Sorry friends for being so quiet on the blog front, I have been so very busy with…well…life! It’s all good! In fact it’s all very good but a few months back I would never have imagined (well I had dreamed plenty) to be stepping out into the world of Home Education. Yes!…I now educate my two boys at home myself, all day every day! 😄
Personally to begin I thought how on earth am I going to keep up with the school, I’m not a teacher (although I have felt a soul calling to a teacher of sorts for a very long time), am I intelligent enough?…brave enough to stand up against the normal?…do I have the mental capacity to teach two very active yet intelligent boys? …at home…on my own? …with no school? …how do I do it? Those were questions very much on my mind for a long time before I ever made the decision to take the boys out of school.
Shouldn’t young minds have the freedom to think and learn as they desire in the capacity they wish?shouldnt we have the trust that our children can and do learn without the inflexibility of standard teaching methods and rigid subjects? These were thoughts I’d pushed back for years.
Sometimes we need a catalyst though, something to push us into dangerous territory, to take risks and go against the grain of social norms. My sons anxiety symptoms were and are that very catalyst. Although everything looked normal on the outside he ha did been suffering for over two years. It took us a very long time to come to the conclusion it was even anxiety. We thought he had food allergies, possible asthma, but there were strange behaviours we couldn’t put our finger on like OCD and mood swings after school. It wasn’t until it got to a point where he just couldn’t attend school without pain in his stomach every day, mood swings after every day at school and just a general unhappy mood. He was very unhappy and we couldn’t pin point it until one day in the school holidays we clicked he wasn’t suffering from any of the usual symptoms. They had dissapeared! It was then that we started researching further and we researched lots! We came to the conclusion it was anxiety and we started looking at ways we could help him.
I spoke to many people regarding the issue and couldn’t believe how common Murray’s symptoms were. I came across many people who had tried and had huge success with homeschooling. I was still too nervous to go against the grain of society but when somebody local to me put in a request to do the same thing, to withdraw their child from school it suddenly didn’t seem as scary.
After hours and hours of research, reading, speaking with friends and home educating parents I put in our written application. My son still continued at school but when I collected him one night he was in agony with his stomach pains, which he had suffered from for six months or more and his OCD had gone into overdrive…enough was enough…we took him out for good the next day! He was almost miraculously better. He still has his moments but the stomach pains dissapeared almost over night and his happiness returned very quickly. His brother had been having problems going to school and especially now that his big brother was off all the time. Once our confidence was rolling with the home education after a few weeks we thought why not educate both the boys at home together. We saw the benefits and thought our youngest boy would benefit. They make good company and are both Lego obsessed. We tried them together for a week and it worked really well so we added him to our application. Our lovely girl Maggie decided to stay at school as she gets on really well there and is deeply into her musical studies there.
So what do we do?
We do the typical age appropriate maths and English workbooks, the usual written work and my kids love reading and love all different types of books! We have been trying to follow thier own interests and let them learn and live their passions. They get to choose their own reading books and workbooks which makes it a bit more interesting and they also use a selection of apps and online printable resources. Screen time is limited to a minimum though as we would much prefer they learn through books or outside.
What interests them in learning?
Maggie loves to cook, cooking anything vegetarian and she loves cooking cakes and sweet things which doesn’t do my wasteline any favours. She is also really into their violin and is really good at reading and most subjects at school. Murray loves computers, coding and all things electronic, he loves gadgets, robots, things that move mechanically, scientific experiments and has a great interest in the natural world. Daniel loves science experiments also, he loves animals, being outside and really enjoys making the biggest mess he possibly can in our school time, especially when it comes to art! We don’t spend too much time indoors though as we have such a rich environment for learning outside that we like to get outdoors as much as possible. We do not fear falling behind because we are working one to one we get so much work done in our schooling time and our work doesn’t really follow school work, it differs very much although we have a sneaky peek at the curriculum now and again.
We also love art and the boys are really creative and very messy! We have tried our hand at painting and drawing with beeswax block crayons and we have clay and other art materials in the post. Art is really important to us and a time to relax and let the imagination and creativity my flow.
We attempt piano lessons in our house but do forget to do them, we would much rather be outside on nice days and that is totally ok. I would rather it was done as an act of passion rather than a forced teaching. My daughter loves playing her violin and because it’s become a passion of hers she plays every single morning and most evenings. Let’s face it we learn so much when we desire to do so and when it interests us.
Nature is a wonderful teacher!
We spend lots of time outdoors, walking the dogs first thing in the morning along the road or up the forest track. A typical walk might involve inspecting the dead badger body at the side of the country road and its continual decay, sourcing our next log or stick for our garden adventures and talking about anything and everything from the different types of trees, qualities of wood, to snakes, fishing and forest animals. There really is no limit to our discussion subjects, no cirriculum to follow, just pure and simple learning through questions and further study. If we don’t know how to answer and that can be pretty regular going by the depth of Murray’s questions then we can take it back to our school table for a subject of discussion or a new project. It’s all very exciting and I am learning lots of new subjects myself. Learning is exciting and joyful as it should be!
They will have no friends!
Socialisation! What about socialisation?! What on earth will you do, how will they interact with people, how will they learn to communicate?….eh do we live in a cave on the moon? Are we complete and utter weirdos that we can’t teach our children to communicate with other people and children ha ha ha sorry! 😄 Its one of the most popular questions we have been asked and I was very worried about socialisation too initially but when I realised how often home ed people were meeting up and doing things I thought…hold on a minute…I’m actually gong to have to limit socialisation to actually get some work done and socialisation is actually happening all the time, it’s not just confined to the school walls. We have friends who home ed all over the place and are meeting new people all the time. We have a huge family with lots of children around the same ages. We joined beavers and cubs and we have been making an effort to keep in contact with all of thier friends and hope to continue this into the future. Socialisation isn’t a problem for us.
Your not going to get any time to yourself?
How will you cope being with the children all day? …too much trim with them isn’t good for you…eh?…isn’t that what I signed up to birthing three beautiful souls into this world? Didn’t I sign up to a life long attachment of teaching and educating them anyway, even though they were attending school. We are always our child’s first teacher no matter if they are attending school or not. They look to us for guidance, support, inspiration and teaching all the time. The inquisitive mind of a child doesn’t stop at the end of a school day. They want to soak up knowledge like a sponge, they are always asking questions, always learning. In fact I wish that they always continue to ask questions and that they question everything in life. Yes I don’t have time to do things as I did before but I just schedule my time in differently now and work around it. Plus we have lots of school breaks here, there are no bells and no rushed lunches. We just flow with whatever is going on and we work around that. I am so happy to be doing this, it very much feels apart of me and I’ve adapted from my quiet child free days to a much more interesting and creative environment. It’s bliss for my creative side!
Our boys have swapped the four walls of school for the expanse of the forest or the long stretched out sandy and pebble beaches up our coast. Our home school room is in the conservatory where we can see the sun rise and sun set and watch nature unfold as it moves throughout the seasons. We can listen to whatever music takes our fancy and move with our natural daily rythm. Alongside our workbooks and reading our learning is running barefoot on wet sand, combing the beach for sea life, climbing forest hills with the dogs collecting precious sticks and pinecones and watching and learning from all the beautiful experiences that Mother Earth 🌏 has to offer us. If anything we feel at home teaching this way! I look forward very much to this next chapter in our lives, writing honestly and openly about it and trusting in the unexpected path that has been chosen for us.