Friday, 24 February 2017

100 Ways of Home Ed

Following on from Happy Handley's post yesterday, it's my turn to take part in this blog relay 😊
The next post is written by a home educated young person at Midnakit's Art Blog.

A blog hop of 100 ways of home ed can only ever be a tiny slice of a view into the world of home education. There are as many ways to home ed as there are families doing it. This is our way  - currently 😀 (I'm killing two birds with one stone here, doing my blog hop post and my #100daysofhomeed roundup post too. Cheeky, I know 😆 )

I find it hard to label our style of home education. We're not unschoolers, although after a chat with a local unschooler, I realise I do share many of the same principles. We're not school-at-home, although we do sit down to do work at a table, have maps on the walls and have always used a maths curriculum. We're not following a classical education although we do study Latin. We're not Charlotte Mason, although I have used living books and short lessons; still use narration; love picture study; think that music is vital and believe strongly in children spending time outdoors. We're not Steiner, although I love toys made from natural materials and believe in educating the whole child, not just the mind. We're not Montessori, although I've had trays and boxes of ready-to-go activities for them to choose themselves and I bought mats so they could have clear don't-interfere-with-my-work spaces. We're not autonomous anymore, although they choose a lot their own subjects to study and topics to explore. I guess we are eclectic - a little bit from here, a little bit from there.

#100daysofhomeed Day 8
That's what I love about home education. The flexibility, the opportunity to adapt and change when things stop working. The ability to be able to refresh, review and act quickly to improve the way we learn. I say 'we' deliberately because I'm learning all the time alongside my children. And I don't only mean "Ooh! Look what I learned in my daughter's GCSE book today". I mean ALL learning - learning about my kids, myself, the world around us, how things work, how to do new things and, most importantly, learning how to help them learn.  I LOVE LEARNING!!!!!

So, what are we learning at the moment? I'm learning that I much preferred our lives before exams took over :/ We had so much more freedom to learn what we wanted and to follow the rabbit trails from our unit studies without feeling constricted by time or other pressures. Boykin is learning that he wants to spread his exams out over three years instead of two after observing his sister. The Girl is learning about time management and how to spread the workload rather than leaving things to the last minute.

#100daysofhomeed Day 9
In our day to day, The Girl is studying for her English GCSE and an Art & Design BTEC award at a not-very local college. She attends one day a week. It has meant weekly sleepovers with a friend, early car journeys through rush hour, packed lunches and homework challenges. But it's been worth it. Her friendships have deepened, she has gained confidence and it has given her a stepping stone into college life in preparation for going full-time next year.

She's also studying IGCSE Geography at home, practising hard for Grade 6 music exams and preparing for her Grade 5 Music Theory exam. She's been offered conditional places at two colleges to study music :) If she doesn't meet the conditions, we have a fab Home Ed back-up plan that will still get her to university, if she decides to go there, or into work, if she doesn't.

#100daysofhomeed Day 10
As well as learning what she needs for exams, she's also learning about fitness, nutrition, cooking, fashion, make-up, pop music, meal planning, housework, hygge, books, inter-personal relationships, managing finances, computers, gaming - both board & video, music appreciation, the importance of family, the importance of community, politics, current affairs, practical maths, Japanese culture....... the list goes on. All this learning, both incidental and deliberate, is just as important as the exam prep that she's doing. More important in some ways - the exams will help her get to the next step in educational institutions, but the rest will set her up for life.

#100daysofhomeed Day 11
Boykin enjoys book learning. He likes to sit down and use text books in a way that neither of my other two did at that age. He has chosen to learn Latin and he's loving it. His young mind grasps and retains concepts so much more readily than mine. I've learnt that I'm going to need my own exercise books to be able to keep up with him. And that will be a good thing because my studying Latin alongside him in the way I know how, will help him to learn new study skills as we learn side-by-side.

He's also asked to study science and is following a basic experiment course on Futurelearn as part of the wider study using the Galore Park Science Book 2. And he studies maths and is practising handwriting - no choice there.

#100daysofhomeed Day 12
He's also learning how to play the ukulele; how to survive at scouts; ninjitsu; parkour; film making - editing footage and sound, scriptwriting, acting, camera work, how to use equipment, special fx etc.; map reading; housework; the importance of family and community; theology; gaming - both board & video; inter-personal relationship skills; cooking; manners; film studies; craft; art; Italian; comic making; the TV industry; theatre; history; history of music;climbing....again, the list goes on.

We have developed a routine over the years, which has served us well for a very long time. We start the day (after breakfast, of course) with maths. This is followed by a household task - all tasks are shared so we do it together. Then music practise comes next, followed by another household task. When they were younger, we would then work on our unit study - usually a literature based one, so this part of the morning would start with reading a book together accompanied by hot drinks and biscuits. This meant they were happy and enthusiastic to begin the activity - it could be more reading, some writing, discussion, a craft, some research, an experiment, some cooking, poetry, music, art, drama - even dancing. Then they would complete a lapbook piece and then it would be lunchtime, followed by free play time, or a walk, or a trip out, or a game, or a theme related film, or another read-aloud, or just doing jobs that keep a household running (me, usually). Evenings are often filled with groups and clubs - the ones that some people consider to be extra-curricular but, in our home at least, are definitely IN the curriculum ;)

#100daysofhomeed Day 13
As time has passed, maths for Boykin and music practise for both remain, as do the household tasks. The unit study has been replaced by textbooks and for The Girl at least, the free play time is now time for homework, although we do seem to go to a lot of HE groups in the afternoons these days. The Girl writes her own timetable too. Things will change again in September when I am back to one HE child - exam pressure will be removed and unit studies will kick in again, for a year or two at least 😆

#100daysofhomeed Day 14
The photos give a snapshot of our week so far - games, books, holidays with friends, walks, climbing classes and a birthday. Other stuff happened as well 😉


  1. Such full lives. What is the game with the red clear pieces? For day 9, looks intriguing.

    1. It's called Khet 2.0. It's a game of strategy with mirrors and laser beams with an Egyptian theme.

    2. Thank you, will check it out.