Preparing for the new home education year

We don’t always follow the school terms because we generally don’t need the respite of holidays. But I burned out in a big way this last year, trying to do too many things at once. We started the farm and I upped my freelancing, I also simultaneously increased my volunteering as a breastfeeding counsellor and wrote and performed a collection of poems at a literary festival. All amazing things but a lot to take on all at once. We also had the busiest year in terms of activities the kids were doing outside the home. It’s meant a lot of…

Shifting gears: home education and “having it all”

I’ve been doing a lot of multi-tasking recently. Anyone who knows me well, knows that this just means there’s even more background noise than usual. On paper it looks like I’m attempting to have it all. I’m continuing to build my freelance writing business, increasing my voluntary work, sharing in home educating our children, attempting to cooperate in keeping the house reasonable and the people in it fed and, somehow, getting ready to perform a collection of my poetry at Penzance Literary Festival in a couple of months. And that’s just the stuff on the surface, the things I’m able…

Home educated children are not missing education or invisible

Like so many home educators in England, I watched the much discussed episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches, “Skipping School: Britain’s Invisible Kids” earlier this week. The episode itself I didn’t find compelling viewing – a bizarre soup of tenuously related issues thrown together, overwritten with repetitive commentary, meant both to get the audience worked up and force some meaning on this mess. However, I know that many watching the programme won’t see it this way. The Children’s Commissioner’s report referenced in this documentary is part of a bigger conversation around home education that has become difficult, and even dangerous, for…

Resetting my homeschooling intentions

The last couple of years, I’ve had to make the decision not to make New Year’s Resolutions. I can see how for some people the process of taking stock and putting together a “new year, new you” kind of plan is inspiring, hopeful, exciting even. I’ve felt that too when crossing into January. I have all the ideas and I want to put them into action now. Often, though, resolutions point out to me all the things I’m not. “Read more books” reminds me that I don’t read enough and is too big and vague an idea for me to…

September highlights: our home educating month

September would have seen Ophelia start reception had she been in school. Talitha would have started Year 3. Our fourth year homeschooling, we’re continuing to join the gentle flow of me offering activities and them telling me what they’d like to do (or just going off and doing it). Here are a few highlights from the month just gone by. I must start writing these down as we go along as I struggle to remember! First up, when we read about Qin Shi Huang in Story of the World, China’s first emperor, Talitha gasped when she heard that he burned…

Our home education year – Looking back

We don’t follow the school terms here and now that we’re back from our month in Trinidad and Tobago and don’t have family staying with us, getting back to our usual routine makes sense. We’ve agreed that from next week we’ll be returning to the homeschooling rhythm that gently structures our lives. So I thought I’d do little catch up on the highlights of the last “homeschool year” before jumping into the new. Had Talitha been in school this would have been her Year 2 and it would have been Ophelia’s preschool year. Talitha starting violin lessons last September was…

Our homeschool term: Spring

We’ve been following Story of the World since September. It’s our first year consistently checking out history. I very loosely look to The Well Trained Mind for ideas of what to offer when so we’ve been hanging out in the ancient world. Six-year-old Talitha has been drinking it all in and was especially enthralled with ancient Egypt. I suggested we pick up the pace quite a bit more this past term because I imagined she would love arriving in ancient Greece (we have and she is) but we found lots to capture the imagination along the way, especially in ancient…