Why and How we Home Educate.

Hiya all, If I had a pound for every time someone asked me for our schedule, home education resource list or How we home educate, I’d probably have about a tenner !
So why home educate instead of sending our sons to school?

Well mostly because our lifestyle and work methods mean we’ve been fortunate enough to have the freedom to spend time educating them. We value freedom, of expression, artistic flexibility and life.
We’ve home educated for many years and had many term time UK holiday! In fact, I think almost every holiday for the past five years has been in September, the weather is still warm and the lower prices make it very affordable.
Our children have developed their own talents, talents they didn’t know they had until we took them out of school, simply because school is quite rigid and can’t spend a great length of time on any one subject.
We currently have a budding computer coder who designs online, a skateboarder who is a talented urban artist and a budding engineer/inventor who can spend hours building and modifying toys, lego, electronic equipment.

We don’t have a set curriculum through we closely follow the UK National Curriculum for Maths and English, just because of convenience. We do intend our children to rejoin the U.K education system, our older son is at college so we need to cover essential subjects in our curriculum. We use a lot of online resources.
We are currently educating our two sons aged 13 and 8 years.
8-year-old uses
time4learning.com
for maths, science and English language.
An American site the only one he got on with, very well priced with great discounts for additional siblings and the added benefit of the stronger British pound over dollar, they also have curriculum for all ages up to 18 years. Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.

Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.
Some days are dedicated to whatever project they are working on, whether they’re perfecting a biscuit recipe or getting that kick flip on film, sometimes we just relax and go with it.
We use Letts workbooks for reinforcing lessons and practise, they have a wide range of books covering English, Math and Science for all ages from 3 years all the way up to A level.
We do a lot of science together, we buy kits from Maplin, over the past year we’ve built an engine, made our own crystals, amongst other projects.

Older son uses https://www.khanacademy.org/
for a lot of subjects, very accurate and covers subjects from medieval history to grammar and punctuation.
He often dives in and will follow a whole subject through to the end.
https://teamtreehouse.com/
is the resource we use to learn coding and design, the team tree house format is a series of interactive videos, you actually follow the video and build your code along with the tutor, you gain badges and build a portfolio that has value with potential employers. The lessons start at beginner level and are basic enough for a confident teenager to begin.
All ideas are explained and each step, so before you know it your teenager can be building a basic website themselves, I’m not promising the colour scheme will be great, though, teens seems to go for the brightest ad boldest looks, not easy on the eyes!
https://www.duolingo.com/
This site and app are how our children learn modern languages, it’s a nice resource that also has an app and teaches in small bite size pieces so they can do 15 mins a day and build confidence, the app means they can fit it in where ever and whatever we are doing. It has handy reminders and they can build a monthly streak, another great point is that it’s free and also that they can cover more than one language at a time.

So this is a basic run down of what we use on a day to day basis, obviously, I’ve not covered all aspects of our schedule, but in case you were worried about P.E, we go swimming regularly, play football, skateboard everywhere and climb a LOT!
Art is encouraged and usually something they do for fun as is cooking and gardening, building and decorating.

I sincerely hope this helps anyone thinking of home education but unsure about resources. We are not anti-school we are pro-freedom in education and everything else !

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Mother on Mother Hate

She’s Mary a working single Mum, gets up at 6 am to shower, eat, wash and dress her kids and drop them at the child minders before heading into the city to work, calls during her lunch break to say Hi and then rushes back to pick them up in the evenings.Mary feels perpetually guilty, she follows Mums on Instagram and sees all the wonderful home cooked dishes she should be preparing lovingly instead of the frozen pizza she planned to shove in the oven. She works 20 hours a week finishing at 2pm so that she can pick up her children from school. Some of her colleagues think she doesn’t put in the effort they do and should take the job more seriously, they talk about this after she’s rushed out of the office.
Her neighbour Karen thinks its awful that she worked through the week that her son had Chicken Pox, she often mentions to friends at the school gates how terrible this is and likes to repeat the phrase “I’d never leave my baby with anyone, especially when he’s not well”
Mary is barely making ends meet, she’s studying for an Open university Degree in the evenings and at weekends which costs her time and money.
Her neighbour Karen has a husband who has a successful business and her Mum lives round the corner, she likes to drop her kids off with her mum some weekends so that she can go to the gym.
Mary’s Mum doesn’t live close and wouldn’t have patience with her children. Mary often feels like she’s letting everyone down, if she works more hours to please her boss and colleagues she’ll miss the school play or not have time to read a bedtime story. If she doesn’t take the over time offered she wont be able to buy presents for birthdays or take her children on the camping trip she’s promised.
If she quits work and claims benefits she’ll be intentionally unemployed and could potentially lose her home and custody of her children.

Ask yourself, are you a Mary or a Karen? Do you know a Mary that could use a hand?

Home Education. How We Do Science

We home educate, we’ve done it on and off for all our children for years, currently we are educating a 6 year old Mr I, 10 year old Mr A and a nearly 14 year old Mr K. One of the questions I get asked regularly is “How do you do science?” Even a few fellow home edders have a little shudder at how they will “do” science or how they should be “doing” it now. I love science, I mean really LOVE science, because science is everywhere. We all teach our kids science from an early age without even realising it, so I’m going to label it, bear with me and you’ll get my drift…

You’re singing “old Macdonald had a farm ” to your baby, the mooing and baba’ing is all biology!

You bake muffins with your 3 year old, the mixing and rising of the mixture, chemistry.

You look at stars with your 6 year old, physics.

Your 10 year old is planting a herb garden, biology.

Then puberty hits, ahem….whole lot of biology going on there! Lots to discuss, and isn’t it great that home educated children hear it all from us rather than playground banter.

You are making bath bombs using bicarbonate of soda, lavender oil and food colouring, chemistry.

Your child has pet, biology.

Get my drift, when you look at it like this you realise science is kinda hard to avoid! Children absorb scientific knowledge simply by living, if you want to ignite that spark then I strongly suggest buying a good magnifying glass, microscope, crystal making kit and planting a garden. Work books can be great to drive home the knowledge and open their minds to new ideas they might not have considered.

A great science day is a trip to the beach or the museum, I grew up wandering the halls of the Natural History Museum London, its worth a visit just to examine the amazing architecture never mind the dinosaurs!

The Science Museum London has a wonderful hands on approach, bringing science to life for kids of all ages. Launch Pad holds fond memories for me.

Another great place to visit to get your children into science is the Royal Institute they along with the museums all do wonderful tutorial days and events which are mostly free/low cost.

Science experiments can often be done easily and cheaply at home, fun with a torch and a cheap plastic prism is an easy way to demonstrate that white light is made up of the full spectrum, looking at onion skin through the microscope is a good example of plant cells, checking out snowflakes with a magnifying glass. I could go on and on and I’ll probably add to this list in time.