Friday, 6 May 2011

The change in them is amazing!

 On a Friday we usually drop DS2 off at school then do a quick supermarket run on our way back home - we've got very petrol conscious lately and try to shop on the way to or back from somewhere else. As I watched Jack  helping Liv find the flour for the baking we are doing this afternoon I realised how much their relationship had changed in the time they have been home schooled. As all brothers and sisters they used to bicker and argue sometimes but more than anything they wouldn't really do many things together - now they seem to operate as a team helping each other out, coming up with ideas for what they want to find out about or scheming to persuade me to provide something or other for one of their projects. If they gain nothing else from home education I know they are now very close and I am hoping that they will stay that way  as they grow up.

We always do a creative activity on a Friday and today we are trying out Modge Podge - an acrylic medium which can be used as a glue for decoupage etc but we are using it to transfer some inkjet printed images onto white tshirts. It's really easy -
  •  Print out your image and cut to size if needed
  •  Coat the space on the tshirt with modge podge where you want the image to go.
  • Place the image print side down on the modgepodged area and smooth down
  • Coat the back of the image with a few layers of modge podge
  • Wait a couple of hours then wet the back of the paper and start to rub - the paper will rub away revealing your image on the t shirt
          Pictures to follow of our finished t shirts - off to bake now  - have a great weekend !

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Fun morning explaining AV to my home ed pair !

So the NO campaign thinks that the AV system is too complicated for the majority of the UK population to understand - well this morning my 5 and 8 year old cottoned on really quickly!!
 Our impromptu morning on politics all started when Olivia and Jack started counting the number of Labour and Conservative campaign posters attached to lamposts as we drove back from dropping DS2 at school. Jack even spotted that the Conservative posters where it what he described as " where the big houses are "! This has led to us looking at the Houses of Parliament online and talking about the different political parties. I'm a total news addict and am always ranting and raving about the colalition so I wasn't entirely suprised when Liv told me that David Cameron was Prime Minister but a little suprised and delighted when she declared that he was " pretending to be friends with Nick Clegg !!"
  Somehow or other we drifted to the subject of Winston Churchill and Hitler - turns out Jack had been watching a Horrible Histories dvd about World War 2 before bed last night and we talked about Osama Bin Laden as they had seen the news reports about his "demise" this morning.  This is what I love about Home education - the  topics we've discussed and investigated would probably have never cropped up at school and this morning proves to me that my two really are learning through living.

 Never mind the alternative vote - I just want my breakfast!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Panic not - the resources are all around you

One of the questions I seemed to get most often since announcing we are home edding is "Do you get any help with costs?" and people seem genuinely suprised when  they are told no - the cost of home education falls squarely on the shoulders of the parent. Thank heavens for the internet -  I can remember when computers were first starting to be introduced into schools and as a teacher we did NGFL - National Grid For Learning training  - the possibilities for me seemed endless and given that we now even have online high schools here in the UK the possibilities remain limitless. If you are looking for a starting point for online learning activities try this site - what I love about this site and I referred to it often when last teaching in school is that the children themselves have had input into creating the site - all of these activities work and are fun - it might not be the most attractively presented site but it will lead you to some great learning resources.

Also worth a look for is this site packed full of primary age  activities - I like the washing line game for ordering numbers and the sweet shop activity is great for recognising and using money.

What's your educational philosophy - in other words - why the heck are you doing this when a school could do it for you ?

So what's my educational philosophy - or as the title to this post says - why the heck are you doing this when a school could do it for you ?

 Any home educator could probably fill an entire blog with their thoughts on education but I'll try and break it down simply our reasons for taking our children out of school.

  • State schools have become difficult places to be for a lot of children - teachers are for the most part doing a fantastic job with one hand tied behind their back. Resources are stretched classes are large and teachers spend an awful lot of time acting as a surrogate parent trying to teach children life and social skills before they can get any actual teaching done. Private education is a compete economic no-no for us.
  • The curriculum is hugely prescriptive and really important areas of learning such as art music and practical craft skills can be neglected - aside from churning out the obligatory cards and calendars at Christmas - a task  so dreaded by teachers up and down the country that when it is carried out it becomes like a production line in  a factory in the far east than a fun activity in a UK classroom!
  • Behaviour is a biggie for us - when it became apparent just how different other children's families expectations of behaviour were -  a chasm which became apparent time and time again -  we had to take some decisive action - name calling and pushing  is not normal behaviour in our house and home educating allows us to bring our children up to respect others and to be respected.
  • Home schooling allows us to learn as a family and we can follow the children's interests and talents whilst ensuring they still have a strong grounding in numeracy literacy scientific knowledge etc etc (more of our homegrown curriculum v the national curriculum  to follow in future posts)

Home School Card - a joint effort  - fun to do not tiresome task to be completed as quickly as possible :)

Keeping track of what we've learnt?!

It's taken a good three months to find our feet with home edding - we are still finding what works for us and as a trained primary teacher I have certainly had to rethink my approach to how I thought home schooling would operate in our family. I went and did a ton of research online and offline - had loads of advice from experienced home schoolers in the UK and overseas - looked at the education otherwise and more formal organisations and found a lot of points of view and ways of doing things - there are some strong opinions about home education out there but ultimately my advice to anyone starting out is that you have to find what works for you and your child.

I found great support on the home education board here - approachable and experienced home educators who aren't afraid to tell it like it is  - a good starting point for anyone considering home education.

Our contact with our LEA has been fine and once the official deregistration process was completed  I gave the children time to adjust to not being in a school environment but not in a completely unschooling way. We did lots of creative activities - lots of trips out to the local parks and generally I tried to show them that they would still be learning but in a new and freer way.

                                                            Our new playground!