A quickie post…
We’ve been out of school (this time round) for four weeks and it’s been great when everything’s going great, but not so great on down days. One of the biggest challenges for me has been adjusting to our new and very unstructured lifestyle, and trying to have a broader view of my son’s learning. But I’ve been here before; in Finding Our Way I talk about the same issues. Moving away from the structure of the school system isn’t as easy as it sounds (even the second time round), not for me anyway. For Kai it’s a breeze; he just gets on with what he loves to do.
Accept that it’s okay to play with Lego–all day!
…and another gun
For much of this week Kai has concentrated on building new creations. What he does isn’t play but really serious work. He’s creations are becoming increasingly more complex and therefore require more time and effort. He’s spending a huge amount of time on YouTube and I sometimes struggle with this. I monitor what he’s watching and so it’s okay, she say’s; I still moan and tell him that he needs to be doing other things as well( writing, drawing , piano, etc). I completely forget that I’m meant to be allowing us both time to move away from the school system.
Time away from the academic stuff is probably a good thing
Having a complete break from doing anything remotely ‘schoolish’ is great for helping us to establish our own routine and get out of ‘school mode.’We find going out and about works well for us. Kai learns a great deal by being out-and-about; it gives him inspiration for his Lego creations and feeds his amazing storehouse of a memory. I also find that being out is crucial to help with the intensity of the relationship, which can sometimes feel claustrophobic. I love my son but it does take some mental re-adjusting to having him around nearly all the time. While we’re out we’re generally quite happy and that’s all that matters.:)
Finding inspiration In the Lego store Leicester Square
So much potential
When I was young was often told that I was bright. I didn’t really see much in it at the time; I wasn’t exceptional in any way, as far as I could see, but I did talk a lot, especially at school. I don’t remember my teachers being particularly flattering, but every so often I would hear, “Sarah, you have so much potential.” But what exactly did that mean? It sort of sounded like I was a bit special, but not quite. Or maybe ‘potential’ is the teachers’ cop-out when they don’t quite know what else to say. Who knows? Continue reading
Home-ed children benefit from their own personalised curriculum
One of the great advantages of home-ed is seeing how your children learn: what stimulates them and what doesn’t. Having them around you 24-7 enables you to adapt their learning methods to suit their particular needs. In doing this you are in effect devising their own unique curriculum. Observing and modifying their learning environment is an ongoing process because they are constantly growing and changing. This is where the school system lets many if not most children down. A one size fits all approach to the educational development of millions of children is doomed, and a total travesty if you consider the early learning and development of babies and toddlers, who despite no direct teaching at all, learn how to walk and talk in the comfort of their homes. Continue reading
How you home-educate your child is down to you
Everyone has their own reasons for home-educating. Some people dislike the structure and authoritarian nature of the school system; some children have endured bullying; some people just want the pleasure of spending more time with the children. Whatever the reason, our choices are unique to us and reflect what we believe to be best for our children, and our method of home-educating will often be a reflection of this. Again, this is our personal choice and no one has the right to tell you HOW you should home-educate. Continue reading
Re-adjusting to life without school
The first few weeks of home-ed can be truly blissful. Free from the constraints of the school system, your time is now your own. Instead of the classroom, you can take a trip to the park and forage for insects or take a bus into town and visit a museum…it doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it’s fun. You will enjoy this special time together. This is precious. It’s time you would not have had, had your child remained in the school system. During this period which may be weeks or even months your child will probably begin to show an interest in things; take note. This is what will begin to form his own personalised curriculum (I use the word curriculum very lightly here. Please forget formal planning, textbooks, etc.) Continue reading
Why do things never go as planned?
Kai and I finally agreed that Monday 27th February would be his last day school. The plan was that he would go in for the day just to say goodbye. After realising he hadn’t done his homework, panic set in and he refused to go to school. We walked down the road to school together for the last time, Kai protesting the whole way; he was adamant that he would not be going in to face punishment for not doing his home-work on his last day.
Reclaiming our time
Once we handed in the deregistration letter to the reception we decided to go home. Kai didn’t want to stay, and that was fine by me.
I was happy to have given my son back time that would otherwise have been wasted in the classroom. We went home and got busy: we played on the piano together (something we haven’t done in a while), played pokémon and even drew up some home-ed ground rules-I felt we needed these; we went to the park, attempted some maths puzzles and made a dagger…
It feels really good to have given my son back his time and to watch him use it so creatively.
Note to self
Once again, I have to trust that everything will flow and look at what worked for us in the past. I must remember to find a balance between Kai’s needs and my own; as much as I talked about this last year, I didn’t really do it and ended up getting very stressed after about 6 months. This time round I’m very aware of the importance of tending to my own needs as a priority.
The next immediate step is to re-establish links within the home-ed community: we have checked out some of our old groups and activities both on and offline. When Kai was at home previously we immersed ourselves within the home-ed community quite quickly and this worked well for us. Making friends and being connected with others is a priority for us at this time. But Just as important, is making sure that we allow ourselves the time to relax into home-ed and forget school routines and practices.
I feel this is something I should have written ages ago.
Choosing to educate your children yourself is an honourable one. But finances can be severely stretched when one or both parents decide to stay at home. How do you make ends meet and successfully educate your kids without ending up in financial dire straits? There is a way. Continue reading