Our Home Education Journey
Guest post by Nicola Braund, a UK home educator and blogger.
I first discovered Home Education in 2001 when I met a Home Educating family. It wasn't very popular back then and not many people knew it was on option, but I just knew it was something I would love to do with my own children one day.
When I had my first child in 2003 I was adamant she wouldn't go to school. I wanted her to learn in her own time, follow her own interests and develop a love of learning. I now have five children who have never been in the schooling system ages 16, 13, 10, 8 and 5 and HE is normal family life for us! Home Education is now on the rise here in the UK, many families are turning to HE as their only option for many different reasons.
When my children were little we spent our time outdoors exploring the woods or in the local library reading books. We still take our classroom out and about as much as we can, but now the older ones are at the stage where they are studying for their GCSEs so we are a little more structured.
We work at the kitchen table when we are at home as this allows me to cook alongside them, but if it's a lovely day we take our classroom to the park or garden. Even though it's known as 'Home Education' it certainly isn't 'school at home' and we make time to go on plenty of trips to places such as the canal, picnics in the woods and other educational trips which tie in with the topics we are covering such as a tour of Yorkshire Water.
DD16* has been very busy over the past couple of years sitting IGCSEs privately and is at college and is preparing for her Chemistry and Biology GCSE next Summer. DS13** is currently learning the KS4 curriculum and will be joining DD16 at college this September.
The younger children spend a lot of time learning through play. Whilst my older ones use textbooks for the three core subjects. I don't plan too much as many friends, who are school teachers, advised me not to 'bog myself down with paperwork' as I know what I am going to cover each week. I do keep a HE diary though to make notes of what each one of them is currently learning and what each of them need to revise and work on. Sometimes topics just arise randomly or a particular topic takes their interest. For example, a volcano erupted in Iceland which led to a project on that particular country. We recently completed a project on Australia as they were concerned about the recent fires there.
Home Education has benefited us as a family. My children have had the opportunity to bond as siblings and socialise much more with children and adults of all different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities etc. They have had the chance to gain real-life skills and develop their interpersonal and analytical skills from hands-on learning experiences.
One of the best things about Home Education is the fact that it's not 'school at home' and there's no 'being behind', the children get to learn what they want, when they want and in a way that suits them. I also believe children are always learning wherever they are and whatever they are doing. We are lucky enough to have lots of local groups and workshops for the HE community such as a gymnastics class, science workshops, Robotics course and forest schools. Local attractions such as Eureka! and The Deep now have special days just for Home Educated children.
It's quite amazing to see DD16, the little girl I taught to read many years ago, is now choosing her career path, studying for GCSE's and has been on work experience at various places.
*Darling Daughter, 16
**Darling Son, 13
Thank you, Nicola, for sharing your story! You can follow along on Nicola and her children's Home Education journey here:
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