Chai Chat!.......with Nat
When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
We began roughly 9 months ago. My eldest who is 5 was in reception year. We'd managed half a year but it wasn't sitting well with any of us. I felt that thirty children to one exhausted lovely teacher was too much! The teaching assistants were slowly depleting due to lack of funds (and frankly it's too much to ask of the teachers, let alone to ask thirty- four and five year olds to cope with just one adult).
Another thing I felt was I could see the lights were going out in my sons bright eyes. He became more and more overwhelmed and anxious.
The final straw for me was when I decided that his safety was out of my control. A guy jumped over the fence and was found chatting to the children one lunchtime (this was a nice school in a nice town, they dealt with it well but it's never going to be ok is it?!). I could go on and on. It just wasn't right for us.
We are still finding our way. We are semi structured. Some weeks we intensely learn a topic. Some weeks we use the Nature Curriculum and others we relax and play. We have an English and maths system we use every week though. He's only 5 and that's plenty for him.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
In the kitchen and garden on nice days. I have a two year old... he's incredibly distracting as two year olds are! He wants to be involved so now I set him up tasks along side his brother and I!
We learn everywhere though- on days out, trips away etc!
What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
It's relaxed. We are free! Life is calm and not rushed to someone else's schedule! The whole world is our oyster.
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
Maths and English. No timetable. Just as and when I can read my son and believe he would enjoy it.
What do you find most difficult and why?
I find my two year old wants to run in the opposite direction from those in which we want/need to be in (when we are out and about)... *Laughing! The rest is lovely. I don't yet find it difficult. I thought I would. I suppose I find some of the public difficult sometimes and closed minded friends. I'm just honest with them and show them that this is a better option for us. It's not for me to change their minds. Most people are brilliant about it though!
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
It makes me smile! I tell them we keep them in a box! No, I explain that we have Home Ed groups so often that we have to say no to so many or we'd get nothing done! Yep the kids are all normal and play brilliantly. What's great is if a problem arises with the kids, we as parents can step in and gently explain to them how they could solve it with lots of time and thought. It's lovely.
Have family supported your decision?
At first they had every question under the sun and were very worried. I didn't feel supported particularly to be honest. My husband always has which is brilliant. It wasn't about them they hadn't researched like I had or been down the same path I have. Now they're all for it and the proof was in the pudding as they say.
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
Bicycles! They are on them every day! Footballs flying past my face, rugby balls flung around the garden, running, games, they don't sit down... I don't worry about that subject! In the next few weeks we will be enrolling Mr 5 year old into a weekend rugby club... If he's anything like his dad he'll be lost forever then! Wish me luck!
Do you plan and how far in advance?
No there's no fun in that! No but really my pair are five and two. There isn't much point yet. I'm just rolling with their moods and interests for now!
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
Some 'Maths no problem',
Lots of reading stories (to them),
A craft or drawing session,
then out somewhere for a home ed group or a walk (woods/beach/park) with the dog too depending on how highly strung the boys are!
Then home for some playing in the garden.
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
No, not now I have what we like sorted out. I'd say £50 on English and the same on one year of Maths. £45 on twinkl per year. The maths/English can be used again for the littlest. I use maybe £50 on ink and paper a year roughly I'd imagine. Home ed groups are about £30 a month. It's cheaper then private Education! In all seriousness I did spend a fair amount on uniforms and various fundraising this and that weekly when we used the local school so not too much really.
How do you make time for yourself?
Hah! Funny! I have a two year old... Time alone isn't a thing is it?! I wouldn't change it! They're only little for a small amount of time!
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Don't panic! I'm a total moron, if I can do it- you Definitely can! It's just your kids. It's just learning. You have your whole life. Take your time and have fun!