We made the decision to home educate the kids back in March, you can read more about our reasons here – Why We Made The Decision To Home Educate, which means we have been home schoolers for about eight months so I thought I would write a little update on how it’s all going.
I guess I can start by saying that it’s going really, really well and not a day goes by where I don’t wake up feeling incredibly happy with our decision, even more so now it’s winter and I know that had Cherry been in school our lives would now be revolving around a freezing / wet school run twice a day. I’ve already realised that compared to school where every week is the same all year round we fall into a routine that changes with the seasons, I use the word ‘routine’ very lightly because we aren’t really in any routine at all which seems to work really well for us. In the summer we naturally want to be outside lots and in the winter we don’t so our days tend to be quite different.
We have some groups that we attend on a regular basis, one called Fun Science which is every two weeks and a PE session at a soccer training centre which is also every two weeks. But other than that we just like to take each day as it comes and go with the flow. Some days meeting up with friends, some attending home education groups or going swimming and others just having hibernation days where we stay at home to craft, bake and play all day.
I think no matter what we are doing it’s important to make sure everyone is happy with the decision, for instance some days I might feel like staying in but it’s apparent that the kids need to get out so I then change the plans and think of something that can maybe get us out of the house for the morning meaning that they are then happy to be at home in the afternoon. It’s about meeting everyone’s needs to make sure that we get the right balance and so far we seem to be achieving that. Of course we have days that aren’t so successful, I was ill a couple of weeks ago and it meant we had to stay in more than normal so everyone was starting to get a bit bored but we got through it.
Cherry spent just over a year in pre-school before we took her out because of an incident that had left her really upset and we were really worried about her lack of confidence back then but after a year of being out of pre-school this is no longer something we even think about. I’ve seen her confidence rocket and it’s again something that has left me feeling that our decision was the right one for her, I think she really benefits from having us around to help her work through things. She’s starting to make some good friendships which is obviously one of the things I was concerned about, the thing I love most about kids is their ability to make friends so easily. I would say the socialisation issue seems to be one of the biggest concerns people have when it comes to home education but I don’t have any worries about it. I’ve mentioned it before but I just don’t believe that being a large group of people all week, some of whom you might not even like, is going to turn you into more of a sociable person. It’s more down to personality, everyone is different.
In regards to curriculum, we aren’t following one. I just don’t see any need to at the moment. Cherry is more than happy to keep herself entertained all day without much input from me. She helps herself to all the craft materials and is always making something. She spends hours playing with Play Doh or Lego. Her and Tiger play the usual imaginative play kind of games and then when it comes to writing she will ask me to help. She knows all her letters and can write them, and it hasn’t really happened because of anything I’ve done. She’s free and completely in control of her time which I love the idea of. I know a lot of people out there still believe that kids need to be told what to do or learn how to do things they don’t like in order to prepare them for later life but not only do I not agree with that but the whole concept makes me feel sad. I don’t want to teach my five year old that she has to do things she doesn’t like to prepare her for later life when she might be stuck in a job she hates. I want to teach her that she can do anything she likes to find a job she loves.
I guess our general rule is, if it’s not fun, don’t do it.
I don’t expect the way we do things to work for everyone, of course not, but for those of you out there who don’t have much confidence in the schooling system or who love the idea of doing things differently then there is another way. The law states that parents are allowed to educate their children in the way they think best for their children so it really does put you in control of doing things in the way you like, and everyone does it differently.
I think whatever choice you make you have to believe and trust in it which we very much do.
I have a post coming up soon about the questions I am asked the most when we tell people we home school. I also run a linky – This Homeschooling Life – with some other homeschooling friends where we link up a day, week or moment from out month. It’s really interesting to read how different families do things so if you want to know more then do go and take a look.