A big Thank you to Ronni, a home educating mummy of four, for taking part in this Home ed Q & A session. Check out her blog here:
When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
This is a long story and I have actually made a YouTube video about this! I never wanted to homeschool when I was growing up. I thought homeschoolers were crazy! Then when we were living in Germany, my daughter couldn't get into kindergarten - the waiting list was too long. I realised she would have no education until the age of seven (the age they start school in Germany) so thought I should try and teach her certain things before that age. Therefore, I looked into homeschooling. As soon as I had read the first book on homeschooling I was hooked. It sounded brilliant! I do not believe all children should be learning the same things. Therefore, I do not believe in the National Curriculum I believe all children should be able to follow their passions and learn about the things that interest them. I also like my children to spend more time outdoors and less time stuck in a classroom.
What kind of approach do you take?
We are eclectic homeschoolers so we do not follow one set approach. I love Charlotte Mason philosophy so I take a few things from that, such as spending as much time as possible outdoors. I am not a big fan of curriculum but we do follow a nature curriculum called Exploring Nature With Children which I have found brilliant. We also spend a lot of time learning languages. As a former researcher of bilingualism, helping my children to learn languages while they are young is really important as I know all the benefits this will give them.
Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
We do not have a dedicated room or area for homeschool due to the size of our house. Therefore, all homeschool work is done either at the kitchen table or in the living room. We love to curl up on the sofa and read books! And of course, as we follow a nature curriculum, we also spend a lot of time working outside.
What is your favourite thing about Home Education?
My favourite thing about home education is the freedom. Freedom to work outside, freedom to go on holiday when we like and freedom to study what we like!
What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We have a rough timetable which we follow but this often changes if there are special workshops or events organised. We try to get our English, Maths and language studies done first thing every morning. After that, we do our main subject for the day which may be nature studies, history, science or geography. The afternoons are mainly spent at a homeschool group or meet up.
What do you find most difficult and why?
At the moment I have a young baby who is three months old and this makes homeschooling quite difficult. She does not like to be put done and I have to spend a lot of time breastfeeding so I do not often get as much done as I would like. However, I know this is just a phase which will soon be over.
How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
Yes, my children love to socialise and take part in team activities! They are able to socialise with other children every day when we have our group meet ups. I often get asked about soicalisation. People think homeschooled children do not mix with other children but this is completely untrue. There is a big homeschooling scene where I live so is always someone to meet up with.
Have family supported your decision?
No, my family are very negative about my decision to homeschool. They bring it up all the time and ask me when I am going to be sending my children to school. I wrote a blog post about this recently giving people advice about how to deal with negativity about their decision to homeschool. However, my husband is very supportive and this is important.
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
My children love to run around. We often go to the park or the woods and they can run around and climb trees. Also, they attend sports clubs such as football, karate, swimming and gymnastics. We also have a trampoline in the garden which they love to go on.
Do you plan and how far in advance?
I do plan in advance but not too far. This is because children's interests change all the time so it is impossible to know when the next thing that they're interested in will be. I have an overall monthly plan and then write weekly plans in more detail.
What's a typical Home Ed day like?
We get up and have breakfast and get dressed. Then we work on our maths, English and foreign languages. Then we have a snack. We then do our main lesson which will be nature studies, history, geography or science. Then we have lunch and after lunch we will go to one of our home ed meet ups.
Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
No I don't. With four children the price of things can easily add up. The main curriculum we follow is the nature curriculum which costs $18 for a whole years curriculum. I also look for a lot of free resources online. We spend time outdoors in parks and woods which are also free. However, I do pay for a few home ed activity groups during the week. I also often spend money on books because I love books! I try to buy books secondhand when I can.
How do you make time for yourself?
I rarely have time for myself because I blog in the evenings. I hope to have more time for myself in the future when the children are a bit older and can work more independently.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Do your research and meet up with other homeschoolers even if you are not homeschooling yet. You will be able to ask them questions and get a feel about what homeschooling could be like.