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Firstly, to just give a few Home Ed facts:
Most home educators in the UK call it 'home education' not 'home schooling' What we do, is not 'school'. It is a different approach to education, rather than a different approach to school...... I do hope that makes sense....
It is our responsibility to provide an education for our child, suitable to her age and aptitude.
In Scotland, we have no obligation to:
- Stick to a curriculum.
- Timetable our work.
- Report back to any authority.
The local education authority (LEA) has no right to demand entry to our home, access to our work, or to our child (without the relevant social services procedures)
Our day isn't governed by a school day... learning can happen at bath time, in our bed on a lazy weekend morning, at the dinner table, out on a walk in the car.
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A few of the lovely things that we do in our day:
We read books, nice long books
We started with Winnie The Pooh, a chapter at a time, It took a long time to get through, and 'we' often choose to read the same chapter over, and over, and over...
We have now moved onto some Roahl Dahl books. We get through 6 or 7 chapters at a time, I have to stop when my voice gets too hoarse to continue.
We read picture books too, we get through about 4 or 5 a day...... we do A LOT of reading...
We have picnics and parties
Yesterday we had a picnic on the beach.... the beach was a yellow bed sheet... the sea a blue bed sheet. :)
We spent a long time planning our trip, we packed our bags, we prepared our picnic. We sat on the beach and talked about the hot sun, we put on our sun-cream and our sun-hats and sun-glasses 8) (there was 5 inches of snow outside)
We have had birthday parties for dolls and teddies (which includes making and wearing party hats, wrapping a present and setting a birthday tea table) we also occasionally just have simple picnics, outside if the weather is good but sometimes on the livingroom floor.
We play computer games
The cbeebies section of the BBC website is amazing for pre-school computer games. For as important to have confidence on computers as it is being able to hold a pencil or look in a book.
We watch sports and nature programmes
The winter Olympics has proved a recent favourite, we never watch football (Yawn!) and haven't yet got her in to rugby. We enjoy watching them together and have a chat about what we see and if it looks fun. We talk about the animals in nature programmes and talk about where they live and what they eat.
We visit museums and galleries
If we see something we like (eg we recently saw an Irish Elk) we'll have a chat about it o the way home and use the computer, that evening to find photos/ artists impressions and more information... and usually discuss it further.
We look at maps
Specifically world maps
"We're very own planet" E announces.
Talking about countries and people. We are lucky to have family and friends who lived in, or are from, various corners of the globe. So we often talk about these places, using our friends as reference points.
This includes talking about why we eat certain foods and how we cook them. Sieving and mixing, weighing and measuring, touching and smelling and discussions of where the foods might come from, and what we grow in our garden.
We will garden
At harvest time (September-ish) E showed a little interest in 'helping Mummy' but she didn't want to get cold and dirty so it was difficult to arrange gardening jobs for her.... However...6 months is a long time in a young child's world and she is now very keen to get out in the garden, plant seeds and watch them grow
We can't underestimate the power of good old fashioned play. Occasionally I'll set it up for her but more often than not it is just what ever she wants to do. We try to make sure that most of the toys have an educational value to them - Pots and pans, tea sets, shop and money till, building blocks, train sets, duplo, lego, lots of dressing up stuff. Hopefully all encouraging role play and creativity. (she has plenty of plastic junk too..... well, we can't control everything)
We do a little number and letter recognition, occasionally she will ask about written words and we try to explain the sounds of the letters.... but, she is still only 3 and there is no need to rush into it.
We both have teachers in our families, we have friends who have either trained to be teachers or looked into it, we have neighbours who are teachers and work for the LEA.
The decision to home-educate was a simple one for us to take... it seemed natural and comfortable to us. However, the decision to tell our family, friends and neighbours that we intended to do so was much more difficult. In a country where 9-3 schooling is the norm and indeed, has been the norm for many generations. (Scotland's statutory education provision goes back further than in most - if not all -other countries)
It is not the popular decision. Most are curious, a few are sceptical. I have been told by one friend that it is 'wrong'
Perhaps most think that we will 'come round' or change our minds.... and by all means if E makes the informed choice that she wants to go to school then she shall. But for now, this is something we are committed to and it is something we take seriously.
If you are thinking about home educating your child or you want to know a little more about home education the following links might be helpful.
Schoolhouse - A website for HE in Scotland
Education Otherwise - HE in England (claims to be nationwide but DO NOT follow their guidance if you are in Scotland - The laws are different and it has ended in tears more than once)
Simple Homeschool - A great American blog, full of ideas and suggestions for HE families.
Well, it was meant to be a quick summary, I don't think I have covered even half of what we do or our opinions on it..... oops...
Thanks for reading ;o)