I’m Louise, a 29 year old Mum of three from Hampshire. I’m an ex Nursery Nurse, turned full time home educator. I live with my Husband Carl and our children, Mabel who is nearly five, Greta who is three and Ernie who is 1.
How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?
Well, Mabel could have started school in September last year but didn’t. Her compulsory school start date isn’t actually until this September but she hasn’t been to any preschool for about a year so we consider ourselves home educating. I was always interested in home ed and thought of it as the ideal way to bring up children, especially for their early years at least. I had a little wobble after I had Ernie, 3 children under four was quite a shock to the system and for a while I wondered if I would cope and if it would be fair on them all. In the end though our minds were made up by listening to Mabel. After a couple of months at preschool she started refusing to go and getting very upset saying there were ‘too many kids’, so we took her out. We gave her the option of trying school or trying home ed and she decided to go with home ed.
Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?
There’s no typical week! Because all of the children are so young we don’t really have a home ed style yet. If I could try to describe it I’d just say it’s mainly a lot of free play, outdoor time is a big part of it, books are a big part of it, and encouraging creativity is a priority of mine. Most of the time we just achieve that through free play and following their leads, allowing them free access to pens, paints, scissors, glue etc.
We have recently started a little bit of structure to our week which is in the form of a weekly activity plan that I make up each week around a ‘book of the week’. There’s usually a writing/story telling prompt as well as a numeracy activity, a creative activity amongst a couple of other things. It’s pretty low key, in my eyes it’s just a way of getting my eldest used to some of the skills she’ll need when she’s a bit older and able to do more in depth topics.
What was your highlight of home ed last week?
Probably acting out the story Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy with the girls. They dressed up in ‘space boots’ and ‘space helmets’ and flew to the moon in a cardboard box space rocket! That was really fun, but there were loads of little things too. Mabel was doing a bit of writing, she only does a bit here and there, and she wrote a word so clearly and her handwriting had improved so much and I just thought ‘she’s taught herself that’. It’s nice when you see proof that you don’t have to force children to sit down and practise things, they still learn if you let them go about it their own way.
What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?
The freedom, most definitely. I love that I’m not dreading Mondays every week, I don’t have to nag them every morning to get dressed and out the house before the sun is up. If we want to have a pj day we do, if we want to spend all day at the beach, we do.
What do you find most difficult and why?
Getting enough time for myself, keeping on top of the house, balancing my blogging work with the kids. But it’s getting a bit easier as they get older. It’s just about organisation and setting expectations, when Ernie’s having his nap then I say to the girls that we’re all having quiet time and Mummy is working. So if they have anything they want me to do with them we save it till later when Ernie wakes up. It’s hard to juggle and I feel guilty and sometimes I put the laptop away and just go cut out paper crowns with them or whatever they want me to do… but I find I am a lot more content when I have an hour or so to get ontop of my to do list.
What advice would you give to other home educators?
I don’t really feel like I can give much advice, most people have probably been doing it for longer than us! I suppose I would say to anyone who’s children are under school age and are thinking about home ed… just give it a go! Keep an open mind, be prepared to be continuously changing your plan and readjusting your expectations and go with the flow. Nothing is ever set in stone and school will always be there too.
Find out more about Louise and their adventures here…