Chai Chat!.......with Roz
When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
When my daughter turned two people began to ask me about nursery and preschool groups. It was at this point which I realised we wouldn't be following the expected educational path. As part of my foundation degree I had had the opportunity to work within the school environment and although the school and teachers where lovely. I just found the system of teaching frustrating for the children. Especially those working at a different pace to the majority. I also feel the allocation of hour slots for subject specific lessons is something that is so far removed from adult life it isn't in the slightest helpful. Surely education should be about giving your child the tools they need to pursue and improve the minds, not just to teach them how to successfully regurgitate under test conditions?
What kind of approach do you take?
Now four years later we have a happy and smooth running system at home based solely on the basis of respect and autonomy. For me our approach is based on the ideas of peaceful parenting, so helping and guiding without dictating. For us this work in the form of me preparing multiple activities, games and books, which are all kept in one separate cupboard. She then has access to everything in said cupboard throughout the day. With my aims of the day being to question everything, while helping her to find the answers.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
I only have one child. She works all over the house, garden, park, woods, beach... The world is our classroom.
What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
The freedom. Definitely the freedom to follow her interests. Meaning we can spend all day focussing in depth on one thing or perhaps have a chaotic day hopping from one thing to the next! Every day is different and that is how life should be.
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We do English and maths through homemade games, orchard toy games, workbooks, apps, puzzles and lots of reading. Science with books, experiments, Sid the science kid. For us, however, I think the most important subjects are nature and the environment, as wells as arts and crafts. These we do through lots of time creating and talking about the world around us. She has a magazine subscription to Cornwall wildlife which keeps her up to date with our local animal news as well as years pass to our local zoo and aquarium which allows us to speak to experts and learn about what's happening around the world.
We have no timetable, but she does have multiple groups throughout the week that keep us to some form of routine.
What do you find most difficult and why?
For me unfortunately the biggest difficulty is keeping her dad on board. We are separated and he believes she should follow a much more dictated routine. But through regular progress reviews and lots of communication we manage to keep going.
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
I question how school encourages real world socialisation. In life we are expected to be able to socialise with all ages, sexes and races but schools expect us to meet with only one age group and then go home to do homework. Within the home education community you can mix freely with so many people and be part of the real world. My daughter has zero issue with socialisation, she not only loves making new friends but always wants to include everyone. The only issue she's has is that she doesn't understand why sometimes other children wont allow her to play because its a 'boys game' or 'she's too young'.
Have family supported your decision?
Very much so. I have had no negative comments from any family member.
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
We have two sighthounds which need long walks every morning which is always our first job of the day. As wells as this we have a trampoline, great for crazy moments and practise yoga together with cosmic kids yoga. During the week we also go horse riding, swimming and to a martial arts class.
Do you plan and how far in advance?
Generally I start to make games, buy books and games the year before. So by the time we get to the September I should have the whole years supplies ready for my daughter to use. I use the national curriculum and good old Pinterest for ideas.
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
Each day is different due to our clubs roughly our week looks like this:
Monday: Forest School, Free to choice of activities.
Tuesday: Our day is spent away from home. The morning is spent in the woods or beach with the dogs and the afternoon is spent at the stables. Then home for cosmic kids yoga.
Wednesday: Spent with her dad and then her martial arts class.
Thursday: Spent with her dad, usually swimming, then home for comic kids yoga.
Friday: Woods with the dogs, free choices of activities and then craft club.
Saturday: Drama club and then the afternoon spent with friends.
Sunday: Woods with the dogs and then free choice of activities.
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
How do you make time for yourself?
Being separated from her father means I get one night a week to myself. This is usually spent frantically tidying. I also make use of my evenings. Researching and planning new activities. Also I find as she gets older she is much happier to do activities on her own so I can get on with other things around the house. Giving me more free time in the evening.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Trust that as her parent you know what is best for your children but also include your children in the decision making. Basically be confident, find a good group of like minded parents and help build each other. It is hard and a lot of work, but well worth it. Good luck.