Tag Archive | new term

Happy January!

I was looking on the positive side with the title! Don’t know about you but I’m glad to get rid of last year! Goodness knows what this one will hold but all we can do is keep faith for a better one and get back to life.

January is always tricky, but this year we have the coronavirus mixed into the back-to-reality, drop in spirits often accompanying it. And with limited opportunities for getting out and using facilities like libraries, sports centres and swimming pools which are a Home Ed saviour from indoor-itus it could be a bit hard. Plus the fact that however much you love your parenting, and love your choice to home educate, even that enthusiasm can wane at times like these.

So I thought I’d re-post these ideas to see if any of them help:

  • January is short lived. Time changes everything. Take each day at a time, create some self-nurturing practices and good things for each one. A great lesson for the kids to learn too; self care.
  • Re-acquaint yourself with your core reasons for home educating, your philosophies for parenting and learning and life. Why did you choose to do it? It’s still an inspirational choice.
  • But like with all aspects of life, it’s not inspirational all the time. that’s not because it’s ‘failing’, it’s just the way life is. We have to learn to negotiate these times. And keep faith.
  • Keep active. All of you. It’s a necessary and very effective part of self nurturing and mental and emotional wellbeing. Even if the initial inertia is tough, fight on through. Physical activity also gives a huge confidence boost – good for kids, good for you. There are as many ways of being active in the house as out – you need a balance of both.
  • Make things – it’s supposed to be very therapeutic and builds vital skills physical and mental. Lots of great sites for crafts, creations, models and other ideas so do a quick search. (One here). For myself, I found Emma Mitchell’s book such a comfort. Remember, grown ups’ needs are important too. Happy grown-ups, happy kids.
  • Get out of the house regularly in whatever way is possible.
  • Relax about the ‘learning’. It’s going on all the time even if it isn’t formal. All learning is valid. All experiences are valid. Curling up on January days and watching historical films or listening to podcasts is valid. But stressed approaches can inhibit learning, as can forcing it, or making it a huge demand. There’s no time limit on learning. It happens in leaps and stand-stills. There will be times you’ll think your kids are going nowhere. That’s a misconception, they will be.
  • Be pro-active. find new things to do, places to go, streets to explore, websites to explore, people to connect with, even if it has to be digitally for now They’re out there for you to engage with. Being proactive with life is another great example to set the kids.
Be proactive – find things about January to delight

You won’t enjoy your home education every single day – that’s probably not possible – as with life; it’s an unreal expectation. Doubly so during these inhibiting times. Just try some of the tips above and ease yourself back on track with the inspirational, uplifting way of life that it is.

Above all, just enjoy yourselves as much as you can for now – just because you can.

Happy January!

Learning like a sponge – do yours do that in school?

September: When the subject of going back to school is on every programme, every advert and every shop front.

A time of year when we felt such a thrill of sheer excitement that ours were not. That their life would continue as it had done all summer; full of interest, full of activity and full of learning. Because whatever the children are doing they soak up learning from it like a sponge.

I found myself saying ‘how do you know that?’ frequently, when I frequently found they knew stuff I hadn’t taught them or known they knew!

They’d quote me facts from watching programmes like Horrible Histories, or period dramas or science and nature programmes. They learnt about communication, language and cause and effect from things you’d think they’d learn nothing from like the game Sims. They developed understanding about the properties of various substances and materials through endless playing; understanding we could build on when the time came for more complicated concepts like molecules and chemical reactions.

Through endless play with water, plants, foodstuffs, mud, bits of wood, bricks and stones, containers, fabrics, plastic or card containers, art and craft materials, tools, they’d learn about resistance and materials, construction, strength, buildings, density and so on. And they found out so much through opportunities to investigate and discover from looking under stones to cooking to dismantling old technology. Sometimes they even managed to put it back together again.

Their little minds were processing and thinking, assimilating and developing as we talked about stuff on a walk, doing the shopping, on the way somewhere or during questionable programmes like Supernanny on the telly. Their thinking and doing skills developing all the time.

So it wasn’t long before I came to the conclusion, usually around September and the start of the new school year, that it was absolutely bizarre to take children away from real life where opportunities and inspiration for learning and education surround us all the time, and shut them inside a school only to ‘teach’ them about that life, usually through second hand academic and uninspiring exercises that tended to switch them off.

Walking the weirdly child-empty streets, parks or libraries at this time of year I can’t help feeling a little sad for all those small beings who don’t learn best that way.

And I still, even now they’re grown and continue to sponge up learning as they live their independent lives, have that sense of reignited joy in our decision to educate ours outside of school.