A ‘Typical’ Day…

Since we started home educating Poppet just over 6 months ago a lot of people have asked how we structure our time, so I thought I’d give an insight into how our days and weeks usually/often/occasionally go!

There are different ideas about home education ranging from full-on structured days (very similar to being at school) to complete unschooling, where essentially the learner makes the choice as to what they want to learn, how and when.

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child” George Bernard Shaw.

We are somewhere in between the two and this shifts for us depending on how we’re all feeling and what else is going on around us.

As I talked about in Black holes… I don’t like to completely prescribe what the girls learn and so they are involved from the outset in deciding what our topic should be and anything they’d like to know about relating to that.

I do however feel that the basics (of reading, writing and maths) are extremely important so do aim to do these regularly. I’m lucky that Poppet and Pickle are both fluent readers so that bit is easy (Right now they are snuggled on the sofa reading together while Piccalilli naps and I write).

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In terms of writing I like it to be meaningful so we’ve written postcards, letters, diaries, short-stories, shopping lists and more. We don’t sit down and write every day but at least twice a week they are writing something with purpose.

With maths things are a bit more structured and we do sit-down maths most days. I have a plan that we follow unless other things come up – for example last month Poppet wanted to learn more about telling the time than just o’clock and half past, so we did loads of time games and activities.

As I come from a teaching background, I know too well how often we try to teach children mathematical concepts that they are not ready for or hold them back just because it’s not part of our plan…

As for the other stuff (the other main question I think home educators get asked is “What about socialisation?”) we attend lots of groups and have made many friends.  Currently we attend three different social groups, where the kids play and do art and craft activities mainly; occasionally they put on shows as a whole group (around 30 kids ranging from 2 to 14). We also meet up with other home ed families at museums or the park or other days out (You’d be amazed how quiet places are during term time!!) Poppet is also learning the cornet and recorder as part of a band and there are all sorts of opportunities to join other groups all the time.

I have to say, if anything, our life is sometimes too hectic!

But the best thing about home ed is how flexible it is – if you fancy a duvet day you can, if you want a trip to the beach you can. Anyone up for the beach today? No!

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Black holes, Green holes, Muddy holes

My girls love art. They also love getting messy outside. Put the two together and they are in their element!

I don’t like to prescribe what they do in terms of their learning. We are not completely ‘unschooling’ but I do like them to have choice and ownership over their learning – this can lead to chaos with art!

It was lovely and sunny yesterday afternoon and we’d decided we needed a quiet day at home following our ‘adventure’ the previous day. Poppet and Pickle wanted an outdoor activity so I sent them down the garden to collect leaves – mean Mummy I hear you say! They happily took to their task while I settled Piccalilli for a nap. By the time I joined them they looked like two little gardeners, with rakes in hand and a huge pile of rainbow coloured leaves.

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They decided to make a Space scene (as that’s what they had chosen for their topic this month). “Let’s make black holes”, said Poppet, so they busily created ‘green holes’ (as Pickle renamed them!)

They asked my advice and opinion; we discussed colours and patterns; I enjoyed watching them buzzing around the garden looking for the correct colour of leaf… but essentially they made their own creations. They reminded me of the art of Andy Goldsworthy and I felt very proud!

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Today they disappeared off down the garden with the memory of yesterday’s successes in all of our minds…

An hour later they returned… covered in mud! And I mean covered, clothes and all! No art had been created, but a big, muddy hole had appeared and two little girls joyfully jumped into a warm, bubbly bath!

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