English Language is a sensible starting point for the IGCSEs as one usually needs this qualification when seeking employment and not just to enter Further education.
The IGCSE qualification is again superior to the GCSE and many home educators opt for this as there is no coursework required and is exam based only. This does mean though that it all depends upon those two exams!
English Language has undoubtedly been demeaned over the past years in England. It is alarming how little grammar children are taught in school (if any formal grammar nowadays) and there is little requirement for grammatical knowledge in the exam although well written, grammatically correct work will be acclaimed.
Many Catholics will teach their children Latin which will help them immensely with their English. In past ages English was taught via Latin and the grammar and form the pupil received was of a much superior quality. Research shows clearly that children with a knowledge of Latin will be better spellers, be more grammatically competent and hold a wider range of vocabulary. As one of my children proclaimed the other day, Latin is the spine to the English language!
Sadly gone are the days when schools teach English through Latin so the advantage to having this will be significant.
The C.I.E board offers English Language IGCSE ;
The board is quite helpful with appropriate books to use;
We used this board for my son's English Language IGCSE last year. We did not find anything morally objectionable with the materials either which was pleasing. The pieces of work they use are not highly literary but they are acceptable and the student is marked on their writing skills, form, analytical skills and creative writing ability.
Another board, Edexcel, also offer the IGCSE;
This is similar to CIE however there is a poetry component in it too.
Both these boards offer the extended or core options. Extended is harder and one can gain between an A*-E grades and core allows the student to attain a C and below grades.
A Home educating Mother, Catherine Mooney, runs a tutoring course for both English Language and Literature. These have proved very popular to some home educators and she will mark assignments and offer alot of support. It is ideal for a child who is less confident with English although it costs around £200 per subject.
Other long distance sites like- http://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/subject/english-igcse-course/ also offer varied subjects in IGCSE level but having no experience of them I cannot expand.
Please do write in with any experience you have with English GCSE or IGCSE exams from home.