. As a parent, you can assign lessons and assessments and manage every little part of your child’s schedule if you choose. You can even monitor them to see if they’re staying on-task…or switching tabs to watch cat videos after each question.
Instant, automatic feedback. The instant feedback and automatic marking means your child isn’t going to complete multiple pages of their maths book, only to find they’ve been doing it incorrectly and then have to go back and do it ALL AGAIN. Plus, there’s no marking for you!
Placement Diagnostic Tests. If you’re unsure where you child needs to start, which is pretty common if they’ve come from school and you haven’t been working with them, or if you’ve been homeschooling in a not-schooly fashion (yep, that’s us) there are diagnostic tests. They cover content from Years 5-10 and help you choose the right level for your child to start.
There’s an Education Perfect app! My kids do most of their work on a laptop but have done phone EP sessions on road trips. We were planning to have EP evening sessions while tramping the Te Araroa this summer since we would only have phones with us (thanks for cancelling our plans AGAIN, COVID!). Anyway, EP is portable and easy to use on devices, so great for travellers.
Similar to online tertiary learning. Education Perfect resembles the certificate and degree courses my family have done (especially the quizzes), so it’s a great way to get familiar with more structured online learning before tackling a formal course.
Is Education Perfect right for your homeschool?
Here are some things to think about to decide of Education Perfect will suit your family.
Yes – if you’re new to homeschooling and want an easy transition from school to homeschooling. Education Perfect will seem familiar, it’s not a lot of work for the parent, and they’ll help you with registration. You can either use it as a permanent curriculum base, or as a temporary transition to a different style of homeschooling while you work out what suits you best.
Yes – if you’re having a temporary break from school, like a period of travel, and you want something that covers the curriculum without the annoying requirements of distance education.
Yes – if you and your child like the idea of sticking (either loosely or tightly) to the national curriculum.
Yes – if you have children who need specific school-related academic knowledge for future career plans.
Yes – if you just want something easy and straightforward and don’t want to think about homeschooling stuff ALL THE TIME. (Honestly, after 14 years of homeschooling 5 children I was ready to outsource some of it).
No – if your child isn’t able to work at around a grade 5 level or above.
No – if you want to minimise screen time. It’s 99% screen-based (if you count printing some lessons and doing the offline activities suggested).
No – if you want a religious curriculum or biblical worldview. EP is secular and scientific.
No – if you think your child can just do EP and nothing else. Yes, it covers the entire curriculum. But homeschoolers are expected to extend and personalise the work, provide hands-on activities and excursions, and generally create a learning lifestyle. You can’t just stick them in front of a screen, but you can use it as a solid base for other activities.
No – if you don’t like anything that looks remotely like school. But I suspect you would have stopped reading by now anyway.
How to start using Education Perfect at home
Easy – sign up for a free trial here.
You’ll get access to the entire platform for 14 days, so you can experiment and see if it suits your family.
You can also sign up for the free weekly information session, see EP in action live, and ask your questions. AND you can book a time to speak 1-1 with Tim, EP’s homeschooling specialist, if you have more questions. Before you pay a single cent!
If it looks great after that, the pricing is very affordable and simple – only $30 a month or $300 a year for an entire family.
I hope that’s given you a great overview of how we use Education Perfect for homeschooling! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
And don’t forget about the current Education Perfect sale!
Simply sign up for a free trial and use the coupon code fearless20 at checkout to get a generous 20% off a yearly subscription. Ends 31st December, 2021.