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Home Educating with four children aged 6 and under!!

(5 Posts)
onthemoveyetagain Thu 08-Sep-11 22:40:01

I need some wise words!!

We have just moved abroad and I have decided not to put my two school aged children in school - aged 4 and 6. Basically, the choice is in another language (not here long enough) or 45,000 grand a year (not likely!).

So I am home-educating (am a teacher and ex-tutor). My problem is having four children so young including a 2 year old and 10 month old baby. I am struggling to get enough done and not bore the younger one to tears. I have just taken on a nanny to help me for 3 afternoons a week but it is going to cost me £10,000 a year - do-able but frustrating. She has only been here two days and is fantastic with the children and they love her - but I just can't get my head around having a stranger in my house working alongside me. I have also found that the girls just want to play with her and not do any school work - so I don't seem to be getting much more done. But that can be sorted.

It was really frustrating today though because I usually work until 3.30 and then go out. But today the nanny didn't want to come out because it was raining which was fair enough. So I ended up sitting indoors wanting to go out which was ridiculous - and paying for the priviledge. She is great though and could be really useful - I am just not sure I want to have someone in at the same time as me educating the children.

Sorry - waffling. I guess what I am asking is whether anyone is in the same predicament - home-educating with multiple young children. If so, are you doing it on your own or getting help in? I just don't know how to do the one-to-one stuff.

Trying to work out whether to keep things going as they are and grit my teeth about a stranger in the house or whether I can save much-needed money and somehow be fair to the children and give them a good standard of education.

I am trying to do my best - feeling so guilty - dragged my boy out of a school he loved, but we had no choice but to come here. I have enrolled him for football, swimming and gym and my girl for ballet, swimming and gym. Am also trying hard to find them some friends to play with. Any wise words would be so appreciated at this very confusing time!! Thank you : (

Tarenath Fri 09-Sep-11 07:46:40


I have to say your family sounds like a lot of fun!

Firstly, one thing you shouldn't underestimate is the value of play. Even at 4 and 6, the majority of learning happens through play. In Reception there's certainly very little in the way of structured academic learning going on.
It sounds like you're doing the right thing. You're getting your children involved in local activities and trying to help them integrate.

Secondly, the nanny is your employee. She is there to help you. If you would like to go out then you go out. I work as a nanny and, while I have sole charge of the children, if one of the parents asked us to go out then we would go out. If you would like her to do more structured work with the older ones, or take the younger ones out of the way so you can do more structured stuff, then tell her to do that. While it's important to maintain a good relationship with your nanny, she is still your employee, not your friend.

I have to go to work now but I'll try to post more later smile

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 10-Sep-11 00:25:02

Hi Onthemove
Its late! I was just typing out a helpful post to you and boom my laptop ate it - so I will try hard to retype it, sorry if Im not entirely polite - mega tired!

A nanny is a nice luxury but honestly honestly you can do perfectly fine without! Loads of HE blogs (sorry I dont know of the names) make marvellous reading about how to cope with school age and babies and stay sane as a HEr.
My key advice to you is take a chill pill and stop panicking! Almost all new HErs panic and buy loads of resources - dont, it can be a costly mistake!

I would spend the next 6+ months at least playing, laughing, running about outside, skipping, painting, fantasy play, dressing up, cooking, singing and most of all read read read - read stories endlessly to your children (all of them not just the school age ones) snuggle up on the sofa and read. You will no doubt find that your 2yo finds something to love about the stories you choose just as much as the 6yo. Get them helping you with the chores - mine loves filling and emptying the washing machine, collecting the post, tidying etc (teaching valuable life skills)

Dont worry about curriculum subjects and meeting school style targets. Your children are young - let them play and have fun!

Once you get into the groove of being chilled about HEing then maybe consider adding some more structured activities but you may not (many HErs never really do structured stuff)
Find if you can books/websites about the theory of Home Education - you will learn about different approaches and realise that the "school way" is best left in schools.

A fabulous website full of stuff that I recommend a lot is Activity Village - endless endless fun and its free- loads of art and craft stuff and much more.

If I was home educating overseas there is one curriculum option that I would definately buy (because I imagine getting hold of resources overseas may be tricky and expensive) - sonlight curriculum (google it, they will send you a catalogue). Its literature and history based (ie lots of reading and learning through stories) Its also Christian but dont let that put you off.

Good luck, ask questions of other HErs and most importantly dont panic smile

catbus Sat 10-Sep-11 14:30:19

Gosh; if your eldest 2 are only 4 and 6 then let them get on and play: what they learn through this is so underrated and valuable! It depends on what kind of HEing you want to do: perhaps just go with the flow and see which direction they take you? For me it took a while to think out the box and see education as far far more than being at school, or schooly kind of work.

I HE with four, although the eldest are 12 and 8, the youngest are 3 and 11 months, so I get where you are coming from! The best way for me is to offer a few things and see how much they get on with it: that is what they are capable of and where it takes you. Some days it seems nigh on impossible, and others are great, when we all pitch in with the dull stuff and I manage to not stress about unimportant things..

As another poster said, a nanny certainly is a luxury: but ask yourself if you really need someone else to cope with simply being with your children on your own? If you look at it differently, that's really all it is!

There are lots of groovy websites full of ideas of things to make and do: and at 6 and 4, your older two I am sure would run riot with imaginations! Enjoy yourselves! smile

onthemoveyetagain Sat 10-Sep-11 20:46:44

Just wanted to thank you so much for your wonderful, lengthy replies. They have really struck a chord. Will take your advice. I think your comments re the nanny being a luxury have really hit home. Not sure what I will do as she is brilliant and lovely and could be useful at times. But not in the house with me - can't get used to that! Thanks again!!

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