Under An English Sky Yarns

Do you know, I have found this transition from homeschooling to trying to figure out what my new purpose so difficult. I am pretty sure that it is a problem that most mums who have wrapped up their homeschooling have to navigate.

As you know I started a degree last year and really enjoyed learning about the law. I thought that because I enjoyed it so much I should follow that path. That it is the path for me. My new purpose. Except…it’s not

I’ve watched the lawyers work ridiculously long hours and weekends as the norm. That is not something I am willing to do under any circumstances as my priority is and always has been my family and home.
Apart from that personal revelation I’ve found myself reassessing things and have realised that really, my heart is at home and being a creative I need to be doing something creative! So I ordered yarn…as you do.
I far prefer to work from home where I can look after my home and family properly as well as earn a little income on the side. So that is what I’m going to do. I rather enjoy my ‘work’ being of the creative sort and I do enjoy having my pots bubbling away nurturing beautiful colourways that will be knitted up into something lovely.
I have spent a marvellous weekend dying up some old favourites and experimenting with new colourways. It’s funny how new ideas starting popping into your head when you get going. I find myself scribbling ideas on little bits of paper at the strangest times. This morning in church my eyes settled on a frond of something in one of the harvest flower arrangements which immediately translated into an idea for yarn.

So…my Etsy shop is now restocked with much more to come. Above is a pretty colourway called ‘Something Called the Wild Geese’ based on one of our favourite poems from our early homeschooling days. Every autumn the words to Rachel Fields poem come flooding back to me, especially since we actually do have flocks of geese that fly over our home each evening to the fields where they settle for the evening.

Other yarns that are in the shop already are ‘Bracken Woodland’, ‘Miss Potters Paintbox’ the ever-popular ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and the very atmospheric ‘Brooding Storm’.

Now speaking of creativity…are you planning any creative Christmas gift making for loved ones this year? Its already almost the end of October – how does that happen?! I should have started thinking about Christmas crafting before now of course but hey-ho, better late than never. I’m sure I can find some quick and creative makes to russel up.

Have you started Christmas gift-making? If so, what have you been making, I’d love to know.

Autumn Bliss

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a little while but there has been so much going on in my neck of the woods! I have much to share about various things but for today it’s all about touches of autumn around my home.

I love this season so much and enjoy reflecting the beauty and coziness of the season in my home. I am pleased to say that I managed to get all my autumnal touches up on time this year. Last year if you remember we were living in one of my husbands hotels as we searched for a home. I usually decorate on the weekend closest to the autumnal equinox which just seems ‘right’. Last year it was just about November before the house got it’s autumnal home blessing treatment and it felt all wrong. Happily this year we were all back to normal.
As always, two pots of chrysanthemums and a couple of pumpkins give a warm welcome to whoever drops by. The colour of the pots I bought this year are just stunning! I think it’s my favourite so far…hope I find them again next year.
My daughter did a bit of a chalk art welcome board for me – in hindsight we agreed that the ‘F’ could have been a bit longer but hey-ho, I think it looks seasonally festive none the less. 

The dresser in the hallway looks lovely this season. Adorned with my favourite nature books and foliage there’s no mistaking the season or my love for it.
Tucked away in the autumn Dec’s box was the little acorn garland I knitted about 5 years ago. It really is so much fun re-discovering old favourites. I can’t remember where I found the pattern, could be Ravelry but I think I should make some more acorns, perhaps to sit in a little display bowl. 
I love this little candle stand. I have since filled it up and there are now three candles as there should be and of course there is a different page being displayed of my Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady book. There are so many lovely illustrations that the pages are changed weekly at least.
I love this little cottage print. It was gifted to me by a dear friend. It has scripture decoratively incorporated all through the sky above the cottage – absolutely my thing.
 My little autumn candle haul is on display although one of the candles was actually a gift for my above-mentioned friend. Still, part of the display was the perfect place for it until she popped by for a visit. The tapestry picture in the middle was the first piece of handwork I did after we arrived in the UK. We had to wait three months for our furniture to arrive in the UK and as any good needlewoman knows, it is impossible to wait that amount of time for your stash to arrive. So I bought a tapestry kit to keep me busy. It was my first attempt at tapestry. I haven’t done one since and I’m wondering why that is because I really did enjoy it. I think I just have too many other crafts that I like doing!

On the mantle I have a little bowl of stitched cushions that I have made over the years. I do love these little stitchery’s. All the patterns are freebies and can be found on my Embroidery and Cross Stitch Pinterest board.

 In the photograph above you can see that I have hung a little string of autumn bunting along the mantle. I have various strings of autumnal bunting strung around the house -I’m pretty sure that it’s mandatory in an English home 😉.

Finally, this is the little coffee table display. There are candles all over the place of course. Always a seasonally scented one (I have a salted caramel burning this week) and then lots of little tea lights and fairy lights to brighten up the shortening days.

Anyhoo lovelies, my apologies for having taken so long to post this little autumnal decor post. I would love to see what touches you have added to your own homes. Leave your IG handle or just a simple little comment and let me know how you have ‘hygge-ed’ your home this season.

Blessings in Christ

Garden Tales

Its taken months of procrastinating and hard work over the weekends, but we have finally done it. We have turned an over-grown weedy patch outside our bedroom window into the beginnings of a garden. Its been a project in the pipelines since spring in fact, that is precisely when we bought the grass seed that we planned on sowing.
But then the ‘weeds’ turned out to be poppies and it looked really pretty. We didn’t have the heart to pull out the poppies, so we let it be.
When the poppies faded away and we started to notice other plants springing up that were beginning to produce pesky seeds, we took action. It was time to be brutal. It would be a simple enough job we thought. Two weekends and it would be done. But garden jobs are never quite as quick as you think because there is still the lawn to cut weekly and beds that need turning over to keep the weeds at bay. So our 2 weekend job ended up taking 8 weekends.

This past weekend we finally sowed the grass seed… doesn’t it look fabulous?
I have to say we were growing slightly concerned with the length of time that it was taking to clear the patch. Autumn has arrived and is that really the best time to sow grass seed?

Well it turns out that it is the optimum time to sow it – YAY! Nature has played ball this week and watered our freshly sown seed throughout the week. Each morning I search for signs of germination. I can’t wait to see the lawn grow in.

As you can see there are two prepared beds. I plan on planting hellebore’s and lots of spring bulbs among other semi-shade loving plants. This little plot gets shade for a good portion of the day so some careful plant planning is needed. Ferns might do quite well here actually.

I spotted this nasturtium flower while weeding on Saturday, isn’t it just so pretty? None of the other flowers are like this. They are all block colours, either yellow or orange. I love how nature throws in a surprise to delight the observer. This one looks like it has sprung right off the pages of my daughters nature journal. 

This passed weekend was also a bit of spring clean in readiness for autumn. I spent most of Saturday cleaning out the laundry and garage – still much to be done but it’s clean, washing windows and planting Hydrangeas and a Virginia Creeper I ordered a few weeks ago. Whilst tiding up the patio I came across a pot that had been blown over in a storm and split in two. I have used half of it for crocks in the bottom of my pots and had forgotten about the other half.

As I looked at it it suddenly dawned on me that it would make a very nice hedgehog home. This is certainly not where it’s going to be, I simply turned it over and snapped a shot although…a home under the ivy and blackberry bramble does sound rather a sweet dwelling place for a hedgehog.

Anyhoo, enough garden rambling from me for today. I hope that you are all having a lovey week and have enjoyed the ushering in of a new season. I did manage to get my autumn decorating done in-between all the cleaning and gardening. But that is for another post. Have you decked out your home to celebrate autumn yet? This is such an atmospheric time of the year isn’t it? Do let me know what autumnal plans, knits, makes you plan on doing…I always love to gain some inspiration so please do share, perhaps through a link or picture on my blogs Facebook page

Blessings to you all today…

September Catchup

This weekend is the official start of autumn…Yay! I’ve been planning my autumn decorating and will be enjoying a pleasant few hours decorating for the season. My front door entrance is looking rather faded and washed out so it’s the perfect time for a refresh.
The girls and I have been gathering autumn decor supplies from the fields surrounding out home. We thought we had missed out change to gather a little bundle of wheat when we noticed the harvester out in the field…but he was just testing the harvest I guess because they soon packed it in and left it a week before bringing it all in.

DD1 started uni this week and she is loving it! She is loving meeting new friends and being back in an arty environment. Her bubble and spark has returned, it is wonderful to see her so inspired again. It just goes to show how important it is for our children to choose to work at something they love. It’s like a duck to water.

DD2 starts uni this Monday – she’s quite a little networker and has already been making friends with people on her course via the universities FB page. She is feeling more relaxed about starting on Monday.

I can’t quite believe that we have reached that time already. It seems like just yesterday that we started homeschooling. It is wonderful to see them both happy and doing what they want to be doing and I’m really pleased that they are both living at home for their first year at university – I don’t think I’m quite ready to have an empty nest just yet!

The countryside is a busy place at the moment. Fields are being harvested, the wheat fields surrounding our house were harvested yesterday and the farmers have been stacking bales of hay into the barn next door to our sweet cows late into the evening. They really do work very hard, it seems relentless at this time of year.

I really do enjoy the rhythm of the countryside year, it helps me to slow down and appreciate the moment rather that just rushing from one thing to the next.

Look at what my neglect is producing! My yellow courgettes are now reaching the end of their season. This one plant has kept us in excellent supply over the last month. My pumpkins are coming along nicely. I have about 3 or 4 that should make it to maturity – I can’t believe how quickly they are growing. They seemed to take ages to get going.

My Sunflowers are doing well, I planted the seeds so late this season that I was beginning to wonder if we would get any flowers. I really will be more organised next year! I say that so often!

Finally…my aunt keeps solitary Mason bees. She has done so for years and seeing her bee nests in her garden really has inspired me to try my hand at keeping them too. I would love to learn the gentle art of bee-keeping but I have neither the time nor the right garden (yet) to keep them in the manner they should be kept. Mason bees, or any solitary bee, is much easier and less time consuming so I have decided to give this a go. My lovely aunt is going to send me some little bee larvae when she empties her bee tubes. How exciting!
Anyhoo, that’s about it for today. I hope to be back next week with an autumn decor post. Such a lovely time of year isn’t it?
Have a lovely weekend all…

Happy Days!

Hello my friends. This week has been such a happy week for me for a few reasons. First…this time last year we were packing up our home in Devon and moving back north! I can’t believe that we have been back here for a whole year. The moment we left Devon I felt a lightness, that horrible claustrophobic feeling that I lived with for three years lifted and has not returned (sorry Devon). 
I’ve just been feeling so very content and grateful to the Lord for His provision. 
Secondly, last weekend I accompanied my husband to Sheffield to one of the hotels he runs – which happens to be the one he ran before we left for Devon. It was a football day and the owners of the hotel own the football team too so when there’s a game there is always a crowd. We decided to go the night before and have dinner with friends from that side of the Pennines. Driving back to Cheshire on Saturday afternoon we decided to take the route through our old home town, my beloved Chesterfield and through the peaks, a route I traveled fortnightly with the girls to their homeschool art class.
Oh my goodness! It was so SO lovely. I absolutely ADORE Derbyshire and I’ve told my husband that we are definitely retiring there 😅. I even made him stop so I could take a picture or two. I would have made him stop more but thought I may be pushing my luck LOL. Along the way from Chesterfield to Manchester, you pass through the lovely village of Baslow where there is a building just covered on one side with Virginia Creeper. I always looked forward to seeing it in the autumn as we drove by. Driving past it on Saturday reminded me how much I love that plant. I used to have one along the back fence of my Chesterfield house. Well…I decided that my little farm house needs a Virginia Creeper so I treated myself and bought one. Hopefully it will thrive and we shall have many years to come enjoying it’s autumn foliage.
Two more sleeps until early autumn begins! Oh my gosh I’ve been counting the days. With the calendar start of autumn I think it is perfectly acceptable to start decorating for autumn don’t you? I’ve been keeping my autumn candles locked away and resisting the urge to light them and I may…just may…still hold off until the meteorological start of autumn later in the month. But this weekend the autumn bunting is definitely being strung up! Happily, I’ve noticed a few turning leaves already. Seems slightly early but I’ll take it!

As you can see from the picture below, I have started knitting some autumnal socks. Its the nicest pattern although it took me a ridiculous three times of starting and frogging at the beginning. But finally I am on my way with the pattern and it gets easier with each pattern repeat. 

You can’t see much of the pattern in this picture but if you pop onto Ravelry you can have a look. It’s called Nutkin…isn’t that just a very autumnal-sounding pattern? The yarn is my own. It was a skein that I was not happy with so over-dyed it with this lovely ochre-colour. I listed it in my shop but it’s one of those that never shifted which I’m quite happy about because now I get to knit with it and I am loving the little specks that are shining through the ochre. Its such a happy colour.

Hay making and bailing is happening in the fields around us at the moment. I do love watching the fields being cut, left to dry and the bailed up. It gives one such a sense of peace…or at least it gives me a sense of peace. I love the rhythm of the year. Its the gentle repetition of seasonal living that marks our days and years.

Happily (another happy), it’s weekend time again. We have our vicar and his family coming over for lunch on Sunday – we get on so well and we are looking forward to seeing them. My plans for Saturday are to do a bit of batch cooking and making our seasonal Bramble Apple jam – I have loads of apples already and will probably spend Saturday morning scouring the hedgerows for blackberries. What are your plans for the weekend?

Whatever they are, I hope that you have a blessed and joyous weekend. Blessings to you all my lovely friends…

At Home in the Country

Aaah, country living – I truly love it. The only downside to living on a farm is the flies! Oh-my-gosh…they are horrendous in summer. I haven’t had to live with fly problems since South Africa. But this summer, especially on hot days like we have had over the weekend, they are everywhere. They poop everywhere…little black dots all over the place. I spend my days running about with a cloth and disinfectant wiping down surfaces and cursing those little blighters.
I comfort myself in the thought that autumn officially arrives in a few weeks time and the flies will soon fade away until next summer.
Would you look at my pumpkin and marrow patch…
It is doing SO well! Neglect is working for me this summer. We have been harvesting marrows faster than we can eat them and enjoying them in stirfry’s, roasted and grated in bolognese. I want to say I will pickle some but honestly, it just does not sound appealing to me. I cannot picture myself popping open and jar of pickled courgettes and tucking in.
The pumpkin vine is out of control. There are little pumpkins everywhere. I know that I should probably take some of the fruit off but I’m seriously taking the ‘let-it-get-on-with-it’ approach this year and resisting getting overly attentive. As I mentioned before, my loving attentions on my pumpkin vines last year were disastrous. So I shall just wait and see what happens.
Look at these little fellows. Are they not just too cute? We have a new batch of babies next door, the older ones have been moved to more spacious accommodations elsewhere on the farm. This little lot is rather skittish bar one. We’ve named him Phantom as he is all black with a white mask-like Phantom of the Opera. He is so friendly and pushes others out of the way when we visit for a good dose of strokes and pats. 

In the kitchen…I think I may have started a new trend in our family. Friday night is ALWAYS burger night. I make my own burgers and chips – both are tastier and healthier. On Slimming World both are free! The only thing I would buy-in is the burger rolls. However…

DH and I were away on Friday so burger night fell to Saturday evening. We arrived home on Saturday afternoon and I realised that I hadn’t picked up any rolls so what is one to do?

Make your own of course. I threw together some dough, divided up into 4 equal balls and topped them with herbs and spices. A quick spell in the oven and burger night was well underway. 

The rolls were a hit! They were so much more flavoursome than store-bought. The only advantage to buying them in is convenience. So, it has been decided that burger night will need to be switched to Saturday evening so that I can make the bread rolls. There is no way I would be able to, or should I say be inclined to, get them done after work on a Friday.

Lovelies, thank you for dropping in for a little natter. I do so love this little blog and chit-chatting with you all. I can’t imagine my life without this little spot in the blogosphere. I look forward to seeing you back here soon. 

Blessings in Christ…

What Curriculum Do I Need for the American SAT Exam?

This is a question that seems to crop up a lot. In the UK when you take IGCSE’s and A-Levels, you would check what exam board your nearest exam centre uses, you would then buy the Edexcel/Cambridge/AQA etc course for English/Maths/Fill-in-your-subject. Right?

The American system is different. That is not how it works and actually…therein lies the beauty of it all. You are able to choose whatever curriculum works best for your children. If Apologia Science works for them then that’s what you go for, if its BJU than go for that.

You can choose to follow whatever method of education that works best for you whether that means a Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Studies…whatever method you have followed you can keep following. 

You could pull your own course of study together from various curriculum providers or you could go through an umbrella organisation such as A.C.E, Christian Liberty Press, Alpha & Omega and so on. On a side note…one of my favourite curriculum providers has to be Christian Book. You can get just about anything from the.

The advantage of going through an umbrella organisation is that they will do a transcript and High School Diploma (HSD) for you. You will need to meet their individual requirements of and send in test scores etc each year. This is usually the more expensive option but if you lack the confidence or energy to do it yourself, at least you know all bases are covered. They will have their own curriculum for each grade and you will need to use that if you want the HSD and transcript and that could take away some of the freedoms you have in what you choose to study.

If like us, you choose to take a more eclectic approach and pull your own course of study together for each year then you would decide what subjects you will cover each year (usually always Maths, English, History & Geography, Science), then you add in your electives each year i.e what interests your child. It could be a language, art, home economics…the list is endless. They will earn credits (explained in a later post) for each course they do. You will need to make sure that you cover World History and U.S history. Often history and geography are tied in together. 

Again…use whichever curriculum you prefer but I would say one thing – buy American resources! American curriculum is written and geared towards writing the S.A.T so it makes sense.

Can You Show Me Exactly What You Mean?

Of course! Listed below are some posts I’ve written with regards to curriculum and resources. I highly recommend you read a  couple of posts I did a few years ago where I went into much detail on how I plan and choose a course of study for a high school year. These posts will give you a nitty-gritty look into what I’ve just said above so please don’t skip over these posts. Take time to read them to gain a clearer understanding if you are wanting to take the American S.A.T route.

A Homeschool Plan:: Knowing the Big Picture
A Homeschool Plan:: Choosing Curriculum and Setting the Course
The Ultimate List of Free & Affordable Homeschool Resources

Now That You Have A Clearer Idea…


This is where the fun part begins! My summer ritual was to sit down with the Christian Book and Amblesideonline websites open. I would decide what I wanted each child to cover individually in each subject, and what things we would be able to learn together. 

Things like English, Maths and sometimes Science were all grade appropriate. (We used Llatl for English, Math-U-See for Maths and Apologia Science for science – just in case you wanted to know)

Most years we covered History, Geography, Nature Study, Art Appreciation, Composer Study and Read Aloud together – no separate curriculums. We’ve used some wonderful resources over the years (KONOS, A Childs Geography, Handbook of Nature Study and lots of Amblesideonline recommendations etc), a lot of what we used is listed in the post ‘The Ultimate List of Free & Affordable Homeschool Resources’ post above.

I would sit outside if the weather was good with a cup of coffee and pull our learning plans together and ordering what books and curriculum I needed in good time for a September start.

Why We Chose The S.A.T Route over the A-Level Route

It’s quite simple really. It meant that we didn’t have to compromise on a rich, rounded education which still held God at its centre. We could choose whatever resources we wanted to use and we could continue to learn using living books and implementing Charlotte Mason learning methods. 

We did not have to sacrifice nature study which we would have had to have done if we had taken the IGCSE and A-Level Route due to the heavy workload.

We did not have to sacrifice field trips, elective interest subjects or the fun seasonal learning and activities I planned each year.

We could keep God, our Bible time and discussions at our core and choose Christian resources.

We were able to remain faithful to our original calling to homeschool without compromise and I believe because of that our daughters received a rich, balanced and well-rounded education, stored up a lifetime of precious memories, build strong family bonds and the cherry on top is that both have been accepted into British universities.

Read About Our Personal S.A.T Success In:

Faithfull Homeschooling
Post Homeschooling Update

If You Missed The First Two Posts In The S.A.T Series of Posts

The American SAT:: An Alternative to A-Levels For British Home Educators
Exam Tips For Taking The S.A.T

I hope that this post and all its links have adequately addressed the question of curriculum for the American S.A.T

Please do consider joining the HE Success Without UK Exams Facebook page for a bit of interaction with other British families who have successfully taken this path and homeschooling families who are interested and looking into it.

For regular blog updates please do follow this blog (sign up below) and Facebook page

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Living the Seasons :: Blackberry Picking

August is the month when blackberries start coming into their own. This year seems to be a bumper year for blackberries, they are all so big and juicy although this early harvest is a little bitter. I think a few more weeks of sunshine should strengthen the sugar content.
There are still many, many berries on our brambles so I am looking forward to blackberries well into September. Of course, I’m sure you know the old folklore myth that blackberries become unpalatable after the 29th September which is St Michael’s Day and that is because the devil was cast out of heaven by St Michael, he landed on a bramble bush and cursed it. Hence after St Michael’s Day blackberries should not be picked.
This year I have many ideas for these little jewels. I have used this first little harvest to make my Apple Bramble jam. But here are some of the recipes I’ve found on Pinterest that I simply have to try this season.

I plan on stocking up the freezer with all these goodies so we can enjoy them through winter.
As you can see from the picture above, it’s not only us who will be enjoying this late-summer early-autumn hedgerow fruit. The insects simply love them. This wasp was buried head deep feasting on this, particularly ripe berry. I spent ages watching him…so sweet.
I thought I’d share this little photo of my entry hall (I just love how the light is streaming in). I still have a few homeschooling books up on the unit, I haven’t had the courage to pack them away yet. That would seem so final. My homeschooling planner is still on my desk along with my other planners. There will have to be a weekend soon when I tackle all of that and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Changing seasons can be bittersweet, can’t they?

Right now autumn is right around the corner. I’m so looking forward to autumns arrival and all that it holds but it is kind of sad that that means saying goodbye to summer and the long warm days. Its the same with life seasons. I am definitely learning to look forward with anticipation and back occasionally with warm fondness and blessed memories but not to keep looking back!

My new season is actually quite exciting. As you know I am a magistrate judge (Justice of the Peace) and enjoy sitting on the bench every few weeks. On Friday I was in court and boy was it a busy day. We get the usual cases through of ‘repeat clients’, those that seem unable to rehabilitate and keep offending. 

But then we have those ordinary, everyday citizens like you and me who find themselves on the wrong side of the law through one single bad decision and are clearly remorseful. We had a few of those on Friday. A couple of them were in a state and I realised that I am meeting these people under what could be arguably one of the most stressful events of their lives. 

I wondered how God would use me when I was applying for this position last year. Now I think I know. To show kindness, empathy and respect from the bench whilst still remaining true to my role in upholding the law has to be worth something.

It gives me something to think about as I ponder on what area of law I wish to practise in once I am qualified. That, however, is a season for the future. 

Right my lovelies, I hope you are having a lovely weekend and I look forward to seeing you back here for a little more chit-chat next week.

Let’s Connect on Social Media!


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Exam Tips for Taking the American SAT in the UK

Exam season is over for the year which is just as well, for nerves are stretched knowing that so much rides on doing well in these final exams. For our family, June saw the end of our homeschooling journey. We have taken the American SAT route with our youngest daughter and at the beginning of June was the last opportunity to sit the SAT Subject exams in the UK for the 2018/2019 academic year.

It seems strange that after 13 years of homeschooling, the end has finally come. It’s been bittersweet from my point of view as I have loved this season of life but my daughter is more than ready to move onto the next life adventure and I am excited to see her fly.

If you are considering taking the American SAT route in your homeschool rather than the traditional British A-Levels, you may want to get a basic idea on what this is all about. For an overview, you can read my post,“The American SAT:: An Alternative to A-Levels for British Home Educators”. As I mentioned in this post, the SAT and the SAT Subject exams are all multiple-choice with an essay option. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a doddle because of that, take a few practice tests yourself to see what I mean.

With this being a bit of a different system, I thought I would share a few things we have learned along the way to make preparing for, booking and the actual exam day a little easier to navigate.

Booking the SAT Test

In order to book the test, your student will need to register a CollegeBoard account, which is free. It is on this site that you can register for your SAT exams; find an exam centre; see all the test dates available for the academic year and it is where your test results will be returned to you. You cannot register for the exams without a College Board account.
You will want to have a good look at what exam centres closest to you are open for each SAT date. My daughter took the SAT in December, March and May. We had an exam centre in Shrewsbury that hosted the exam in December and May but not the March sitting. For that, we found an exam centre in Manchester.
Practical Tip: At the beginning of the academic year, I recorded all the available SAT test dates; their deadline registration dates and the exam centre location in my homeschool planner so I had all that information available at a glance.

The Week Before the Exam

Your student has been diligently studying for their exam using Kahn Academy’s free practice tests and Varsity Tutor’s free SAT Subject tests. They have done everything they can to prepare now it’s over to you. There are a few things you will want to make sure you have a handle on before exam day arrives.
  • Print off your student’s admission ticket if you have not done so already. They will not be allowed to write the exam without this.
  • Make sure that your student has an acceptable ID such as a passport.
  • Hop onto google maps and plug-in directions from your home to the exam centre. Make a note of how long the trip is (adding a little extra for delays, we had to wait for a herd of cows to cross the road from one field to another on one trip) and what time you will need to set the alarm for on test day.
  • Check College Board for any exam centre closings, this is really important as it is quite conceivable that your test centre could be closed for whatever reason. By checking College Board for closures you will ensure that you have the revised test centre address and contact details.

Exam Day

You will almost certainly be up bright and early. Getting a teenager up at 04h30 or 05h00 in the morning is a big ask so try to make it as pleasant as possible by marking it a bit of road-trip adventure. I got up a little earlier than the rest of the family, switched on my favourite praise and worship music and prepared some bacon and cheese butties. Who can resist waking to the smell brewing coffee of frying bacon in the pan? It’s sure to get your day off to a good start.
Enjoy your drive! Your exam centre will more than likely be a little drive away so be excited about seeing a new part of the countryside you have not yet seen. Enjoy watching the sun gently light up the land, revealing our beautiful landscape bathed in that special early morning light.
We have wonderful memories of exam day travels and I feel blessed to have had those times with my teen, for all too soon she will be off to university and those times will become less frequent, so treasure getting up early and beetling across the countryside.

Post Exam

Your student will get their exam results in 2 weeks…2 weeks! I think that is fabulous! No waiting all summer to find out if you have attained the grades you need. When you get your results you can download the report from your College Board account, save to your computer and then email them through to the admissions team at your son/daughters university. As simple as that.
We chose to write the SAT 3 times, 1st time to gauge where our daughter was at and what areas needed work. The 2nd and 3rd were all about improving her score, which she did with each sitting. We sent only the highest score to the university.
I hope that you have found this post helpful. If you have any questions please do leave a comment. If you are a British home educator please do join the HE Success without UK Exams facebook page. There are quite a few of us who have successfully. It’s a wonderful source of support, knowledge and experience of others who have travelled this path.

The American SAT :: An Alternative to A-Levels For British Home Educators

Did you know that there is an alternative to A-Levels for British home educators?



What if I were to tell you that you don’t have to ditch how you learn, your educational philosophies or your favourite resources. What if I told you that you could continue to keep God at the centre of your home education and that you can ditch GCSE’s and A-Levels, would it interest you?

If I then told you that you could do all this and your children could still get into British Universities would think me crazy? Well, I’m here to tell you that all this is possible with the American SAT. How do I know? I know because we have done it and we are not the first. You can read our story here. There are a growing number of British families who have taken this route with their children having gained university entrance.

A Basic Understanding of the American Education System

It is helpful to understand the difference between the two education systems. While British secondary instruction focuses on GCSE’s and A-levels, each of which is examined separately, the American systems only real standardised tests are the SAT and ACT and are taken at a national level. That means that you do not write exams at 16 years old, rather you continue in your chosen courses of study and in the winter of 11th grade the General SAT exam (for the 1st time) which tests on the cumulative skills gained over high school. The SAT standardized test is meant to show colleges and universities how prepared the student is by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, mathematical ability and clarity of expression. By sitting the exam at the end of your 11th grade year it gives you a good benchmark of what needs to be done for your test in 12 Grade.

Tell Me About the American SAT Test

The SAT is administered by the College Board and is a 4-hour long multiple-choice test. The test is taken on a Saturday morning and tests in three core competencies namely critical Reading, Math and writing with an option essay component.

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

These are college (university) admission exams on specific subjects such as U.S History, Science, Maths and more. These are the only American national tests that the student can choose to showcase their strengths and interests. Often British universities will want a combination of the General SAT as well as a specified number of SAT Subjects if there is not a high school diploma available or if the course the student is applying for is particularly academic. Each SAT Subject exam is 1 hour long and is multiple choice.

SAT Pro’s

  • They are much cheaper than GCSE’s or A-levels. The cost of the SAT General Reasoning test is roughly $80 and for each SAT Subject test around $22
  • You can take the SAT exam as many times as you want. Only the most recent 6 scores are kept on your College Board account and you can choose which score to send to your university
  • You don’t have to worry about exam technique as you would with GCSE’s or A-Levels. All the tests are multiple-choice. Note: this is not the easy option as you will spend about the same amount of time on your chosen courses throughout high school as you would on your GCSE and A-Level courses.
  • There’s no waiting all summer for your results! You can expect to have your SAT score back in 2 weeks and for your SAT Subjects 4 to 6 weeks.
  • It’s one test, on a Saturday. No drawn-out testing period of weeks on end that puts immense pressure and stress on students.
  • There are numerous test dates throughout the year so there will always be a date that is convenient for you.

SAT Con’s

  • You may have to travel a little distance to your nearest exam centre.
  • You could have a different exam centre for SAT Subject tests than for your SAT test. Not all test centres offer sittings for every single test date.

How Do You Prepare For the SAT?

We have used Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT exam and VasityTutor for the SAT Subjects. You can purchase revision books off Amazon if you wish.

So, Are You Keen To Find Out More?

This is the first in a continuing series of posts on taking the SAT in the UK. I will be looking at related topics such as setting out your 4-year high school plan, transcripts, how to calculate your students GPA, how to record credits, dealing with the universities admission teams, curriculum, college preparedness and much more. If you have any questions please do leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them in a Q & A post or they will be answered in a future post.
Please do consider subscribing to my blog if you are wanting to find our more about the American SAT for British home educators.
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