Stop cringing at my title! I’m an anarchist in the eyes of most so what better way than to quote The Sex Pistols?! ( Kind of).
There is a fabulous Blog hop happening at the moment( #100WaysToHomeEducate ) and it’s all so you amazing people can see just how diverse and individual each Home Educating family is. In some cases, how it’s individual to each specific child, which is how it should be. For those of you who already home educate, it’s a chance to pick up some ideas, share your own and enjoy a good read. I am following Lydia in the Blog hop, which happened quite by another’s choosing, without realizing she is the Home Edder I have the closest connection with in this Blog hop. You can find her post on A New Adventure .
Her Grandchildren are very entwined with mine in both their Home Ed and pre Home Ed life. I am also very grateful to Lydia for bringing her skill set into our lives and have enjoyed her support in showing my children how to do many new crafts, such as soap making. As has her husband, who was kind enough to show my children how to shoot a Crossbow among other skills.
I struggle to label myself. I have an aversion to labeling myself at the best of times but when I feel like I don’t really fit in any box at all but rather in parts, it is extremely difficult. I will try my best for you all though.In my own words, I am a Multi platform Educationalist. Or maybe I should call us a “mixed education family”. I’m not an unschooler, only because these children have my blood running through their veins and I’d end up in Bedlam. I’m not autonomous because I make them do academics when they don’t always want to. I’m not structured because if something better comes along, Academics can wait until the day after or later in the day. I suppose I fit in semi structured but loosely.
My eldest only came out in October and is still adjusting to life as a Home Edder. She is slowly getting her passions back, which she placed to one side and neglected as the demands of school life both academic and social became time restricting. Even if that means her oil pastels are out all over the place, I’m happy.
She is lucky enough to be in an area that has a 14-16 year old EHE provision in college and enriches her home education there. This also gives her the chance to get confident in going to college and it already feels like a familiar environment to her. She is treated like an adult and is shown the same respect she affords others. It’s a much more natural environment that we would expect within work, compared to the authoritarian overbearing Academy she was in previously. If a boss treated us in the manner some children are treated now, we would take them to a tribunal, yet we see it as acceptable for our children…well not me!
One of my other children was home educated but decided to attempt secondary school as the allure was strong. Seeing her friends get excited, she felt it was a right of passage. She does like it and does very well but that only adds to my sadness regarding that as she was doing amazingly well at home. She admits she misses many aspects of home education. Most of all the amount of time she had with her animals.
I have two younger ones who are and always will be home educated. Noodles had severe issues at school and was removed at 8 years old. Her Dyslexia and other issues went completely unrecognised until she suffered health issues. It’s taken us almost 2 years just so she believes in herself and her capabilities more. In a world where we are expected to send our children to schools where they will “gain exams and an education”, many go unnoticed and failed. SEND children are being failed on an increasing level. I only wish I had known about Home Education sooner, before she had to even experience what being treated like a failure or different felt like. Socialisation? What is social about being left out on the wall because you don’t understand the complex social structure of others who start to get very manipulative at the age of 7-8?! She is much happier mixing with people 1;1 or 1;2, she can take information in better that way and knows she can walk away if she gets too tired or upset.
My youngest and only boy went to nursery but never full time education. He was almost at the age to go up when I had removed his sister. After experiencing a few weeks of Home Education, I decided my son was not going down that same destructive path. Having him come home in tears because the teacher had shouted at him for not counting to 20 correctly was the final straw. He was 4 years old! Consequently, he self taught how to count to 100, learned that once the digits went up to 9, you started at the next group of tens. He then figured that’s how you count in 10s. He is 6 now. He picks patterns like that up easily because he has time and decides to see the logic himself.
So as you can see, with four children, all needing very individual educational plans, we can find our week varying and being high maintenance but some weeks roll very smoothly.
Firstly, a quick look into our week typically starts with just the youngest two, as the eldest is at college. We do academics in the morning. We use a mixture of online programs such as Conquer Maths, Reading Eggs, Maths Seeds, Nessy to printables like Twinkl. Currently the coding program Scratch is in high favour. Lego is being enjoyed slowly because whilst this may sound unusual for most children, my son and daughter become frustrated and infuriated with it if they don’t stick together properly. My daughter is suspected and being followed up for possible Dyspraxia, which makes fine and gross motor skills impaired. Later in the day we typically go to one of the two Home Education groups I help support. This is one of the positives of the area we are in, we have a number of productive and supportive Home Educators who volunteer to help groups run. No one person is in charge and all parents and children are encouraged to make these groups their own. By the time we get back, the older two are home and we get on with having our family meal. Everyone then does their own thing for the evening. Currently that’s typically audio books, Minecraft ( oops I said it!) or reading for pleasure. Current book being David Walliam’s Midnight Gang.
By Tuesday the children just want quiet time because of the playful and busy time they have at group. We use this day for academic work and again, mix it with plenty of self directed learning, playing and whatever else we decide. Currently we are using Cambridge Primary study books. These are colourful and easily set out. Relatively cheap at £10 each.
Wednesday typically starts with our other regular Home Ed group. Being early in the morning, this is not always an easy group to get my daughter to go to as waking her up early causes her distress sometimes. As I have mentioned, there are SEND reasons for this and for that reason, I do like her to wake naturally. Of course this is coaxed with a reminder to get a relatively early night the night before. At this particular group, we usually arrange for a craft such as weaving, painting, crocheting, paper craft etc. Different parents lead on activities and their is also pool tables etc available as it is a Youth club.
Thursdays and Fridays are another mixture of academics and free time. These days are the days we typically look for one off home education events and days out, rather than regular meet ups. Museums, country parks and similar. We either go alone or place an impromptu invite on our local groups to see if anyone wants to hook up. Last week we did this at a local skate park to get some lovely fresh air.
Weekends are family time as their Dad works Monday through Friday and we like to leave these days for ad hoc desires. Read into that; “Chores”. Mummy and Daddy catch up on DIY and household chores!…we do break out and do something like go to the Seaside, walk around a local Country Park etc but let’s be real, sometimes we have to do the boring stuff!
The things that don’t happen weekly but often are events such as Home Ed cinema meet ups. We are lucky enough to have a local discount for our group so we go every so often.
There are so many things my children enjoy doing that it would be difficult to pin down a typical week. That is the point to our Home Education journey, to add spontaneity to our lives. Summer looks so much different to Winter because who wouldn’t want to be outdoors more in the nice weather?…okay, so I’m doing that standard British thing where I reminisce incorrectly about our warm Summers that we rarely have and in reality we’ll likely get 3 days in August where it will be gorgeous. For now at least and in the end of Winter, I shall grasp that heartwarming imagery as tightly as possible!
So thank you for bearing with me and I will pass you forward in this blog hop to Lynn at The B man and the L girl.
Unfortunately I can not display the blog list but the first post in the blog hop has it at the bottom. Click here to view that post and blog link.