First Time Home Ed!

(9 Posts)
escholes Wed 13-Feb-13 13:00:22

Hello everyone. This is my first time visiting this forum and therefore my first post!

We have a 2yr9month old little boy, he will be 3 in June. I went to school as a child but my husband was home educated. His mum did a FANTASTIC job, and we are set on home educating our son. I have spoken to my mother in law numerous times regarding HE so she is invaluable, but I wondered if I could please get your input too.

How did you start????? I keep worrying that this is a HUGE task, but as soon as I have it in my mind how to start I think I will be fine. I'm not stupid and if there are things I don't understand then I will learn them before i teach them!

Did you start with a set 'lesson plan' each day? Was a lot of it learning through play? I'm sorry to sound abit vague, I'm just a newbie!

Thank you for any help you are able to offer xxx

morethanpotatoprints Wed 13-Feb-13 14:29:28

I haven't done this from scratch so can't tell you from personal experience. However, from what I have read learning in the early stages and to a certain extent throughout primary is play related.
My dd is 9 and we do very little formal work, maths is quite practical in our household. We also do projects rather than writing a lot in exercise books.
If I want to make sure she is covering the important stuff I use the odd workbook of which I bought far too many when starting out.
I don't think planning is necessary although I did plan for a full year, having used none of them I feel a complete goon.
I have learned that everybody finds their own way that suits their ds and as long as they are progressing in some way, there doesn't seem to be a wrong or right way.
Hopefully someone who started off in H.ed will be along soon.

ToffeeWhirl Wed 13-Feb-13 19:47:59

How fantastic that you have a supportive DH and DMIL smile. Most of us come from a school background and have to get through all our assumptions and expectations about that before we can even begin to consider home ed.

Like morethan, I did not home ed from the beginning and I am quite envious of your position. My DS1 went to school, had ups and downs - more downs sad- and I eventually withdrew him in Year 6, although we had another bash in Year 7. By then, we had visited psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, GPs, etc. I am sure that if we had home educated from the first sign that he didn't fit the system, he wouldn't have suffered as he did, but we did the conventional thing and learned the hard way. And all the professionals told us it was the right thing to do confused. None of them trusted us to educate our child ourselves.

The lovely thing about home educating from the start is that your son will be enthusiastic. My youngest son is interested in everything, but my oldest, battle-scarred son is only interested in computer games, preferably those involving killing zombies. Maybe he's getting his anger out wink.

I started home educating with a plan. I spent the summer beforehand planning what we were going to do. I probably use about 1/8th of that plan, but it made me feel secure at the time. My son was 12 when I deregistered him, so in a very different situation to yours. Your son is so little that he will be able to enjoy learning through play for as long as he wants, lucky boy. Nobody will tell him that because he has gone into what adults call 'Year 1', he needs to stop playing so much and start sitting down, cross-legged, and listening to the teacher/TA/supply teacher. Nobody will make him feel odd for wanting to play with children of different ages. Nobody will make him feel odd for learning to read later (or earlier) than other children.

I really don't think home educating is a huge task. I was so worried about home educating my secondary-school child, but I gradually realised that home education is nothing like school and I didn't need to emulate school in any way. We do set things every day because my son is older and I feel that he needs to keep up with Maths, Science and English. We do topics, that encompass all sorts of subjects without him even noticing. How you cover those things with your toddler is up to you. If I were you and I had my time all over again, I would just enjoy his company and have fun. Read to him. Visit museums/parks/beaches etc. Contact your local home ed group so that you have company and support. Don't worry.

If I'd known what I know now, I would have home educated my DS1 from the start. I wish I could obliterate all the bad stuff. I don't mean all children suffer at school - of course they don't and a lot of children love school. My son turned out to have SNs and school was the worst place for him. Had I had a diagnosis earlier, I would have taken him out of the system earlier. The benefit of hindsight and all that...

We have a beginners' support group on here. It tends to get busy when people start out, then quietens down as people settle into home educating and it becomes part of their life. Come and see us if you want to let us know how you're getting on and swap stories. However, we are all beginners and if you want experienced home edders, there are several on this forum who have been through the whole experience and know a lot about the subject. Hopefully one of them will be along soon.

I wish you all the best. What a lucky boy your son is smile.

julienoshoes Wed 13-Feb-13 21:05:55

Hi escholes
I'm at the other end of the HE journey, our three are at uni level now.
I'd say to continue doing exactly as you are now, learning through life, and follow your child's lead, if he wants structure, then you can factor that in too.

There's a couple of threads here that would be useful for you, Books on HE, Websites on HE and How to find home educators locally.
I'll go bump them for you.

You don't have to climb the whole mountain straight away you know, most of us have taken it once step at a time...
wink

And if you are on FaceBook, come on over and join us on the Mumsnet HE FaceBook page but do send me a message here, or to the admin there, first- so we know who you are.
We can chat more freely there, and can probably find you other home educators on FB.

and yes I'm quite envious too, I'd love to be right at the beginning of a HE journey with my children all over again....what a lovely life you have to come.
:D

Saracen Wed 13-Feb-13 23:00:20

You've already started! You began to educate your son years ago, and he has been learning ever since. Unlike with school, there doesn't have to be a "first day" of home education. My family has a very laid-back approach. But even those people I know who do quite a lot of sit-down work with their children did not suddenly begin one day with three hours. When the child is young they might introduce a worksheet here, a museum trip there, an educational game. Then they see that someone has organised a weekly French class and pop in to see whether it would suit. Later they feel it might be time to do some more maths and they begin looking around for the right curriculum.

Just keep doing what you are doing. From time to time you will notice that your son's needs are evolving and he needs something a bit different from what he is getting. Then you experiment and tinker and ask around until you feel you are addressing that need. It tends to be a gradual process. There is plenty of time. If you try something and it isn't right, you try something else.

For example, my daughter has shown an increasing interest recently in letters of the alphabet. I have begun to keep this in mind and have bought her a few jigsaw puzzles which contain letters. We sometimes buy biscuits which have letters printed on them. I am hunting in the loft for an old printing set I am sure I put up there a few years ago. I showed her the BBC "Alphablocks" programme because I thought she might like it, and she did. Her dad has been trying to show her how to write her name or some other word from time to time; she hates this and objects loudly, so he is moving away from that. Well, it was worth a try. No harm done.

And sometimes the child just meets his own needs without any fuss, and has learned things off his own back before you've even noticed. One day you may look up and notice that your child has somehow learned to read a bus timetable, or that he's developed a passion for lizards and has found his way to a website about lizards, or that he is hunting for fossils at the bottom of the garden, or that he can use a knife safely.

Whether you have lesson plans or do learning through play or some combination, all of this will come together for you. It is easier than you think.

escholes Thu 14-Feb-13 07:30:11

Thank you thank you thank you. I feel like FINALLY I can talk to people who back what we are doing!!!!!! You're all wonderful!

DS is just about to get up so I only have a few moments on here but I will take a look at those boards/threads you suggested. And I will be back, lots more questions (sorry!!!!!)

Thank you once again! xxxx

snappybadger Fri 15-Feb-13 00:16:29

Hi escholes!

I have an almost 2 year old boy who I plan on home educating. As a natural 'planner' I am reading as much as I can about the autonomous or unstructured approach to HE as this is the approach I want to take with my son despite my natural tendencies!

I recently discovered this site which has some great info that helped remind me there is no need to rush into teaching anything at this stage or any time soon: http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/early.htm

I am going to try my hardest to just go with the flow and take my lead from my son.

Hope that helps!

SDeuchars Fri 15-Feb-13 07:57:55

I HEed two children from birth to 18ish. I knew before the first was born that I wanted to HE, so I joined EO when DD was about 2, read books about HE, went to local HE meetings, joined the very few (at that time) email lists (no social media then), etc.

I did not view us as "beginning HE" at any point - we just continued to do what we were doing. We did not do structured "schoolwork". I read a lot, we did a lot of hands-on stuff (e.g. music, craft, cooking). As the DC grew older, I offered them more options (musical instrument lessons, sports classes) and we "fell into" activities - some with the local HE group (pottery, drama, art, robotics) and some outside (local music school, church and community groups).

That kept us going without formal literacy and numeracy until DD was 12/13, when she did a 6-month exchange to Germany. After that, we embarked on formal study through the Open University (which, at that time, we could get funding for separate to student loans for full-time study).

So my main message is - don't worry! You have a DH and DMIL on board which is more than most of us have - at least they (I hope) will not put on pressure to see results. Your DS's HE will be different from your DH's - because of time and the personalities involved. That's OK. The requirement is for it to be suitable to your DS and his unique abilities.

You mostly don't need to "learn stuff" in order to "teach" it - you and your DS can learn together. Some of his interests you may not care about - that's OK too. He can (will insist on!) teaching you. At 3yo, you do not need a lesson plan - do what you both enjoy doing and what makes sense in your lives. If you like to start each day with an hour of dancing to the radio, that's fine. If you have an unmovable daily visit to an elderly relative, great - that's educational and social and HE can accommodate it.

FWIW, the important things for me at that age were the DC learning practical skills - cooking, craft, music, etc. We did read, write and do number work but more as an adjunct of the other things, rather than as a main focus. So we learned about things we were interested in (me reading as necessary) and the DC learned to read alongside that. We did not learn to read as a prerequisite for accessing the rest of the knowledge of the world, IYSWIM.

SamAnnC Fri 15-Feb-13 15:22:43

We are about to begin this journey but from a slightly different angle. Will be removing dd age 8 from school in the next couple of weeks. It has been very eye opening all the research we have done over the last month into home education. Have joined loads of yahoo groups and read lots. I am still a bit apprehensive as she is an only child but if all the offers I have had locally come together we will be meeting loads of new people. Also DH knowledge on the maths, science, tech front will be great.

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