Last September after my daughter had awful issues at school, we decided to home-educate her. Very quickly, her younger brother was staying at home too.

learn

It has taken me until now to relax about the whole thing. I had no faith in my ability to teach despite having an amazing educational background. What if I damaged their life chances for ever? Let’s face it – I couldn’t even potty train them effectively for long enough so covering a load of topics some of which I might struggle with a bit myself seemed daunting.

On a selfish level, having just about rediscovered a sense of self after the onslaught of becoming a parent, what about my me time? What about my career or business prospects? What about me?

I know many people were interested in our home education journey but I was not sure how much I wanted to reveal. I wanted to get it right and know what I was doing first. I also wanted to fit in with other home educators and was not sure I was “hippy-dippy” enough. So I joined online networks and whilst being inspired by other home educators, ran away from actually joining them in real life and feared what I was doing with the children might not suit the home-educating community.

I have changed my perspective on quite a few things over recent weeks and months. This includes home education I think partly though learning by doing. As we move towards a year of home education, I am reminded of how terrified I was about my daughter’s mental well-being. Now I see a happy, creative, excited little girl with her own strong passions including politics, film-making and story-telling. Isn’t that good enough for Year 1 of the Family on Thin Ice Homeschool?

I also have to give a huge vote of thanks to the wonderful Cerys from RainyDay Mum. I was fortunate to be in her company with my family twice in recent months including on a camping weekend. It was a joy to get to know her a little and I want to make her a a friend. She told me in no uncertain terms how impressed she was by my children. As it was clear she has a fine mind and knows about education in a big way, I actually listened and perhaps more vitally, RELAXED!

I have started reading “A Funny Kind of Education” by Ross Mountney. People advised me to read this ages ago but it has taken me a long time to accept myself an an “official” home educator. I advise anyone embarking on the home education to read this book straightaway. It is down to earth, honest and true. It makes me feel OK and good enough.

So how was starting home education for me?

Terrifying – heart-beatingly scary with adrenalin overload.
Confusing – which home education philosophy was right for us?
Exciting – the joy of our first day of freedom from school runs and what have I forgotten? was superb. We had a picnic in the sunshine and made precious memories.
Guilt-ridden – are we doing enough and the right sort of thing? What if we have a day or two off? What if I allow them to play video games? Arrrgh!
Lovely – no nits all year!
Revealing – used to children coming home and saying little about their days however much I enquired, now they chatter on about their passions with me. Very quickly I learned that my son loves classical music because he finds it calming. My daughter showed that she wants to make films. I knew neither of these things about them when they were in school.

I often wonder what my parents would think about this life choice. I do clearly remember my mum telling me to make the most of the pre-school years “because you lose them when they go to school”. At the time I thought at least I could look foward to that as I struggled with post-natal depression, nappies and bottle-feeding.

Now the fog of depression has cleared, I see what great individual children I have and Fate has decided for now that they spend more time with us and we learn together ever day. I think I want to be “hippy dippy”!

I am going to write a lot about home education from now on – this family matters and I am going to revel in it.

The amazing thing about starting home education is you can make a fresh beginning every day and do it your way.

Starting Home Education

And then the fun began...

There is lots to smile about this week. I am positively full of happy thoughts.

happytoday

1. After a disappointing Mothering Sunday, the family went into overdrive to make it up to me so there were flowers, cards, treats and new clothes.

2. I can now see a real difference on the weight loss front and so can other people. I am on track to look reasonable by the end of June and positively wonderful by December.

3. My son has tidied his room even under the bed!

4. My daughter says she is happy because she is full of random awesomeness!

5. Him Indoors has had a pay rise – the only one in his team to do so.

6. I have tried assertiveness with good effect.

7. I have new and very funky purple microwave.

8. We had such giggles as we all tried to stand in our odd socks in a box to mark World Downs Syndrome Day.

9. I had a charity shop raid coming out with good books and a very “mutton dressed as lamb” biker jacket with stud detailing.

10. Home education seemed to turn another positive corner with my son enjoying a literacy exercise.

11. There was an Eclipse and the world has not ended which is great because I am starting to love this life business.

What are your happy thoughts today?

I have started a weekly linky where I blog about learning at home and encourage others to do the same. This is open to any parent blogger those who have pre-schoolers, those who have children in school and those who home-educate.

learning at home

I am currently home-educating my 9 year old son and 10 year old daughter. My 14 year old son attends a local secondary school. As he starts working out what he wants to focus on in the future, I hope to support him more with his learning at home at weekends and in the evenings.

I have come up with some questions to help me structure my posts but you should feel free to link up any post related to learning at home and in its widest sense too (cookery, arts and crafts, gardening, literacy, numeracy, ICT< history, science, design, life lessons, languages, music, religions and more) 1. How we are feeling?

My daughter is feeling enthusiastic about learning at home. My son is reluctant this week and this is getting me down a bit. I am not sure I have the key to making him keen. There are so many distractions in the home particularly video games.

2. What have I enjoyed most this week?

I have certainly enjoyed listening to my daughter. She has some strong views and is not afraid of expressing them. I think this is a very good thing. I enjoyed snuggling up with my son and talking about the human body particularly about growing bones.

3. What has my daughter enjoyed most this week?

She tells me she enjoyed Aesop’s fables most this week.

4. What has my son enjoyed most his week?

Video games! Lord save me from video games!! He did enjoy sharing his knowledge about the human body and laughed loudly when I mispronounced “micro-organisms”.

5. What is my daughter’s proudest achievement this week?

She says opening a box and trying out a Gravity Defying Puzzle.

6. What is my son’s proudest achievement?

Knowing a lot already about the human body particularly the ear.

7. What are our challenges?

I am now feeling fine about home-educating my daughter as she is keen to get involved and to try ideas. My son is more strong-willed and more challenging as he knows exactly what he wants to do but I want to broaden his horizons and ensure he is equipped for a positive future. I feel very isolated with this task and not at all sure I will find the key to ensuring he enjoys learning. He is so very bright. Perhaps that is part of the issue but I am not a trained teacher and I just don’t know what to do. Pushing him causes arguments but I don’t think leaving him entirely to his own devices is right either.

8. What resources have we found particularly helpful this week?

Maths Antics

Potato Council – we have sent for a potato-growing kit

A Baker Ross arts and crafts bundle

9. Top outing of the week

A trip to the local town and a Jenga game. We were supposed to go to see another home educating family but that fell through due to a poorly car.

10. What are some of our plans for the next week?

I still feel I need to plan more to reduce my anxiety levels.

I am hoping to find a good way to talk about the Holocaust with the children.

More Aesop’s fables.

Moving through videos on percentages at a good rate.

Incorporate more music and poetry into our days.

My daughter wants to learn more about sewing.

My son wants to learn more about Iceland.

I do hope you share your learning at home because I think a real truth is that we can all be inspired by and learn from each other

I certainly have a lot to learn.

I am starting a weekly linky where I blog about learning at home and encourage others to do the same. This is open to any parent blogger those who have pre-schoolers, those who have children in school and those who home-educate.

learning at home

I am currently home-educating my 9 year old son and 10 year old daughter. My 14 year old son attends a local secondary school. As he starts working out what he wants to focus on in the future, I hope to support him more with his learning at home at weekends and in the evenings.

I have come up with some questions to help me structure my posts but you should feel free to link up any post related to learning at home and in its widest sense too (cookery, arts and crafts, gardening, literacy, numeracy, ICT< history, science, design, life lessons, languages, music, religions and more) 1. How we are feeling?

My daughter is feeling enthusiastic about learning at home. My youngest son is happy and varies between very keen and not at all interested in learning. I am very slowly learning to relax and to let our days take their course but find I do need to do some planning or I get very anxious. My son who is at school is enjoying debating issues with us.

2. What have I enjoyed most this week?

I like Maths Antics and find I am getting to grips with the mathematical bits I previously struggled to understand. I really enjoyed today where my daughter went on Scratch and designed a project to capture our learning about circles. During this she presented the idea of Scratch to me so well, played music, laughed and even got me dancing. I need to get my head round all this coding stuff.

3. What has my daughter enjoyed most this week?

My daughter continues to enjoy art most of all.

4. What has my son enjoyed most his week?

My son has got very passionate about Iceland so we are using that as a hook to learn about geography, history, art, music and more.

5. What is my daughter’s proudest achievement this week?

She says being awesome and considering the damage her previous school did to her mental well-being, this is lovely to hear.

6. What is my son’s proudest achievement?

Creating things on Minecraft.

7. What are our challenges?

I am now feeling fine about home-educating my daughter as she is keen to get involved and to try ideas. My son is more strong-willed and more challenging as he knows exactly what he wants to do but I want to broaden his horizons and ensure he is equipped for a positive future.

8. What resources have we found particularly helpful this week?

Science Museum – they have games which engage both my son and daughter.

Natural History Museum – we have plans to build a bee hotel!

Maths Antics

Scratch

A very affordable chest from Argos with lots of craft supplies in it.

9. Top outing of the week

A trip to the local town.

10. What are some of our plans for the next week?

We are going to look into nutrition and look at potential sugar swaps via Change4Life.

We are going to take part in the RSPB Garden Birdwatch

We are going to ensure time is spent on literacy and numeracy everyday.

We are going to do a good week or two looking at rivers for geography and will back this up with music and poems too.

I do hope you share your learning at home because I think a real truth is that we can all be inspired by and learn from each other.


Why have I chosen unsure as my word of the week?

unsure

1. I have embarked upon the home education journey with my daughter. I am reaching out to find out the best way to do this. We have learned a lot already. I remain unsure on when to take a break and when to go for it with gusto. I am learning as I go along and I am OK with that but the word unsure applies as we make our first tentative steps.

2. I let my youngest son walk to school alone this week. He seemed keen but then a little nervous too. We have talked this through and I will walk him tomorrow – he is keen to walk the last bit himself so we will work out what is the best plan as we go along.

3. My teenage son had a last minute panic before starting school again about catching the bus. His Dad is giving him a lift when he can and at other times my son is managing the bus fine after those feelings of uncertainty earlier in the week.

4. I am unsure about things after the disappointment of my husband losing his job so soon after making the big move South. I don’t have the faith in him as breadwinner that I once had and I need to remember neither of the job losses were his fault. I wonder if we should head back to the less expensive North but then we love it down here and we can head up to London or down to the South coast on a whim. I sense we will stay but it does not feel like home quite yet.

Although I am unsure, I think things are fundamentally OK. A baby that learns to walk falls over sometimes. The key is to keep getting back up again and then soon it will be climbing, jumping and hopping too.

Our family will too.

The Reading Residence