Starting home education

As my 13 and 8 year olds headed back to school, my daughter and I embarked on a new adventure of home education.

I think both of us felt a little naughty as she stayed in bed later than usual, dressed in casual clothes and was able to have real input into what she wanted to do that day.

We started with a walk to the village as I needed to get some shopping and to register with the GP.

“Are you looking forward to getting back to school?” asked the man who served us in the Co-op. “I’m not going back” she mumbled and I explained we were home schooling her. Blank look and no further questions asked.

When we were out I certainly felt like everybody was staring at us as if we were doing something wrong but then I am prone to see adverse judgment in people’s eyes. We had a picnic and chatted merrily.

On returning home, we did loads. She wrote a story showing great imagination and good spelling. I set up her some tests on arithmetic which she flew through in minutes. She is clearly going to need bigger challenges in maths.

We watched a video of a German story even though German is new to both of us. We looked at the words and then we watched the story in English.

We played a time capsule game looking at objects from World War 2 and listening to stories of evacuation.

In an attempt to prove to her father that I will not just focus on arts topics, we watched a video on augmented reality. Me showing an interest in anything to do with physics is rare but I was actually quite fascinated by this subject.

Learning is lovely but this day was magical. It took me right back to the days when I had my first son and relished motherhood so very much. Spending time talking, laughing, discussing and snuggling up – lots to recommend this way of life.

Oh and just to prove we can be a little offbeat too, we went into the front garden and made structures with bamboo sticks and planted sunflowers too.

The next day she was very tired. Home educators and my teacher brother tell me that I don’t need to do as many hours as they do at school as one-to-one teaching is so much more intensive.

What I love about home education

Quality time together without the tight deadlines of school

Learning together – a joyous experience

Closeness – physically and emotionally

What I worry about

It feels odd to do less than a full school day – I don’t want to let my daughter down by not doing enough teaching with her

Knowing the right balance between implementing the stuff they teach in schools and also being a little bit more creative

I am concerned that she does not love writing things down that much and I don’t want to give in to this. So I might have to implement discipline but I don’t want to turn her off learning.

That feeling of being a naughty girl as if we are both skiving off school and will get caught at any given moment.

Having said all that, I am seriously considering taking my 8 year old out of school too. My daughter is keen saying it will be good to have someone for company whilst I am doing other things. My son is also eager although I have to unpick the reasons why with him before we make a final decision.

So far so good methinks.

I would be grateful for comments, tips, advice and contacts as our journey moves into its second week.

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7 Comments

  1. carla September 8, 2014 / 5:08 pm

    Glad it is going well!
    Hopefully this will really help her out. She will more than likely gain more general life skills too?
    Xx
    carla recently posted…New Theme: EightiesMy Profile

  2. liveotherwise September 8, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    Glad to hear it went well. On the hours thing, have a think about how much of the school day is spent changing subjects, moving from place to place, repeating instructions multiple times until everyone has the right book, saying George, don’t do that, and so on. Then have a think about how much actual focused teaching/learning time there is. Not nearly as much as you’d hope, and if you look for one to one time it’s hardly any. Make sure you leave some downtime for both of you.
    liveotherwise recently posted…Win £175 of Toys with Activity Toys Direct!My Profile

  3. Ellen September 8, 2014 / 5:52 pm

    A great first post on HE Kate! I started off with just me & my daughter before her brother decided to join in 6 months later!
    Ellen recently posted…Silent Sunday PhotoMy Profile

  4. Jeannette @autismmumma September 9, 2014 / 10:22 am

    Sounds like it’s going really well and you’re both benefiting from it.
    Your being 1:1 with her will feel more intensive but, like @liveotherwise mentioned, there aren’t constant interruptions from other members of a class and the teacher having to give out instructions over and over.
    With regard to her writing skills, you’re right in not forcing anything at the moment, keep at it with gentle persuasion and hopefully she’ll gain more confidence.
    You could both cut out words from newspapers and make structured sentences/tell stories etc.
    There is so much to learn from day to day and life skills, but make sure you both get some downtime too, running around a playground and frisbee throwing etc.

  5. Marylin September 9, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    Sounds like it’s definitely been the right decision!! I think I’d have loved a day like the one you described here, when I was younger. 🙂
    Marylin recently posted…The horse in the fieldMy Profile

  6. Rebecca Beesley September 9, 2014 / 2:56 pm

    Congrats on making the decision to home educate. I think the toughest part is making the decision in the first place and things just fall into place from there on.

    It really is true that you don’t need to put in so many hours – We used to do a couple of hours a day most days and that was plenty. I used to love the days when the boys got their work done first thing so by 9am we were free to do other stuff as the work was done for the day!

    my big regret is actually doing too much ‘formal’ learning – I wish we’d just spent more time on the creative fun stuff and more days out etc as both boys were ahead of their peers when they went back to school after 3 years of home -ed so I could have, and should have, eased off a bit.

    I used to worry a lot as I always felt i wasn’t doing enough and I wasn’t good enough to teach them. I realise now I needn’t have worried at all about that.

  7. Jaime Oliver September 14, 2014 / 6:42 pm

    yay go you guys! i love that you are so motivated and you ought to celebrate that not question yourself

    I have no doubt your daughter will thrive as will you!

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments (sorry im late getting round)
    Jaime Oliver recently posted…Silent Sunday 14/9/14My Profile

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