My Home-Educating Truths.
Home-education does not need to cost a fortunate, you can spend as much as you want or you can get by with a few basics and a library card. For us it does mean that we are giving up a second income. There are lots of people who manage to work while they home-educate but so far I have not been able to figure that one out yet (still trying so maybe I will get there).
You do not need to buy an expensive off the shelf curriculum. I have never done that, I use a combination of resources. I love Pinterest for ideas, I use websites for worksheets and activities (Twinkl and Activity Village) and I buy educational books (love charity shops) and games (Imagido and Fun Learning are great) and craft supplies (Baker Ross). We are not curriculum obsessed but we do try to stick to a structured maths and english approach (mainly for my own sanity) and then we do lots of projects and lots of hands-on learning.
You do not need to have a home-educating room. When we first started we lived in a very small London flat, we just squeezed it in. We have since moved out of London and now have a lot more space and a garden but there is no single home-educating room. We use the whole house. We bake and often do crafts in the kitchen, we read on the couch or curled up in bed, we explore the garden for minibeasts and we are currently attempting to grow some vegetables. The kids do have two small tables with chairs which they use for writing but they also sit at my desk or the kitchen table and write. There is no rule that says they can only learn in one room of the house.
Home-education does not only happen in your own home. It happens when we go walking around a National Trust site, when we visit a museum and when we go and visit friends. My daughter often ends up doing scientific related activities when she visits her one friend, not sure why, it just happens that way.
Home-education does not only happen within school hours. It can happen any time of the day. We do not sit down and do worksheet after worksheet until 3pm. Home-education happens throughout our day, it does not start at a certain time and end at a certain time. We do not have to stay at home during school hours, we can go out and explore any time and on any day.
You do not need to have a qualification to home-educate you kids. I am a Chartered Accountant, I am not a Teacher. I have not completed a course that allows me to home-educate, it is legal, I am allowed to do it. I am constantly learning as my kids are learning. I have read book after book after book about home-education and I often quizzed an aunt who was a brilliant teacher (she has since passed away), but the most important thing I ever did was work out which learning style best suits my kids. My son has a brilliant memory, he is a sponge and will remember facts after hearing them just once whereas my daughter needs to do things with her hands to learn. She needs to be involved and figure something out and then she needs to repeat it again and again.
Not everyone is going to be supportive. Yip time to get a hard skin. You are going to get people who just give you a disapproving look and you are going to get people you think it is okay to question you rather rudely in front of your kids. Sometimes it will be strangers and sometimes it may even be people who are close to you and your kids. For me the key to this is to remind myself that those people do not matter. What matters is my kids. I normally try to remove myself and the kids from the situation as quickly as I can as my daughter can get very upset when this happens. For us it does not pay to stay and have an argument as my number one priority is and will always be my kids. If it happens when my kids are not around, well then yes I will engage whole-heartedly.
You do not have to be creative. I am. I enjoy the creative side of things. I have always been a creative person and I actually need that creative outlet. But that is me. Other people may be passionate about something else, so whatever it is, try to include it in your home-education style. If it feeds your soul it will be a positive thing for your kids aswell. If you are not the creative type become friends with Pinterest. You will find lots of easy ideas on there to help you.
It is okay to make mistakes. Afterall is that not something that we want to teach our kids – mistakes are okay ? And don’t our kids learn best by following our example ? I never want my kids to be too scared to try. So if I try something and it does not work out, well we all learn from that and we try again. That for me is very important.
When I first started home educating my daughter, almost 4 years ago someone said to me “Anyone can home-educate but not everybody should. ” That could mean a bunch of different things depending on how you interpret the statement. For me it means that it is legal to home-educate your kids but it is a life-changing decision one that has completely changed our home-life. We as a family have embraced it and we are all enjoying the journey it is taking us on.
I do not know what the future holds or if at some stage my kids will attend a school, but right now I am thrilled that we are following this route. It is one of the best decisions we ever made.