They would struggle in school

Unlike some home educators we are extremely lucky to have supportive family and friends. We have not experienced much negativity about the education we have chosen for our children (apart from the odd slightly raised eyebrow) despite it being a less than conventional path. My mum in particular has been tremendously supportive and has championed our home ed choices to a few of her more sceptical friends. Last week she told me how a friend of a friend, a teacher, had commented that most home educated children she had come across during her teaching career had struggled to settle at school, lacking some key skills and knowledge expected of their peers. My initial reaction was to shrug the comment off in a ‘what does she know’ kind of way. Then I got defensive. Then I started to really think about her comment, and finally here I am writing a response, because sometimes that’s the only way I can get my thoughts in order. Read more

100 Ways to Home Ed: A week without school

This post is part of the #100waysofhomeed blog hop where home educators are sharing the richly diverse ways in which our children learn. On Friday Jo talked about what autonomous education looks like for her family in her blog 3 Kids and a Glue Stick. Tomorrow it is Maria’s turn to share her home ed story over at Maria Luves, and you can catch up with all the other blog posts at Making It Up or scroll down to see links to the posts (if I can work out how to get that to work!)

In the past I have described our style of home education in a number of ways, child-led, autonomous, interest-led, but unschooling is probably the term I relate to most closely. This definition on wikipedia is quite useful if you are unfamiliar with the term.

“When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear… This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work.” Pat Farenga

I have written a few posts about how no two days are alike for us. Our style of home education is very much centred on following the interests of the girls and this can take us in all sorts of different directions. This is not to say that our days completely lack any structure or routine, it is just that this develops from the choices they actively make rather than things being planned for them. Although every day is different we do have certain things that we tend to do on the same day each week; activities that the girls have tried, enjoyed, and chosen to make a regular part of their week. I don’t usually write diary type posts (although I do try to share photos of what we have been up to on Facebook or Instagram) but I thought I’d write this one about what we have been up to over the past week. Read more

Letting go of the ‘shoulds’

Life is full of ‘shoulds’. From what you should be eating and drinking to the exercise you should be getting; the deals you should be getting on your utilities or insurances, to the charities you should be donating to… Should, should , should. When you become a parent a whole new deluge of shoulds descends. Not only should you be doing this, that and the other to ensure that your offspring will grow up to be the next Einstein, Van Gogh, Beckham or Mozart but they should also be fitting into complicated schedules and hitting milestone after milestone. Read more

No, it doesn’t look like school

imageWe have been having the most glorious autumn weather this week. Cloudless skies, warm sunshine and not even a puff of wind. The slight chill in the air adds to the loveliness in my opinion, I just love this time of year. We have been making the most of it with much of the week being spent outdoors in one way or another. After a day of horseriding and park visiting today I had a comment from a nearest-and-dearest along the lines of ‘yes, but what academic work have you done?’ It was a slightly tongue-in-cheek remark but it got me thinking.

I am so used now to seeing the learning in pretty much everything that the girls do that I forget what it is like to expect home education to look like school at home. But it just doesn’t. And it doesn’t really need to. Read more

Education, but not as we know it

1440174571136Did you know that home education is actually the default choice for families in the UK? School has become so widely used that we have come to assume that it is the standard pathway through childhood. It is, in fact, a service that is available for families to opt into and access free of charge, in much the same way as pre-school or nursery provision is available to all 3 year olds and some 2 year olds. School is not compulsory, an education however is.  Read more