We are a family of seven from Yorkshire, UK. We discovered Home Education before having children back in 2001 and we just knew it was something we would love to do with our own children one day.
When I had my first child in 2003 I was adamant she wouldn’t go to school. I wanted her to learn in her own time, follow her own interests and develop a love of learning. I now have five children who have never been in the schooling system ages 14, 11, 9, 6 and 3 and HE is normal family life for us!
When the children were little we spent our time outdoors exploring or in the local library reading books. We still take our classroom out and about as much as we can, but now the older ones are reaching a stage where they are deciding which subjects they would like to study for IGCSE’s so we are a little more structured.
We work at the kitchen table when we are at home as this allows me to cook alongside them but if it’s a lovely day we take our classroom to the park! Even though it’s known as ‘Home Education’ it certainly isn’t ‘school at home’ and we make time to go on plenty of trips to places such as the canal, picnics in the woods and other educational trips which tie in with the topics we are covering such as a tour of Yorkshire Water.
We are quite structured Monday to Thursday mornings with a timetable covering English, Maths, Science and Arabic. We spend our afternoons out and about in the local park or woods. On Fridays the children get plenty of free time to follow their own interests and weekends we keep busy with Art, History, Geography and ICT.
If one of the kiddies wants to build with wood then they will do that, another may choose to learn some Spanish etc. I go with whatever interests them. They also do swimming, taekwondo and cricket and have completed some alternative qualifications such as The John Muir Award and Arts Awards.
The younger children do lots of ‘learning through play’. Whilst my older ones use textbooks for the three core subjects. I don’t plan too much as many friends, who are school teachers, advised me not to ‘bog myself down with paperwork’ as I know what I am going to cover each week. I do make notes of what each one of my children needs to revise and work on. Sometimes topics just arise randomly or a particular topic takes their interest. For example, a volcano erupted in Iceland which led to a project on that country.
Home Education has benefitted us as a family. The children have had the opportunity to bond as siblings and socialise with children and adults of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicity etc.
One of the best things about Home Education is the fact that it’s not ‘school at home’ and there’s no ‘being behind’, the children get to learn what they want, when they want and in a way that suits them. I also believe children are always learning wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
It’s quite amazing to see the little girl I taught to read many years ago, is now choosing her career path, studying for IGCSE’s and has been on work experience at various places!
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