Home Ed Q&A with Sarah

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?

Our older children went to school but we realised that schools were teaching from a secular, humanist worldview which often conflicted with our Christian faith. It also seemed that school worked better for some children than others.

What kind of approach do you take?

We have a fairly structured approach but tailor to the children’s interests. One of the children loves history and wants to learn British Sign Language so these are important parts of her learning. The youngest loves science especially anything hands on so we try to include this. We are often found making volcanoes or rockets from vinegar and bicarbonate or working on other home science projects, like this skittle experiment.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?

The children tend to do written work in different parts of the house. My daughter has a desk which she keeps beautifully tidy and my son works downstairs near me. The sofa is used for read alouds and discussions, the kitchen for science and art and the table for poetry teatime. We aim to spend time outside every day.

What is your favourite thing about Home Education?

I love having discussions with my children and seeing them learn.

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

We start each day with morning time. During this time, we pray, read a book, work on Bible memorisation and sing. We also use this time for subjects that might otherwise be forgotten such as art and music appreciation.

After this, we go onto English and then, after a break, maths. These subjects take up all the morning although they are broken up into different sections and maths usually ends with a number game.

The afternoons have a time of individual reading and then a read aloud. After this afternoons are more varied and can include history, poetry teatime, science, nature walks, coding and art, our home education group, meeting up with friends and trips.

What do you find most difficult and why?

Knowing what to do and what to leave out!

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

I think it isn’t an unreasonable question but in reality, my children see a large number of people and have some great friends. We care for an elderly relative so there are care workers in and out of the house along with other professionals. The children get used to talking to them although still have to work on conversation at 8 in the morning!

The children seem to have a similar number of friends to their siblings who went to school but fewer acquaintances.

I do make meeting up with friends and having people round to the house a high priority.

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

We live near a large park and try to go there most days. One of my children runs with friends once a week and then does Park Run, along with the same friends, on Saturdays.

Do you plan and how  far in advance?

OK, I’m a bit odd but I love planning especially a long time in advance so I often play around with ideas months in advance. More major planning is done in the holidays especially over the summer and then I devote an evening a week to making sure the next week is planned.

What's a typical Home Ed day like?

See the question on subjects. Please bear in mind that days do vary. There might be an exciting opportunity, for example, we are booked to see a film in the upcoming Into Film Festival and plan to spend some time soon, on Julius Caesar to link in with the RSC Schools’ broadcast.

Do you spend a lot of money on resources?

Enough that home education has its own slot in our financial spreadsheet. Realistically, it varies. Home education is a high priority but it is possible to save. I often buy books second hand or use the library for something that we will use once. We have a large home library so I try to look at what we already have before buying something new. There is a thriving market in second hand home education resources so it is often possible to sell items on once we have finished with them.

How do you make time for yourself?

At the end of the week, my husband takes the children to a club at our church. I have a few hours to catch up with the house, listening to podcasts, writing and planning.

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

Don’t be over anxious. Give home education your best but don’t worry too much about naysayers. They can sap your joy and that ultimately will affect your children.