100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 16 (Growing Rainbows)

Introduction

Hi, I’m a married mother of 3 children J (6) Bo (4) & Bear (3) living in the South West of England.

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How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?

We deregistered J from Year 2 & Bo from Reception in October 2016 after deciding enough was enough. J is a super confident, funny, happy boy but all through year 1 he cried going into school and year 2 he started crying himself to sleep every night. My husband and I agreed that it was make or break and we didn’t want to get to a point with J that we couldn’t get that happy boy back again. We withdrew Bo at the same time as she has verbal dyspraxia and is under assessment for ASD. She also has an EHCP and I felt if school couldn’t meet J’s needs it didn’t have a hope in hell of meeting Bo’s.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

We are semi structured. Bo especially needs the structure and the routine.


Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays Bear is at nursery. In the mornings they go on reading eggs for half an hour, they read to me then we do our project work – at the moment we are learning about Sharks (J’s choice) & Unicorns (Bo’ choice). Tuesday are our outing day and Friday’s there is usually a home ed group on or we meet up with friends. They also attend martial arts, horse riding and a drama, dancing and singing group.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

J (who in school, hated writing) taking his note book to Tescos to write down all the sweets they sell so he can decide in advance what he would like next time we go.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?

Feeling free.

Living Life Our Way, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Growing Rainbows, Q and A

What do you find most difficult and why?

Trusting that I have made the right decision – although this is getting easier everyday!

What advice would you give to other home educators?

If in doubt – get outside with your children. (it always makes me feel better).

Check out their Facebook page Growing Rainbows.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 15 (Samantha)

Introduction
My name is Samantha and I am 24 years old. I am married to my husband Matt who is 30. We have 3 children, Kayley who is 5 years old, Leah 4years old and Junior 3years old. Kayley was due to start school last September. Leah due to start school this September. However we decided to home educate. Both girls attended nursery however junior hasn’t. We live in Worcestershire.

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My 3 children out on an autumn walk collecting natural treasures for their home ed nature exchange.

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?
We have been officially home educating since September. To start with my husband wasnt keen on the idea at all, however now he has warmed up to it and said he doesnt know why he was so against it to start with. I have always wanted to home educate, I myself didn’t like school very much growing up, my husband didnt either. I think another main reason i wanted to home educate is because I feel that they are too young to start full time school and want them to enjoy being kids and not being pressured to meet targets/goals.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

We do not have a ‘typical’ week, every week is different for us. We always vary it depending on the kids moods too. We can go one week with being out every day doing a whole range of things, to the next staying in and not doing a great deal at all. We all have good weeks and bad weeks. On a good week we will go on mornings out, go for nature walks (doing all different nature related activities), visit different parks, do some reading, writing, painting, singing and dancing, playing in the rain! going to home ed meets, to meet fellow home educators, see family members and just about anything that we can fit in. Then on a bad week, we have a break from the meets, park and tend to stay inside doing something messy or watching films. Just playing together although we still fit a bit of quiet reading/drawing time in.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

My highlight of home ed last week has got to be the fact my daughter gets confused on her numbers, she is fantastic at letters but she was sat writing a letter to her pen-friend and she came over and said, sorry mum I have ruined the letter, I was supposed to do an ‘S’ but for some reason I  wrote the number ‘3’ instead. She didn’t even realise that she does actually know the number as she had just come and told me but the smile on her face when i asked how she knew, she was so please with herself that she has remembered. 

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?

I dont have a favourite thing, there are so many good things about it!! Closer bonds with our children, seeing them so much happier and calmer!! No uniform and school runs, learning what they want to learn about not what they get told to learn about. No home work, we can go where we want, when we want! Quieter parks, Mixed ages of children at home ed meets not just the same age range children. Not having to justify my children being ill or having the day off. Not having to worry about my child falling behind. The good points really do outweigh any bad points.

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My 2 girls doing tree rubbing at a wetland nature reserve.

What do you find most difficult and why?
I wouldnt really say that there was anything difficult, only when a day doesn’t go as planned and we all get a bit stressed and grumpy. The most difficult thing we have found is other peoples negative reactions and comments! however we have learnt to ignore them now.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

I would tell any person that was considering home education to take the leap! Do not be afraid to take that first step. If its what you really want to do, or if its what you feel is best for your child/children then go for it. School will still be there should you wish to enrol them further down the line or if things do not work out.

I would say to other home educators that if you are having a bad day, just remember tomorrow is another day. We all have days even weeks where we just want to hibernate and get nothing done or plans go completely wrong ! We are all human its fine to have days like that. Just remember why you chose to home educate.


Last of all do not be put off by other peoples comments or reactions. They may think that school is the right choice for their child but that doesn’t mean that it is the right choice for YOUR child/children.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 14 (REOLife)

Introduction 

Firstly, thank you for a chance to share our home education story with you. I’m Katie – mum to three cheeky children. Our family is made up of Mum (me), Dad (Liam), Zip (8), Bear (3) and Pop (1). Ohh and Whisky our German Shepherd. We have chosen to learn together at home.

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How long have you home educated and why did you decide to do so?
We haven’t always been home educators. Like many other families, Zip began nursery when he was three and continued moving up through each year group. We made the decision to remove Zip from mainstream school in July 2015 when he was near the end of Year 1. It is one of the best decisions we have ever made. There were a number of reasons we chose to deregister him but the biggest reasons are because of our feelings towards the school and the system. We were having trouble with the school towards the end and I feel we were seen as ‘the problem family’.

Zip has autism. That particular year his class had no permanent teacher for the whole school year. Each day Zip didn’t know who would be teaching him for the day. A supply teacher would be brought in each day which we all found very frustrating. None of the teachers were made aware of Zips diagnosis nor the support he requires and he was punished on more than one occasion over things such as ‘wandering’ and ‘fidgeting’. As a strict rule follower, this really affected him.

I went to meet with one of the supply teachers for parents evening and left in utter shock. I had expected to walk in to the usual “he’s so pleasant to teach” and “he’s achieved so much” but she didn’t really have anything good to say. Instead, I was met with disgust for his ‘poor handwriting’ and told that I needed to do more with him at home. She demanded I made him practice for one hour every day, including weekends.

I had to ask her if she was being serious!

Like 30 hours a week in school, 5 ½ hours of homework (on average) plus extra-curricular activities isn’t more than enough for a 6-year-old? Now I was expected to force him to do another 7 hours each week? When would he play?

I walked home that day very disappointed.

Not in Zip, but in the school. I had been fighting to get him a little extra support for quite some time yet nothing had ever materialised. No amount of meetings, plans or agreements seemed to change anything. On top of this, his attendance was very low, our punctuality was even lower, the staff were unsupportive and at times very unprofessional. I was worried about Zip. I was worried about his education and I was worried about the school.

This was the moment I learned about home education. I didn’t even know it was legal or a thing! I had always been quite a hands-on parent in terms of their education. Why hadn’t I heard of this before? I researched like a mad woman – literally spending all day reading, searching and asking questions. The following month we sent the deregistration letter and haven’t looked back since.

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How would you describe your home ed style? What is your typical week, if you have one?
We’re patchwork home educators.

I have never researched the labels placed on home education properly, so I’m not sure where we would fit. I consider us ‘patchwork home educators’. We take whatever we need, from wherever we find it, whenever we need it.

Technically, we are only home educating one child as Zip is the only one of compulsory school age. He works best when he’s plugged into a computer so we do a lot of computer-based ‘work’ such as researching, YouTube, writing and coding. I have some expectations for maths and English and I plan some work each week with a goal in mind but I don’t set it for a particular day or time.

Zip is very involved with his education and we do the planning together, especially for what he considers ‘the boring bits’ such as handwriting and most other non-computer work. This prevents any power struggles and I noticed he was much more willing to complete a task if he had direct involvement with the planning. We also complete projects, go for nature walks, go to local meets, record YouTube videos, blog together, have LOADS of discussions and incorporate a lot of practical life activities into our days.


It’s not only the kids learning at home though, but us adults too. Watching our kids learn so naturally inspired us both to follow our dreams. We decided to further our own education at home and the kids now see us learning, exploring, practising, trying, failing and succeeding each day. After all, learning is a life-long experience and is not limited to our childhood.

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What was your home ed highlight last week?
Last week I started a STEM group at my house.

Our town has a very small home education community in comparison to many other towns and cities, therefore there isn’t a huge amount going on unless you can travel to the next town. A few of us have been organising meets and activities which has been working really well. Zip loves everything STEM, so I decided to start a little fortnightly STEM group at my house. Nothing huge or spectacular, but a little get together to investigate different STEM concepts together. I was so nervous! I’m not the most social person myself so this is something I never thought I’d do but it went well and seems like something the kids will continue to enjoy.


We also had our weekly local meet up which was lovely. We had been ill for quite a while so it was nice to get outside in the fresh air and see the kids having fun with their friends again.

REOLife, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A, Living Life Our Way

What are your favourite things about home ed?
With home education, we can adapt the difficulty to suit him.

I love home education! I love everything about it. The freedom, the lazy mornings, the late night discussions, the people, the connections. But most of all I love the flexibility that home education brings.


Zip is very academic and if he was at school he would be considered high-achieving in some areas, but far behind in others. With home education, we can adapt the difficulty to suit him. For example, he really struggles with fine motor work so often joins in with activities I prepare for Bear. These activities are aimed at preschool children so if he was in a class full of other 8-year-olds he wouldn’t be working on improving this skill, despite his need to. On the other hand, he grasps scientific concepts really easily so we could spend a day discussing a topic which usually wouldn’t be introduced until the GCSE stage. This flexibility is by far my favourite thing about home education.

What do you find most difficult?

I confess, there are times where I find home education really, really difficult.


There are 7 years between the oldest child and youngest so finding activities which will occupy them all at the same time can be really challenging. Whilst its true that some days I feel like I’m spreading myself very thin, I look back on our journey so far and wouldn’t change it for the world. Not even for a minutes peace.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

If I could offer just one piece of advice to other home educators, especially newbies, it would be to join as many Facebook groups as possible. Search for your local group to see what activities they have to offer. Join the groups in the surrounding areas, the national groups, the worldwide groups. All of them. I have found these places to be the best place for support, guidance and socials. We wouldn’t have met any other home educators without it.


Also, speak to other home educators, especially the more experienced ones. You’ll find many of them on the groups but lots of them have blogs too. I’ve learned so much from their experiences. They have been there, done that and wore the t-shirt. In the words of Albert Einstein “The only source of knowledge is experience”.

Thank you for reading our home education story. If you would like to see more of what we do then please do come over and say hi to us on our social medias or on our family blog (links below). Here you will see posts from both Zip and I and see more about what we get up to.

Website: www.reolife.co.uk

Instagram: instagram.com/reolifeblog

Twitter: @REOLifeblog


Facebook: facebook.com/REOLifeblog

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 13 (Rambling Violets)

Introduction

I’m am an home educating parent in the UK.

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How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?
My son is 8, we are second generation autonomous home edders (Boy is that a mouthful!) Originally we set out home edding as we felt 5 was far too young to start school with the intention to review at 7, however that never happened as we’re all quite happy with the way things are! If that changes at any point then we will discuss and review.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

We autonomously home educate, we don’t really have a ‘typical’ week, however my son likes to read a non-fiction book every morning right now then we have a discussion on it after lunch and look at anything he wants to find out more about, or anything he needs help with understanding, we have a fair amount of gaming in there too, Lego Batman 3 and Pokemon are favourites right now which are feeding his imagination and he is enjoying researching the different pokemon types and drawing them with oil pastels, which is a new medium for him and he’s enjoying it because the colours blend together more easily. He’s just discovered a game called Robocraft as well which he is thoroughly enjoying (and it’s FREE!) He loves to organise his time based around what he is interested in. He’s recently started to develop a keen sense of delegating anything he doesn’t want to do! 😉 There are quite a few home ed meet ups locally, a home ed trampolining group has just started up again and he recently started swimming lessons once a week.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

My son had his first swimming lesson and we discussed Earthquakes, Tornadoes and Hurricanes as a result of something he had seen in a Roblox video a few months ago. It reminded me that what he learns isn’t always immediately apparent!

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child?

The ability to tailor everything to his needs, also the time spent together is a bonus!

What do you find most difficult and why?

Letting go and trusting in the process.

Autonomously home educating is certainly not without it’s challenges, and despite the fact I can see the results of autonomous home ed right in front of me with my partner, it doesn’t necessarily stop me worrying or stop me having wobbles. I can’t put a price on the amount of support I’ve had from my partner’s mum when those worries and wobbles have cropped up!

What advice would you give to other home educators?

You know your child best, we all worry about whether what we’re doing is right or not. There is no right or wrong way to home educate, only the way that works for you and your family. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, as long as you and your family are happy with it.

Find us here: 

Website: www.ramblingviolets.org.uk 


Twitter: @ramblingviolets

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 12 (Victoria – Home Educating The Mad Lads)

Introduction

My name is Victoria, I am 29 years old. I am wife to the husband who is 38 years old and we have three boys and a baby bump. Our children are Pudge,6 , Bean,4 and Bod, 13 months. They aren’t just the nicknames we use for our blog nearly everyone calls them by their nicknames.

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Outdoors

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?
We have home educated since September 2015 when Pudge would have started school but he didn’t. Goodness there are so many reasons we decided to home ed it would fill a book, so to stop you all getting bored I’ll stick to a few. Firstly Pudge did not settle at nursery. We started him when he was 3. I was very uneasy about it but everyone else was sending their kids at three and I was repeatedly told it would be good for him so we sent him. Every day he cried. Once he was screaming for me with a nursery nurse physically holding him as she told me to go and I did go. I went even though every inch of me felt like it was wrong and when I look back I want to cry I did that. I was repeatedly told he would be fine and it was normal.

In the end he stopped going every day because neither of us could face the heart ache then one day a nursery nurse said to me, “You have to bring him, even if he is upset or he’s won.” Won what? I thought. The right to be with his family where he feels safe? So we took him out.

Then when he was four, again being told by other people it was what was best for him we tried a different nursery. This time Pudge handled the separation better but even after being told about his allergies on the second day the nursery gave him mushrooms then didn’t apologise to me when he got ill. So we took him out of there. 

Finally we tried a very highly praised forest school nursery. To be fair it was an excellent nursery but pudge wouldn’t settle and by then through the internet I had started to find out about home ed and I no longer felt like I had to force him into a situation he wasn’t happy with so he went less and less until we stopped going. As soon as I decided what we were going to do and stopped trying to do what other people said I should be doing we were all loads happier. 

The other reasons include not wanting to live by someone elses time table, how schools are so controlling and like a dictator ship nowadays, bullying, the fact the husband and I had bad times at school and learn naff all we have needed in adult life, wanting our children to have happy free child hoods, wanting the children to grow up as close as can be and not wanting the government to raise our children and see them more than us etc…

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

We are very relaxed as the children are only young. Sometimes we follow a topic, like we just did egyptians and sometimes the children ask to do something. The only thing I make pudge do is reading and maths but I keep it at a level that he is comfortable with, we don’t do nearly as much as he would be at school. 

We do lots of crafts, lego, tuff spot messy play, indoor dens, games and baking in winter and we do lots of allotment time, tramping fields, parks, dens, playing outside with friends and riding bikes in the summer. We are mostly autonomous I’d say. Our weeks are very easy, the only thing that keeps us aware of days of the week is the clubs the kids go to and the days the husband works. 


On Monday it’s lego club, Tuesday it’s beavers for Pudge, Thursday it’s the childrens centre group, Friday it’s youth club and Sunday it’s Sunday school. As well as that, they have some home ed friends and friends on the street they play with. We find they have lots more friends and interests than me and the husband did at that age at school.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

When we met my favourite home ed mum and her boys and went for a walk down the local nature reserve. It was the first time we had been out in three days because of waiting for a very unreliable firm to bring my new cooker so we all had cabin fever and were so ready to come out. It was great watching the kids getting covered in mud, playing with sticks and wading through the stream instead of cooped up in a class room. Moments like that reassure me we are doing the right thing. Plus I got to have an actual adult conversation, which was amazing, haha.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

Just the amount of time I get to spend with them. How I get to see every phase and treasure every second. Plus I love seeing how close the kids are, even though they squabble, because share everything and weren’t separated at an early age.

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Messy play

What do you find most difficult and why?
I’m not going to lie, some days are hard. Some days no one listens, they just fight and I get overwhelmed and have to remind myself why I’m doing this and that even if I got a break I’d miss them as soon as they were gone. But the good days out weigh the bad and it doesn’t matter what you are doing there will be crap days and fantastic days.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Don’t worry about negative people and their opinions, there is a reason you were drawn to home ed and nobody has better intentions for your children then you do. Also go with the flow, enjoy it and don’t compare yourselves to others.

I started a blog because it was reading home ed blogs that really helped me make the decision to home ed. I don’t that have that many people I can talk to about home ed in my every day life and I’ve found the support from it amazing. This is my blog facebook page Home Educating The Mad Lads if anyone would like to connect with me. 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 11 (Happy Handley)

Introduction

I’m Tanya, I’ve been married for almost 11 years. We have 4 children R is 9, E is 7, S is 5 and Little S is 3. We live on the Dorset/ Wiltshire border with our dog Poppy and 2 guinea pigs Max and Nibbles.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A, Happy Handley, Living Life Our Way
Science

How long have you been home educating and why did you decide to do so?

We have been home educating for just over 2 years. Before I had children I loved the idea of home schooling (yes, I believed I had to do school at home) them. Once my eldest was born I didn’t think I’d cope having to sit at a table with her and teaching her with other little ones to look after as well. So I sent her to pre-school, and later school. Her brother followed her even though he was summer born and seemed so young as just 4 to be starting school.

We moved house 3 years ago and so the children had to change schools. Neither settled very well. E has Autism and was finding the whole environment very challenging. R just wasn’t happy and was falling behind. I started to look into home education and was pleasantly surprised that we wouldn’t have to do school at home. We could tailor their educations to their individuals needs and make it a really hands on experience. One Friday they came out of school both miserable, we sat down as a family and asked them if they wanted to try home education instead. We said we would trial it for a year to see how we got on. They both just beamed from ear to ear.


We have just finished our second year of home education and we all still love it.

How would you describe your approach? Do you have a typical week?

When the children first left school we planned to take time to get school out of our systems and then to introduce a little structure for Maths and English. During our time of de-schooling I was amazed at how much they were learning. Through play, television, YouTube, Minecraft, friends, family and days out at museums and in the forest. We spend hours talking, asking questions and finding out the answers together. I have learnt an awful lot too! Occasionally they want to sit down and do a workbook but we don’t have set times for “school work”. We learn autonomously and follow our interests.

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Our typical week starts with a day out with lots of other home educators on Mondays. We play in the park, go for a bike ride and built forts in the forest. Tuesdays I co-run a group for home educating families. We often have a theme with a few activities based around it. The children also enjoy seeing each other and us parents get to chat and drink a little too much tea! Wednesdays and Thursdays are mostly spent at home, visiting family or running errands. We love to bake, do science experiments, grow our own veggies, or play with our Dog and 2 guinea pigs. Fridays we meet up with more home educators and spend the day outside exploring and playing. The weekends we spent time with Daddy, maybe go out somewhere or see family.
What was your home ed highlight last week?

Our highlights of last week are probably playing in the park in the rain, playing in the sand with friends, finding a toad.

What is your favourite thing about home educating? What do you find most difficult?

I love more than anything watching my children enjoying their childhoods. I love hearing them laughing together, or discussing deep and meaningful. I love seeing how their little minds works and how they solve problems or come up with new ideas. I love watching them grow, physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m extremely grateful that I have this opportunity to spend so much time with them. It does bring its challenges too, I have very little time just for me and the house is always a mess! Sometimes I worry that I’m not enough, but then I think about how far they have come in the last 2 years. I know this is the best possible childhood and education that I could give them.

Living Life Our Way, Happy Handley, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
X Rays

What advice would you give to other home educators?
To any home educator new or old it’s always good to know that we all have wobbles from time to time. Take a step back to enjoy your children, go back to basics and have fun. 

Read more about their adventures at the following places…

Website: www.happyhandley.com

Facebook: facebook.com/happyhandley

Pinterest: happyhandley


Instagram: happyhandley 

Twitter: @happyhandley1


100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 10 (Girls Unschooled)

Introduction

I’m Jo, my husband Kriss and I have two girls Evie (6) and Clara (4). We’re a British family who moved to Washington state on the West coast of the US in November (terrible timing).

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We came across a snowy mountain path one day, and had such an amazing time playing there.

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?

Neither of the girls have been to school, although Evie did go to pre school for a while. I was a teacher and saw so many things I didn’t like about the education system. It’s something we thought about from when Evie was a baby, but it seemed a bit scary. We wanted freedom of creativity and individuality and we didn’t want the really structured learning that school offers; we properly decided when our eldest was two and we’re really happy we have.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

We’re unschoolers, which can look like a lot of different things, but our weeks are usually a mix of going out to interesting places, meeting friends, lots of playing, reading books, watching TV, playing on the iPad and doing lots of art. None of us like much structure, so we don’t tend to plan too much in advance. At the moment we have a couple of classes they’ve chosen (gymnastics and ballet), and we usually have a home ed trip (this week we have a pretzel making workshop and a zoo trip) booked once a week or every other week, but other than that we usually like our time to be flexible.

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The art stuff is always available and they often go and do some painting or constructing of random things.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?
We saw a play (Charlie and the Chocolate factory) performed by teenagers, at a free home ed day. We got to meet the cast afterwards. That was pretty great, and the resulting singing of the soundtrack for the rest of the week was also wonderful.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

There’s so much I love. I love that they they to learn in a way that suits them; that they get to meet so many different people and make lots of friends; that they are able to be individuals; that they can enjoy being outside as much as they like; that they have lots of time together and I love seeing how much they love each other; the amount of time to play; and that I get to spend so much time with them too.

What do you find most difficult and why?

I think the difficulties are those that all parents feel regardless of how their kids are educated – being tired, trying to be patient, wanting the occasional day off, hoping we’re being enough for them.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

The same thing I have to stop and remind myself regularly – listen to your kids and remember they don’t need to learn everything they need to know today, or tomorrow, or by the time they reach an arbitrary age. There’s time, enjoy it.

You can read more about their home ed adventures here…

Website: www.girlsunschooled.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/Girlsunschooled

Instagram: @girls_unschooled



100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 9 (The Princess Army)

Introduction

I’m Kate – Mummy to four biological daughters and one step-daughter; one with autism and one with type-1 diabetes; two in secondary education, two in primary education, and one home-educated. We have a hyperactive dog name George and a fairground fish called Finn, and we live just outside London. Collectively, we go under the name of The Princess Army, and you can follow our adventures at www.theprincessarmy.co.uk

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A

How long have you home educated for, and what made you decide to do it?

In 2009, frustrated by the National Curriculum, I deregistered my eldest two children, who were in Year 2 and reception class at the local primary school, and together with my then-two-year-old, began our home education adventure. And we loved it. We had the freedom to learn autonomously, and my children’s confidence and personalities bloomed. Then a year later, my husband and I decided to get a divorce. I was concerned about the girls’ well being, being in the midst of a separation 24 hours a day, and so I reluctantly re-registered them at a mainstream school.


When my youngest daughter was born in 2013, I was certain that I was going to home educate her from the start. Whilst my older girls are doing well in the school system, they still reminisce fondly about their year of home education, and I still have the same feelings about the National Curriculum.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

My youngest daughter is on the Autistic Spectrum and has sensory processing difficulties. She is cognitively very bright, but has trouble with communication and is predominantly non-verbal. We do daily art therapy to give her an outlet to express herself without words, and this also helps her sensory issues. She also loves being out in nature, so we try to go to the local nature reserve at least once a week. Our “typical week” will also involve baking, reading stories, occupational therapy, lots and lots of learning through play, and music. On Thursdays, she goes to an amazing childminder who has a sensory room in her home and experience with children on the spectrum.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

I often have classical music playing in the background as a soundtrack to our days. Last week, my daughter started quietly “singing along” to Beethoven’s 9thSymphony. Considering that she has selective mutism and doesn’t often engage with new things, it was wonderful to see that she was connecting to the music and actually enjoying it. My home ed “highlights” are often things that parents of neurotypical children may take for granted. I was so happy when she was able to use PVA glue for the first time without being squeamish, for example.

What is your favourite thing about home-edding your child/ren?

I love that we have the freedom to prioritise the things that make my daughter happy. She doesn’t need to be “table-ready”, she’s able to go outside to play whenever she likes, and we are able to focus on activities that reduce her anxieties and give her confidence.

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What do you find most difficult and why?

The most difficult thing is not home-edding all my children. My other girls are happy and settled in school now, which means that some of the “perks” of home education, such as being able to take holidays in term-time, aren’t an option for us. When I originally chose to home ed my older children, I would’ve said that I found the judgmental attitudes of others to be the most difficult thing. I’m older and more thick-skinned these days (especially being an autism parent – getting judged by strangers happens almost on the daily), so I wouldn’t say that that bothered me anymore.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

It’s not easy to go against the norm. I’d say to trust your instincts and judgments, and be confident. There will be days when you doubt that you’re doing the right thing for your children – that’s normal. There will be days that you feel that you’re not doing enough. Just remind yourself that just because nobody posts pictures on social media of their kitchen sink overflowing with yesterday’s dirty dishes, it doesn’t mean they didn’t crop them out of the photo of the organic, gluten-free, vegan cake they just posted a picture of. For every successful, well-organised home ed pin you see on Pinterest, there’s a thousand activities that were a complete disaster. That’s real life. I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed. And I don’t even own an iron.

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100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 8 (Liz)

Introduction

My name is Liz and I have 8 year old twin boys (one with a disability). We have a lovely big garden and an allotment. We don’t have family nearby but have lots of friends.

100 days of home ed, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, freedom to learn, home education, interview, Q and A, guest post
Pizza making session at Pizza Express.

How long have you home educated for and what made you do it?
We’ve been home educating for more than 3 years now. The boys went part time to a lovely local pre – school between the ages of 2-5 years. We officially started home educating the term after their 5th birthday. We had been looking round at schools but couldn’t find anywhere that felt right for both our children. My main concern was how formal things were from a very early age and how much academic work was expected so young. I just wanted my children to continue learning through play. I had worked in education before I had the boys and seen then how so many children failed to fit in to the early academic mould. I didn’t want my children to feel they had failed before their lives had barely started. I knew nothing about home educating but suddenly felt it was the right decision for us. It felt like a big weight dropped from my shoulders. I had a lot of negativity from other people. Mostly ‘how will you cope’ and what about the boys having friends but I knew I had to give it a try. And it has definitely been the best decision for us. We love it!!

Briefly describe your home Ed style. Do you have a typical week and if so what does it look like?

We have swung between different styles of home educating and generally just go with the flow of what seems right. I knew I wanted to be as child- centered as possible. So I tend to follow the boys’ interests and their learning happens through that. I remember our first official day of home educating one of my boys decided he wanted to pretend to be a squirrel so our whole day revolved around that. We made a squirrel ‘nest’, drew pictures, cooked squirrel biscuits and looked up information on the Internet.

We tend to go to a couple of home education groups a week, these can be forest school, music group, meet in a soft play centre and a general social group. We’ve also recently joined a home education science club.

On the other days we have playdates or focus on doing things at home or in our local area. I have a view that everything is education and learning can take place in all situations. We love cooking, gardening and making things.

We do some work sheet type work as the boys enjoy these every so often but I would say that the majority of learning takes place ‘on the job’ so to speak and through talking together. And we use the Internet or local library to research anything we need. We recently did a mini project on the Caribbean which was fun.

What was your highlight of home Ed last week?

Going to visit new home educator friends who moved in nearby recently.

What is your favourite thing about home educating your children?

It’s so relaxed, we go at the pace we need. No getting up and rushing around in the mornings.

What do you find most difficult and why?

That not all extended family members approve it has meant that they don’t want to know too much about what we do.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Go with the flow. Don’t focus on what others are doing, do what is right for your family. And above all don’t compare yourself to school.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 7 (Candy)

Introduction

I’m Candy, I’m 34, and a mum of two lovely, squishy, LOUD boys called Will and James that I decided to home educate after Will experienced a rubbish year at school. I was a student nurse, but gave up to be more present in the home (did you know you have to write essays alongside working 40 hour working weeks?) I am divorced-my husband home educated the boys with me. He’s disabled, so does more of the sitting down stuff with them, and I do more of the running around stuff.

I currently work part-time as an accounts assistant, working the hours the boys’ dad has them, and also clean the office at the weekend. Every bit of money helps when you are financing staying at home as much as you can. If that’s not paradoxical. I have a wonderful partner, Steven, who I met about a year after Martyn and I split up. He is fully on-board with home ed, too, which is great. He is the head of department in functional skills and ESOL at Midkent college, working with children 16-19 with social, emotional, learning and aspirational difficulties.

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How long have you home educated and why did you decide to do so?

We’ve been home edding as a modern family for about 3 years. The push was seeing Will change his whole personality in a few months. He loved nursery, Steve and Martyn are/were both teachers, and I am a huge nerd (our house is basically a library with a messy kitchen) who LOVED school – so we were as pro school as you could be. Seeing him change was awful – and in talking the teachers, they blamed us for not pushing him hard enough.

Describe your home ed style. Do you have a typical week?

We do have a typical week. As I said, Martyn does the more sit down stuff – art and craft and workbooks – and I do more wear them out stuff. Monday is daddy day, so on a Tuesday, we have a morning of errands and in-house stuff, then in the afternoon its the home ed meet up with about 30 other home ed families, and the evening is beavers for Will, and James and I have some 1 on 1 time. Back to dad’s Wed/ Thur. Friday morning is trampolining, then we see a home ed friend – his family runs their own subway, so they go behind the scenes and make their own lunch. We do something together, usually museum or library or a play area – and in the afternoon we see my sisters and my boys’ 4 cousins. Saturday, James has drama school, and we have 1 on 1 time with Will, followed by some computer time – minecraft and lego and things like that – and we often go to the cinema or swimming or something.


And Sundays are different throughout the month. The first Sunday they both go to Martyn and participate in church, the second Sunday I have James and Martyn has Will, giving them some space, the third Sunday is swapped, giving them space and 1 on 1 time again, and the 4th/5th is both with me. On those days we see Grandads and nannys and friends with other kids.

What was your home ed highlight last week?

Highlight of home ed last week was Will – who doesn’t like being made to read (we read every night at bedtime – he usually manages a page before doing the ‘uggghh, I’m too tired’) suddenly up and read an entire book in 2 nights. No pushing – in fact,he kept pushing me away (I read next to him to help correct when he can’t quite get a word). It clicked, all by himself, nothing to do with me. Old me was petrified that my 5 year old wasn’t reading like others his age. Suddenly, 2 weeks before his 8th birthday, he decides to become fluent, as if to spite me. Anyway, that was awesome.

What is the most difficult thing about home ed?

The biggest difficulty is financing it. Its a double blow of financing education yourself while reducing the amount you can work/earn. I wish it were possible to access those thousands that are allocated to schools per pupil, so that we had the same resources to fund home ed. I think I have a much easier time of it that many other home ed parents as I am so supremely supported, not only by my partner, but by my extended family and the boys’ dad.

100 days of home ed, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, freedom to learn, home education, interview, Q and A, guest post

What advice would you give to other home educators?
Find a home ed community local to you. There are deals and trips and events and classes that run all throughout the week, and most importantly, other parents to talk to when its all getting a bit overwhelming. A common comment I am given is ‘oh wow, I wouldn’t have the patience to do that.’ Well, I don’t either – but I manage because of my support network. Find your tribe.