100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 49

​Introduction

I have 3 children: my 15 year old transferred from reception in Sheffield to years 1 and 2 in a small school in a Hertfordshire village. I then home educated him from ages 7 – 12. He then went to a small secondary school in Ireland before moving to a local secondary for year 10 in Hertfordshire again.

My 7 year old and 5 year old went to my aunt’s preschool for a couple of years and then into home education.

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Painting feathers

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

I’ve been home educating for 8 years. My younger siblings all experienced various amounts of time in home education and I was always a little bit jealous of that! For me, it was the fact that my son had already moved schools twice and was likely to move schools at least twice more in primary alone. I wanted him to have more stability. Also school left him grumpy and irritable by the end of the school day which was affecting our relationship. Home education sorted all that.

My older daughter was very introverted and cautious and I knew she wasn’t ready for reception. I never even considered school for my youngest.

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

My older daughter does a core of violin practice, reading a page of her book, a little maths and a little spelling workbook. Altogether it takes about an hour and a half. If she wants to, we do work in other areas like comprehension, music theory etc. My younger daughter is a very self directed learner. She chooses activities from maths, jigsaws, writing and pretty much directs it herself. I have a few Montessori materials which she uses. I was expecting her to play or colour or draw so this desire to formally learn these more academic subjects has taken me by surprise. I also try and do some sort of art thing with them regularly. Recently they did printing with feathers and egg decorating.

We’ve recently combined with a couple of other families to set up a French and history group that I host on Mondays. My older daughter does ballet and a violin lesson on Tuesday and swimming lesson on Thursday and stem science on Friday. My younger daughter has a Bollywood class on Wednesday. I’m trying to persuade the teacher to set up a home ed Bollywood class but I think she’s hampered by personal circumstances at the moment.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

I always love the Monday french and history group but my daughter’s enjoyment of the science class surprised me. My younger one has decided to write numbers in order. She is now up to 60 which I find entertaining.

What do you find most difficult and why?

The pressure from well meaning family members who loved school and believe their children loved school and even if they didn’t, you’ve got to go to school to “have your corners knocked off” and learn how to “integrate into society”. Very frustrating.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

I always love seeing them learning new things. I love that if my children feel a bit under the weather, they can have a day off. I love the freedom they have to enjoy the weather and outdoors whenever they want for as long as they need. I love not having to structure my life around terms and for my children to learn at their own pace.

Learning Success System: Review and Giveaway

The Learning Success System uses various approaches to overcoming learning difficulties, using new findings in neuroscience, as well as tried and tested techniques developed by experts in the field. New exercises are delivered daily via email, and there is also a support forum too.

The first principle of the Learning Success System is small steps. In Japanese culture, it’s called Kaizen. It comes from the idea that crash learning doesn’t work, at least not long-term; continuous improvement over time is more effective. Therefore the tasks are only brief but to work well, the programme should be carried out regularly, although the exact amount in terms of length of time and frequency are flexible. Tasks can be approached in the way that works best for your child/ family.

There is a huge wealth of information over on The Learning Success Blog but as a very brief summary, the programme works on the following strategies for better learning: 

Build up micro-skills

Trigger neuroplasticity

Build confidence

Brain integration

Build grit

The exercises focus on developing different skills such as working memory, auditory discrimination, cross- lateral coordination and other skills that help across many areas of learning. The exercises are quick and simple, but also fun and engaging. They are all very much active learning techniques, not passive teaching. (This is a good thing!)

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The Learning Success System is available at the discounted reader price of $197 for a 12 month subscription, with a 90 day guarantee. You can purchase it here. (This is an affiliate link. This means I get a fee for each person that signs up, this does not cost the buyer anything extra. Thank you for supporting me in this way!) 



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One lucky reader can win a 12 month subscription to The Learning Success System. Enter via rafflecopter below.

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*Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. I was given a free subscription for the purpose of this review and giveaway. 

Easter Bunny’s Garden Adventures by Squiggle

Ever wondered what goes on whilst you are still asleep in bed? This, apparently…

Easter Bunny really should jump to it getting those easter eggs delivered…

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But there is always time for a quick game of tennis with a friend…

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And badminton too…

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Oh look! Bunny height basketball…

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Shhh! He won’t spot me up here…

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Now for a spot of tag rugby. Doh! So close…

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Volleyball anyone?

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And always time for a quick sack race too…

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Now, must dash! Someone is coming and I got things to do…

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HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!! 

Credits: 

Concept, photography, set design and director ~ Squiggle

Assistant ~ Andy (daddy)

Captions ~ Katie (mummy)

Global Guardian Project

Global Guardian Project is an inspirational digital multimedia resource – called a learning capsule- designed to educate children (and adults!) about caring for our planet, and to empower children of any age to take action and be change-makers. 

“Our mission is to create learning tools that support the entire family in making simple, daily changes that will become positive habits.”

Each learning capsule is delivered monthly to your inbox. Subscription costs $14.99 per month and can be cancelled anytime. You will only ever pay for what you receive. You can also buy one-off capsules for $16.99. 

The capsules are beautifully presented, and contain a wealth of information and activities. They include things such as endangered species, interviews and spotlights, DIY and art projects, recipes, and guided meditations.  Each one focuses on a different country. The current one is about Sweden and coming next, on 15th April, it will be Israel. Here are some page samples from this month’s Sweden learning capsule…

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I cannot express how much I love the aim and approach of this fabulous initiative. As home educators, we are always excited to find awesome new resources. But this one is an absolute dream because it matches our own values so perfectly. So I am genuinely SO delighted to have teamed up with them to offer 10% discount on subscriptions using my code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY To subscribe, click here and enter the code at checkout. Remember you can cancel anytime. 

If you are not sure if you want to commit and would like to try it out first, you can get a free India capsule, worth $14.99, simply by signing up to the newsletter here. They send out useful emails once or twice per month. No junk. Promise.

You can also download the free Oceans capsule here. This is a mini capsule, about 50% of the content of the full size subscription version. But it gives you a great idea of what the capsules are all about. And I am so happy that this one is dedicated to the ocean!

Remember, if you decide to subscribe, my code is LIVINGLIFEOURWAY for your 10% off discount! I hope you love it as much as I do!!!

*Disclosure: I am an affiliate. This means I get paid a referral fee for each person who subscribes using my discount code. You save money, I receive a fee, Global Guardian Project gets subscribers and our planet gains a tribe of protectors. Everyone wins! 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 48 (Katherine)

Introduction

I am Katherine. Iain and I home educate our two girls – T(10) and E(13) (and ourselves).

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How long have you home educated for and what made you do it?
We had decided that E, our eldest wouldn’t be going to school by the time school admission forms came around, and have been involved in the online and local home ed community since she was four, and her sister T was a few months old. That is now ten years ago.

We had three main reasons for choosing home education:

E was not ready to spend the day away from me. She wasn’t ready to separate having just turned four. She is also very chatty and we didn’t want her to have to tone that down to have to fit into a classroom.

I am an info-junkie by nature so when it came to thinking about about education I read up and talked to friends about the various options. It just so happened that a work friend was the daughter of education academics, and another had gone to Summerhill (a very different kind of school) – so I discovered autonomous education. A.S. Neill’s idea that the aim of education is to be happy and interested in life, and that children need freedom to find their interests struck a chord with us.

A couple of my friends from baby groups had already decided to home educate and it seemed to be a natural progression for us.

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

We are autonomous, or unschooling.

That applies to me and Iain too, not just the children! We aim to meet everyone’s needs and interests. We each do our own thing, or do things in pairs, or as a family, in a very fluid way. We are a techie family and we take full advantage of the opportunities for fun and learning provided by gaming, Youtube and other techie things!

So our youngest gets lots of opportunities to play, and do her own thing. Time to play online with friends, and run around the park, interrupted with bursts of watching her favourite TV shows and creating and making wonderful things.

Our eldest is now 13 and doing some structured learning most days. She is studying for Psychology GCSE, and developing her study skills.

Iain is catching up on some gaming, and playing the guitar. I can often be found satisfying my info-junkie needs by going off on my own tangents when topics come up, and running a Big History group.

We have a core group of friends we see one day a week. And in the summer the girls kayak once a week.

The other things vary from week to week. The girls go to a couple of tutor lead groups for drama and creative writing. Monthly youth group, and soft play. Then a couple of small groups with more structure where we share topics.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

We are having a few unusually quiet weeks at the moment. Lots of time at home, each doing our own thing. Lots of photography for a daily challenge, gaming, and enjoying the warmer weather.

The highlight has been board games evening. 

One thing I hadn’t expected about home educating was that it has given us a whole new extended family. Because my girls and I are making friends with whole families rather than individual people. So Tuesday evening we went round to a friend’s house. Most of the children disappear to play, and the rest of us play board and card games. Iain works full-time so it is always nice to do things with home ed friends that include him.

Another highlight has been the day E spent baking and decorating a cake in the shape of our rabbit for a friend’s birthday, and then the house full of people chatting, and playing, and eating the cake.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

There are so many favourite things – I can’t narrow it down to one!

Definitely the social side, as you can tell from the last week’s highlights.

Apart from that – it is the freedom we each get to follow our own interests, and live and learn in a less stressful way. I love how each of us develops in our own unique way – that we can get involved in something, whether in short all consuming bursts, or over years of exploration. The girls really value the freedom they have to be self-directed, and independent.

It is fascinating how disparate things, and going off at tangents can years later turn out to be an in depth exploration of something we parents hadn’t seen at the time, but for each child was the obvious line of inquiry.

What do you find most difficult and why?

I find this a really difficult question to answer. Since our girls have never been to school we don’t have that to compare it with. The hardest parts are often just parenting, rather than related to home educating. Things like continuous tidying and laundry.


At points it is easy to become caught up in concerns about a child’s ability, or progress. Is this normal? Is my child doing OK? But then again every parent has these concerns, and we have the freedom to find ways through this that aren’t bound up in the school model.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

I’ve found it vital to get a good support system – one that values home education.

Make friends with other home educators online and in your local area. Make sure that you include yourself, and supporting your needs as well as your children. We have had a huge amount of support from other home educating families, and a big part of that has been that the parents are my friends too.

It can really help to talk to home educators whose children are older – their experiences can be a great source of knowledge and support. Finding out about a range of different approaches and experiences gave us the ability to try different things if something isn’t working, and the confidence to see that things are working but not in the way we assumed they would.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 46 (They Grow So Quick)

Introduction

Hi, I am Emma, mum of three boys Seb who is 6, Alex aged 4 and Barney who is 1. We live in West Yorkshire. 

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

Seb became compulsory school age last January so officially we have been home educating since then. None of my children have ever been to nursery or school. 

I first joined a home ed group on Facebook when Seb was around 2 years old and I found that it just made sense to me and I wanted the home ed lifestyle for my own children. So I began to find out about the local home ed scene and met some lovely people. 

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

I have found the longer we home ed for the more autonomous we are, I did originally plan on being fairly structured but it really didn’t suit us and we work much better with more flexibility. Each week is different and I love that. 

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

We had a fantastic day at a local farm. Going midweek meant it was very quiet so we were able to take our time and look at everything in detail. Another random highlight was Seb (who would be in year 1 if schooled) adding up at the shop, we had 3 books at £2.99 each and he told me how much it would total without thought. Little things like that show menthat he is progressing well even if his education doesn’t always look like traditional learning. 

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

It has to be the freedom and ability to be spontaneous. We are so lucky that we can wake up and if it is a beautiful day we can head off to the coast or to explore a new park. 

What do you find most difficult and why?

Some days are stressful! Like most siblings my boys can be best friends one minute and arguing the next. I think this is the same in all families though, schooled or not.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Deschool yourself and don’t compare your child to others because we all learn at our own pace. 

Find out more about their wonderful home ed adventures over on their blog at www.theygrowsoquick.com 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 45 (he2kidsandme)

I’m he2kidsandme; HE as in Home Education, my 2 kids are Big kid who’s 14, Little kids who’s 8 and me, Jo. The name doesn’t give any credit to my husband who is a big part of our family but doesn’t appear much in our adventures because he’s usually at work or behind the scenes at home, cooking the dinner, keeping the four walls standing and the roof above our head. Sorry about that love. 😉 

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On a ride at Alton Towers

We’re relatively new to Home education, Big Kid came out of school just over a year ago, half way through year 9 and Little kid about 8 months ago at the end of year 2. School just wasn’t a good fit for Big kid, she managed through Primary in a tiny Village School with less than 60 pupils but the transition to secondary was a disaster from the start, she was very unhappy and taking her out was the best decision we have ever made. Little kid seemed to enjoy school but we didn’t feel the middle school he was allocated was suitable and since he has been home he has talked a lot about how unhappy he was with some things that happened at school.

I don’t think we have really found our home ed style yet, I don’t know if we will ever have a set style. I imagine it will forever be changing according to the kids needs and interest. At the moment we do lots of clubs and groups: French and a craft group for Big kid and Art, gymnastics, trampoline and STEM for Little kid. We go on lots of trips and visits and I organise a social meet up for the HE teenagers in the area a few times a month. This month I am trying a bit of ‘strewing’ on the subject of Space and we have had quite a bit of engagement from both kids which I am very pleased with. 

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Climbing trees

Recently we have been doing ‘Field trip friday’ our last few field trips were the National Holocaust museum, The Classical Spectacular at The Royal Albert Hall and a Science Fair at Warwick Castle our favourite by far was the Classical Spectacular, we all thoroughly enjoyed it even though we’re not really into Classical music.

I think my favourite thing about home educating the children is watching them enjoy things, and get excited about stuff. They are both more confident and much better company since they have been home and I think that’s because we don’t seem to be rushing all the time (although we are always late!). I think the thing I find most difficult about Home education is that I miss my work, I miss my colleagues and adult conversation and I miss feeling I have made a difference to someone (outside of the family) but I’m starting a new very part time job soon so I hope to get that feeling back. 

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Our annual Christmas carousel ride

The advice I received which I found most useful was “Forget School! Learning at home doesn’t and shouldn’t look like School.” Every time I have doubts, to remind myself of that, I sneak off to the loo and look through my Instagram and remind myself about all the experiences the kids have had and try to think of just one thing they learned from the experience – the thing they learned is not usually the ‘learning objective’ a teacher would have planned but something I completely overlooked or was totally unrelated. It’s like having a toddler all over again, you’ve got somewhere you need to be but they’ve got 400 questions about the ant on a leaf floating in a puddle – now we’ve got time to watch the ant, hypothesise about how he got on the leaf or where he’s going, find out what leaf it is, learn about viscosity, look for other ants ……. . And, now you know why we’re always late.

If you are interested you can follow our adventures at he2kidsandme on Instagram.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 44 (GWkid)

Introduction

I am the mother of the GWkid on utube! We are home Educators for a while every day changes therefore so does learning people always ask when do you stop edding the answer is never! We learn all day everyday baby! when we want how we want and what we want. We are very blessed to be able to enjoy learning in this way.

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

We have been home Educating for approximately 2 years. We decide to home educate to provide God centred quality Education for our child.


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


I would say we are structure-flexible. Subjects activities and times within the day are set although we are very open to allowing the child to learn when they are ready in the format they most thrive in or enjoy weather it be outside with or without friends table learning games household chores or shopping. I use regular daily activities to teach the Bible along with Mathematics, Science, English, and my UTW (Understand the world) subjects. Again this style may change as the child develops to better support the learning more effectively and most importantly to increase the fun!


What was your highlight of home ed last week?

My highlight is at it is everyday watching my child grow and develop into the child God wishes him to be and me gaining confidence daily from God to know that my husband and I are blessed to be facilitating this beautiful journey.

What is your favourite thing about home ed?

Being able to bring our child up as we wish to.

What do you find most difficult and why?

Finding other families that match our way of HE was a struggle at first but to be honest it has become a plus as I think I was spending to much time worrying about creating a village of likeminded HE friends. When I stopped and just focused on my child and family God sent me friends that proved to be just what we needed rather than what wanted. Life has been stress free and easy ever since ! I love Home Education!

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Let the love for your child guide your guidance of them.

Find them on YouTube here.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 43 

We are a larger than average family, with 7 children aged 22, 21, 17, 14, nearly 8, 5 & 3. The eldest 2 are now obviously grown up and getting on with adult lives and our 17 yr old is due to start college soon, but the younger 4 are still very much in full time home education stage. We have been home educating for 7 years now.

Our eldest 2 went all through school with a mixture of success and struggles, but when J & S (now 17 & 14 year olds) were in primary school we started to wonder if there were alternatives. I had friends in the States who home schooled and I had always felt quite envious, presuming that here in the UK it would not be a legal option. I cannot even remember what prompted the initial Google search, but something did one day when the kids were on summer holidays between J going up to year 6 and S going up to year 3. I can’t even remember what I searched or where exactly that led me, but I suddenly found myself aware that Home Education was not only something legal here – but also very simple to do and actually quite common! It was like a suddenly realising you lived next to an amazing garden that you never knew existed – I wanted to explore every single possibility, my mind swam wildly with excitement and everything seemed to make so much more sense. 

J had never really been happy in school, he has ASD and struggled badly with the social side of things – and also the misbehaviour of classmates. S had health issues that meant she missed big chunks of time in class for hospital visits and stays. She was regularly sent home poorly or unable to go in for mornings – her worst time. The school were awkward about offering support, saying she was ‘clever enough and would catch up’. She struggled also socially because friendships were being forged in her absence and girls can be mean! We were struggling ourselves as parents, not really agreeing with the school system of over-testing and ‘one size fits all’ education.

Excited, but apprehensive I mentioned the idea of Home Education to my husband. Neither of us had enjoyed school, our kids were not enjoying it … so it just made sense! Cautiously I asked the children what they thought – no pressure, your choice. To be honest I expected reluctance, but they both jumped at the idea and that was that! We sent off de-registration letters during the holiday and they never returned. All decided in less than a week and we haven’t looked back!
We had one toddler too at that point (F) and have since had two more (R &E), none of whom have been to school – not even preschool. We hope they will always stay out, but the choice will be theirs.

We have tried many different approaches over the years. I love reading about the different styles of Home Education. I have never been one to follow a particular style strictly, I prefer to be inspired by the theories and take those that fit into our lifestyle. When life has been manic – house moves, new babies, etc. we have taken time off from scheduled work to be unschoolers/ autonomous. Inevitably though, both myself and the kids find ourselves wanting some kind of structure back in our days. I find it helps us stay focused and achieve more … even if those achievements are only those that the kids want for themselves. With so many children, at quite different ages and stages, all with different interests and personalities I found it too hard to meet everyone’s needs without some kind of routine. At least half of our household also like to know exactly what is happening each day too!

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Practising addition

A typical day for us would involve me and the smallest 3 waking somewhere around 6.30-7am. When we are all awake enough we have breakfast together and do what I call our ‘breakfast basket’, which is basically a selection of books I read aloud. Typically it will include picture books for the youngest and some fact books on a given theme for the week, some poems or a moral story to discuss. On busy periods I may just read our current chapter book instead. We use Five In A Row with the youngest – which means we cover various subjects just through discussing the picture books we read and using them as a springboard for more ideas. I often use my own choices of books too though, but with the same idea.
By this point the teens are starting to rise and we all get on with our designated household chores for the morning. After this I like them to go out in the garden for a bit of exercise and fresh air, while I do one to one with S – working on her English. They come in, I do some activities with the youngest two and F (8) has some time on the PC (I found he concentrates so much better later in the day if he’s already gamed, rather than clock-watching or asking constantly “Am I done now?”). S then goes to do her independent work. Some days at this point we have scheduled lessons or activities with other people. Other times the kids like to play on the LeapTV or just go off and play.

Lunch altogether, while I read our current read aloud chapter book, then various lunchtime chores. I am hoping to get more chance to get a trip to the park in after lunch as the weather improves, but so far that hasn’t happened as often as I’d like. Then I work one to one with F. This has to be very small bursts (10 minutes per activity). We practice handwriting, reading and maths, etc. He has a few workbooks he chooses to do, but for the most part we play games.

The little two usually appear again at this point – requesting ‘work’ too, so I have some basic workbooks or sheets they can join in with. We have different activities during the afternoons, some I reserve for play dates, park trips or others we have family activities we do until dinner time – board games, cooking, arts and crafts, etc.

One of the highlights of our week is nearly always on Tuesdays when we have our ‘History Tea-Time’… with table set with sandwiches and cakes and hot chocolate in a teapot I read books or we watch YouTube videos of our current topic. Last year we covered explorers, this year we are looking at inventors and inventions. I like to find picture books that really bring the events to life, rather than just factual encyclopedias for example. Food + read alouds often go hand in hand here – it helps wriggly bottoms stay on seats and ears listening if the mouths are busy chewing!

My favourite things about home edding include seeing my children bond so closely with each other and also getting to spend so much more of their precious childhood with them. I love feeling so connected with their development, getting to see them have those ‘aha!’ moments and really seeing them progress. Or the times when they enthuse to others how much they enjoy learning at home. I also enjoy being able to encourage their individual interests, to help them make the most of their strengths.

Another thing that I love about home edding is the choices available for trips, the amazing opportunities that our kids get. A recent example being a trip to the Holocaust Museum, for my 14 year old – complete with a chance to listen to and ask questions to a survivor. It was an amazing, emotional and unforgettable experience. He was an incredible man and left an impact on everyone who met him. From PGL  activity holidays to workshops held in The Royal Courts of Justice or The Houses of Parliament, from making pizzas in Pizza Express to a tour of the sewage works, our kids get some great experiences!

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Recent trip to Holocaust Museum

The hardest things can be not having enough energy/time in the day to do all that I want to with them. Likewise, trying to have realistic expectations of what is achievable! With such a large age range I can often feel disappointed that we don’t get to go on as many trips as I’d like either – but I console myself that as the little ones get bigger more will be possible!
My best bit of advice for other home edders would be that if something isn’t working, if your child is not enjoying it or it is hard work … try something different! Sometimes you only need a small tweak, other times a complete overhaul. Don’t be confined by a certain style or curriculum, what works for one might not for you and there is no point having all the freedom of choice that comes with home edding if you don’t make the most of it! 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 42 (With a Hop, Skip and a Jump)

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My name is Kate and my husband home educates our eldest son Dylan. We have two younger children who both attend mainstream local schools.
Dylan attended special education settings until year 4 when we decided to home educate using a ABA (applied behaviour analysis) approach. Our reason for home educating was because we felt that Dylans needs weren’t being met and as a quiet and easy child he was being overlooked.

Initally the education was overseen by a privately funded ABA consultant who visits us once a month to see how we are getting on. We review targets, trouble shoot and set new programmes. The set up is geared up totally towards Dylan and what he needs. When we first started there were lessons to hold a pencil. To come and sit down. To learn to write his name. It then became more academic with counting, working with money and time and basic reading.

As Dylan is now 13 we are looking at more life skill activities such as shopping for groceries, making basic meals, travel practice etc. There is no typical week. Some weeks are more productive than others. Some are spend consolidating previous skills. It’s flexible!

The favourite thing about home edding is the pace. Dylan was always so anxious with the unpredictability and rush of the school run and the school day it was a real barrier to his learning. He is so much happier now and thus able to learn!

The hardest thing about home education is the cost. With sen and no financial help it means that overtime at work is a must! It’s also hard in school holidays when every where’s so busy, and we’ve got used to everywhere being quiet and relaxed during term time.

Advice? Go with your gut instinct. The idea of home education is a frightening one but the reality is its really cool. As parents we know our kids better than anyone and if home education is something your considering then chances are it’s worth taking the plunge and doing it!

Follow Kate and Dylan’s journey over at their blog:

www.withahopskipandajump.com