Time: the best thing about home-education.

“If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder of life never end.” (Akiane Kramarik)

I left the school system to pursue my education elsewhere at the age of 11. I’m now 18 and so incredibly grateful to my parents for giving this home-education thing a try! I have gotten so much from being able to explore the world at my own pace with the people I choose to spend time with doing things we want to do. What do I value most about home-education and what it has given me? The short answer is ‘time’. The long answer is this blog post…

Picture, for a moment, a toddler or young child. Their minds are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating everything that is happening around them 24/7 even while they sleep. They are constantly learning, exploring, discovering and questioning. Almost everything is exciting to a 3 year old, hence the constant barrage of ‘Why?’ questions. The curiosity of a newly born human is incredible to experience. I am lucky enough to have 3 awesome younger siblings and many incredible cousins who are constantly reminding me (mostly un-intentionally!) the joy in right now. In the family I have long been known as ‘the baby whisperer’ and it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me that I love spending time with babies and toddlers. They see the world so differently to us and it’s incredible to witness that.

“You’re never going to feel bad about your whole life if you loved people and you were curious.” (Hank Green)

Home-education has given me time to talk with my friends and family for hours, without the stress of being late for my next class. To discuss, debate, argue and laugh. Our conversations range from Pokemon to Politics to Minecraft to Philosophy and everything in between.

“Therasa May said the other day ‘What we need now is certainty!’ We don’t. We never need certainty. Knowledge is not certainty.” (Simon Critchley)

Home-education has given me time to think. To be a curious 3 year old again (that sounds weird haha). To find the infinite beauty in nature, to discover people that I look up to and want to learn from, to work out why I feel sad and what I can do to feel better, to think about the consequences of my actions, to process why I didn’t like what that person said to me yesterday, to discover things I love, to connect with the people around me, to chill out, to work hard, to spend all day on one project, to stop doing things I don’t like, to try new things, to value being and not just doing.

In the last seven years I have discovered so much about myself and the world around me. It’s hard, in our society, to take a step back and breathe. To question everything. To practice true, heart-breaking, overwhelming empathy and compassion. To learn about and consider the opposite opinion to your own and not feel anger and hatred but interest, consideration and respect. What could be more powerful than raising children who do just that?

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” (William Martin)

Thinking about home education?

Once upon a time… we found ourselves contemplating the idea of home education.

For our family it was the first step of an amazing journey. With the benefit of hindsight, there really was no turning back for us. Home education had presented itself as an actual, real-life, legal and practical possibility and life would never be quite the same again.

At the time, things felt less clear. We began searching in earnest for anything we could find out about the subject and pondered long and hard about whether this ‘home ed’ lark really was such a great idea.

There are lots of fantastic resources out there with huge amounts of information; it can be difficult to know what to read first. Misconceptions about how home education has to be organised and what it will mean for your family are common.

So, to help sort out the facts from the fiction and to save you some leg-work (or keyboard-tapping), here is a short list of some of the best places to start finding out more about home education.

For a good overview of UK law and useful answers to the most frequently asked questions about home education, check out –

http://www.home-education.org.uk/faq-carers.htm

http://www.free-range-education.org.uk/FAQ.html

Both of these sites have useful templates for de-registration letters. If your child is registered at a school and you decide to home educate, you must inform the school that you wish your child to be removed from the register. These templates provide the legal wording that you’ll need.

https://rossmountney.wordpress.com/about-home-education/ also tackles some of those frequently asked questions and shares her insights around developing an educational philosophy.

http://edyourself.org/articles/FAQ.php Fiona’s site has extensive information on the legal issues surrounding home education and some interesting information about the numbers of children known to be home educated in different council areas.

Be aware that council staff across the country will have varying levels of knowledge and experience of home education and may adopt slightly different approaches when engaging with families. It is worth taking some time to read any policy documents issued by your local council; these should be easily accessible by visiting the website of the County Council where you live and searching ‘home education’.

If you are unsure of the website address or cannot locate any information about home education in your area, visit https://www.gov.uk/home-schooling-information-council and enter your postcode to be taken to the relevant page on your local council website.

Some council web pages and policy documents imply that there is a requirement to register with them in order to be allowed to home educate, this is not the case. If your child is not registered at a school then you don’t need to inform anyone of your decision. As a parent you have responsibility in law for your child’s education. But remember, if they are enrolled at a school, you must let that school, not the council, know that you would like to have your child’s name removed from the school register.

There are two charitable organisations that provide advice and support to families who are currently, or considering, home educating –

https://www.heas.org.uk/

https://www.educationotherwise.org/

Both of these organisations have free information and advice on their sites and membership options available, for a modest fee.

Finally, and most importantly, make contact with your local home education group. The families that I met, even before my children left school, were so lovely, welcoming and helpful. They generously gave up their time to chat on the telephone and over email, sharing their experiences and wisdom and acting as a sounding board as I processed all this new information. I was totally blown away by the parents and children, their kindness and their patience were immense (you know who you are, lovely people, and I am forever grateful!).

Make this a priority. Link up with home educating families, even if only online. They can be an invaluable source of advice, reassurance and friendship. Try an internet search for home education groups in your local town, area and region, there may be more than one that is geographically appropriate. Don’t forget the many national and international groups that will also provide great support and information. Many of these can be found on Yahoo Groups and, of course, there is always Facebook.

If you would like to share any other resources you have found helpful, or have any questions, please leave a comment down below. Wishing you well in your research and in your week.

 

 

 

Ask the home-ed heads : What are you reading at the moment?

Please note that the links on this page lead to Goodreads, not a retail site. We will not receive any financial reward if you click through, just some joy at having stirred your curiosity.

I love a good book recommendation and am always keen to hear what other people are reading. Let’s hope that’s the same for you because today I would like to share what we are currently reading. This could be a long one as no one in this family seems able to read just one book at a time!

mumlovesearlgrey –

Not that far into this yet, but enjoying it so far. I’m a big fan of maps and all things geographical, so am fascinated to learn more about how the physical has shaped the political.

Lovely short chapters brimming with wisdom on all things home-ed, beautiful! I just love her blog too.

Interesting, enjoyable and refreshing – explores how children that are home educated learn to read.

Aside from my slight unease at the word ‘teach’ in the title, I’ve found this to be an enchanting, yet unusual, introduction to Shakespeare’s work. The book identifies and explains key speeches within a number of plays and offers useful pointers on how to memorise them, intriguing stuff.

 

Plumblepie  –

We love reading these ‘Fact Cat’ books together and are working our way through all the series. We have enjoyed many of the science and history ones so far and are particularly looking forward to the habitats, animals and geography ones next.

I picked this one out at random, from the many Mr. Men books beside her pillow. She is happily working her way through this series too. She loves having them read to her by anyone and everyone in the family, but especially Dad – it’s a bit of a tradition – he read them to her big sisters and brother, and now it’s her turn.

Yet another one that is part of a series we are working our way through. The subtitle reads ‘A magical journey through five Monet masterpieces’. Lovely.

 

Pteroturtle –

A beautiful book we are reading together, whenever we can, snuggled up on the sofa, often with the plumblepie too.

Number 13 in the series. Pteroturtle loves this bear.

An audiobook – the entire series are on a permanent loop in this boy’s room, such joy!

 

artybaker –

Reading this one for a group read and a read-a-thon on Goodreads, along with sophofbread. I hear them chatting about this lots round the house at the moment.

One of her favourite books, she is currently annotating a copy and enjoying it one more time.

She’s a real Bate fan.

A classic Chinese science-fiction apparently, in audiobook format.

 

sophofbread –

Reading along with a group on Goodreads and artybaker too. This is a re-read and she tells me that she is enjoying it even more than the first time.

Studying this one for a course.

In audiobook format. I love this book and am looking forward to hearing her views on it.

We are buddy reading this one, a re-read for me and first time for sophofbread. The story of an extraordinary life told by the man himself – inspiring!

Another buddy read with me. Some interesting parts describing local wildlife and geology, some tedious parts and some shockingly outrageous parts so far!

 

Thanks for reading. Wishing you a wonderful week where you have lots of time to enjoy a good book. We would love to know what you’re reading at the moment, let us know in the comments below.