- Do you have a timetable for each day/week, or is it more ad hoc? Do you have set break times etc? Do you have set term Times?
We were ad hoc because we're that sort of person. I'm sure others have timetables. You'll find that you can fit in a LOT more academic stuff into a smaller time than schools can so actually the amount of formal work that they need to do is much shorter than a school day. (That's true for littler ones: may not be for those approaching GCSEs, I guess). So we didn't need set break times. We followed the school terms.
- How do you meet up with other home ed people and do you find them accepting of your children's needs?
Education otherwise is great for getting in touch. Where we lived, there was a group on Yahoo for our area who organised all sorts of activities. They were VERY accepting of Mackerel's needs. Many of the others had children with special needs as well. Lovely bunch of people!
- How do you decide what to teach and when?
Depends on the age group and the sort of parent that you are. Assuming younger kids, you'd probably need to buy a reading scheme (or borrow from other home ed people) and a maths scheme. Geography, history, art, PE, etc. can pretty much come from visits, etc. An example from geography: an inspector came to our house and asked one of our kids how to get to the nearest town and what shops she went to there. The reply was "charity shops". That is geography for a youngish child. Science: I can remember building Lego boats with Mackerel and sailing them in the bath and explaining why some capsized and some didn't. Foreign languages, if you decide to go there, are a bit more problematic.
- Do you pay for any tutoring or "childcare" and if so, is this for a whole day at a time?
- How do you manage the change of relatio ship/role between being parent and then being teacher?
Mackerel found it difficult. Our birth kids didn't at all. After all, as a parent you ARE a teacher, whether you like it or not!
- How do you manage to have quality 1:1 time with your children?
Home educating them! It was brilliant for Mackerel's attachment.
- Do you have a seperate room/place for learning, or does your kitchen/living room get over-run? And if so, how do you demarcate work time from play or family times? Or do you not?
We had a spare attic room and used to have a number of families who came there and did home ed together. With Mackerel, it was largely in the dining room for the formal stuff. All time together is family time. There were times for formal, sit-down writing, maths, etc. but kids learn an incredible amount without it being formal. Younger kids in school don't actually spend their entire time at their desk. And play is an incredibly important part of learning.
Last Edit: Nov 7, 2014 10:53:31 GMT by Deleted
I have 1 wife, Kermit, and 7 kids. 3 of them - Mackerel, Fairy Basslet & Sprat - are adopted
- if your children were in school previously, what/how did you say you would be changing to home ed? Do you mean to the school? Legally speaking? If you check the Education Otherwise website they have a template of a legal letter that you can copy and hand in to de-register. If you mean to others, parents etc, just that, we are home educating. You will find you need to answer countless questions over times from the curious "oh day off school today is it?" to the downright rude "why aren't you at school?" brigade.
- do you have a timetable for each day/week or is it more ad hoc? Do you have set 'break' times etc? Do you have set 'term times'? Every single home edder I know does this differently. I know people who are hugely structured with a time-table, some use tutors for all subjects, right through to totally autonomous child lead learning. If the child wants to learn about something, it's down to the parents providing the tools and the child learning in their own way. There is also a lot in between. We fall in the semi-structured category. We fluctuate between getting down to maths and english EVERY day plus more, to spending our days doing exactly as we please. When my eldest was HE during his GCSE's we used tutors (I wasn't up to the job with a newly placed toddler). He saw tutors for each core subject he wanted to take. 1.5hrs 121 a week is equivalent to a weeks tuition in school per subject - and this is at GCSE level! Shocking how much time is lost in a class of 30. My 2 can pump out 5 6 work sheets in quick succession. No waiting around for them to be handed out, no lengthy explanations, no teacher having to sort out other student, no sitting with your hand up for help for 10 mins, no having to wait a week for it to be marked. It's all instant and quick and I suspect they get more done in an hour at home that they do in a day at school. We have worked through half-terms before, sometimes not, it's up to us and what our timetable for that time dictates. I know my 2 would far rather be out in the sun with friends than sat indoors doing maths because I had put it on a time-table. We can fit maths in another time, we can't always fit in the sunny days elsewhere. I have found that our workload fluctuates with the weather. In the colder months we are home more which means more academic work. In the summer we spend long glorious days outside with friends - my children get lovely tans
- how do you meet up with other home ed people - and do you find them accepting of your children's needs? Home edders are by large accepting of difference, after all, they have chosen a way of life themselves very different from the norm. There are many quirky kids being HE'd. With parents about disputes and child squabbles are sorted quickly, this means non of that playground bullying. There will be core groups listed on Education Otherwise, but ask about as what I have found is that there must be about 15 different local ones to me. You are welcome to join each one as and when you see fit, no expects group loyalty
- how do you decide what to teach and when? I personally teach English and Maths to my 2 and let their natural curiosity with something take the lead with the rest. We also can do lots of lovely work around celebrations and events - so recently we have covered Diwali and Guy Fawkes. Although according to my DSs dramatic picture of Guy Fawkes under the House of Lords, he was rather successful in blowing it all up
- do you pay for any tutoring or 'childcare' and if so, is this for a whole day at a time? I don't pay for tutoring, but my 2 do a lot of activities. Regular ones I pay for are: Sailing, horse-riding, pottery, gymnastics & art. However, again everyone does this differently and there are many parents and single parents HEing who simply could not afford too many extra curricular activities. As mine get to secondary age I may well look at tutoring, although I would prefer to join a group of similar HE children for small group work in specific areas (these are available, if not, set one up). If you feel you will struggle without a break, pay for childcare! Why on earth not? I have found that some HEdders themselves work as registered childminders and they are perfect as will share your outlook on education, freedom and nurturing of the child.
- how do you manage the change of relationship/role between being mother and then being teacher? It comes naturally. When our children are small we teach them all the time, its just at some point we hand this responsibility over to the school. I find I talk to my children more, I comment on things we see as we pass and they in turn are always full of questions. They learn so much just by being with you and you imparting your knowledge.
- how do you manage to have any time away from your children (to maintain your own sanity)? (I am single.) I am lucky, my DH is very good at taking over at weekends, but I am rarely without a child 7 days a week! It's like a natural progression from toddler-dom, they just haven't gone to school so you are still as you were when they were a baby/toddler etc. This may be where childcare can help you? However, when you make friends at HE groups that is like a break really as the kids play together and you parents chat, drink coffee and eat cake (watch out, HE is fattening!)
- if you have 2 children with a trauma bond, do you work with them entirely separately? We do work together and work apart. This has been a rule since day one, when one needs to read, the other goes AWAY. This has been harder than it sounds as although my middle DD is pretty average in most ways, my youngest is a rather tricky lad and will do anything to get attention, negative attention will do just fine. Over time he has got that he has to go, play his ipad, watch TV - whatever works to give the other some 121 time. The threat of extra maths works quite well too I don't think my 2 have a trauma bond as such as they arrived separately,but they are both very strong characters and can compete for my time quite a bit. They can move from best friends to all out war in the blink of an eye. We have moved on from books being torn to stop the other reading, but this stuff takes time and you will all be learning a new way of being together and your house rules will change - but over time. I treat it as a marathon not a sprint. I have YEARS to work on this stuff. I would say after the first year you will be amazed at not only how much your children have changed, but also you and your views on life in general.
- how do you manage to have quality 1:1 time with your children? AS with above, bribery My elder one is also very able to spend time at a friends and quite likes me to 'go away' now as she is getting to that age where I am rather embarrassing However, when we de-registered her she was a scared and anxious little girl who couldn't be left anywhere. Being at home 24/7 has helped her grow and with her in particular, her attachment has flourished and she can now tell me something hurts and even have a cry when in pain. My DD being older, stays up later and usually gets up earlier too.
- do you have a separate room/place for learning or does your kitchen/lounge get over-run? And, if so, how do you demarcate work times from play or family times? Or do you not? We have recently moved so now do have a school room. Although most frequently the kids still sit at the dinning table to work. Having a separate room is more helpful in terms of storing all those books and art materials, but it certainly isn't essential. I find my kids gravitate to where they feel comfortable. DD is often on the stairs or in the garden (on a nice day), working on her ipad or reading. DS, wherever he is, is standing. He stands and moves all the time, mealtimes too. This would have gone down very well at school I know
A typical day: Today, DD woke at 8am. She came in my bed for a cuddle and a chat. DS woke at 8.30am. We had our breakfast and left for an early cinema showing, free for schools at the moment. No rushing out of the house, no rude awakenings when a child doesn't want to get up. We've been home for lunch & DD has made a little film. In a minute we are off to spend the afternoon at a local HE group. They are doing fireworks themed art and crafts, plus have games etc. It's somewhere to meet friends, hang out and eat biscuits. My son can struggle if anywhere becomes too chaotic or noisy (his idea of noisy btw the way, not others). If he gets overwhelmed, we will simply say our goodbyes and come home. I know my DS will be tired after the hall meet (he is ASD so socialising can take it out of him) so we will probably just watch something like Horrible Histories (my 2 LOVE horrible histories) and then they both write a diary before bed (English).
So a quiet day workwise for us, yesterday we did more as we were home waiting for a delivery. We also managed to squeeze in art and some cake in a cafe. Ooops.
like you as yet not fully decided. for what its worth I am not too worried about rigid timetables just want them at 5 and 4 to be able to learn to read and understand a bit about numbers.
..if I were you I would be worrying most about how you get time out...it's really important to get a few hours away... you have a really challenging task..two children and you are one. Do you have a family member or friend that can commit to one day or afternoon per week to look after the boys to give you a break?
Mum to DD Lapwing (13) & DS Peewit (12) Married to Mr Mudlark
One thing you might like to Google is 'deschooling'....that's allowing yourselves time to adjust to not being in school.
As wibbley says, there are as many ways of home educating as there are families.
I have been interested in 'unschooling' which I think is the American term for autonomous education (child led). The more relaxed end of the spectrum has worked well for us, but at some point after Dash had been with us a while (having the toddler experiences he never had first time round, and talking a lot which was what he needed) I really felt we had to be more focussed and I wasn't sure I could do it! More for emotional/relationship/organisational reasons than ability.
At that point a friend who is a childminder and had been an early years teacher offered to do one to one with him once a week, then it was 2 mornings and now 3 mornings a week! He had already been going to her house to play with the children she was looking after. He has several friends now through going to her house (which he still does for a play and dinner once a week on top of the mornings one to one). We pay her but she is like an auntie to him
Although we have always been 'relaxed' we have always had fixed points in the week. Most days there is at least one outside commitment.
Its definitely a way of life. I tend to think of education being all the time which takes pressure off. If some days it seems that not much is happening a) they will be learning! and b) we will probably be doing something at the weekend that could be deemed 'educational' in a more formal sense.
When we took our BD out of school she was very keen to do baking and now will cook family meals (by choice) no problem at all. Before home ed I helped in 2 different school doing cooking and craft with small groups and I knew an entire afternoon was timetabled for those subjects. So if DD made something edible or crafty and it took her 45 mins I knew we were already ahead of ourselves! Same with art.
As wibbley says being with other families is definitely a break. I am not above putting on a DVD either or letting Dash spend quite a while each morning watching CBeebies (on holiday as we don't have TV at home....use iPlayer.) Some of those programmes are really good...Octonauts, Nina and the Neurons, Operation Ouch
At one point I thought Dash was watching far too many Pink Panther DVDs We had a whole set and he was watching them a LOT. Then one day I sat down with him and he was telling me what was going to happen next and actually that was amazing for him as his memory and language have both been weak areas.
I went to an unschooling conference last year (feeling like a fraud as I was sure we are not as relaxed as some!) Anyway I came away with a wonderful quote from one of the speakers (who happened to be a mathematician). Asked by a non home schooler about 'lessons' he replied 'The unit of learning is not the lesson; the unit of learning is the conversation' I love that. Another one is 'A bad day at home is better than a bad day at school' or should that be 'A bad day at home is better than a good day at school'?
Also something else which is great about home ed. Children can really get stuck in to something and spend hours, days or weeks focussing on something they are interested in. Its very interesting to watch. I have told this story a lot but at one point we had the 'Blue Peter curriculum' Violet would watch it on iPlayer but mainly she was interested in collecting the books which we would look for in charity shops. Then DH bought her the remaining books she needed to complete the set on ebay for Christmas. That was VERY educational. Not just the content but they were primary historical sources and her Dad and I reminisced about our childhoods. Recipes that said 'put in a cool place to set' because not everyone would have had a fridge.....I remember getting a fridge!
Lastly I am often aware that things I chalk up to 'education' other children might be doing on top of school. Drama, swimming lessons, piano lessons, and the example I just gave. Any child could do that. Its just that home edders have more TIME. Its not a big rush to have dinner and get off to drama, the piano lessons and swimming are during the day so we can be at home most early evenings.
I home educate one primary aged child (we tried school for a few years).
- if your children were in school previously, what/how did you say you would be changing to home ed?
I read what it said on home ed facebook groups and websites. I wrote letter using the format suggested on internet. education elsewhere as per law X etc. I warned his school before handing the letter in on the last day of term as they did try to help.
- do you have a timetable for each day/week or is it more ad hoc? Do you have set 'break' times etc? Do you have set 'term times'? Sort of.... Most home edders where I live are very autonomous child led so I would consider myself extremely structured compared to them. But in other ways we are quite relaxed. We do various activities home ed ones and just ordinary stuff like music lesson, swimming lesson. The week is structured around these events (for example: today I made it very clear he was working this afternoon and it was done or the fun afternoon out tomorrow would not be happening). I try to do a bit of work during hols but mostly we work with school terms as term time we see home ed friends hols we see kids that go to school.
- how do you meet up with other home ed people - and do you find them accepting of your children's needs? You find the websites or facebook groups for your area and choose the events, meetups or classes that suit you. We do an academic class and a general meetup most weeks. Home edders are relatively accepting.
- how do you decide what to teach and when? I am based on the national curriculum (In case my son wants to go back to school a some point). I used the App levels to determine where he is and how he is progressing. However..... I use whatever method I think will get my son working. We do a lot of history because he really likes history (he forgets that his literacy is coming on nicely due to this). I use work books for convenience for some maths stuff as well as online resources. I try to tie work to his interests generally.
- do you pay for any tutoring or 'childcare' and if so, is this for a whole day at a time? We go to a Home ed academic class I pay for that each week (I stay with him for that). I could do the text book with him but I prefer he gets a teacher and a bit of classroom experience.
- how do you manage the change of relationship/role between being mother and then being teacher? hmmm not sure. We are on our second year and life is better this year (I think that is because he is growing up a bit though). I did a few more academic things to test him with before we started to home ed. My boy seems to work better for me than he did for school teachers.
- how do you manage to have any time away from your children (to maintain your own sanity)? (I am single.) I have a few hours one morning a week where my parents look after him. Sanity? That went the day he moved in..... My house is not as clean and tidy as when he was a school though.
- if you have 2 children with a trauma bond, do you work with them entirely separately? N.A.
- how do you manage to have quality 1:1 time with your children? N.A.
- do you have a separate room/place for learning or does your kitchen/lounge get over-run? And, if so, how do you demarcate work times from play or family times? Or do you not? When works done you can play! We use the dining room to work at, research with the laptop in bed with toast is nice sometimes as well.
With DS it was easy, he didn't want to go back (he was pre-school age too). So I begun researching it all & meeting up with people for a good 6mths with him. Finding people and groups that we 'fitted with' (quiet supportive SEN ones for us). When it got to Sept and I told DD that DS wasn't going to start school she told me she didn't want to go back either. She sat down sadly and refused to put on her school uniform. She's my compliant one, so this was a BIG statement of hers. I listened.
We agreed that she would go in for the first week interspersed with a few days when she was terribly unwell (to be fair she was distressed and stressed about the return to school and her mood had already shifted a good 2 weeks in the run up to new school year). We went to HE meetups. There are a few 'not going back to school' picnics on the go very September and they are always fun and a celebration She spent some sunny days running around with the HE kids and I said something like "this is home education, is this really what you want?". Of course, she did. I sent in my de-reg letter on the Thurs eve and she never went back. DD has kept in touch with her best school friends plus has HE friends too. She tells me she never ever wants to go back to school, but will consider university I guess the 'actual' ending of school is dependent on the child, do they want to say goodbye? Do they actually have anyone they need to say goodbye too? If they struggle with friends and have no connection with anyone is this necessary? My 2 loved driving past school of a morning on their way out to meet friends, horse ride etc and say "what will they be doing now?".."oh, sitting down and doing work".
There are LOADS of single home educators. I can't say how they manage day to day, financially or with time to themselves, but I know they do. I did have a long conversation with a couple of HE friends only yesterday about how DWP deal with them being on benefits BUT unavailable to work due to HEing (both single parents of SEN kids) and it works out for them.
How did I manage the end of schooling for my children? Celebrating and a massive massive sigh of relief PLUS the odd heart palpitation for a week or so when I realised what I had done! It's a big decision, if you don't question yourself and have fears you aren't normal
I will look into the groups some more & pm what I find. It feels so long ago that I did it and I found it to be one of those things that was hard to start but once the ball got rolling it took on a life of it's own and all sorts of exciting stuff started opening up.
My son didn't say he didn't like school but the frenzy he came out of school in every day wasn't pretty, the howling about the traffic light he was on, constant meetings with school and the fact that even quite a nice school considered a quiet child sat down was all that was important.... He was getting slower and slower getting ready for school each day so I asked him if he wanted to try home ed. He said yes and I let him have input into what he wanted to learn (hmmm still haven't got round to teaching him arabic, which he said he wanted to learn!). I think of it as a year to year thing and maybe he will want to go back to school one day. Wolf boy didn't get any cards from school or anything which was a shame. He talks about the odd school friend sometimes, but he has made home edder friends so he managed OK.
Please could some of you home educators help me out with some queries I have...
- do you have a timetable for each day/week or is it more ad hoc? Do you have set 'break' times etc? Do you have set 'term times'?
Yes. We have three 90 minute "lessons" each day with breaks, and set times for various out of the house activities. We follow local state school terms. My children like predictability. The lessons are long, but would comprise a variety of activities, differentiated for each of the three children. The youngest is now ten: for a child under about 9 I would keep their sessions a lot shorter - or indeed for an older child if necessary. Computer programmes, DVDs, practical activities all count.
- how do you meet up with other home ed people - and do you find them accepting of your children's needs?
We meet up on average about once per week. Most home edders are very accepting of difference, and there are plenty of children with special needs of various kinds represented generally. There are occasional exceptions. I have only ever encountered one really awful person, and had to avoid her. There is another who is holier than thou ("all children do that, you just have to be firm" but her own children are growing up now ) but tolerable. Mostly I find home edders exceptionally tolerant.
- how do you decide what to teach and when?
We follow a fairly structured routine as my children respond well to that. We go to two home education groups, one monthly and one fortnightly. Otherwise we plug away at academics at home during the day and do a lot of extracurricular activities in the evenings and at weekends - mainly sport, music, dance related. My current three home educated pupils are fairly able and functional. With my older boy who struggled, I think a gentler regime would have been beneficial - concentrating on the basics of English and maths plus whatever interested him, with some nice, laid-back, non-judgemental home ed groups and minimal competitive extracurricular activities.
do you pay for any tutoring or 'childcare' and if so, is this for a whole day at a time?
One of their home ed groups is run by a very competent home edder with professional coaches and I only have to drop off and pick up, so I get a whole day of respite once per month. This costs £25 per child and is worth every penny. We pay for a Spanish evening class for one child and music tuition. We have paid for maths tuition in the past, art classes, etc. We have used distance learning courses for GCSE. Mostly it is DIY.
- how do you manage the change of relationship/role between being mother and then being teacher?
I personally don't really see much of a divide: mothers teach and good teachers of younger children mother/father!
- how do you manage to have any time away from your children (to maintain your own sanity)? (I am single.)
Apart from my one day per month, I have some time to myself when they are doing some of their extracurricular activities: e.g. I will be reading the paper and having a coffee in Costa while my son is at athletics training this evening! After 9 o'clock at night I am no longer available. There are books to read! When the children are at home with you all the time, there are odd moments during the day when you can take a break. Anxiety is so much less, they can let you go somewhat, or at least from time to time. Dh does his bit too at weekends.
- if you have 2 children with a trauma bond, do you work with them entirely separately?
N/A If this were the case, yes, I think I would work with them entirely separately. The one not working with me would be set up with an activity they could happily do alone, e.g. educational DVD, story tape, computer game (e.g. Conquer Maths), reading book, art stuff, whatever worked.
- how do you manage to have quality 1:1 time with your children?
In different ways: taking them to their activities, reading aloud to them (even though they can read well - they still enjoy this), even doing their academic work with them.
- do you have a separate room/place for learning or does your kitchen/lounge get over-run? And, if so, how do you demarcate work times from play or family times? Or do you not?
We do have a separate room, yes, but often use other parts of the house. It does get a little over-run, but I think in a nice way, with drawings on the fridge, beans growing on the window sill, Spanish tapes burbling in the background, their current books strewn about - nothing worse than any lively household with children. We do demarcate work times from family times (see my remarks about timetables).
Sorry, actually lots of questions! Thank you in advance for any responses.
Ending school - with my daughter, I just asked her whether she would like to be taught at home instead of going to school. Cue look of bewildered hope, followed by ecstatic smile: "Can I really?"
With my son, it was trickier as he quite liked school and hated change of any kind. He was jealous of his sister being at home though. I told him we would have lots of fun together, though there would still be some of the dreaded "work". I told him about some of the trips we were planning. I also pointed out all the ways he was constantly getting into trouble at school, and suggested that school might be too hard for him. I emphasised family togetherness! I told him we would still see his school friends, and that he would make new friends in our home ed groups. He was ambivalent, but on the whole positive. Things went quite well for several years, but kicked off in the teenage years. We sent him back to school. Things kicked off even more! He was very damaged though and we had NO help or support or understanding. Now if I had had Sally Donovan's new book, The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting ... The others have always been home educated and have been happy to be. My daughter is at uni and thriving, and was home educated from age 5, so it can work.
Fruitcake - would you say HE was the wrong thing for your son, or that going back into school made it worse? I am interested as we are expecting a fairly hairy ride when DS hits his teens as he is a pretty complex lad now.
I love how all Home Ed families approach life so differently, and that they welcome that difference too.
I don't think HE was wrong for my son. In fact I wish I had home educated him from the start, as I have my younger three. I really think he might have done a lot better. He found playgroup, nursery, babysitters, primary school, the lot, very, very challenging. I also lacked any understanding of therapeutic parenting, etc. There was no post adoption service of any kind, anywhere. I really think a combination of the sort of insights now available about parenting traumatised children, together with sensitive home education (probably a lot less demanding than what I do currently) would have given him the best chance.
School was a disaster and he just couldn't cope.
The only caveat I have about home education is this: if you have more than one child, and you have one who has or develops very difficult behaviour, you do have to consider what is in the best interests of your other children, who are not getting a break from their difficult sibling at all. (Though there are ways to give everyone else a break, such as Larsti's very good idea of using a child minder for several sessions per week who can help with education of the challenging child while giving other children a break.)
I take your point about the 1 challenging v 1 not so challenging child. That's my situation. However, it's early days & DS is still young so I am hopeful that there will be yet more change, he's changed so much already. He found pre-school unbearable.