Sunday, November 08, 2009

Getting back into the groove...

We seem to have been rather fumbling along recently, almost like headless chickens not knowing which direction we are taking. There have been so many appointments to attend and meetings to arrange, that many of our days seem to have been disrupted by one thing or another.
Gradually, it's easing now and I feel we are ready to get back into our usual routine.
As a home-educator, I'm often asked what sort of home-edders we are and just what is our daily routine. Such questions always make me reflect on our lifestyle, and I find them a little awkward to answer. I don't really think we fit into any sort of "box". We tend to float between so-called "methods", and and go along with whatever feels right at the time. I do try to let the children lead as much as possible. I much prefer to give them free-reign of the topics they choose and generally just facilitate learning wherever possible. This, for me, includes helping the children to find relevant books, websites, places to visit, maybe craft ideas, and possibly people to question or converse with.
I do find that I have to encourage a little "work" time. If totally left to their own devices, they would prefer to spend the day skipping between the Wii, Playstation and Laptop. This would be ok if occasional, but it would be a daily routine - believe me, I've tried it. I wouldn't mind if the Laptop use was for "education" purposes, but there are only so many occasions that I feel comfortable with Joseph watching various wrestling videos on YouTube, or the girls making various outfits for a fashion website. Both would be fine if mixed with other activities, but they often spend hour after hour on the same sites doing the same thing. I'm sure it deems little educational value in the great scheme that is life.

So, how I do go about planning this "routine". Well, we sit together and discuss things. We talk about the topics the children want to study, the projects they wish to do as individuals and those they wish us to do as a family. These plans are written down, but are subject to change often when a new subject interest is found. Maybe something they see on the television, or read on the internet or in a newspaper, will spark a whole new curiosity.

Our latest planning discussion has led to Chelsea and Tiegan deciding to set up a folder each, which can be added to over time. For Chelsea, the theme is "Famous People, Past and Present". Tiegan has chosen to have an "Animals and Nature" file. Today, Tiegan has been researching hedgehogs, deciding this will be her first entry. Other themes that the children wish to cover (or continue with) include The Cold War (Chelsea), World Wars 1 and 2 (Joseph), Human Body (Tiegan and Chelsea), and Plants (Tiegan). I can always guarantee to be surprised by one of the children and their choices, and this time around it was dear Tiegan. She (with much enthusiasm) declared that she wanted to study Spiders - and in particular the Black Widow Spider. This interest has been sparked by an old book that I bought a few years ago from a charity shop. Tiegan has been reading the book almost daily with great relish, and it has even become her night time reading book during the past week. Children are just fascinating aren't they?

One thing that I always have encouraged in the household is a love of books and reading. We are regular users of our local library, and often request books from further afield when necessary. Our house has many bookshelves in various rooms, and I'm an avid visitor to charity shops. One discovery I have just made is the Oxfam book shop in town and I love it. I find it very hard to resist a visit when we pass. The books are reasonably priced, in excellent condition, and laid out immaculately in subject order. Very handy for browsing, particularly with children in tow :o) I try to make a point of reading to or with the children each day. Each child chooses a chapter book to read, and take turns to read a chapter per day. We also have a family chapter book which I read aloud. Tiegan is still an Enid Blyton addict...

Whilst Chelsea is very much a Twilight fan at the moment...

Joseph has chosen to read Eyetooth, by Frank Rodgers.

One thing that I like about the children being at home is the amount of freedom we have as a family. There were many days during the summer months when we were able to go out and about and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful weather (yes, we did have a few days of sunshine, honest!) I have often thought that childhood should be all about such freedom, and it was only confirmed as I sat watching the children on the beach or on the moors. I adored being a witness to their role-play games, playing chase, or making a new discovery of interest, seeing their smiling faces and listening to their shrieks and giggles. The children didn't have a care in the world during those times, their happiness and love of life just shone through, and it was added reassurance (if any was deemed necessary) that home-education is the right choice for our family unit.

Finishing off with a few random photos...

Still bubble blowing...

Torquay Harbourside...



Postbridge on Dartmoor.



  1. I like your post! I think we do things quite similar :)

  2. I think we do also :o)

  3. :-) I like your post too I used to love the faraway tree when i was a kid xx

  4. Great post and has given me some ideas for my two. We've moved into being more child-led from being fairly structured. I think I will encourage a little work time here too as this week especially has been lots of watching bakugan on tv.

  5. fantastic to have a update from you Jules and wonderful to see some new photos of your lovely kids.

    hugs, Sarah x

  6. I think we are quite similar to you on the HE front. Lovely photos, as always.