Starting out!

(10 Posts)
AwakeAmbs Tue 03-Dec-19 00:43:53

Hi everyone! I am just starting out as a new home educating mum of 4 & 6 year old girls! We live in Brighton. Just hoping to find support and advice on the adventure here smile We made the decision a few months ago but for various reasons have ended up starting sooner than planned so I am not as prepared as I hoped. We are planning to loosely follow the curriculum with unstructured time too, plus find groups locally and go on day trips / outings etc smile

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itsstillgood Tue 03-Dec-19 15:25:44

I'm a long way on from you as mine are 17 and 14. 14yo never been to school. Eldest did secondary by choice then another year of HE.
Make the most of the freedom of those early years and have fun. I miss those pre-GCSE days!

AwakeAmbs Wed 04-Dec-19 00:38:39

@itsstillgood good to know it can be done smile ah thank you! I will definitely enjoy the freedom - planning to loosely follow national curriculum mixed with some unstructured time and lots of crafts and spontaneous bits of learning.

Do you have any advice on getting started and structuring the day for this age?

Also, I’m dealing with some family judgement (in laws) right now, any tips on not letting this affect me and the whole situation?thank you so much

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AspergersMum Wed 04-Dec-19 09:32:51

Everyone finds their own way of Home Edding, quite rightly. There is unfortunately not a curriculum that works for everyone just like there isn't a schedule that works well for early risers, night owls, and those in between. It is a matter of trial and error in the beginning but you'll soon notice what works and what is counterproductive.

What works for us is "little and often", so each morning we do a small amount of maths, literacy, typing, and usually history and science. That frees up the afternoons for HE groups, running errands, relaxing, playing. It has worked amazingly well for my kids with SEN. Other people do a lot more and that is amazing too. I didn't bother trying to follow the NC after looking at it and feeling uninspired. My DC who has gone into secondary hasn't found any gaps in knowledge and is finding it easy so that is reassuring.

itsstillgood Wed 04-Dec-19 22:49:43

Every one is different. No day is typical in home ed. We settled in to a seasonal rhythm over primary years. Stayed closer to home and did more formal learning over the winter months. From April to August we did very little formal learning and were out nearly every day.
We didn't follow NC until about age 10/11. Used US resources for maths and literacy as I felt they did a much better job of covering the basics.
We certainly didn't follow it strictly but we were influenced by Charlotte Mason's philosophy. I spent a lot of time reading aloud. Science, geog, history, art were done as projects, mainly hands on - didn't write much as part of them, occasionally we'd do a lapbook or a linked piece of writing. I knew they were learning as I was talking to them, I kept a blog to document it so I can refer back.
You have to find out what works for your family, trial and error.

itsstillgood Wed 04-Dec-19 23:00:57

On the family front don't get involved in discussion of how they will sit exams or go to uni and don't be critical of school. Focus on short term, 'oh they are so young at the moment we feel they will really benefit from the attention at the moment '. Be vague on future plans. People have a tendency to interpret your decision to HE as a criticism of them for sending kids to school.
They are your children though and it's your choice so don't feel you have to justify or argue your case, just change subject of it comes up.

Saracen Wed 04-Dec-19 23:59:53

@itsstillgood is right in observing that people can be very sensitive to the subject of home ed, interpreting HE as a criticism of those who send their children to school. The subject can be highly emotive. You can avoid it somewhat by focusing on why you are HEing your own particular children ("we think they'll benefit from xyz" etc) and avoiding any negative comments about school.

Also people tend to assume that a decision to HE is a permanent one and they worry about potential problems which are years away, such as how the children will sit exams. You can deflect this somewhat by reassuring them that you're open to the idea of school at some future time, you just don't think it would suit your kids right now.

Another idea for coping with negativity is to spend plenty of time in the company of fellow home educators. Join a local HE group if you can. If that isn't possible, hang out online here or on Facebook groups. It's inspiring and reassuring to hear how home ed is panning out for other people, especially families with children a bit older than your own. This will give you confidence.

Another recommendation, if it is practical for your family, is to do plenty of outings to interesting and educational destinations such as museums. Most kids enjoy going out to new places and learn a lot from doing so. And adults recognise the huge educational value of such expeditions.

I doubt there is a teacher anywhere who wouldn't move heaven and earth to take their pupils out far more often if only they had the resources to do so. Sadly, taking a class on an outing is a big undertaking. Teachers need the extra staff, the money, the permission, the planning time. Taking your own two children on an outing may be remarkably easy by comparison.

For this reason, it's easy to "sell" such outings to relatives who are dubious about the value of home education. What's more, you yourself may also get the feeling that you are accomplishing something really good.

The reality is that your children would learn loads through home education even if they were to stay in as much as schoolchildren have to. But it may take some months before you and your relatives really notice the value of what your kids do at home. In the meantime, getting out could be a shortcut to developing confidence in your decision to home ed.

AwakeAmbs Fri 06-Dec-19 01:55:54

Thank you SO so much everyone for your kind and helpful posts, I do feel so much better having read them.

I think we will kind of find our feet this month and then enjoy Xmas and then start properly in Jan.

Totally planning on doing the days out smile thinking a day trip to London for the science museum maybe in jan and also there’s a forest school I could get to about an hour away we can hopefully visit soon.

Yes have so far been vague with the critics. It’s actually only my in laws who seem to have an issue, everyone else has been lovely.

I would never criticise school as I do think it’s great for many but this is just something I feel will be good for us at the moment.

Thank you!! smile

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itsstillgood Fri 06-Dec-19 06:03:35

As you go out and about remember to check for HE discounts. I think we get schools rate for Wonderlab at the Science museum of going in school hours and probably booking ahead, I don't know details. Always worth emailing and asking. Have you found your local groups? If not search your county/nearest town or city and home education in Facebook.

AwakeAmbs Mon 09-Dec-19 23:53:40

@itsstillgood thanks for the tip! Great idea. Love science museum.

Yes I’ve just found local groups and joined and am meeting up with them next week, so starting to feel a bit more sorted now smile

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