It can’t be all about school work

I have always thought that home education can not just be about getting “school work done”, rather it is about the learning journey and nurturing a love of learning. But I will admit it is a lot easier to adhere to that when the kids are younger. As they progress and as they start thinking about writing exams (if that is the path they chose) so the pressure gets bigger, there is more work to get through and it can be hard to maintain a good balance. But balance is vital.

We are now at the stage where my oldest is already working on some subjects with the intention of writing some exams next year. My youngest is in the secondary stage and we are already thinking about the possibility of him writing exams earlier (still thinking). So the quantity of more formal learning has naturally increased but I have also been forced to remind myself that we still need to squeeze in the other stuff.

Both of my kids actually enjoy learning. We have always tried to make learning fun and the result has been that they actually get excited to discover new things. So I am trying to make sure that we keep including the more relaxed /fun learning that we have always done. Learning and discovering things that are not going to be in exams but things that they find fascinating. And yes time is a factor, but I am trying to ensure we squeeze one or two of these “fun learning” activities in a week (and I am not implying that it is an entire day, it is often just the case of us investigating something interesting for 45 minutes). But the point is it is not learning for an exam. It is not learning because it is required. It is learning because something is interesting, so it is fun, relaxed and it keeps that spark of learning is fun (which believe me when you are having to do GCSE Maths can sometimes be a thing that you forget).

And exercise. Okay so we are not the competitive sports type. In my experience competitive sport and sensory processing do not work well together. But I do know 100% that exercise helps my kids cope with their sensory processing disorder. I have seen time and time again when we let the exercise slip they struggle and when I get them out for a good long walk I see their bodies start to relax. So we make a point that every day (even when the weather sucks) we get out, sometimes it is to go for a swim, sometimes we just take a local 45 minute walk along the river, sometimes we quickly slip out to a local Natural Trust site for just 2 hours, it varies, but the point is we are getting our bodies moving and we are taking a break from our books and computers.

It is more challenging to keep the home education lifestyle that we have loved alive as the kids get older. Priorities change, time management becomes more of an issue but one of my goals has always been that at the end of it all I want them to have enjoyed learning. Exams come and go but that natural desire to learn more things, that not been afraid to discover something new, turning to a good book instead of spending hours on social media, not been scared to write your own story, all of that is more important (in the long term) than if they can answer a question the way some exam board thinks is correct.

About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
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