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.
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.