Chai Chat!............with Sonia
When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
When our daughter went into Yr 3 and started junior school. She was numbed by the prescriptive nature of the education, and lack of outlet for her creative writing, making, and being. We were shocked too!
What kind of approach do you take?
Formal workbooks in maths and english (I wasn’t very brave in case she needed to go back into the system!), and then very nature based outdoor learning for everything else. She could chose the topics from an assortment offered to her. She had ample opportunity to write her own stories as well, and lots and lots of art and craft.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
When she started home education she was 8, and her twin brothers were only 4. This allowed me to concentrate mainly on her and to settle into some sort of routine with her. We would start with her maths and english for half an hour each morning, leaving the rest of the day to follow our dreams I was not worried about the boys too much at this point, and more inclined to let them play. However, they liked the look of what we were doing and would want to join in. I soon started doing letters, reading, writing, and maths basics with them too. I found it a lot easier to focus on them individually as they were so young, so the other 2 would play. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t!!
What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
Following their interests and the flexibility! If something wasn’t working you can change direction or method. If an opportunity came up to do something different with your day, an event or weather related, you could just go for it.
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
I had a rough timetable......subjects we wanted to cover, but I didn’t let them be ruled be definite timelines. It allowed us to come and go with the topic as we wanted to. We did maths, english, science, geography, history, and a whole lot!
What do you find most difficult and why?
I’m not so bright myself, so revisiting some maths was already proving challenging. I’d have to work it all out the night before! If we’d continued and hadn’t moved abroad, this would have got tougher for me. Sometimes, it was hard to be mamma and teacher, especially if there was a stubborn moment going on. Oh, and patience...you need it ALL the time, there are no breaks when they are all home 24/7.
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
Such a common first question from people. I react positively and take it as an opportunity to open their eyes, and let them know about all the different ways it happen in home education, and how it doesn’t happen at school!
Have family supported your decision?
Yes, despite having a parent as a school teacher before he retired. All four grandparents were shocked at first, but could understand our reasoning very well.
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
We are always outdoors!!! Climbing, running, hiking....you name it we do it. Now both twins do gymnastics, and one of them plays organised football. The little lady has always danced since she was four, and in the UK did 4 different types. She was also a brownie, and now she is a sea scout. There is plenty to keep them fit and healthy!
Do you plan and how far in advance?
I did, I liked to have some direction. I’d have a topic planned out in a subject, and while we doing that I’d be researching and planning the following one. This is from an overall listof what I would like us to get through over the course of a year.
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
For us we would start with the maths and english workbooks, and then if we were headed out on an “adventure” for the rest of the day, everything else would come with us, and we’d do some after lunch wherever we were, in or out. If we were homebased, we’d play a lot after maths and english, and then maybe do something after lunch from the plan. I’d also allow them time, so if they wanted to pick up art and craft or make something, or were involved in something, there was no need to bring them away from it.
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
Hmmmmm, workbooks yes. Everything else I pick up as we go along, so it’s never such a large bill. For science experiments a lot is done with things already in the house. My biggest expense is having them with me when I shop and we see things that might be good!!
How do you make time for yourself?
Nope I’m terrible, and it leaves me exhausted. I think having young twins didn’t help either.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Go for it, chill out, don’t get too hung up on schedules and plans to start with, and see where the days lead you. Once you find settle down a little, a routine will form that suits you all and you can work with it. Then it’s time to start planning more if that is the direction you want to take