Thanks to Paperbarkkid for taking part in this question and answer session :)
When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
I thought about homeschooling when my son was in pre-school, but it took me until he reached mid year in Grade One to finally take that step and home educate. He had a lovely teacher who was completely supportive of my decision to homeschool.
What kind of approach do you take?
I use an eclectic approach. My son is passionate about many things, and learns in a variety of ways, so using an eclectic approach allows me to work with where he is at in that moment. He mostly enjoys learning through art, writing, and nature.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
I created a natural and calming room for my children to come to when they want to. They can also go outside and learn in our nature space, or use the dining area on the deck. I like to give them different places to choose from to suit where they feel like learning that day. My youngest is only 4 and is always curious about what his older brother is doing. There certainly are moments where the younger one will frustrate the older one, but thankfully it doesn’t last for too long, and we can move on with our day.
What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
I love seeing my children thrive while engaged in their passions. It is such a joy seeing them excited about all of their new discoveries. I also love how our pace of life has slowed down. It is less stressful and less busy. You would think homeschooling would create the opposite, and yes there are tough days, but overall, it just feels right for all of us.
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We cover all of the subjects in the Australian Curriculum. I use prepared lessons if it suits my sons interests, or will create my own to suit his interests and his learning style. My son loves starting the day with a quick play outside, and then we will get into some activities. Sometimes we do one activity for the day, and sometimes three. It always varies.
What do you find most difficult and why?
I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Sometimes I find it hard to not jump in and “fix” things, or solve problems that my son needs to learn to solve. I often have to remind myself to stand back, and let him work things out on his own and just guide him.
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
My children are loud and ready to chat to anyone! They love people. They love making friends. I was worried that if I homeschooled they wouldn’t get enough interaction with other people. But my children interact with others all the time. They interact with a variety of ages and a variety of groups. When people ask me about socialisation I completely understand their concerns so I explain to them that they have friends from a variety of ages and in different places - a great recipe to make anyone socially competent.
Have family supported your decision?
Yes! I am incredibly supported and so thankful.
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
We are a pretty active family as it is, but I introduce new sports and movements to my children consistently. In 2018 my son will be doing surf lessons, swimming, and creative movement classes in addition to what we do as a family.
Do you plan and how far in advance?
I frequently check in with my son’s interests and I have to be flexible and ready to change plans when he shows interest in new things unexpectedly. For example, one day he may wake up interested in tornadoes, and then the next day it might be space. Typically I plan one week ahead, and I always make sure I have enough materials and resources for him to get creative with.
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
It is often slow paced. They do a lot of outdoor play in the morning. This is followed by songs and music, then some activities. Some days we have homeschool group activities, or total nature play days.
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
To get started I did, but now it is very cheap. I usually spend money on things I run out of but that usually isn’t much. I take advantage of the library as much as possible for books, and I look for cheap deals and specials where I need to.
How do you make time for yourself?
Every Friday from noon onwards, it is ‘me’ time. I usually go out somewhere alone and refresh. I also like to start my day with a workout (when I am not being lazy) to get one hour to myself before my family needs me.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
I would recommend you are very clear about WHY you want to homeschool. And don’t stress it too much. You don’t need to be perfect. Children are pretty good at letting us know when they are into something or not - so try to work with them.
I have the following social media accounts: paperbarkkid.com and my Instagram paperbarkkid