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Home Education - how?

(10 Posts)
housemad Sat 29-Mar-14 13:08:46

Due to dc's listening issue (re my earlier post in mumsnet primary education) the worst thing that may be dc has problem in conforming to a formal school environment so just wonder if home education is an option for dc. Just want to ask those who home educate your own dcs how do you do it? Why did you start? How and where to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence especially for the subjects that you are equipped for?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 29-Mar-14 14:42:23

Glad you posted here. I came here to check from your other post. There are many ways to home educate, it can be a bit of trial and error.

We always intended to home educate for a wide range of reasons but the final straw that made us say 'yes, definitely' was when my eldest - at 3 with listening and speaking issues - was purposefully left out of a playgroup activity because of it. The person in charge only knew his father and the other children were told to leave DS out because he doesn't know the rules with no effort to actually teach him the rules. My eldest had stopped talking and was upset at going the for several weeks which is why I sat in and it took us months to get him back once he was pulled out. And this was at 3 years old.

Research is step one, into the different methods, programmes, and exploring what you/they want to learn and what you need to teach that. As a more structured home educator, I use quite a few programmes to systematically go through subjects, particularly those I'm less comfortable with. If you do want to keep up with the national curriculum as you mentioned in the other post, it is online (though always changing) to read through and there are places like BBC bitesize and CGP books among other workbooks that can be used as a guide if not as a programme. I don't personally at our current level (all primary), but I know many people who like both particularly at secondary level as a check for both parent and child.

housemad Sat 29-Mar-14 16:25:34

Thanks Spork, but can you mark their work objectively or how you check if you have given the correct knowledge. At what sort of age or stage do you stop?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 29-Mar-14 17:06:15

Depends on the subject. In something like maths, there is an answer sheet (barring a few typos) and I can get them to explain how they got to an answer. In other subjects, it's whether the information in their oral or written reports and how it is written. In Ethics and Philosophy, it's a bit more complicated. It's less about giving the correct knowledge - people can learn without teachers - and more about giving access, support, guidance. I do that best in a structured way, others differ.

When or if to stop is up to the person involved - no one asks when people are going to stop school - many go through to the end, others go to secondary, some do it just for a year. Personally, we intend to fully reassess with each child just prior to Key Stage 4 due to difficulty in accessing certain GCSEs and other qualifications outside of school in the current system.

ommmward Sat 29-Mar-14 20:18:14

I try to get out of the role of fount of knowledge as much as possible. I do a lot of being a sounding board while a child works something out. I also suggest, a lot, that we should ask mr google an answer. We can find things out together, and that can be more productive in the long run than me trying to fill a child with knowledge, like a bucket!

morethanpotatoprints Sat 29-Mar-14 23:23:50

Hello OP.

We learn quite a lot together and also look at our surroundings for inspiration. On good days, Art, Maths, Science can be done in our local park.
We go to the library and visit museums and galleries.
We have no end of work books and work sheets for KS2 and some for KS3 and I can tell from these where she is able and where she needs help.
Its great to see them improve but not have to worry about constant assessment.
Finding out what they enjoy doing and where their strengths lie is amazing.
I don't really do much marking, obviously I give feedback.
You don't need to stop if you don't want to. Many do GCSE's outside of school, some do igcse and others vocational courses, or even straight into A levels.

Saracen Sun 30-Mar-14 00:24:06

Hi housemad! I've just had a look at your thread on the primary board. Here's something that really jumps out at me from that: your child is already learning brilliantly, according to her own schedule rather than by following a straight-line trajectory as dictated by somebody else.

You can just see that. You don't have to mark work objectively, nor do you need to check whether you have imparted the correct knowledge.

For example, you said "She loves writing so dc can seat at a table for a long time just writing out pages and pages even just dialogues from YouTube videos. I believe that's how she learn her writing and spellings more than in schools. As after the six weeks of summer holiday when she went back to school her literacy improved overwhelmingly and her spelling went up by 2 & a half years/ages."

What's to measure? You would have known she had learned huge amounts from her YouTube passion even if the school hadn't assessed her as making 2.5 years' progress in six weeks. During those school holidays, you didn't have to sit over her checking that she was doing the "right thing". If you had, she might have put down the pencil!

If you were climbing a Ben Nevis or writing a novel, you wouldn't need to keep calculating obsessively how many metres you had climbed in the last hour, or how many words you had written today. You'd know you were making progress. Sometimes it might feel like more progress than other times, but still you would be aware that you were going places. Education can be like that. Keep looking at your little girl rather than at the targets, and you'll see it happening before your eyes.

I know this is a bit hard to accept at first; there is such an obsession with levels and progress at school - how could you leave all that behind? But as you know, your child is not "typical" (what child is?) and she'll follow her own path. Over time you'll discover a sense for how she's developing and whether there is anything to worry about. There rarely is!

Sulis Sun 30-Mar-14 18:20:00

Hi Housemad. I think every home educator starts out with different reasons for HEing, but gradually they acquire more and more reasons so that eventually we're mostly all singing from similar hymn-sheets grin

We started because it sounded attractive (I was pg with my first, now 10, when we first heard about it). Now one of the beautiful reasons we have for home educating is that we feel very strongly that our job is not to teach our children things but for us to hold and support and love them so that they can learn how to think and build upon their natural, innate ability and desire to learn the things they want to learn.

With that in mind, what many home educators find is that they move away from the idea of 'school at home' entirely, realising that really their children learn amazing things amazingly profoundly when they're not restricted by any sort of schoolishness.

And, as if the evidence of our own eyes weren't enough, there's absolutely masses of research out there that shows how the way schools hope to educate children is hugely outdated. www.chrismercogliano.com/be-my-guest-unschooling-reflects-current-cognitive-research/

With that in mind (and do read more - it takes a lot to not feel terrified at the idea of not doing 'school at home' (we call that process 'deschooling' and applies more to the parents than to the children! - we've had many, many years of thinking the only way to learn is to be taught from a curriculum)), you can let go of worrying about what you, the parent, knows or doesn't know and how you can or cannot mark your child's 'work' (my kids rarely do any 'work' that can be marked) and get on with enjoying connecting with your child, strengthening your relationship with him, showing him things you think he'll like and helping him to do more of the things he already likes. It is in those things that the true learning happens smile

How Children Learn at Home by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison is my absolute favourite book for new home educators smile

Good luck!

ThreeTomatoes Tue 01-Apr-14 10:45:20

Hi there. Having been completely wowed by every article I've read on the Life Learning magazine website, and been convinced that the principles behind 'life learning' (a preferable word to 'unschooling'), I too have been on the look out for 'how' (will be HE'ing dd from Sept, just after she's left primary school). I guess it's easy to panic that we're going to end up lounging around doing nothing but watch youtube videos. A completely unfounded notion as dd's free weekend days even if spent all day at home are already so varied, and we already have lots of things planned, based on what dd has told me she wants to do (piano & swimming lessons, maths & English tutor groups, arts & crafts, chemistry set, maths & language on websites, gardening, cooking, reading & writing, museum trips....)

Not sure why I worry sometimes really! When I remind myself of all we have planned I actually worry about how the hell we're going to fit it all in!

This is a brilliant article describing how it all happens. Reading it makes me realise I am already doing a lot of it without really thinking about it!

Oh and BTW - I don't intend for there to be any HINT of testing/marking/assessing! wink When she gets older, if there's a particular path she wants to take, that requires qualifications, or she wants to do some GCSEs etc, she can do - it will then be her choice, and she would hopefully be intrinsically motivated to do it, in the way that I am currently studying an OU degree (I feel that my achievements, grades etc are my specific achievements, very different to how I felt at school). I guess the tutor groups we're going to join are my (and her- they were her choice) sort of security that she'll have the basics of a 'traditional' education continuing in the background. I'm open to them being dropped, though, if it turns out she hates them.

housemad Thu 03-Apr-14 11:38:14

Thanks everyone

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