Home Education: Our First Week

I finally took the plunge, after months of consideration, and have deregistered my youngest two children from school. In fact it was a scarily easy process that I literally copied and pasted some words into a letter and handed into the Head teacher. This is what our first week looked like.

Monday Home Education Day 1

The boys keen to learn did some stuff first thing. To be honest a week has flown by and I couldn’t tell you what it was. I have tried to take photos to remember, and have piles of work everywhere but if I am honest we tend to remember the fun bits (and well that may seem like no learning has taken place!). PLUS I am aware that I don’t have to “teach” my children a set curriculum and that a period of “unschooling” may need to take place. I bought them both writing books so that they could practice their writing. In these they can write about whatever they like, using whichever materials to write with they look (but we already know that sharpies go right through!). We had recently had a “Yes Day” so they wrote about that. Then we did the school run one last time (arriving before even the gates opened!). This was so the boys could tell their friends and hand in the letter.When we came back home they did some work on the computers. The youngest logged into his Explore Learning account and did some time work and the older of the two tried Planet BOFA out to see if it was worth purchasing. Next, as it was nice weather, we tidied up the garden a bit and the boys tried to work our hose! Before snuggling down to read Harry Potter. Monday afternoons some local Home Educators meet at an indoor play area so we decided to join them. As they meet at lunchtime we decided to have a cheeky McDonalds first – where again the boys used the iPads. It then turned out that the indoor play area had been double booked so we had to wait a few hours. This wasn’t a problem though as another lady and her son had also turned up early and so we all went to the park first. When we got back the boys played a bit of Fortnite, which is not normally allowed on a Monday. The youngest went to swimming, there was dinner etc in there somewhere and they had a bath before once again snuggling down and us reading together.

After just this first day I was even more convinced that it was the right for the children, especially my youngest. I wrote about how I felt Home Education met his Sensory Needs and actually as we went through the week I noticed more and more about how much pressure has been put on him. Of course I have also been working on getting them to drink more water!

Tuesday Home Education Day 2

This was the day I really put pressure on myself that they must be “learning” more. I started with a game from Green Board Games (The BrainBox Science Pack Years 3 to 6) which has support for the whole science curriculum up to age 11. This was great fun as the boys selected a card and had 30 seconds to memorise the information before being asked a question. Not all of the answers were obvious so we had to Google but there was definitely lots of learning.two boys concentrating

Then they need to get that excess energy burnt so they went on the trampoline and we all rode our bikes to see their Great Nan. At her house they enjoyed some puzzle books and this all before lunch! We talked about a lot of things – including diets but I didn’t feel I had slotted in any Maths and English (but DO remember that they don’t HAVE to AND that my children go to Maths and English Tuition at Explore Learning). I admit this was my oh my goodness what have I done AND it’s only day two! I was SO exhausted with it all! So when after lunch they asked if they could chill out and watch a film (as bad as it made me feel because I felt I should be “educating” them) I said Yes! Note that I have spoken to a few children this week in my youngest’s year and they’ve told me that they watched How to Train your Dragon this week!

We had to pick up the teen from school to get him to the Orthodontist, as it is a 16 mile drive to the school we left early and the boys played in the park. I love how in the waiting room the youngest picked up a book and started reading – he’s not really wanted to whilst at school but they HAVE to read at least four times a week (which also meant the older one JUST read four times a week). Again dinner was somehow fitted into our busy day as there was swimming lessons and I gently returned to running club. I was in bed shortly after they were (at around 8:30pm) but they were still up at the crack of dawn!

Wednesday Home Education Day 3

Every day the youngest has a set of spellings to learn and practice writing and the older one has a word of the day (he has to find the meaning, write a sentence and find synonyms and antonyms for it). I can’t really remember what else they did this AM but they were up early and eager to learn! Again, as with their writing books, there are plenty of things around the house to enable their learning so they can independently get on with things, and come to me for help when required. By 9 am we had taken my car to the Body Shop to be repaired and we walked to the local library (just over 2 miles away). On the way we identified flowers and had an in-depth talk about ladybirds or ladybugs (depending on which child you talk to. Google said either is right!).ladybug on leaf

The session at the library was really good and someone else was taking over their learning. The topic was Japan and they had to guess this from the clues before getting on with Japanese crafts such as Origami and how to do Manga drawing. The library were fantastic – not only helpful but very patient. It is during this session that I noticed how much the children all talked to each other (although there was some boyish silliness). I asked my son how much he got to talk to others when at school and he said not a lot. During class time they had to quietly get on with it, and break times they just played tag really. I have asked him several times if he is happy over the course of the week because of course the social side is really important. Despite the fact that generally he has been mixing with younger children this week (apart from one or two children his age) it really hasn’t mattered.

Whilst in town we got some Maths and English books – so I can at least see what they are meant to know and are able to help them with what they can’t. I got them both for the year group above, as thought it pointless getting this year’s with only a term to go. The older one just got on with working through his but the younger one was all burnt out for one day. I find him some relaxing colour by numbers in German (as we are planning a trip there next month) before we went to collect a courtesy car and then went to their Explore Learning sessions.

Thursday Home Education Day 4

By this point we realise that it is sunny and that the boys just don’t have the clothes for it – so off to the shops we went to buy clothes. I had also started to get a handle on the whole letting go of 9-3 of education thing – mainly because my boys are keen to learn before 9. They were working on things before their dad left for work and he was surprised. But honestly by 9 they are ready to switch off. Before they would have just watched television at that time, or sometimes we went to the park before school. Then we meet up at the park with another home educator who has boys their age (and around their ages). We also took “work” with us and when the others had gone they just did independent learning in the sun (again with me on hand if they were stuck). The younger one did the “Starter tests” in his book which covers everything in Maths and English he should have learnt so far. He was finding a lot of it too hard and I told him just to do the bits he could, so that I could identify where I needed to help him. The older one really got into the swing of home education and kicked off his shoes and read his book on the skate park. We even had a brief visit to see their Nan. Then it was another Explore Learning session.

Friday Day 5 of Home Education

The boys woke up stupidly early as usual and so I got them working on Maths and English, before they moved on to Origami. We had taken out a book from the library on Wednesday but they ended up watching RedTedArt on YouTube.

They then watched ChloeMeJustMe because they may meet her (and then because they thought she was funny – plus I think it helped that she had similar things to them). Then we went to another home education meet but I ended up going to the wrong play area, paying for 14 hours of parking so walking to find the actual place (orienteering skills!). The boys then spent the day playing with other children. They did role play stories and it was a lovely place,  but I do think the children were a bit too young for mine and there is so much to do on a Friday. I did decide to let them not do athletics again because I think exercise is something they are definitely getting enough of! On the walk back to the car there was so much to read around and so many questions (like what is mooring). You know some things they asked I had to Google and we learnt together – so I don’t think anyone need worry that they aren’t clever enough to home educate.

boy with long hair holding a brick on some string
Can you imagine the health and safety on this at school?

The Home Education Weekend

I am not sure whether the weekend counts as home education days but it was the youngest’s birthday and super busy with all you can eat breakfast, bowling and friends around to play computer games. Sunday saw the older one taking a mock 11+ exam which I hoped would show up areas I need to help him; but I won’t know until I get the results as he says it was all easy. I have bought a Planet BOFA subscription so he has something else to work on. He then went to a friend’s party and I took the youngest to my friends’ birthday party. When they had gone to bed I looked at what work they have done so far and was surprised at how much the youngest did not know in the starter tests. Particularly in Maths where I have been told he is doing well and caught up with his peers. I have a parents evening with Explore Learning in a few weeks so think I will wait until then before buying him any more materials.

I am not sure which days it happened on but we got a letter from the school acknowledging our letter and wishing them the best, and then we got one from the LEA stating the legal position (correctly) on Education Otherwise and that someone would call me to see if I wanted a visit. I have joined LOTS of Facebook groups and there’s one with discounted subscriptions so that will be good. In the meantime I am printing things from TES where I can see holes in his knowledge. This has certainly seen me needing to order more paper and there’s a great offer at Office Stationery (linked). I have also ordered some flash cards – as I think they are great for bite-sized bits of information when out and about (okay this idea I got from another home educator!).

And so week 2 begins. Typically I have been more prepared with work when they ask for it but they seem to have settled into it much better. Both have been reading all morning and are now watching a film. This afternoon we are of course meeting with the other home educators and there’s a swimming lesson. I am worried I am not educating them enough but I am also seeing that I think they would learn more with less pressure. I would love to know your thoughts please.

You can also follow our journey on Instagram #PinkoddysHomeEdJourney

Country Kids

Home educators do not receive any funding to help their children therefore you will note that this is a commissioned piece.

 

15 thoughts on “Home Education: Our First Week”

  1. I’m really interested to read this because I will be taking mine out of school for a period of time when they are similar ages. I can’t wait to do less structured learning with them. I’m also going to look at some workbooks for maths for my eldest who is struggling, hopefully we can do a bit of home ed alongside school.
    Nat.x

    Reply
  2. It sounds like a really good start and a really busy week! It also sounds like you are doing a fair bit of the ‘proper’ education with all the maths and English work, so I would say you have nothing to worry about. I hope week 2 goes just as well for you all.

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  3. LOL – slow down!!!! What I felt helped, was keeping a weekly table sheet for each child. Across the top I put the days of the week (including weekend) and down the side I put headings such as English, Maths, Science, social, humanities, physical exercise, language etc. and at the end of each day I would put a comment in as many boxes as I could. It’s amazing how much quality learning goes on, just by being together doing normal life stuff. So ‘Science’ might be ‘had a discussion about Spring on the bike ride, looked at buds and spotted nests’, Physical the obviously would be ‘bike ride’, Maths might be ‘Planned how much of each ingredient we would need to feed us all to last two days’. etc.

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  4. Well done you for taking the plunge, if it is right for you all then it will work really well. I tutor a family who are all homeschooled and they are some of the loveliest, well balanced and sociable kids I have ever taught. Good luck with it all, it sounds like you are super organised and I hope it goes really well.

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  5. Goodness what a busy week and your boys seem super keen to make it work with you. It sounds perfect for them if hard work for you, just as well you have already tapped into some local home learning groups. Such a good idea to record your weeks like this and know what you have covered and I love the flexible hours and learning like in the skate park. If only schools could do this too. Well done to you all on your first week.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
  6. Your week sounds fantastic and I’m sure your boys will continue to thrive. Things have changed a lot since I home educated my older two about 17-18 years ago. There were not so many learning programs available and outside help, like groups, and classes were few and far between (my daughter was agoraphobic though, so we wouldn’t have been able to go.) Eventually, my son went to a special school which really suited him and my daughter had teachers come to our home to teach her (They even managed to start getting her to go out again.) Then when Star was 9 she was off school for almost a year because of her illness and operations, she had a home tutor in and it was considered that one to one education only had to be for five hours a week to keep up with her peers and it turned out to be right. It got me thinking about all the time they spend at school and all the things they could be doing if home educated for around 5 hours a week. They learn so much more! I wish you every success for both you and your boys in your venture x
    #countrykids

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  7. It sounds like the home education is going well. You crammed so much into one week!
    It seems your boys have done way more learning than my girls have at school. #CountryKids

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  8. That’s one very busy week! Lovely that you can go at your own pace and do what interests your children. My children absolutely love school but it’s not for everyone! What a great first week. #CountryKids

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  9. It sounds like your first week went really well. Love the origami butterflies and so nice to get out and about with the learning too. I remember showing the girls ladybirds in the garden last June and telling them about the ladybird life cycle – we managed to spot larvae, a pupa and a newly emerged adult which was lovely. I did some home educating with Jessica after her last surgery and we both really enjoyed it. It is hard not to feel the pressure to be doing something 9-3 but it is amazing too how much they soak up just by doing things and not having that pressure. Wishing you all the best of luck for week 2 of your home educating journey. #countrykids

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  10. Phew, I’m exhausted just reading this! Congratulations on deciding to home educate. Its a huge decision but it sounds like you’ve done all your homework (sorry!) and have more than enough energy for the sometimes daunting days, as well as being aware the kids thrive on unschooling too. We’ve home schooled for 4 years now, and love it. Good luck on the journey and shout out if you need anything. #CountryKids

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  11. Sounds like you have started well. I have to admit that home ed is not for me, but I admire anyone that does it

    Reply

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