Friday, September 20, 2013

Thinking about Home Educating?

As my readers will know we have decided to home educate our children. Since we made our decision, in January this year, we have had all sorts of reactions and opinions about it, which is to be expected I suppose when you go against the grain but hey, I have been educating them since they were born and they are doing really well (if I do say so myself!) so when you think of it in that way it's really not so scary.

I thought I'd write a few tips and ideas for anyone considering home education or in the very early stages.

Remember all children and families are different so what works for one may not for another so find your feet and what works for your family. DO NOT PANIC if other home ed families have a totally different set up to you or if you don't have a dedicated study area at home. One of the wonderful things about educating at home is that your children can learn in a way that is comfortable, interesting and useful to them.

Don't overload yourselves with timetables and routines. The dedicated one on one time you spend learning and discovering with your children is incredibly valuable and they will get much more out of one hour one to one than they would in an hour in a classroom environment.If you make the most out of your day trips and time together your children will learn! They have been doing that all their life so despite your worries you can teach them!

There are so many resources about that won't cost you anything so make the most of those rather than worrying about how you will afford the home ed life. Ask your family and friends to save any bits that you can pop in an art and craft box. Bottle lids, corks, empty jars, tissue paper, toilet roll tubes, almost anything can be useful for some art project or another.

Make your own volcano
Take the kids for a walk in the woods and pick up twigs, leaves and other interesting bits that you can look at and discuss or use in a craft project. The World is literally your classroom, make the most of it and let them ask you questions about what they see around them. You can always take a little note book and pen and write down anything you can't answer then you can look it up together at home.
Use your library! You can get books and DVDs of course but also the Internet access is handy if you don't have it at home for any reason, and things like story time and other sessions that are often offered free of charge at local libraries.

Websites such as Starfall and Primary resources are great for interactive activities and there are dozens more like it that will offer some free areas with the option to upgrade if you fancy it.

Pinterest will be your best friend! Search "home ed", "home school" "educational activities" etc etc and make yourself a pin board of ideas to get you started.

Blogs are also a wonderful place to look, this is one of my favourites: loads of great activity ideas available.

Remember EVERYTHING can be a lesson and it doesn't have to be one your child will yawn through and learn nothing at the end of. Whatever their age you can get them involved in baking or planting veg or flowers which opens up plenty of opportunity for learning.

Making butter
There is a huge home education community online so have a little search on google and find groups that suit you. Most towns or counties in the UK have home ed meet up groups that you can join is a good place to start looking at what is in your area.

The most important thing I have discovered is the first thing I mentioned, we are all different, within groups there will be people who have strong views about the way they educate, I have found some groups a bit overwhelming, some verging on scary, but with everything in life you have to make your own choices and take everything else with a pinch of salt, be respectful of other families' decisions but make the ones that work best for your family.

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