I get asked a lot about how I Home Educate my children. I get asked about my style and approach. I see a lot of parents desperate for better education in the schools they choose and sometimes opt for Home Education to achieve that. Some then make the classic mistakes when starting out and wonder why it didn’t work out and they felt they had to put their child back into a school system. I thought it would be beneficial to note my approach. I am nearly 3 years into Home Educating my 9 year old and 7 year old. I am no expert, I’m just stating our essentials through trial and error.
- Know your Home Ed community
People take this for granted. I understand Home Education is a very personal thing but having a community around that understands and is supportive is really important. Being a Home Educator can be isolating so using the social meets, having friends in the same boat is a great tool to have. Is being social important to you?
2. Have an approach in mind
Structured, semi- structured, unschooling. I’m sure some pick bits from all approaches. I had a vision of how it would fit with our lifestyle. I took note of what differences there would be and the impact on family life. What space in the house will you want to use?
How much will Home Educating impact on your life at home with expenses? Do you want to get all the gadgets? Do you want it similar to school? Will it be around the kitchen table with just a notebook?
Ever been to a Home Ed social meet and seen kids putting “fingers on lips” or classic cross legged sitting in a group? I always spot these kids because they’re usually new to the HE world and already been in a school. Deschooling is important for all the family. I know families that don’t deschool either because they’re too excited at their current freedom and want to grab the reigns of Home Schooling and off they ride, or not considered it. Find your feet.
All of this together made our journey. I got to know my local HE community, I built my confidence with them online, I asked questions, I read and read about anything I could to prepare myself. I had in mind how I would do our Home Ed. I chose to follow the kids lead and put things in place they wanted. I didn’t buy all the sets of books of ks1 and KS2. I waited to see how we would get to know this new journey in our life before buying anything. While doing this I found my feet. We deschooled. We sat and talked and we got to know our children again. Deschooling adults is a tough job. We are all so institutionalized it takes a great deal of time and patience. It does mean a smoother outcome in the long run.
List of items we bought over 3 years following our families needs
- Drawers for all the craft
- Reading books
- White board (bought in the 3rd year)
- Outdoor clothing (the serious kind)
- Toy storage (mostly filled with toys for my under 5s)
- Smaller table to separate the little hands from big kids projects
- Diary / calendar / visual timetable (we are semi structured)
- Writing books/curriculum books/learning apps
- Printer (we love a worksheet or visual learning aid)
*not essential to every family, this is just my observation of our choices over time*
I love seeing how we have evolved as a family and where we started. A few books and pencils and a game of monopoly, to a bookcase full of books, every colour to choose from and piles of games. All good Home Ed and living fun.