Home Ed Q&A with Becci

Grab yourself a cuppa and have a lovely read of this question and answer session on Home Education with Becci.

Follow Becci and her lovely family on Instgram here: https://www.instagram.com/beccisdomesticbliss/?hl=en

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
We began homeschooling nearly 3 years ago. Our sons Ethan, now aged 9, and Eli, now aged 8, were in year 1 and 2 respectively in school and both struggling with anxiety based behaviours. The education system could not deal with their issues and they would both be sent home after a couple of hours each day.
We had been considering homeschooling for about a year prior to this because both children were struggling in kindergarten and school.
They have both been diagnosed with Autism since.

What kind of approach do you take?
I guess you could say we are eclectic homeschoolers. We use what suits us from all styles of education.
I’m drawn to Classical and Charlotte Mason Educational styles and try to incorporate this where I can. Mostly in the form of Living Books. Our children love to listen to stories and I have fond that they retain so much more information this way rather than boring old text books.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
 We are lucky enough to have a fourth bedroom/study that opens via double doors onto our family area. We have all our school supplies in here as well as our desks in the centre of the room.
Most of our sit down work is done here but we do sometimes sit outside under our vergola and read.

Yes they bother each other. All day, every day it seems at times. Part of their Autism means they can be super sensitive to the slightest noise and that can set each other off.

When this happens often one will go do his work at this dining table while I work wit the other. Or if they really aren’t coping they’ll have some quiet time in their room before joining us again.
Worse case scenario, we cancel school for the day and pick up tomorrow.

What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
I love that I can give our children the education that I didn’t have. I loved school, but found that there was so much I wasn’t taught that I wish I had. I can now make these subjects a priority.
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We study Maths, English, Language Arts, History, Science. This year we will also study Australian Studies ahead of a big holiday planned to Canberra in 2019, Growth Mindset and Nature Study.

Our formal schooling is done 4 days a week. We have found studying 5 weeks on, one week off works the best for us. We are usually finished by lunchtime each day.

We keep lessons nice and short and cover all subjects each day with Growth Mindset and Nature Study sharing the week at two days each.
What do you find most difficult and why?
My biggest difficulty is managing my childrens anxieties and sensitivities. Homeschool has lessened these greatly, but this is what takes up most of our day.

It has been really hard finding a home balance. Trying to fit in housework etc around homeschooling. It’s taken us a while but we have finally found that balance, most of the time.

How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
My initial reaction is an internal eye roll. I try to remain calm and remind people of the negative aspects to school year socialisation, using a bit of humour to lighten the mood. Most people stop at that but some really force the point. That’s when I explain the difficulties our children have socialising and how exclusive other children can be to their behaviour and the negative effect that has on our children.
Have family supported your decision?
 Not initially. We are rather strong personalities though and they knew that there really was no point in arguing the point with us. They have seen the changes in our children over the last three years and have taken the no so subtle hints in the form of articles shared on Facebook and seem to realise that it's what is best for our children.

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

We have a playground at the end of our street that we try to visit most days. I usually walk laps while our boys explore the rocks or play on the equipment. They sometimes bri g their scooters and do laps with me.
 They ride their bikes in our street, jump on their pogo sticks their received for Christmas. We go for walks and swim at the beach or our local pool.

Do you plan and how  far in advance?
I always have a rough plan for the year, and then each term. I try to plan a term out in advance but often, actually more often than not, things don’t go to plan so I don’t write things up too far in advance, usually sitting down on Sunday afternoons to write up this weeks plan and to prep any material needed.
With specialist and therapy appointments for both children being made regularly, planning more than a week in advance is a bit pointless.
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
Ideally I like to start around 9am. I have found, through lots of trial and error, that starting any lock of learning off with a read aloud, brings the boys minds in and they can focus on learning. So we start with our current novel. We are currently still on holidays but this will be The Hobbit when we start back.
Our subjects get rotated regularly to keep things interesting, but an example might look like this.
Read aloud novel

Growth Mindset
Short 10 min break
Science beginning with a related read aloud
30 min break including some exercise
Read aloud
Language Arts
Australian Studies
Lunch and we’re finished for the day.

Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
If you don’t include my addiction to expanding our personal library, I probably spend about $500 a year on curriculum.
I absolutely love buying good quality literature though and don’t excuse those expenses.
How do you make time for yourself?
So many of us struggle with this, myself included. I do love to knit and crochet so nights after about 8pm are mine. Kids are in bed reading or asleep and I have the lounge room to myself.
I also take about an hour in the afternoon, between lunch and when I need to start my afternoon routine, to sit and enjoy a cuppa tea.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Trust yourself and the process. You can do it. Surround yourself with supporters and try to not listen to the naysayers, especially the ones who aren’t well versed in the benefits of homeschooling.

If your children have been in school then take the time to allow them to deschool. Trust that eventually they will want to learn. It may take a while. It could be as long as a year. That’s ok. They will find the love of learning again. Everyone wants to learn. Trust that. Listen to your child as to what they want to learn and how.

I hope you enjoyed reading this Chai Chat along with your cuppa! If you would like to take part in a Chai Chat or have any suggestions for questions you'd like me to ask then please email me at theworldistheirclassroom@outlook.com