Home Ed Q&A with.....Mummy_Honey_Bee

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?

My husband and I both made the decision to home educate before we had children. We both run a business from home which allows us to have the time to home educate our son.. Alhamdulilah.
We both dislike everything about school and decided it wasn't for us.
Many years ago i use to work for a playwork organisation. It was run by a brilliant man called Meynell who was essentically a "Bare footed Hippy". His main ethos was to provide amazing learning experiences through play and the things i learnt from him was mind blowing. I took everything that i had learnt and went on to run my own childrens centre.
During that time i worked along side Barnet Play Association in London, as a childrens Art Therepist for vulerable children and young people.
I have been to every training event, special needs seminars, child development lectures and so on. Which all adds to my understanding of the importances of childhood.
  I also worked closely with local schools and have heard, seen and reported shocking things that go on in schools. And with everything i have learnt along the way i thought to myself, who could be better qualified and experienced to teach my son, than myself. So i did and we've never looked back since.
Don't get me wrong, you don't have to be qualified to be a home educator. All you need is love and the rest will follow.

What kind of approach do you take?

My son is 4 so the approach I take is what I call "organic teaching"
Which is basically following my son's natural need to "want" to learn.
I give him complete control over his own learning. My role is to facilitate him, provide the information and encourage learning experiences.
He is still very young which means he is able to soak up information so quickly. His attention span is fairly short which is why subjects move on very quickly. We don't stay on a specific topic for more then 2 days before he is on to the next subject. Often, we revisit topics and that's great because I get to question him on what he knows already, which helps me to know he's understanding everything and is taking it all in. At the moment the core focus is on reading, writing and Maths. But he does this when he feels like it. I don't pressure him. And when he wants to stop..we stop.
By doing this..I find he enjoys learning so much more and doesn't see learning as a form of punishment or chore.

Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?

I have one child..Alhamdulilah. So distractions are minimal. We have lots of places we work from.
I have a small table and chair set and will move it around the house. I like to change the enviroment he works in to keep him interested in learning.
We often sit in the library and practice reading or writing, which is nice because we occasionally bump into other home ed children working there too.
But above all we love to learn outside, whatever the weather.

What is your favourite thing about Home Education?

Everything about Home ed is my favourite.
From the special moments we spend together talking, playing, exploring and creating. To watching him grow into a lovely little boy.
I love that we are not limited to school walls and have complete freedom to go and do whatever we want.
I especially love that my son is developing his own identity and confidence in a non judgmental environment.

What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?

I've never been tempted to plan nor stick to a timetable. It just isn't for us right now.
Maybe as he gets older and the work load gets more complex. But for now, we enjoy spontaneous learning.
At the moment the core focus is on reading, writing and Maths.
My husband teaches age appropriate geography and sports.

What do you find most difficult and why?

There really isnt anything difficult about homeschooling.It is as hard or as easy as you make it.
Sometimes, I struggle with "me time" and the lack of it which I guess every home educator will say at some point. But I try to remind myself that if i was working a 9-5 job and then came home and ran a household.. I would still be complaining about the lack of "me time". So I guess that comes with being a mum and not just being a home educator.

How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?

I use to have sleepless nights worrying about my son not socialising or having any friends. Omg, how wrong was i!!. I now worry he's socialising too much!!. Everyday there is an event on, a trip, a meet up, gymnastics, football, yoga, forest school, exploring trails, nature walks...the list goes on and on. We literally can't do it all.
  If you are able to join your local home education group...dont hastitate, they are great!!. I literally have to monitor how much socialising we do in order to balance both learning and socialising.
And when people ask me...I politely tell them that socialising isn't a problem at all.

Have family supported your decision?

At first they thought I was joking. Then they thought I had lost my mind. Then they tried to tell me it was illegal. Then they started to panic and worry!!
It doesn't matter how many degrees and qualifications you have, your parents will always think you don't know what your doing in life! lol
Alhamdulilah now they think it's the best thing since slice bread because my son's intelligence speaks for itself.
  My mum is a senior nursery nurse for a private nursery, so she'll send me learning resources, work sheets and buy gifts that are really educational. So yes, I get so much support from my family...Alhamdulillah.

How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?

We live in Cambridgeshire so we are surrounded by beautiful nature reserves, national parks, forests, lakes, country trails, treks and cycle paths.
As a family we generally try to keep fit and healthy. So we do a lot of walking, country trekking, bike riding, tennis, football and swimming.
We've recently started doing exercise videos on youtude together,  although we do more laughing then actual exercise but never the less its fun and the boy enjoys it.

Do you plan and how far in advance?

I never plan daily routines or activities because to be honest we probably wouldn't stick to it and I would probably get stressed out trying to stick to one.
Trips out of town are somewhat planned but are often spontaneous too. 

What's a typical Home Ed day like?

Everyday brings a new adventure but on some days we take it easy. So we stay in our pjs a little longer then usual and settle down for a cosy day in.

A cosy home ed day consists of:

* Wake up
* Make breakfast.
* Feed Chickens
* 45 mins house cleaning
* 1-2 hours trip to library or food Shopping
* 30 mins Snack time.
* 1-2 Hours Home Education
* 1 Hour preparing and having Lunch
* Free play (while I clean up lunch)
* 1 hour outdoor play
* 1 Hour Home education
* 30 mins Mummy's tea break and snack time for the boy.
* Free play.
* Home educator (me) turns into the chef
* Dinner on the table by 6.00pm
* Bath time
* Bedtime story
* Bed by 8.00pm
* Mummys Free time begins

Do you spend a lot of money on resources?

Compared to my friends who send their children to school, i hardly spend anything.
Places like the pound shop, b&m and wilko saves me lots of money on things like pencils, felt tips, coloured card and glue.
   We go to the library every week instead of buying books which saves me lots of money there too. I like to buy childrens books in charity shops. I just adore the old ladybird books.
We also do a lot of junk modelling from boxes and plastic bottles from our recycling box at home which costs practicially nothing.
I like to use natural resources like conkers, sticks, stones, seeds and beans as counting aids for maths activities. Which are either laying around the house or collected on trips out.

How do you make time for yourself?

My time usually begins after the boy goes to sleep and alhamdulillah I'm so grateful for that time and i try to use it wisely.
But every now and again it gets a little to much, I'll be honest!! So the husband will look after the boy while I pop into town for a few hours.
In the summer I go swimming for an hour (ladies only) which helps me to let off some steam, relax and helps me sleep well.
But if im really struggling i'll drive down to my parents house in london and off load the boy onto them while I have a nap for 3 days in my old room. It works out perfectly because the boy loves spending time with them and they are more then happy to have us stay. Alhamdulillah for parents like them.
Having those few hours away really does help me to recharge my batteries and I'm good to go for another 3-4 weeks.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?

Don't be tempted to imitate a school because home education can be all of the above and beyond. It can be whatever you want it to be.
Be real with yourself and set realistic goals that you and your children are comfortable with. Be creative and imaginative and make learning fun and exciting.
Dont overload yourself and your children because there is nothing worse then a tired, over worked, stressed out parent trying to teach an equally tired and stressed out child.
Look after yourself, eat well and get enough sleep. This is key to having enough energy and enthusiasm to keep up with our little learners.
Don't be afraid to reach out to other home educators or home education groups. Everyone is so so nice and willing to lean a helping hand.
And above all..enjoy the experience and enjoy the time you have with them because they grow up so fast.

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