I was recently contacted by Anja, the author and creator of these super little story maps for children: http://taletrails.co.uk/what-are-tale-trails
We were in touch because she and her husband were researching home education and had recently read ‘A Funny Kind of Education’. She told me that once they read it they both made the same comment at the same time: ‘it feels so normal’!
I was delighted – as I’d wanted to show home education as a natural way of raising and educating children. Good to hear it’s doing its job.
Following their research, they’ve decided to home educate their daughter May, who’ll be four in July, rather than starting school. So I took the opportunity to ask her about their decision. And about her work creating the Tale Trails.
Anja told me that it was after May started at nursery and never really settled there that they began thinking about it in earnest.
“School has been a bit of a stressful topic for the last year and so we started to research other options.
I have always been aware of home education but being an ex-teacher had never considered it. I initially watched YouTube videos that other home educating families had posted online and came across Ross’s.” (Click here)
I asked Anja what kind of reactions they’ve had from family and friends about their decision to home educate and how they might approach it.
“We have recently told close friends and family that we will be home educating for May’s reception year and that we will take each year as it comes after that. Everyone we have told is supportive and understanding so far.
I think day to day life will be similar for the first year. We may start introducing some basics if the opportunity arises. May loves baking so weights and measurement always seem to pop up. She already helps me with the maps and children’s stories that I create for Tale Trails so I am sure she will continue to enjoy that!
Myself and my husband both work part time so balancing family life and work is already well practiced, although it can be tricky at times. Berni is a mountain leader and I write story walks. May often comes out with me to help create maps and stories for Tale Trails and we often go with dad in our campervan and park up beneath the mountain he is guiding on!
We are planning on moving to an area where other folks are home educating but we will certainly be taking each day as it comes and hope to enjoy living in the moment as much as possible”.
That sounds like a perfect way to approach home educating – with that kind of flexibility and connection with real life and learning which basically happens all the time. It’s clear from the activities May already does with her parents that’s she’s already learning many skills. It’s not necessary to make the sudden dramatic change in style of educating, as occurs when children begin formal school. Education happens continually and organically through an engaged approach to parenting and family life!
Take a look at some of the Tale Trails and see if there’s one for your area. They’re a perfect resource for home educating days out in the field, the children will love the stories and be intrigued by the adventure through the map reading!
I asked Anja what inspired her to do them. She said; “I actually got the idea one day when I was walking with my husband in the Lake district and felt disillusioned with work. He said to me ‘what is it you actually enjoy doing?’ and I said ‘I love exploring new places and creating stories about them’ and he said ‘well just do that then!’ and that was it! I am doing one for Walney island in Cumbria at the moment and wherever folks ask me to do one if it’s a suitable environment. I mainly just do commissions now and I love seeing who contacts me!”
Many thanks to Anja for sharing their story.