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.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 6 (The Mama Tree)

Introduction

Hi, I’m currently a stay at home single-mum to my 2 children, who are 7 and 3 years old. We live on the Bucks/Beds/Herts border (which means we get access to lots of home education activities and friendships).

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Family Time

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

I have been home educating since my eldest was 3 years old, he had a brief time at pre-school and it was there that I decided I wasn’t happy with the school system. I started looking into alternatives and discovered home education – I loved how child-led and free it was. I then started to connect with other local home educators and discovered a vibrant and friendly community. Best decision I could have made.

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

We are very much unschoolers or as I like to call it life-learning. That means I follow what the children are interested in, answer questions throughout the day, play games, meet with other home educators, attend events and trips, get outside, read, create, visit libraries, cars cars cars (my eldest is very passionate about cars) bake, jump on the trampoline, ride bikes, fly kites, build with Lego – basically anything that they want to do.


We don’t have a typical week but at the moment our Wednesday and Fridays are the same. My eldest has swimming lessons on Wednesday mornings and we all attend a casual outside sports session every Wednesday afternoon (where we bring different sports equipment and children of various ages play together exploring the equipment or the play park!). On Fridays a small group of home educating families all meet together and we have been doing specific projects with the kids – such as; space, under the sea, romans, Olympics, boats, music, fashion, food bank and homeless collection, world landmarks.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

A highlight of last week was going to London and visiting the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum for my son’s birthday trip – we were able to go into London on a week day and have a quiet wander around the museums.

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Trip to Natural History Museum

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

I love the freedom and variety that our weeks hold. No week is the same as the last, and we are free to flow with the natural rhythms of our days. Some days we are at home in our pj’s the next we are dressed and out at a large home educating event. I also love being able to see their passions come alive.

What do you find most difficult and why?

The most difficult part is finding 1:1 time with each child and also juggling all 3 of our needs – making sure that I don’t forget about my needs too.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Trust your instincts. Stay strong – everyone has a different way of home-educating and sometimes you can feel the pressure to follow how someone else does it, but the best route is the route that suits your child best. Also – find your tribe, having support of those that understand your way of thinking is invaluable (especially when you’re having a wobble, which we all do)!!

This interview is with one of three home educating mamas who co-share The Mama Tree – which includes blog posts on parenting, home-education, arts and crafts, recipes, product reviews, days out and holidays, and self-development.

Website: themamatree.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/themamatreeuk

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 5 (Diary of a Home Ed Family)

Introduction

Hi, I’m Rachel from Diary of a Home Ed Family. I home educate my three boys, ages 14, 11 and 8.,We live in Worcestershire with Hubby (aka Daddy) and the rug-on-legs that is our labradoodle.

100 days of home ed, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, home education, freedom to learn, Diary of a Home Ed Family, Q and A, interview
One of our favourite things last year: “Poetry Picnic” where we baked goodies for a picnic then each chose a poem to read to each other while we munched out in the fresh air.

How long have you home educated and why did you decide to take that route?

We started our Home Ed journey at Easter 2012. Although we knew about HE as an option from the beginning, we originally sent our children to a small independent school where I also taught, because we thought it would be better for them socially. By 2012 it was clear that Middle (then age 5) was really struggling: anxious, depressed, and totally turned-in on himself – the ‘socialisation’ we thought school would give him actually worked against us and all but destroyed him. So I worked my notice to the end of term and took all of the boys out. I had had enough of school structure and wanted a better way of learning for all of them than any school system can give.

How would you describe your home ed approach?

Up until this school year our HE style has been very seasonal: some seasons of unschooling (especially around bereavement, moving house etc), some seasons of structure, and (probably most often) seasons of semi-structure. I think we fit as a family most naturally into semi-structure: English and Maths as required by me, and then some projects as dictated by the boys’ current interests.

Also this year in September Eldest started studying for IGCSEs so that has been a huge change. Learning to pass an exam is VERY different to the learning for pleasure that we have done thus far – but we are getting there.

So for our typical week Eldest studies Geography, Biology and Maths for four mornings – usually taking about 2-3 hours a day. Last term the younger two were largely uschooled while I focused on Eldest but this term they have MathsWhizz and something arty of their choice on Mondays, English comprehension and a STEM experiment of their choice on Tuesdays, MathsWhizz and music on Wednesdays, and English (handwriting) and any other project of their choice on Thurs/ Fridays – currently Middle is studying the Human Body and Youngest is learning about the great Fire of London. Once the younger boys’ work is done I am free to help Eldest with wherever he’s at – but happily he needs a lot less input from me now than he did when we started in September.

For the fifth day of each week (alternate Thursdays and Fridays) we all go to one of the two forest schools that we currently join in with. We all benefit from getting out of the house and into the fresh air to have unstructured fun in the woods! Finally all afternoons either involve a Home Ed social group or are free for totally unstructured play of the boys choice.

What was your home ed highlight last week?

The highlight of last week’s Home Ed for me was when we suddenly realised Eldest was ‘further along’ in Maths than we thought and therefore hopefully able to take his Maths IGCSE this year, which meant he can take that instead of Biology (which wasn’t going as well and is now being deferred until winter). We were really feeling the pressure of him not being ready but we’re much happier about the Maths/ Geog potential!

What is your favourite thing about home ed?

My favourite thing about home educating my boys is simply that I get to spend time with them. When they were in school we never seemed to just have fun together – we were always either at school/ work, or preparing for school/ work, or catching up with homework etc… Quality time had to be scheduled in and even then it was far too rare.


I am so thankful that I have a good relationship with all my boys. They are so much fun to be around and the inevitable stresses of life are easily outweighed by all the good stuff we enjoy together!

What do you find most difficult?

The thing I find most difficult is IGCSEs: having to learn for the sake of passing a test as mentioned before. But also the (sometimes) overwhelming feeling of bearing sole responsibility for your child’s future. This is part of all stages of HE really and is the source of most wobbles, but is much more so when it comes to exams. Happily we are getting there. It’s been a steep learning curve but I am hopeful that we are making good progress.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

The advice I would give to other home educators is simply to enjoy! Learning can be so much fun when your kids get to choose! Also get out and enjoy the many groups that are available – and make sure you have days just at home to enjoy together too: we all need time to relax as that’s when creativity is most free to thrive. And if you’re are in the realm of GCSEs like Eldest and me – surround yourself with others who have been there or are going through it with you. They will keep you sane!

Read more about their adventures here…

homeedfamily.blogspot.co.uk

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 4 (Mummies Waiting)

Introduction

I’m Jade, mum to Kairi (almost 4) and Naminé (just turned 2). We live in Ely with my Husband Ryan and our Mini Poodle Coco. We are 4 very different people with very different interests and we love to share our journey over on our blog www.mummieswaiting.com and social media.

100 days of home ed, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, home education, freedom to learn, guest post, Q and A, interview
K making a bird house using tools.

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

We have been home educating seriously since Kairi turned 2. Though I am a true believe of the thought that we all home educate from birth, 2 was the age where I really started to track the girls learning, offer them more education based experiences and really put effort into helping them learn.

We decided to home educate for many reasons, I have worked in Nurseries and Schools and, although I enjoyed my jobs, I do not agree with the school system and how children are herded through like cattle. Like myself, my husband would like our girls to be able to follow their own path. Bullying in schools also comes high on our list of reasons not to send the girls to school and the fact that after taking away registration, breaks etc they only get 2-3 hours learning a day, which would easily be done at home.

Our biggest reason is that we know our children, we know that while other children may thrive in school, we do not currently feel that Kairi will, we have watched her thrive with us for the past 4 year and are astonished daily by the things that she has learnt and explained to us. This was how we knew HE was the correct decision.

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

We are very child-led, if they want to play with he kitchen we will slowly move our play to writing shopping lists, adding up the totals and weighing all the ingredients out as we bake a real cake.


A typical week for us includes a lot of travelling as we don’t like to sit still. Currently we attend one active class and 3 for socialisation. Thursday we will visit family and our ‘spare time’ we fill up with messy play, activities or work books.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

Last week we talked about money, I spoke to the girls about the shield that can be found on a £1 coin and explained that with newer coins they all have part of the shield. We looked round the house for parts we needed and made the whole shield. Nothing more was said.


A few days later Kairi asked her dad for money to buy a t shirt, when he replied ‘what money?’ she answered that she needed ‘the pennies with the shield’. I was absolutely amazed as I didn’t believe the information had gone in. It made me totally remember why we home educate and reminded me to trust our children with their education.

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The coins with a shield

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

I love the quality time with them and the opportunity to watch them learn, but my absolute favourite thing is when they teach me something, they’ve learnt it all by themselves and they tell me, they are so proud and i’m so proud too. Its a wonderful feeling.

What do you find most difficult and why?

I struggle with talking to people about HE, it’s a subject where people have such strong opinions and although most of the time wont say anything, you can feel them looking down on you as they speak.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

If you are thinking about it, take the plunge and do it. If you are already doing it, remind yourself often about how much your children have learnt, what you’ve taught them and how they could cope in the world around them if you left them right now. You have done an amazing job so far and the fact you worry about their future, means you wont let them down.

As well as finding Jade and her family on their blog, you can find out more about them on the following social media platforms:

www.facebook.com/mummieswaiting

www.twitter.com/mummieswaiting

www.instagram.com/mummieswaiting

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 3

Introduction

​Hi, I am currently a stay at home mum to three children that have never been to school. I share the responsibility of HE with my husband.

Over the last 10 years I have also been a waitress and a student, graduating from the OU with a science degree last year.

We all live on a narrow boat on the grand union canal.

Why did you decide to home educate your children?

We decided to home educate initially in the early years because I believe compulsory education is too formal, too soon, and European models of education are far superior with better long-term results and positive effects for self-esteem. We continued because by 7 my son had a great circle of friends and we were a part of a vibrant and busy home eduction group.

100 days of home ed, #LoveHomeEd, #100daysofhomeed, home education, freedom to learn, guest post, Q and A, interview
After listening to a talk at the reptile house, M and A get to hold a python.

How would you describe your approach? Do you have a typical week?
We encourage our children to explore the world, we offer new experiences and opportunities to develop skills.

There are also plenty of opportunities to meet with others during our days that are not limited to 9-3. Our friends range in age and include both home ed and “schoolies”

We have no regular week, we take advantage of events and festivals, and trips that are organised by others. We like to be outside but also take time to work on projects at home.

What is the hardest part of home educating?

The hardest job is to balance the needs of all three children without becoming overwhelmed.

What was your home ed highlight of last week?

Last week we went to a working farm to see ewes in lamb. This is one of many trips that we do annually and it’s lovely that the farmers remember us and welcome our group.

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Down at the farm A holds one week old lambs and helps the farmer number the newborns.

What advice would you give to other home educators?
My biggest piece of advice is go slow, too often people rush in sign up for everything and get worn out. Do your research and discover you and your child’s learning style, and use that infomation to decide what to do now and what to leave for later but most of all have fun and enjoy the experience.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day Two (Butterscotch and Cognac)

Introduction

​We are a family of 5, with three boys aged (very nearly) 4, 5 and 6. We live just outside of the Peak District. We have always intended to home educate, and none of the boys have ever been to nursery or school. Now that my youngest is a little older, we plan to spend 2017 exploring the Peak District and getting outdoors as much as possible. 

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Hot soup on a cold day.

How long have you been home educating for and why did you decide to do it?
Initially we felt that the starting age for nursery/school was far too early and we’ve always maintained that ‘kids should be kids’. They shouldn’t be told they need to learn literacy skills at the age of 4 if it is not something that comes naturally. We wanted our children to enjoy getting outside and exploring their own interests and passions.

As the months passed we found ourselves more and more comfortable with home education and life-learning. While we’re not sitting here saying our boys will never go to school, currently it is not on the horizon. We’re enjoying how much the boys are learning about life and having so much time to spend as a family.

How would you describe your approach/ style of home educating?

We don’t have a particular learning style and generally take an autonomous approach to education. At the moment, my eldest son is crazy about fossils and will wax lyrical about Brachiopods and Crinoids if you give him the chance. My middle boy has spent today learning about the old railways that used to run along the High Peak Trail as he was begging to know more after we stumbled across an old wheel pit on one of our walks.

We do use Julia Donaldson’s ‘Songbirds’ books to help the boys learn to read, but there is no pressure. Sometimes they just want to be read to, other times they will shun the reading books in favour of Beano magazines or Argos catalogues!

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Fossil hunting

What was your home educating highlight last week?
The highlight of the last week was enjoying the freedom of home education, as it is most weeks. We’ve been swimming, spent time with friends, built boats to sail on the lake, built a dam in an overflow on the lake to stop the boats crashing down the waterfall, visited two different disused quarries while fossil hunting, visited Middleton Top where the boys learned about the railway, followed a map around the area and learned all about how the limestone rock was formed. We’ve cooked dinner together every night, spent time with family, visited the park, cleaned out the hens. The list is endless!

What is your favourite thing about home ed?

Our favourite thing about home education is the gentle rhythm of our days. There’s no stress or rushing around. We have the freedom to visit places throughout the week without feeling crowded or rushed by the sheer volume of other people that you often find on the weekends. My husband works 4 on/4 off so we have lots of time to go away for long weekends to the beach without having to worry about school attendance.

As well as that, the support network in Derby is phenomenal and about 90% of all the people we know (we moved here 4 years ago) are also home educating.

What do you find most difficult about home ed?

The thing I find most difficult is trying to find one on one time with each child. It can be a little stressful trying to sound out words with the youngest saying, ‘ ‘duh’ for ‘dog’ when you’re trying to form the word ‘little’.

What advice would you give to fellow home educators?

The advice I would give would be to not second-guess your decision to home educate. Sometimes you meet another home educating family and their approach is diametrically opposed to yours, leaving you feeling as if perhaps you’re doing it wrong. You’re not. You’re taking the route that suits you best as a family.

Read more about their adventures at butterscotchandcognac.wordpress.com

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day One (Katie)

This series kicks off with Katie from At Home With The Grays. Thanks for starting us off Katie! 

Introduction

I’m Katie, my children are Alana (15) Josh (12) Nick (2) and number 4 due in 8 weeks. We live with my husband also who works as an IT Manager, and I work part time as a Slimming world consultant.

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

We have been home educating since July 2014. Nick was about 6 weeks old and had some health issues. Throughout my pregnancy we had had constant dealings with both the children’s schools. Alana had always done well and enjoyed school, she had been excited to start secondary school yet in her first month she got conjunctivitis and was not allowed to attend. She missed 2 weeks as antibiotics were not clearing it, friendship groups were formed and when Alana returned it was too bullying. 

Meanwhile a new head teacher had started at the primary school, she took a dislike to Josh and again endless problems followed. 

After an academic year of bullying, physical assaults, meetings and then an emergency GOSH admission with my baby we took the plunge and deregistered. It was originally a 6 month plan while I was on maternity leave. We planned to put them into new schools in the January after a 6 month period to de stress. But it didn’t happen. We didn’t look back. 

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Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week, and what does it include if so?
We take I suppose a semi structured approach. Alana opted to do her science igcse double award last year so she had a science tutor with a group every Monday.  She sat exams in may and had quite bad anxiety attacks so we decided she wasn’t going to focus on any more at this time. She was 14 when she sat her exams though. Both children are working on a photography course, they complete courses online via Alison and future learn. They use a combination of books,  websites and TV programs and documentaries. We attend various workshops and home ed meets as well as organising trips out to various places. They attend a youth connexions home ed teen group weekly where they are working through various AQAs as part of the unit award scheme. 

We also take the children away visiting different locations, last year we cruised Italy with them enjoying Rome, pompii, naples, pisa etc…. 

But with pregnancy, and a toddler, and me being self employed, it is equally important for us to have down time. They see me doing admin, they handle money with me, they talked with me through my tax return etc…. and they are expected to help with household chores and cooking etc… 

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

My home ed highlight last week, a bit sad and not overly home ed related…. but my husbands nan, i.e. the childrens great nan, was in hospital. The drs handed over to palliative care and told us there was nothing they could do. 

Without the restraints of school we were able to work through this together.  We were able to take the children to visit the hospital in the evening, they had their chance to say goodbye, and we were able to spend our time with friends. She passed away Wednesday evening and my 12 yr old didn’t cope well, he was unable to sleep but he chose to learn how to edit his photography and use photoshop as a distraction, we were able to support this and he was at it till gone 11pm but no school the following day meant no worries. We have been able to grieve and support our children to grieve. 

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

My favourite thing is being there to see that spark, when a new interest or understanding clicks I love seeing it. I was there to witness my toddler playing “shop” for the first time. I am getting to enjoy so much more. When my older children were his age they were in preschool already and I was told new things they learnt by key workers. It’s great being able to observe it myself. 

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, home education, freedom to learn, interview, Q and A, guest post, At Home With The Grays, Living Life Our Way

What do you find most difficult and why?
Difficulty, not much. There are moments when I doubt myself, think omw what have we been doing. But I can sit down and think and it passes. Other people’s judgements can be harsh, but usually I’m pretty good at ignoring them. I know my children are doing well. 

What advice would you give to other home educators?

To other home educators I would say don’t compare yourself. Everyone’s children and family needs are different. Everyone’s days will look different. We home ed because one package doesn’t fit everyone, so do your own. Respond to the needs and interests of your children and judge your success by their happiness and progress emotionally as well as academically. 

Learning takes place in many ways, with many appearances. There are times when academically we haven’t done much at all, these are the times when family situations have meant that we have focused on emotional wellbeing, resilience and coping strategies without even realising it at the time. These life lessons are just if not more important. 

To read more about Katie, check out her blog At Home With The Grays or her facebook page here.

Introducing 100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd

A fellow home educator has set up this brilliant idea of a 100 day photo challenge, starting tomorrow (6/2/17), for everyone to share our home ed adventures. To take part, simply use the hashtags #100DaysofHomeEd and #LoveHomeEd to share your home ed photos on the social media channels of your choice. 

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Feeling inspired by this challenge, I have decided to host a daily Q & A series with home educators. It will be great to read about a variety of home educating families and celebrate the diversity within our community. If possible, I aim to run this series for the full length of the photo challenge; so hopefully I will share a guest post daily for the next 100 days! Therefore if you home educate and would like to take part, please get in touch with me asap at livinglifeourway@outlook.com Thank you!

Lastly, if you have a blog post about your home ed adventures, please feel free to share it on the linky below so that we can all have a read! This linky will be open for the next 100 days too. 

Happy home edding!