Tag Archive | home school

Together and Apart

It may be more challenging home educating during these times of corona crisis and all the anxiety that goes with it. But at least your kids are with you!

I know there’ll be times when you could do with more space when they’re with you 24/7 and managing that can be the more challenging part of home educating – and parenting for that matter. (There are some tips on that in this post here) Even more so since your options for getting out and about have become so limited.

But the other side of that is the fact you are all together and have more control over the youngsters exposure and contact with others.

Parents of older children and those off to Uni don’t!

When I think of the teenagers starting Uni this time, it must be fraught with worry, for kids and parents. It’s hard enough them moving out of the family home, without the added stress about how they’re mixing. I feel for you!

I still worry about mine, who’ve been living apart in the working world for many years now, and how they’re keeping safe.

It was many months this year before we got to see our eldest and once we managed to be all four of us together again it was insanely sweet. But there’s still that background niggle of ‘should we be doing this?’, and even expressions of love feel inhibited.

It’s all very hard for families, for friends, for us all. And we daren’t even think about Christmas!

But that’s possibly the best way to deal with the situation we’re in; not to think about things that far ahead. We cannot possibly have any certainty about it, best to stay with what we do have certainty about – this present moment!

It was inevitable when we were all together recently that the four of us talked about Christmas as it’s already coming into the politics of the situation. But only momentarily. We agreed that there are only hypotheses to be had, and these tend to induce worry and spoil the pleasure of being together at the time; the important thing.

And we had some lovely moments together when we managed not to think about the crisis, focus on the lovely things we could do, were doing; picnics, chats, walks, just being together. Even diving into a pub during a thunderstorm. The first time I’ve done that since last winter.

It seems the best way to cope with current times; to stay with the good moments you have, cope as well as you can with the troublesome ones and cherish having your children close whilst you can. It won’t always be the way of it.

I did some reckoning the other day and got a shock. It’s nigh on ten years now since both our youngsters were at home full time home educating. But they’re still educating themselves even if not at home because home educating showed them the possibility of self-educating however old they are and wherever they are. And that’s what they continue to do, particularly with the time they had during Lockdown, knowing that education doesn’t just mean academics, there are new skills to learn and things to research and try all the time.

So whatever you’re doing at home with your youngsters during these challenging times, appreciate that they are at home and safe. And understand that you’re not only home schooling them, but showing them a DIY approach to an educating way of life that will set them up for the future and help them cope with whatever is going on around them. Both now – and then.

And take it from me; you’ll miss being together one day!

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!

Mind your attitude

I’m aware there is some conflict!

Hardly surprising in these tricky times.

It’s really odd to suddenly have ‘home schooling’ thrust into the limelight when there’s times home educators have been made to feel like anti-establishment, boat rocking, nuisances who ought to get real! As if school is ‘real’? And as if that’s what we do it for.

We don’t. We do it for the good of our kids. Why would anyone put themselves through the enormity of the challenge of home educating if it wasn’t from the deep desire to do that?

Now, of course, everyone’s having to ‘home school’.

Or are they?

Most experienced home educators wouldn’t even use the term ‘home schooling’ (there’s a post about the differences here) or equate it in any way with what’s going on now. What’s going on now is basically school-at-home and biding time until the mass child minding centres open again and start testing and scoring and grading and pitching kids against one another through the mass political institution that is known as education.

But enough of that; I don’t want to rant and it’s not the point here.

The point is that we’re all in it together. Because we all have the same parental desire and are headed in the same direction: To have intelligent, well developed and happy kids who are able to move forward in caring and productive ways and get where they want to go, whether through employment or work of their own.

And we should respect that there are many approaches to doing this successfully, whatever you want to call it and wherever it takes place.

I knew families whose children never went to school. Ever.

I knew families who started with school then switched to home educating.

I knew families who had some children in school and some home educating.

I knew others who had all their children in school.

Others still who started home educating then switched to school at secondary. And vice versa.

I knew some who generally used school but home educated for a term/year/however long it was needed for the good of the child’s development, returning them to school at a later date.

And here’s the thing: All these approaches worked.

There are many different approaches to learning and any can work as long as they are managed carefully and respectfully.

And the point at the moment is not what you call it, is not home educating or doing school-at-home whilst there’s an abnormal interruption in the service most parents are used to. The point is everyone is struggling with a strange situation, whatever approach they started out with. And it will best be weathered if we support one another and refrain from making any judgements about what each is doing. We’re not politicians after all. 😀

All the parents who are having to deal with the children being at home instead of school could maybe grow a little more respect for home educators. All the experienced home educators, although conscious of school-at-home being very different from what they do, may be able to increase awareness of home educating that has previously been misunderstood.

And everyone can focus on the important thing; keeping the needs of the children at the heart of everything they do.

There need be no conflict between schools, home schooling, school-at-home, or home education – or parenting for that matter.

We are all different. We are all trying to survive these unprecedented times in the best way we can. But one thing we can do is care for each other, try and see other points of view, and be supportive rather than in conflict.

Warfare about our approaches and responses to the education of the children during this time is as unhelpful as the stupid and ignorant warfare between politicians when they’re campaigning.

It’s also the opposite of an open and inclusive attitude we want to foster within education – within society – within life.

So it’s not only what you’re doing with the kids that’s the point. The attitude you’re doing it with matters just as much.

Be easy. Reserve judgement. Open your mind. Learn.

This time is short and will quickly change and we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. And hopefully some better attitudes will result!