Tag Archive | homeschooling

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.

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!

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!

Learning results from the simplest things

I’ve been told before that parents other than home educators visit here and some of the posts they read are still useful to help them understand and keep a healthy mind towards their children’s learning whilst they go through school.

I’m really chuffed to hear that! Because education is education wherever it’s happening and whatever you’re doing, home educating or not.

Of course, in these strange times, most families are forced to do ‘school at home’, which is not the same as home education where parents have a very different approach as some of my books and blogs explain. But with those parents in mind particularly I thought I’d re-post this little piece that was written for ‘school holidays’ to help reassure those who are worrying, especially about the children regressing. And it applies to home educating too!

Firstly, the children won’t regress during this not-at-school time – as much as schools like to threaten that – what is regress anyway? The children might not be keeping up with the school test scores but is that really educationally useful? (Article on testing here) You might like to think on that whilst they’re busy with other things that are equally educationally developmental!

Secondly; it’s a great opportunity to spend time engaged with the children that you haven’t had before – term-time or not. We should equally be spending time not engaged with the children. This is all part of parenting – and as some fail to understand – education is very much dependent on parenting!

Thirdly, there’s no point in stressing over it – instead we have to accept the circumstances and ask how we can make best use of them. Most of what we do with our children will further their skills and knowledge in some way or another, from story telling to playing with money, from gaming to doing star jumps, watching stuff together, chatting – it doesn’t have to be academic. Small things can make huge differences.

Taking that further, there are four very simple things to do right now that can have a huge impact on your children’s development, but which might be overlooked whilst you’re worrying about school stuff.

They are:

  1. Read to them as much as possible, be a reading family; encourage reading by reading yourself – doesn’t matter what
  2. Talk with them and respond to their thoughts, questions, ideas
  3. Encourage their curiosity (which is their inbuilt desire to learn) by facilitating activities that involve; exploration, variety, investigation, experimentation and creativity in all its many forms
  4. Be active as much as possible, essential not just for body, but heart and brain health too. You can do this in the house as well as out!

These can cost nothing but your time, but by doing the above at some point every day you’ll be furthering their education in ways you may not understand but which make an important difference.

Ask of schools what you ask of Home Ed!

I find it slightly bizarre that the questions people generally ask of home educating parents are not questions they’ve asked about schools, yet they happily send their children there! I know some who never give it a second thought, let alone question it.

Have you noticed the same?

For example, take the socialisation issue which is always raised. Namely the question; how will my children become used to a social world without going to school? That’s a common one. (Article on socialisation here)

But why is no one asking of schools; how will my children become used to a social world, used to mixing with all sorts of people of all ages, and form appropriate relationships with adults who are not only teachers and do not have a sole agenda obsessed with grades, if they’re confined with a bunch of kids all their own age who have no social skills themselves and when they sometimes have to endure some adults who are little better?

Makes you think when it’s put that way round!

Another question always asked of home educators; how will the children become educated if they’re not in school? I would ask; how do school children become properly educated about this wide, diverse world whilst shut away from its myriad of subject matter – social, scientific, geographical, philosophical, humanitarian, creative and sustainable – how will they develop all those personal aspects needed for empathy, inclusiveness etc – when they’re confined to an academically discriminative strait-jacket of a curriculum solely designed for fact-stacking for exams?

And the question that really makes me incredulous is this one; how will they be prepared for the real world if they don’t go to school?

In answer I repeat something I regularly say; school in no way replicates the real world I’ve experienced – I don’t know about you?

In the real world we are not restricted as to whom we mix and learn with (unless you’re racist, ageist, sexist or in some other way discriminative). You mix with a wide range of people who show you respect and probably move away from those who don’t, which you cannot do in school, and you mix with those whom you respect in return. You have choice – that makes a difference. You have opportunities to make informed and relevant choices – relevant to your real world that is, rather than choices made for you to suit an institutional agenda. And the real world I’ve inhabited over the years has enabled me to develop the skills to think for myself, not discouraged independent thinking in favour of training for mass obedience to establishment and corporate ideas alone.

I don’t want to persuade everyone to home educate. Of course not. It isn’t suitable for all and is not the answer.

But I would like to encourage people to ask the same questions of schooling that they ask of home schooling. Because we need something different now.

We should all be questioning an outdated institution – just like we’re questioning our outdated use of plastic now we know better. Questioning an institution that in many instances fails to equip children with the skills they need for the contemporary world, and support those with specific needs so all can have equal access to an equal education, and learn how to fit into and engage with a real world much changed from what it was when compulsory education began.

A very independent questioner!

And perhaps the only way that can happen is to change the corporate model of education we now have, to develop diverse and indie thinkers and questioners, who will think up solutions and act out solutions (think Greta Thunberg) far better than those trained simply for mass institutional obedience!

Which raises another question; is that what schooling does?

Read an article about ‘intelligent disobedience’ from the book ‘Unsafe Thinking’ here It certainly looks like it does at times!

How the education system is contributing to the climate crisis

I’m absorbed in a wonderful book. ‘The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide’ by Jen Gale. It’s a practical look at the things we can do to to help lessen our damage to the planet.

I know; you’re sick of hearing about the climate crisis!

But this is full of real doable things we can all do, we must do, in order to help make changes. That responsibility lies with us all. It is part of our own life learning, part of being an educated intelligent person. Got to be part of any child’s education.

We like to think that education is an answer to the climate crisis. And of course it is; people need to become informed about the earth, what impact we’re making and how to minimise the damage we make.

But education, and the education system, are different things. And it’s the education system that’s contributing to the problem. Because we have a system that is educating people to be consumers.

It does this by making education big business. By training learners and their parents to be consumers of it; passive recipients. And by making education all about an end product, i.e. results, grades and qualifications and more is better, rather than an enlightening process of learning that develops educated people who see themselves as part of something much bigger – the planet. And more is not always better.

The system leads people to believe that education is about what you can get in a narrow, consumerist, grade-grabbing way, rather than education as part of understanding a world upon which we all have impact, qualified or not.

Youngsters are trained to believe through this system that they’re only worthy if they get the most and highest grades possible. Because this, they are told, will lead to higher salaries – in other words, getting more.

Rarely are job satisfaction, humane qualities like kindness, well being – personal or planetary – mentioned.

Or the fact that the higher your salary, the more likely you are to be buying stuff and wasting stuff and jetting off in a blaze of pollution. Let’s face it – it’s not the poor or the homeless who are doing this; a fact that doesn’t get much coverage!

And seldom is it mentioned that consumerism, materialism which is a political issue, and bog standard buying endless stuff is the real cause of the problem. Or that the businesses thriving on conning us into having stuff we don’t really need, contributes to it. And I believe that the education system perpetuates this by its immoral and discriminative, high stakes obsession with testing, getting exams and qualifications and teaching people to be consumers. Which, after all, furthers its corporate and political cause.

If we want to save the planet we must stop incessant and unnecessary consuming. We must stop educating people to be consumers within a system that subversively suggests you’re a better person for doing so. For that’s what this corporate education system dictates, although few seem to spot it.

I’ve heard said that the education system is broken. The planet is certainly breaking. Perhaps the two could be mended hand in hand.

It’s no good blaming the politicians and doing nothing, neither with regard to the planet nor the education system which is contributing to ruining it. We must change our consumerist habits and change what we expect of education.

What we need is not a system or a political game plan that ensures the rich get richer and the poor to stay where they are. Not an education to make more money but to educate us to use the money we do make to live more wisely. What we need are learning experiences not based around winning or getting or high stakes, but based around learning to live with each other and the planet without detriment to either. Something I see home educators do all the time.

There is no higher stake than the health of the planet. Don’t need a qualification to tell us that.

Do make the book part of your family’s education!

Another kind of educational mainstream

It’s been enormously heart warming to recently receive a flurry of compliments about my book ‘A Home Education Notebook’, after it became a best seller in its section on Amazon. I am so uplifted and moved most particularly to know, through your kind comments, that the book is achieving what I intended in reassuring and supporting home educating parents everywhere.

A peep into the Home Ed Notebook

I always felt that while we parents are busy encouraging, facilitating and supporting the education of our children, we need exactly the same support to keep going with it. Moral support more than anything; to step off that mainline track, to stick to our convictions that school isn’t necessarily the best for our child, to withstand the doubts, fears and often unpleasant negativity coming from others, often even family, and hold true to our course.

No mean feat! That’s why I want to support you all – it’s truly an amazing and courageous thing you do.

But I also want to broadcast the fact that HOME EDUCATING WORKS.

As home education or home schooling becomes more well known (there’s an article about the difference here), and perhaps more understood as more and more home educating families are becoming visible, I sense that a new kind of profile and respect for it is growing. And maybe one day we’ll have a new kind of mainstream. Or is that wishful thinking? The Internet is certainly changing the face of education.

But whether that’s wishful thinking or not, there is now no denying that home educating works because of all the young people who are proving it. Young people are now graduating from their home school years, making their independent contribution to the wider mainstream world in a multitude of ways despite not being educated in a school. We have that generational proof now.

This blog and my books have been my contribution to changing that profile of it, along with supporting all those coming new to home educating. Around it you’ll find posts that deal with all the common concerns, like the socialisation issue for example, the family doubters, common worries etc. But I appreciate it’s time consuming to trawl through here which is why I placed them all in the notebook, making them easier to find.

And this post is not only to say a grateful thanks to all who’ve supported me, some over many years, and who’ve sent such lovely compliments and bought the book. But also to reiterate again: HOME EDUCATION WORKS. It’s doable, it DOES develop intelligent, social, educated, conscientious, hardworking and employable adults, and most of all is an enjoyable approach to those years that are often less so in school and the education of young people. Their broad, inclusive, independently thinking minds are making a wonderful contribution to society as they find their way in the adult world, providing the living proof.

So be reassured! And don’t let others’ fears and negativity dissuade you of that proof.

(The book is published by Bird’s Nest Books and available directly from them or from Amazon)

What happens after home education?

Author and home educator Susan Walklate and her son Simon

When Susan Walklate first came across home education she thought it was “an odd thing to do” believing that school was a natural course of events.

But when her son became introverted and stressed at school, and discovering that his needs were not going to be met, it became the right thing to do for them. Fast forward twenty odd years and she decided to write a book about their pathway, along with four other families doing the same, so people had a better understanding of this successful alternative to school and more importantly what followed.

I posted a blog about her book ‘Radical home Education’ a little while ago. Now I’ve asked Susan to talk about it personally and this is what she told me:

Tell us a little about you and your son.

My school experience was okay and I was reasonably successful. I went to teacher training college, then worked in chemistry laboratories. When I was 23 I decided to work with horses. This evolved over time to running a livery yard and riding school; I then bought my own land and set up Gable End Farm which developed into various businesses. Simon is my only child and was brought up with animals, at home and at the stables.

What drove you to home educate?

From being a happy baby and contented toddler, Simon became quiet and increasingly introverted after starting school. It wasn’t immediately obvious, as it happens over time and the changes are not noticeable on a daily basis. When he was 6 a friend commented on how clingy he had become. The school system was failing him as he wasn’t learning to read and write as quickly as they thought he should. He was on the special needs register, but the SENCO suggested that it wasn’t because he couldn’t do it, but that he couldn’t see the point; which ultimately proved to be the truth. By the time he was 8/9 he was stressy at home and quiet at school. He was being picked on by the class teacher and bullied by the other children. He had shut down and just got on with it as he didn’t think he had a choice. I spent about one year proactively trying to work with the school. Just before his 10th birthday we watched a programme on Channel 4 about home education. The next day Simon came to me and said that he didn’t want to go to school anymore. From the TV programme he had realised that he did have a choice. He never went to school again.

What kind of responses did you have from those around you?

While Simon was still at school I asked numerous people/friends about their school experience and, if it was bad, would they have preferred not to go to school, be home educated. The overwhelming answer was that children should go to school regardless. I think I might have home educated sooner if I’d had a more positive response. Once we decided to home educate and I told my parents, they were very supportive and offered help. Simon’s other grandparents thought that Simon would only end up on the dole. Simon’s father was concerned that Simon would not get any qualifications if he didn’t go to school. My response was that Simon would not get any qualifications if he did go to school.

How did you approach your education at home?

I knew that if I had sat Simon at a table with a piece of paper and a pencil he might have well been at school, as that was his stress. We took each day as it came and did child-led activities. I followed a child-centred autonomous learning process, which basically means that if he showed an interest in something we pursued it, if he didn’t we didn’t. I bought box games from charity shops that involved words and strategy. He helped with the animals and we discussed lots of things that involved language, arithmetic and lots of other things. We joined up with other home educating families for activities like swimming, ice skating, etc. Each family brought their interests to the group. The main activity that took over a lot of Simon’s time was the Robotics team that entered the First Lego League International competitions. He was part of this team for 3 years, from about 14 to 16. Simon did no formal work toward any qualifications while being home educated. He went to college at 16 and did all of his formal qualifications in the following 3 years. English and maths Skills for Life (GCSE equivalent); GCSE photography; A level fashion design and textiles; BTech in software development and web design (2 A Level equivalent); business studies course. Our home education life worked well for us. Each day was different. I think my self employed life enabled us to embrace the unstructured form of it.

What is your son is doing now?

Simon has helped with the animals all his life. He now takes a part share in the responsibility of running the farm. He has set up his own business as a freelance gardener and plans to expand it into employing others. He also aims to set up a portfolio of property.

What drove you to write the book?

I wrote ‘Radical Home Education’ because home education has a bad image and attracts bad press. Both Simon and I find it frustrating that no-one is telling the stories about the now-grown-up, successful home educated people. It was not something I had planned to do until we watched the Channel 4 programme in early 2019, which was very negative. I decided it was time to tell the true stories of home education through to successful adulthood, with four other families. My aim is to give encouragement and support to other would-be home educators.

What are you up to post-home educating?

My life has always been about taking each day as it comes and living the way I want to, which is how home education fitted into our lives and my life has just continued on.

Simon has always said that he would home educate his own children when he has some.

Since writing the book I have become more thoughtful about HE and I am considering being more proactive to promote HE.

What are your thoughts on the current education system?

It is broken, too prescriptive, too rigid. It does not allow for the differences in learning styles and development. I am increasingly concerned by the number of people asking for help and advice re school. I feel overwhelmed by the number of children being failed by the system; being bullied; demonstrating stress and depression; developing ADHD, etc. Parents appear to be very concerned about how their child will learn; be taught the ‘appropriate’ work; take exams; where can they find tutors; afford it. This I find sad, as society has been indoctrinated into believing that formal education is the only route to a successful education and a successful life. I do not know the answer, but I feel that the increase in knife crime, suicide, truancy, depression is in part due to the pressure our education system and society puts on children and families to succeed.

What would you say to other families wanting to home educate?

Do it! It is the best thing that we did. (Simon said don’t send them to school!)

I have a close relationship and understanding with my son. I believe that I, as his mother, am responsible for him and his well-being. I grew up with a good relationship with my parents and feel that it is important to support ones children as much as possible. I hope that I am his role model. I believe the best learning is through example.

Radical Home Education

There’s a splendid new book on home education by home educator Susan Walklate to add to your library! I read it at the end of last year, shortly after it was published, and am hoping to post an interview with the author here soon. Meanwhile, let me tell you a little about it.

Titled ‘Radical Home Education – discover home education through the true accounts of five families’, it’s the personal stories of a group of home educating families, including words from the young people, now grown.

It is compelling reading; I was fascinated by the stories of the home school lives and how they progressed. Most particularly because most blogs and forums tend to feature families who are currently home educating rather than those who have been through it and are ‘coming out the other side’ for want of a better phrase. So it’s always reassuring and uplifting to read about the lives of older children who were home educated and what they move on to. This book illustrates just that and how it happens.

The second part of it looks more closely at details like; how to work it out at home or out and about, places to go and use, the diversity of activities it’s possible to get involved in, how academic pursuits are integrated into it all and how the incidental is just as valid as the planned. It moves on through various approaches and includes the subject of exams, finally looking at interesting learning styles and tools.

I know the idea of ‘radical’ home education seems a daunting to prospect to some families, particularly those new to home schooling, but don’t be put off by that. This is an inspiring read which, although short, will be very reassuring to those families who are still on their home educating journey, whatever approach you’re taking.

Driving Home for Christmas

I’ve got Chris Reas’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ blaring out, creating a bit of atmosphere whilst I try and wrap pressies. I say try, because it’s a case of smoothing out all the old paper I’m reusing and jiggling the salvaged bits together round the parcels. It’ll be either brown paper or newspaper next! Magazines can be quite colourful. Fabric also works.

I know I’m good at wrapping parcels because my cookery teacher told me back in the day when I was self-consciously sixteen and painfully at school.

“You’re making sausage rolls not wrapping parcels” she admonished snootily and very loudly – to degrade me in front of my mates. My face flamed. Now there’s a lesson in how not to teach for you! I still don’t know how to make sausage rolls – never do – don’t care much. But being canny with pressies – now that’s an art!

Moving on; I used to have this tune playing in my car when I was doing just that; driving home for Christmas. Now it’s my girls who are doing the ‘driving home’; yep driving, in their own vehicle. Who’d have thought it? Bet you never think that far ahead!

During those home educating days it was tricky at Christmas. You don’t have those hours when the kids are out of the house at school, like other parents do, to keep the Christmas secrets. We became quite resourceful and I described many of the funnier moments in my joyful memoir; ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ along with one season when I had to grapple Santa’s trousers…but I’ll leave you to read the book to find out why! Happy Home ed times which have made our memories!

Now they’ve moved on, I have the opportunity every day to wrap pressies, secrete surprises, and easily keep Christmas secrets, no trouble. And they’re the ones driving home for Christmas this year.

As no doubt yours will be when this wonderful home edventure is done and they’re all grown up. Unimaginable I know, but happens to us all.

Like we did you’ll currently be busy making your own wonderful memories, filled with love, that will keep the adult kids forever driving home (Train or bus does just as well :))