Tag Archive | family life

Why I loved home educating so much

We loved every minute of our home educating years. Well – to clarify – it wasn’t roses all the time but then parenting isn’t roses all the time is it? And although it was a decision hard to make since the children had started school, it wasn’t a decision that we ever regretted, even for one single moment. And we don’t have any complaints from the now-adults we practised on either!

So what was it I loved so much?

Firstly, the children got their love of learning back, their wonder and curiosity about everything, destroyed in school whilst they had to learn and practice other stuff that was of no interest or relevance. I mean, what use is knowledge of frontal adverbials to a nine year old when there’s a treasure trove of real world stuff under their noses they want to know about?

Secondly, along with their passion to learn, their health was restored too which had dwindled into constant and miserable infections. Although their infectious laughter had been wiped out, along with their joyous mental health. Home educating reinstated both.

Learn any place – a treasure trove of real world stuff!

I loved the freedom to learn in ways that suited us best whether that was going out or study, playing or doing practical stuff, visiting museums, castles and historical sites, galleries and exhibitions, nature reserves, parks and playgrounds and beaches, or the library. Or meeting others for exercise and get togethers, sports or workshops. The realisation that you can take your learning any place, anyhow, at anytime. Learn into the evenings if early mornings weren’t suited (as they’re not to teenagers).

I loved the freedom they had to pursue and develop their own skills, talents and interests, the flexibility of curriculum or timetables (when we used them), subject matter and approach. Instead of sticking to a rigid set of objectives deemed important by someone else but not important to the learner at all. The freedom to keep it balanced.

I loved the diversity and opportunity to match life and learning to our needs, rather than the needs of an institution, or a test. Learning and living became one and the same thing for that’s what education is all about anyway, isn’t it? Learning to live life in a happy, productive and successful way – not learning to be tested. Home educating gave us the opportunity to make truly independent decisions about what was happy and productive and successful. Which is ironic really since home educators are often accused of keeping their children dependent on their parents. The truth is, the opposite seems to happen; being independent learners makes them independent in many aspects of life and very competent decision makers – they’ve had the practice. Whereas most school children are so ‘schooled’ and have such little choice, they are the ones that become dependent; on an institution making a decision for them.

I loved the social side of it; the opportunity for the kids to make friends in real social groups, not enforced groups with limits on age and what brands you owned, the high proportion of adults to kids to set respectful social examples, the way we could chat confidently with all sorts of people in differing situations.

I loved home educating. It was the best thing this family ever did. It worked for our circumstances, for our personalities and I felt incredibly lucky that we were able to do it, for I know it certainly won’t work for all. But for us, it released the children’s learning from the strait-jacket of a political system and returned it to the holistic development of a balanced individual with an intelligence broader than that required to just pass exams.

And most of all I loved the fact that the children discovered the real truth about education; that it was not something inflicted upon them by others sometimes in dull and degrading ways. But a living and ongoing opportunity for investigation of the real world, for growth and personal development, that was fully theirs – not a school’s – that they had charge of and was a way of living that would enhance their life.

Life long!

See ‘A Home Education Notebook to encourage and inspire’ for the rest of this article about having a wobble and loving it anyway! Published by Eyrie Press and also available on Amazon.

In celebration of ‘Who’s Not In School?’

The cover illustration by James Robinson – the toy features throughout – if you can find it?

I really cannot believe it is five years since the first Little Harry book came out. But the publisher, Eyrie Press, assures me it is.

Little Harry evolved because I felt that home educated children needed a book about children like them, who didn’t go to school, illustrating an ordinary family in an everyday kind of home educating life.

‘Who’s Not In School?‘ was the first of these. Followed next by ‘The Wrong Adventure’ again featuring little Harry.

Although welcomed by most home educating families, and I’m told the children loved it especially looking again and again at the beautifully detailed illustrations by young home educator James Robinson (instagram @jamesrobinsonart), it also caused a bit of controversy!

This was because some felt it portrayed home educated children and consequently their parents in a bad light, particularly with reference to the illustration of Harry climbing on an exhibit to see what was inside. In his eyes and in the eyes of many children he was just making an innocent investigation, even if his behaviour was totally unacceptable to us. But it was that picture that caused upset by suggesting, some felt, that home educating parents would let their children do such things.

Of course, they wouldn’t, any more than any other parents however they’re raising their children. But the most well behaved still do things they shouldn’t when you inevitably take your eyes off them for a moment.

However, I was sorry to have riled the feelings of many home educating parents when my only wish was to support.

I do wonder if those same parents have seen the ‘Horrid Henry’ books (far worse behaviour than Harry!) and feel accused of bad parenting by those!

My intention was to create opportunities between parents and children to discuss behaviour, discuss the reasons why certain types of behaviour are desirable and others are not – like Harry at the museum, discuss the reasons behind all that he did and what reasons are justifiable.

Children need all sorts of examples, good and bad, to understand how to behave and more importantly, why it’s of benefit to them to behave with respect. It boils down to them developing a basic understanding that if they want to be liked and popular and respected in turn, they have to behave in certain ways – as we all do – and some behaviours have to be curbed however justified they they think they are.

Most kids love to learn, Harry certainly does, but it is still not acceptable to do so in the way he does at the museum!

I do hope that controversial picture won’t spoil your enjoyment of the book, and your kids have fun reading about a family like them, or learning about a Home Ed life. But I also hope they spot the ways they are not alike too! And the book raises lots of discussion in your house, which is after all a valid approach to learning!

Another Illustration by James Robinson

You can buy the book direct from the publishers or from amazon.

Lockdown: a good time to question

Well I wasn’t going to put my own mugshot on here, my daughter’s much more photogenic!

My daughter’s given me a haircut.

Is she a hairdresser? No! Does she have any idea about what she’s doing? No! Has she had any training about shaping a short cut?

Nope!

But stuck in during Lockdown and unable to go to the hairdressers I decided to risk it or end up looking like a shaggy dog.

It’s turned out brilliantly. Choppy admittedly but that’s just how I like it. Which has made me question why the heck I’m bothering traipsing to the hairdressers once a month.

Lockdown is inevitably making us confront and question many parts of our life. And I suspect there are others who are now questioning those things they suddenly find they can do for themselves, children’s learning being one of them.

A huge majority of parents have been thrust into the scary position of having their children learn at home, when they wouldn’t choose to. But I guess in some cases, where it’s working quite well, it’s prompting questions about what goes on in schools.

Now I’m not questioning the incredible skills of good hairdressers or brilliant teachers. Neither am I suggesting they’re the same thing! And of course this is only a temporary situation.

What I am suggesting is that lockdown is raising questions about schooling and learning that have long needed to be asked. Questions like; what are schools actually providing – educationally, holistically, health wise, or in terms of child care perhaps? Do kids actually need teachers in order to learn? Or do they need a more nurturing environment in order to reach potential? Can a DIY style home education work just as well as that which schools provide?

The answer to the final question is a definite yes; thousands of home educating families have already proved it. And there is a generation of home schooled youngsters now out in the world working, earning, contributing, and no one would ever know they’d not been to school – as one colleague commented to my eldest.

So there is plenty of proof that home educating is a very successful approach to learning if a child isn’t thriving in school as ours weren’t, as many don’t.

Some just exist, or endure, but is that enough?

A lot of parents say that they’d like to home educate but are worried about the risk. My answer to that would be that we take risks with everything we do, home educating or sending kids to school – certainly with impromptu haircuts and even those at the hairdressers actually!

But whatever we do with our children we can engage in a continual process of review, reassessment, research and analysis of what’s not working and find an approach that does and adapt. Which is more than I can say when I take the risk with a haircut – can hardly stick it back on again if it goes wrong!

We are not going to remain unchanged by this time of lockdown. And perhaps one of the good things that will come of it will be that we review our ideas, values and priorities about many things. The approach to learning and educating our children among them.

This time of school-at-home is not the same as home educating, where you develop a completely different approach to learning than the prescriptive ones schools have to adopt. But if your child has thrived, and you have survived during your time without school in your family life, you might want to reconsider your priorities about schooling and take a more in depth look at the alternative that thousands find fulfilling and successful.

There is plenty of support now to help you!

Don’t be put off Home Educating; it’s not the same as school at home!

The school closures have completely changed family life. And made it very hard for many I imagine. Must be challenging trying to get the kids to do school work at home. Like permanent homework and I know how hard some parents find that!

As a former home educator you’d think I could offer some advice on how to tackle it. But I can’t really, apart from what’s in the last few blogs, and that’s because home educators rarely do school-at-home.

School-at-home; i.e. following a prescriptive set of tasks set by schools designed to do in a school environment, is wildly different to the learning life you get into when you home educate. Even the title home education, as opposed to home school, defines a difference. (Explained here)

Home Educating has a completely different ethos of learning, educating and raising a child. Basically it’s a DIY education, not one doing school work hand outs, which is what many are doing now and think of as home educating. And contrary to what people think about the kids being tied to apron strings it makes for a more self directed, independent and diversely thinking learner and adult and is something the whole family can get involved in which in no way represents the prescriptive teaching of a classroom.

However, if this period of doing without school has made you want to reconsider home educating – and you can do that whatever age your children are – then there are three of my books that take a deeper look at it.

Learning Without School Home Education’ answers all of the common questions about it; how to start, what it’s like, how kids learn, what about socialisation, what about tests and exams etc.

A Funny Kind of Education’ is an autobiographical story which illustrates the journey into and through the home educating life. It’s an easy, fun, family read, rather than an educational tome of a book no one wants to read, but still has lots of tips and thought provoking ideas that’ll set you thinking. This is the book that many have told me convinced them they wanted to home educate. Some lovely reviews on Amazon!

A Home Education Notebook – to encourage and inspire’ is a collection of pieces which again address all the common issues that home educating families face as they progress into it, with reassuring tips and stories from one who’s been there and how they dealt with it. A Home Ed bedside book it’s been called!

The ‘My Books’ page on this site gives more details and snippets from the books too. They’re all available on Amazon.

Meanwhile you might also find my little YouTube talk interesting.

So take a look and let me know what you think – and what you decide. If you message me in the comments below I always try and respond. I also have a Facebook page which I respond to when I get round to it!

Meanwhile, I hope you and the kids are doing okay and finding ways to survive! It’s just as tough for current home educators not going out as, also contrary to what people generally think, home education is more out of the home than in it!

So we’re all waiting for a lift in Lockdown!

For when you’re losing the will…

I’m finding it tough now! I’m sure you’re the same. Some days I get to the point where I’ve lost the will to be cheerful or motivated.

Bet you know the feeling? Which is what prompted me to doodle this.

Feel free to share…

This Lockdown – or rather the awful pandemic – is a catastrophic challenge for us all, whoever we are, whatever we do. Perhaps a way to help ourselves is by being realistic: We’re not going to manage upbeat, or busy, or motivated all the time as I’ve been trying to. Some days just have to be got through.

Staying in is hard, despite sweet moments we may have. It’s incredibly demanding mentally and spiritually being home based all the time. Our resilience will wear thin at times, without the dilution of going out.

I especially feel for those who are not used to it and the kids who are used to school. Some families, who are not used to being together so much like home educators are, perhaps have it doubly tough. However, home educators have it tough too because they can’t go out as they’re used to. Everyone’s facing challenges if for different reasons.

But we’ve all got to screw up the courage to keep going from somewhere for a very important reason; because the kids will learn how from you. And courage and endurance are important life skills.

So think how you’re going to do it – when you can, that is.

If your children are working at their school stuff online help them keep motivated by talking about how you’d push through your tricky bits. Perhaps you promise yourself a walk/treat/cuppa/Netflicks when you’ve worked for an hour, for example, or start the day with warming exercises or a good dance and a giggle to get you going. Or by discussing what you’re going to enjoy when the tough bit’s done. Explain how you do it at work.

Having conversations in the family about motivation and how to energise it will help your kids learn about motivation and getting through boring bits, another essential life skill.

If you’re a home educating family already used to working in a DIY or self-directed way maybe there are school kids you know who could link up with yours online and share what you’re doing. That’ll help yours keep motivated too.

Children are inspired, remember, not so much by being taught but by the experience of seeing how others tackle and overcome challenges.

This closeted time is a tough one. For all the family. It’s a time for being inventive about living and working together – and surviving amicably with as little damage as possible! Even the bad days.

But on those days remember what it says above – some days it’s enough just to get through and stay well. And even the ability to do that, will be teaching your children something!

Why you shouldn’t worry about ‘getting behind’

It’s threatened by schools constantly. A kind of subversive blackmail to keep parents in check. Keep them sending their kids to school so they can be kept on the conveyor belt of test scores, thus keeping schools high up the dreadful league table competition that the business of education has become.

Did you realise that’s what the education system is mainly about?

The irony is: this is NOT a complete education.

And the tragedy is that this propaganda – this threat of ‘getting behind’ – has made parents desperately afraid; has created at FOMO of education, if you like!

However, true education has no ‘in front’ or ‘behind’. It’s the competitive and political system which has created it. A system which has become less about what’s good for the child and more about what’s good for the politics.

It doesn’t happen so much when home educating because most home educators treat education as something different from the prescriptive hot-house process based around child control and mass teaching. They generally see education as a personal process that a) is for the whole development of an individual not just the academic and b) doesn’t have to measured or scored or graded in order to be successful. And they’re proving this approach works.

But that aside, in these unprecedented times, when everyone’s in the same boat, it’s therefore true that no one is really missing out or getting behind.

What’s more important to focus on is addressing the trauma that everyone’s going through, particularly the children, with the unsettling disturbance of what they knew to be life, and having the concept of mortality brought much closer.

In fact, we’re all suffering a major emotional trauma that has disrupted work, family, life as we know it. And this is what we need to be nurturing ourselves and our children through, not worrying about getting educationally ‘behind.

Even more importantly; this time now is an education in itself.

It doesn’t look like the grade getting, measured process that most parents equate with education, but it is building many personal skills which are an essential element of it and without which grades are of no use at all.

I do understand that this is hard for many parents unfamiliar with this way of thinking to grasp. But maybe now’s the time.

The value of education, and what use it is beyond school, is not only based in grades. It’s also based in the learner’s ability to apply themselves to living and earning and working with others. To do this they need a whole range of non-academic skills; relationships skills, conversational skills, empathy, self-motivation, social skills, confidence, budgeting skills, respect, creative skills – not just for creative activities but to think creatively enough to solve challenges life throws at you, this current crisis being a great example. We’re all having to think creatively, beyond what we normally do, in order to get through it.

This time at home away from the normal institutions, is an opportunity for your children to develop those other aspects of themselves, through their personal pursuits at home and the way you respond to this crisis and live together as a family, that they never get the chance to develop in the treadmill of school. Everything they do out of school is as valuable to their development personally and educationally as that which they do academically.

So don’t worry about ‘getting behind’. Rethink this propaganda – which is what this concept is to keep parents and kids doing what the government wants – and take the opportunity to rethink what are your priorities for the education of your children and how those might be best facilitated. And trust that time will even it all out anyway.

And take care of yourselves whilst you do. Your children are learning from you!

(Scroll down the ‘About Home Education’ page to read about a philosophy of education)

How are my faithful followers getting on?

I have been posting recently for a new swathe of parents who suddenly find themselves in the difficult predicament of doing school at home. And I fear I may have neglected my long term proper home educating followers who will be having just as tough a time of it.

No doubt you’ll have been on the receiving end of comments about it being ‘alright for you – you’re used to it’ etc! When I know darn well it won’t be alright for you, it’ll be just as hard stuck in the house when you’re normally not at-home educating much at all.

How are you getting on?

I can imagine it’s brought challenging changes with not being able to frequent your favourite places or meet others like you’d normally do.

For, if you’re anything like us, you’d normally be out and about as much as at home! And more social than isolated, something else others don’t understand, and now you’re denied all that it must be difficult to deal with.

I hope you’re faring okay.

I don’t have small children in the house any more but we do have our youngest (Charley from ‘A Funny Kind of Education’, now in her mid twenties would you believe) living with us at the moment as a stop gap between moving which we now realise will go on for a lot longer than anticipated. And lovely though it is to have her here, we’re all adjusting to not going out and working round each other when adult tensions can be as challenging as childhood ones!

Getting out of the house when we were home educating was very much part of our daily routine with swimming, library, nature reserves, socials, workshops, as it’s probably part of yours, so I totally get how hard it must be being house bound. I’m feeling it too. Never thought I’d ever find a trip to the supermarket appealing!

Some of the tips in the blog ‘Essential tips for being Together’ about creating personal space might help, if you don’t practise that already.

Another tip might be to make use of these weird circumstances for further learning.

For example, currently there’s plenty of material for conversation and debate, remembering that conversations are as educative as any exercise in a workbook so get talking. It can be a comfort to the children (keeping off the doom and gloom and keeping it objective). And a good opportunity for extending language skills and confidence.

It’s also an opportunity for historical research, for looking back and seeing other times throughout our history when restrictions were imposed. I don’t just mean major ones like wars, with rationing and nights in shelters, I mean some of the smaller ones like the attempts to conserve electricity during the miners’ strikes or the water restrictions in 1976 – both good issues for study, speculation and discussion.

Another activity might come from discovering ways to get social (safely and with distance) with people you perhaps haven’t interacted with before on your immediate doorstep like street neighbours. Particularly valuable if they’re on their own. A friendly face over the garden fence, through a window, or across the doorsteps might be just what they need and it’s a good opportunity for the kids to practise social skills in a way they perhaps haven’t before (remembering the essential safety guidelines of course). Be inventive with ways to safely connect. And maybe look at ways to help others less fortunate.

Another memory I have of our home educating days were patches of time when we were out and about so much it was easy not to bother giving time to home based activities. So along with some academic basics we made time for art and craft, making and constructing, reusing and re-purposing, always playing, all which gets those mental processes stimulated and builds skills which can be used for academics later on. This is a time for those home creations!

A home based day – from the archives

I hope some of this is of help. I know that most of you who connect with me, many who’ve been following for some time and others just joining too, are incredibly inventive and entrepreneurial about your learning approaches and life in general. And what you do most of you is nothing like the current attempts to do school at home.

But I appreciate how hard it must be – it was hard sometimes when we could get out, never mind what you’re going through now. So more than ever you’ll need to treat yourselves with kindness and patience whilst these difficult times run their course.

Go gently. Don’t panic. Keep relaxed and busy. Feel your way through.

This time will pass. I’m thinking of you and what strange Home Ed times you’re dealing with. You’re making history!

Meanwhile, if you have the time do share any ideas in the comments below about how you’re coping and the impact it’s made on you. I always love to hear from you.

How will you respond this Easter?

This is such a strange and challenging time. We’re going to have to dig deeper than ever into our personal resources to respond and cope with these unprecedented circumstances.

Hopefully we will learn something about ourselves by the end of it. It’s bound to change us. Has changed us already – I know my appreciation of many simple things has increased as we do without many of the things we took for granted, like popping to the shop for chocolate!

Ours have grown up now, but I can still remember how difficult it can be at times cloistered in with small children not able to get out. I know many families would occupy their time with a trip to the shops just to buy some non-essential that they don’t need. Out of the question now obviously.

But actually, what children crave – even as much as those chocolate eggs – is the engaged time and attention of their loving adult.

Many parents bemoan the fact they never have time in their lives for that. Many children feel the pinch of life without it.

So maybe that’s a good aspect of being home bound right now. You can do something about it. Children learn as much from the time and attention of an engaged adult as anything else on any curriculum!

And it’s the perfect time to give some effort to making Easter rather than buying it.

It doesn’t have to cost, if you get resourceful with whatever you have in the house. Exercise their minds and problem solving skills by giving up thinking; ‘we need to buy this, this and this’ and start thinking ‘how can we make this with the resources we already have?’

For example, paint or felt tip eggs, or crumpled up paper can make eggs to hang up, a coat hanger would suffice to hang them on although I bet you’ll come up with something better than that. Bunting can be made with old magazines, books you’ll never use again, even old clothes – you don’t have to sew it, think of another way to put it together. Get resourceful with creating rather than buying, get creating this Easter rather than consuming.

And when you get out for the groceries, get the ingredients for a simple cake.

Making a cake together is not about the cake.

Making a cake with kids can be tricky, unless you change your agenda. Your agenda is not to make a perfect cake. Your agenda is to make some happy memories with them about the resourceful way you dealt with this crisis and the things you came up with. Stir your cake with fun and affection and lick your sticky fingers with relish over the sweet times you made together.

You are teaching the kids about resilience and resourcefulness. Both are skills that will be useful to them time and time again throughout their life long after this crisis is over.

We can spend the Easter bemoaning the things we’d usually do that we now cannot. Or we can spend the Easter creating something that’s more important than baking a cake; making good memories that will stay with the youngsters forever.

Hope you stay well and manage a Happy Easter. And if you come up with some good ideas – please share them in the comments below!

Don’t panic about your child’s education

I’m sure now that many parents whose children went to school will be panicking about their education.

Guess what? Home educators panic too! Of course they do!

But there are several simple things to know about children’s learning that have helped them get a grip on that anxiety which might help everyone else too.

See this post; https://rossmountney.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/your-questions-about-home-education-answered/

I always tell home educating families and those new to it a simple fact about learning: children learn as much out of school as they do in it!

They don’t necessarily need schools in order to learn. And an education is not built solely on learning facts and taking tests, measuring progress and ticking off stages on a tick sheet, or those other things associated with schooling; it doesn’t have to be formal to be effective! Everything kids do is educationally useful, builds skills, mental as well as physical. A lot of what schools do is just for schools, not for education!

An education is built upon a developing brain (and body), which takes a lot of time. It’s built on a rounded development of a number of skills learnt through living a life that are transferable to education. Life educates as much as school does (more so probably). And a small interruption in schooling as we have now is not going to be noticed in ten years time!

So get on with every day life and enjoy the experience of sharing it with your child through discussions and debates and hypothesising and explorations online, through these incredible times that offer much to cogitate on (not scaremongering though).

Another fact to understand is that a developing and educationally growing brain is a busy brain, so keep busy, remembering that it’s not that important what that busyness is.

Look at it like keeping a body fit. Physical activity is needed to keep a body fit but it doesn’t really matter what that physical activity is, in fact, the more variety the better, from walking to dancing, from leaping about in front of an exercise video to climbing trees, kicking a ball round an empty playground to skipping in the back yard. Same with the brain. Whatever the children are engaged in their brain will be exercising and developing their mental skills whether that’s gaming, exploring YouTube, reading, artworks of any kind (be diverse), learning how to cook pancakes, playing monopoly, constructing something, solving a problem, writing a story, drawing a story (comics are big business!) All these activities develop the brain, in other words educate, as much as times tables or workbooks or whatever academic exercise you associate with being at school. They all add to the pool of skills which can be transferred to more formal education practices at a later date.

Schools do not have the monopoly on learning and education. As thousands of home educating young people are proving. Kids learn anyway. All experiences educate, most of which you can facilitate, although I acknowledge that you are going to have to be more resourceful in finding them home based as we all are at present. Even these weird circumstances present a good opportunity for learning – looking back through history at other times when people had lives completely disrupted, like through times of war for example.

So I would suggest you stop panicking about academic things, which your children will have foisted back on them soon enough (even though it may seem ages to you) and just enjoy your children because these times are educative in themselves. Get busy with the kids whilst you have the opportunity too; make, bake, play, talk, find new films and documentaries to watch and chat about those, create new recipes from whatever you have in the cupboard, change rooms round, make dens, do all sorts of home based stuff because it will all contribute to your child’s education, developing skills and furthering their knowledge.

Be close, be loving and reassuring and trust that your child’s education will not be harmed, because it won’t be when you look at the bigger picture – something I encourage home educating families to do. In fact the opposite might happen, it might be enhanced from having this different out-of-school experience requiring independent thinking and problem solving; two great skills for life.

So don’t panic. Enjoy it instead. Keep busy. Be resourceful, during these odd times, which is a brilliant thing to teach your kids after all!

There’s another blog about coping with worries over here

And a whole chapter devoted to how children learn without school in my book of the same name, available through Amazon or JKP publishers.

Tips for parents doing school at home

“So how do we do school at home?” I’ve been asked since the Corona virus has closed the schools and home educators are being turned to for advice. That’s a change! It’s more often we’re turned away from as a bunch of weirdos as has happened in the past.

What most parents are not aware of, since they probably have little understanding or even awareness of home education up until this point, is that most home educating families don’t do ‘school at home’. Home educating is a completely different approach that I won’t go into now but you’ll get the gist of if you search this site (particularly if you look at the About Home Education Page and scroll down to the philosophy there).

So rather than a long winded explanation here’s a few tips to implement right now:

Personal explorations are just as educative
  • understand the concept of time differently. In a school day works much time is wasted between classes, waiting for quiet, disruptions, etc. At home children can get through things much more quickly because they concentrate differently. So if you’re doing school stuff at home allow for that to happen and let them use the free time they have for personal explorations, which are just as educative.
  • Understand also that kids learn from everything they do, whatever they’re doing, playing included. Experience educates more than anything else.
  • Use this time to engage them with other activities that you may not have had time for but which are equally developmental like creativity of any sort; from changing a room round to making dens, building structures, whatever. Cooking, growing, customising, artworks, experiments with anything you have in the cupboard. An inventive mind is a stimulated and developing mind – good for brain development – good for building valuable skills.
  • You may not be able to get out to museums, galleries, workshops, libraries and public places like them right now, which make up part of a home educators week, but most of them have amazing sites online to explore with games and facts and videos that are intriguing. As do the Wildlife Trust, Blue Planet and programmes like them, National Geographic magazine has a kids section, all full of educational activities.
  • There’s also the BBC learning website, Channel 4 Learning, the Open University etc. But there are many intriguing sites not directly associated with education that are equally valuable to explore as well as watching historical documentaries.
  • Home educating families generally bring balance to their days by making sure they pursue a mix of activities that contrast each other like the sedentary and the active, the indoor and out, alone or in company, screen based or written and the practical, which helps keep interest fresh and alive.
  • Resist from leaping to solve the ‘I’m bored…’ syndrome! Instead encourage an exploration of how they might solve that for themselves perhaps with a few simple prompts but after that… it’s an important skill for them to be able to problem solve!
  • You may not be able to get out and do it socially but you can exercise in the house as much as out of it. Exercise, or movement of any sort, is as important to the brain’s development as it is to the body’s as well as overall well being. Google will provide some ideas.

But I would say most of all don’t do ‘school at home’ just enjoy your kids whilst you have the time… it’s all educative! More on that next time!