It’s been two and half weeks since we started home educating our son and I have to say it’s been mainly a very enjoyable experience so far. I love the freedom that home education brings, the fact that we are not restricted by school timetables and other people’s agendas. I like that it fits around our young family much better than a traditional school day, and I enjoy being able to learn at any time of the day or night.
We’ve been outside a lot and we go on walks every day. I am looking forward to spending much more time outside when the weather warms up and my enthusiasm for spring time (and my birthday) kick in!
These first few weeks have not been without their doubts and hiccups. Some days have been more fruitful than others, and sometimes I find the pressure that I put on myself to always be ready with the next activity a bit overwhelming…then I remember that I am in charge and if we need a break to get ready to do something else, we will have a break. If something isn’t working for us that day we’ll do something else. Today for example, literacy has taken a back seat. We tried, but it wasn’t working, so we’ve learned about Napoleonic Soldiers instead and made a soldiers' hat of course! Tomorrow is another day.
The teacher in me is still struggling a little with this lack of structure, but the parent in me is seeing a much happier child who has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He is learning every day and that is good enough.
So for those people who are in the same boat as me, just starting out on this home education adventure, here are five things I’ve learned so far:
Learning will often happen when you are still in your pyjamas! And why not eh? Both myself and my son are ‘morning people’, if I have something I need to do or create, first thing in the morning is the best time for me to do it. So yes, I’ve taught short division in my pyjamas, I’ve sung French songs in the shower and I’ve poured paint whilst pulling on my socks. In a school environment this kind of behaviour might be frowned upon I fear, but at home it’s all fine!
Choices: When I wake up bleary eyed in the very early morning (usually after being up half the night with at least one child), I formulate a list of a few activities for my son to choose from. He then picks which one we’re going to do first. That way he’s enjoying what he’s learning and he has some control over what he’s being taught.
Explosions are fun and ignite a passion for learning! One of the best things about home education is that we are able to do experiments and activities that would not be quite as easy with a class of 30 children. I have found that currently my son (and my husband…) have a fascination for things with an element of danger, fire or explosive potential about them! This has enabled us to do some great science experiments and talk about what is happening as it unfolds. Here is an Alka-Seltza rocket we made last week. So much fun!
(Always wear your safety goggles!)
Teaching with a 2 year old and a three year old ‘helping’ is not always easy. There is a lot of mum guilt that comes creeping in. I try to give them things to do at the same time, or they have some time with Nanna, or Daddy or at nursery. Fortunately I have lots of family close by who also want to help educate my son and he has photography lessons already booked in with Nanna! That also gives me a little break.
I am not alone. I have been truly astonished by the numbers of people who are home educating their children full time or part time, temporarily or permanently and it seems that these numbers are rising daily. I won’t go into any of my political views on why this might be the case, I will just be pleased that so many families are taking positive steps to ensure that their children are reaching their potential and are happy. There are so many activities and groups to go to and I am really looking forward to meeting other families and forging friendships!
All in all our first couple of weeks of home education have been fantastic and this is just the beginning!...