Home education guilt is something that haunts me on days like today. I got up in a great mood but there was loads of housework to be done after a busy weekend. So as the children were happily doing their own thing including gaming and art, I prioritised cleaning and tidying the house.

Home Education Guilt

We had a leak at the weekend too so there was the mess from that to contend with too. My good mood remained and I felt I was on a roll and would do some positive home education come the afternoon.

Then our landlord announced he wants to do a house inspection this weekend. I hate the idea as although I do housework every single day, dogs and children add to mess daily too. So I started to feel anxious as I hate feeling judged and of course can do that quite effectively against myself at the best of times. By the time I had calmed down there was work to be done.

The day slipped away hour by hour with the children largely left to their own devices. Pressure builds up and I start feeling I am not doing well enough by the children.

Thank goodness for the amazing Ross Mountney and her books. I have resolved to keep reading them every day as a bit of a touchstone that I an not going mad. Indeed, in “A Home Education Notebook” the introduction is all about losing the plot. Just like with so many parenting challenges, blogging it out can help I find and I intend to do far more of this.

The problem is that I compare myself to others both home educators and people who have children in state and private schools. However, perhaps some people out there compare themselves to me – you never know! I do have some of my own ideas such as sending my children out into the world with some really great values. I learn from others. I try different things from time to time. Perhaps I am not totally useless but on days like today I am filled with home education guilt.

I need to remind myself that my daughter was threatening serious self-harm when in school. Now she is sitting happily working on art designs. She is not stressed remotely.

It’s also important to note that I care more as a mum than any teacher ever could about my children. That makes wobbly days hard to face particularly when there are other troubles at play.

When did I ever really question the teachers in school as to just how much learning my children had done each day? If I trusted them, why can’t I trust myself.

Who am I kidding? If you make a brave choice and leap off into the unknown, it is going to feel scary. I just have to keep the faith and know that home education is working and has worked for so many people. Who’s to say our journey won’t be a successful one whatever that means anyway? Time will tell.

Do you experience home education guilt?

3 Little Buttons

Cuddle Fairy

Pink Pear Bear

Forest School was a totally new concept to me when we started our home education journey. It bears no real relation to anything I remember learning in school apart from perhaps nature walks which may have happened once a year or so.

Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest School is about getting outside and learning in a hands-on way in natural and woodland surroundings. In typical fashion, I decided if we were to do Forest School we needed a forest. So we have moved to a rural spot with our own small forest and a larger one at the front of the house. I know this sounds like absolute madness but it probably tells you everything you need to know about me along with the fact that months into our forest life, we have done very few Forest School activities.

However, with a new positive approach to our home education journey. I have resolved this is going to change.

Treasure Hunt

Today we started by listing the equipment that is needed for various projects. This shows how much I have learned whilst home educating as too often I set off with enthusiasm and then realise I have not got the kit or did not read the instructions correctly if at all. My 12 year old son is very vocal about the important of reading instructions – he is so like his Dad! My daughter and I are a bit more free-thinking or chaotic – call it what you will!

My list of equipment included nearly 50 items which looked very daunting. My husband read off the items so we could make it a bit like a treasure hunt with the children identifying where we could find the resources along with the gaps if we did not have them. The children were talking over each other so we decided that we would be a better team if my husband allocated different items to each child in turn. This worked much better.

Resources and tools

Some of the items were basic things easily found in the house such as bags, soap, water, bowls, chopping boards and scissors. My husband made me smile inwardly when he used this little adventure as an excuse to say we need more chopping boards. He does like plenty of chopping boards for some reason.

Some items were tools such as a palm drill, a hammer and a hand-held folding saw. The children and myself were not at all familiar with the names of some of the tools so my husband could really help on this score. It was decided my son and husband would do the treasure hunt for tools outside in the garage and the shed later. I was surprised that my children did not know what secateurs were. I guess part of home education is working out what they already know and what is totally new to them. Tea strainer was another item they were not familiar with but it was good to hear my daughter coming up with other ways we could strain the nettle tea we hope to make soon.

We need a stick as thick as a forearm which may be challenging but perhaps not considering where we live. We wondered whose forearm we should use as the measure. Pine cones are not a problem here as we have hundreds on the ground and hanging from trees.

Crafty ideas

Pipe cleaners caused some debate with my son wondering why pipes needed cleaning in the first place whereas my daughter has used them for crafting purposes for years. Pencils, papers, felt tip pens, permanent markers and wool are always easy to find in our house. With an artistic daughter, I have probably bought way too many such resources over the years but it does mean we have plentiful supplies. We do need to get some tracing paper, craft beads and some coloured cardboard.

We giggled when toothpicks appeared on the list as my husband always has loads of these. Mind you, the same could be said of me and blankets also on the list.

We all agreed a new flask would be worth purchasing in any event.

Sharp thinking

My daughter was nervous about the idea of using a pen knife and was shocked that Swiss Army knives are legal. My son was very keen to use such items. Funnily enough, I have always wanted a Swiss Army knife.

There was debate on where we would find clay and I guess this depends on the activity we choose to do next.

I love it when we absolutely throw ourselves into home education projects as a team. With more heads on the case we all learn more and there are so many laughs along the way too.

We are using this book to get us started.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Forest-School-Outdoor-Skill-building/dp/178678131X

Wish us luck as we embark on our Forest School journey with gusto!

Tammymum
The Ordinary Moments

It is possible for us to have a positive home education day and I am committed to this being our new reality.

Positive Home Education

I have worked out that because I am probably over-schooled, I need some structured aspects to our day or I feel too wobbly. This cannot be good for the children and they need to see a mum who is confident in our home education journey.

Edplace

I signed up for Edplace ages ago and we use it from time to time but I  want this to be more of a regular thing. My 12 year old son loves snuggling up and working through stuff with me watching him. We usually have a good giggle and often challenge the answers too which I think enhances learning but then what do I know? We did some maths involving the calculator looking at how easy it is to work out percentages with this resource. I often don’t let them have the calculator but I need to learn that calculators exist and you can do maths on phones and tablets now easily enough too. What is the point in educating them for a time long gone? We did some science about electricity and circuits – my mind boggled as it will on many a scientific topic but my son flew through the worksheet with a perfect score. We moved on to English which he loves working out the meaning of proverbs. Again he got a perfect score and we talked about the proverbs in a wider context too.

Getting outdoors

It was a sunny day and we don’t use our large garden and the forest nearly enough. That should changes as we are blessed to have these resources to hand. We went outside and built nests. We did it freehand but we learned so much. I tend to be really cynical about this sort of thing. I love the magic of it but being over-schooled, I have doubts about the value of learning outside the classroom too often. Having said that it is this sort of thing that I see other home educators doing and I think they are amazing and providing magical memories for their children. So today we had a go. We learned about keeping safe around brambles and the need to keep hydrated in hot weather. There was trial and error in our nest attempts and you learn to relax and realise that this is all absolutely fine. Isn’t life a whole heap of trials and errors for all of us really? It is also important to use imagination in life and I sat in wonder as my son suddenly decided the birds were going to use his nest as a boat and export pine cones. You can knock this stuff but it has to be better than the stress of SATS!

Video games

I don’t enjoy video games. I don’t know how to work the controllers or anything. When the children were little, I was so cross when my parents got my son his first Wii thing. I did not want them to be chained to screens and video games. The truth is I don’t like the amount of time any of my children spend on these things but over the years I have started to realise they can learn via the gaming as well as by books and other methods. A lot of games have some great vocabulary so they encourage reading as well as strategy. I understand but have yet to understand the Minecraft is a great learning tool. I have also worked out that if I want the children to meet me where I am at on this home education journey, I need to meet them on their ground too. So I went upstairs and watched my son playing a video game.

Stepping away from the laptop

I can hardly criticise my children for screen time when I am all too often chained to my laptop. On this positive home education day, I learned I can step away from the laptop and the world does not end. I am not worse off financially for taking that quality time with my children.

Celebrating a positive home education day

I feel amazing to realise how by putting my more troublesome thoughts about home education down in a blog post I have turned a corner in a positive way. I got so much support from bloggers and home educators. So I celebrate and learn that sometimes when we tell the truth and show our vulnerabilities we help others and are still acceptable out there in the big wide world.

I have decided to blog about our home education to keep me on track and so I can look back and see how much we actually do on my wobbly days.

Here’s to positive home education and positive mums too!

 

 

 

My Random Musings
Living Arrows

Confessions of a New Mummy

ethannevelyn.com

I want to write about the reasons I struggle with home education because it will stop the thoughts and feelings whirring in my head so much. I  am not against home education but I really struggle on almost a daily basis so I want to share the reasons why that is the case.

It wasn’t my choice

I am freedom-loving by nature and I did not choose home education as such. It chose me when my daughter was bullied by pupils and her Head Teacher. I was interested in home educating when I became a mother but my husband ruled it out so I went down the traditional route placing my children in schools. When my daughter was threatening self-harm that had to change and quickly in her case and her brother did not feel he should go to school if she did not. Perhaps I gave in too easily in his case but it was a very stressful time. That’s just the first reason I struggle with home education.

I have a lot on

The truth is that the bulk of housework falls on my shoulders. I try so hard to keep the house clean and tidy but with dogs in particular and children too that can be challenging. I seem to go from room to room spotting dirty surfaces, floors that need sweeping/steaming, toilets that need flushing/cleaning and so on. It is endless and soul-destroying.

I am also not in the privileged position of having a husband on a great wage so I need to make money. I have the flexibility of freelancing  but also the pressure of constantly having to find work which has been in short supply recently.

I do think it is important that there is something of me left in the mix too to avoid collapsing into depression so I am taking more time out to read, listen to music and so on.

My children have different learning styles

I think I could do OK if I was home-educating just one child but I have two on this journey and they have very different needs and learning styles. My daughter is like me, able to decide what her passions are and to pursue them with impressive focus. She is quite self-sufficient but I worry that she is doing things she likes rather than covering all the things that would be covered in a school environment. My son has passions too but would spend all his time gaming if I let him. He likes to learn with me cuddled up doing work-sheets or whatever. I struggle with home education because I do not know how to balance their needs.

I don’t know what I am doing

I don’t have teaching qualifications. I am relatively bright and I had a good education but how does this equip me to teach my children adequately? I veer between being convinced of different schools of thought regarding home education anything from leave them to their own devices and see what emerges through to a focus on the National Curriculum. Then I get myself in a tizz wondering why we need to know the stuff in the National Curriculum most of which seems fairly irrelevant to life skills and jobs except in the most specialist areas. Then I convince myself I am neglecting my children by taking them out of school in the first place. Then I start envying parents  who send their children to school or even put them in boarding school so they can leave it to the perceived experts and not have to worry too much. I don’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do or even if such things exist.

I get very little help

As with so many areas of life, I get very little help from my husband who initially said he would take on the  maths and science teaching. In three years or so that has equated to two kitchen science experiments and a few maths worksheets. I am a baby I suppose but I just feel like screaming and do sometimes “It’s not fair!”

Don’t get me wrong! I do think home education has loads to offer and I see other parents carrying it off with aplomb. It can be magical and I want it to be for us but I am in the mix so perhaps that is impossible.

Well, I am glad I got that off my chest and will be sharing wobbles from other home education parents soon.

 

3 Little Buttons

Cuddle Fairy

Mum Muddling Through
Winnettes
Twin Mummy and Daddy

Yesterday was a challenging home education day which we all learned from.

I had slept very badly the night before. My two home-educated children had a row about a game. This was a very silly time for me to try and encourage my 11 year old daughter to tackle some numeracy work. She downed tools, curled up in a ball and refused point blank to get involved saying “I like art not maths!”

Ever since starting the home education path, I have worried that I will damage my children in some way and leave them unable to deal with life. I brood on this and it haunts me as I want to do the best for them.

So with fatigue playing its part I am ashamed to say I got cross and may have shouted too. This was, of course, counter-productive. My husband suggested I leave things for a while with me accusing him of always being able to go off to work whilst I have to deal with home education as well as everything else. Tension mounted.

It was not long before I sought advice from the Home Education UK Facebook group. I was reminded that I am human and will not always get things right. I was told that school teachers have bad days too. I was urged not to beat myself up emotionally. I was given practical tips including the new concept to me that maths can be taught through art and music.

Then I made my daughter a snack and we had a hug but only after she told me it was going to cost me. She is her mother’s daughter!

She picked up a fashion design book and cd-rom and played with that for over a hour. She was then in a good mood and happy to do some maths questions that I had set for her on a wide range of topics. She answered the question “Why do we need to learn maths?” with “Because schools want us to eat numbers”. I am sure there is deep meaning in that somewhere.

Later as we watched Lewis and a bomb blew up lots of maths books but left an artwork undamaged, I pointed out that this summed up our day in some ways.

My daughter replied, “Art will always prevail!”

We went to bed at peace and ready to learn another day.

If anyone has good tips on teaching maths to someone with a passion for art, please do share them.

If anyone has the secret to not stressing as a home educating mum, do let me know!