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…

And if the garden is all we have: Ideas for …

When we talk about connecting with nature, getting ourselves and our children outdoors, we often imagine wild swims in hidden natural pools, challenging hikes along stunning coastline or, at the very least, a run around a National Trust property. But there are many reasons why people might find it difficult to get out like this. They may not have the time or funds, their location might make it difficult, their health may limit their mobility or their families may need to work up to spending more time outside. This week I’ve been collaborating with Multicultural Motherhood on the #7daysofoutdoorplay challenge…

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…

Storytime Magazine

About a year ago I reviewed beautiful Storytime magazine and gushed about it because we genuinely loved it. In fact, our whole family has wound up recommending it to loads of friends. We’ve even bought copies as gifts. I was getting ready to buy a subscription before the one I was given for last year’s review ended when the magazine got in touch again and asked if I’d be interested in running a catch up. Since we’ve kept every single copy we received this year? Well, yes, I would. Stories are at the heart of the way we’ve chosen 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…

Finding peace on hard days home educating

I probably err on the side of talking about our homeschooling life as if there’s more rhythm and flow than frustration, and most of the time that’s true. But I’ve reached the end of a couple of weeks where I’ve really struggled to find peace. The kids are fine. They’re learning lots and generally content with their days but I have not been well. Usually, I would choose radio silence until I’m in a happier place, feeling more in control but actually, I think we learn a lot from difficult days. This time has allowed me to reflect on how…

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…