Our Home Education Journey with PlanBee
Hello, my name is Jennie and I am a home educating teacher mummy based in Kent.
I am incredibly excited to be collaborating with PlanBee over the coming year and would like to introduce myself and share some of the reasons for our home educating journey.
Before we home educated...
As a young adult I did not think that I would have children of my own. It was not until I met David, aged almost 31, that I decided with him that we would like to have children together, be parents together, raise a family together.
David ran and still does run his own business. I was a primary school teacher. We were (still are?) both workaholics. We loved our work. It was a passion that we shared but we also shared a vision of making our work fit around children in the future.
Fast forward 13 years and we have five children.
Four living children, all of whom we educate at home.
My own school journey
I loved school as a child. I loved my primary schools, as a military child I went to lots of them! And I LOVED secondary school. I loved my lessons, I loved my social life, I loved my teachers, I loved school! My own school experiences led me to becoming a teacher myself. I got a first class honours degree in primary education and then became a hardworking, passionate and creative teacher.
Before our children were born I was excited for their school journey. I wanted them to go to a small village school where I would volunteer on the PTA and in the classroom, just like my mum did when I was a child. I would be a Governor and perhaps even teach at the school part time. We purposefully chose a house in a village with such a school.
Although Esther and William started school, twice, they did not once finish a whole school year. The education system and our village school were not meeting our children’s needs. I was teaching at the school and could see that going forward the school was not what we wanted for our children and so we decided that I would teach the children at home.
Our home education journey
We left the education system in April 2016 and we have honestly not looked back. There are days when everything is wonderful, magical, when it all just falls into place but there are also really very hard days, just as there are in any family and/or educational setting. There are always doubts and niggles but I know that we would never go back.
Esther and William are now nearly 10. They are wonderful children who have been through a lot. I am so incredibly proud to be their mummy and so honoured to their teacher. Esther has dyslexia and possible ADD, William has high functioning ASD (as yet undiagnosed). Though they are twins they are very different from one another. They have very different personalities and very different strengths. They love each other dearly and are the best of friends.
Bea is a bright, emotional, August born. She will be six this year and Edie has just very recently turned three. They are a feisty little tag team who keep us all on our toes.
Learning in lockdown
The recent lockdown has provided us with a time to slow down (as much as you can with four small children), reflect, take stock and remember how blessed we are to have one another, to be able to take this time together to do the things that we want to do and to be proud of the life we have chosen.
Our home education curriculum
If the children were at school, Esther and William would now be in Year 4 and Bea would be coming to the end of Year R. Edie would just be starting her preschool adventure though I am certain she was just born last week! At the moment the idea is that the children will all, at some point in the future, feed back into the school system. Because of this, I am very aware of a need to cover the primary curriculum.
While we do not have a set in stone routine, we are a very structured home ed family. We cover times tables, mental maths, written maths, phonics, SPAG and reading every day. We use a mixture of workbooks, online printable lessons and resources and learning through play.
We work 7 days a week but we only do around 3 hours work a day. This is often early in the morning leaving the rest of the day free to see friends (when not in the middle of a global pandemic).
One to one
I try to do some one to one work with each child each day. This is necessary as they are all working at different levels. Esther is currently working at Year 3 while William is wrapping up Year 5 learning ready to start Year 6 in September. He is ready for KS3 work really in some areas. Bea is working through Year 1 content but very slowly as she is only 5 and I believe the best thing for her at the moment is play. Lots and lots of books and play!
Home education and PlanBee
One of the reasons that I am so excited to collaborate with PlanBee is that I love their topic planning and the way they cater for different learning styles. The PlanBee plans are creative and involve lots of practical activities and chances for the children to be active, to talk, to do personal research.
I have been using PlanBee lesson plans, topics and resources for five years. At first in my classroom when I was teaching and then with my own children at home. The differentiated plans give a great starting point for mixed age, mixed ability families like mine. Having the planning as a starting point to build around, to adapt to our individual circumstances saves me a lot of time and internet searching. My children all love the structure of the PlanBee lessons and we are especially enjoying the Geography and History topics at the moment, and looking forward to trying the Art and RE.
Why reinvent the wheel?
As a home educator I want to give my children the best education that I possibly can but I do not want to reinvent the wheel. I want to make the most of available resources that can ensure that as well as being my children’s teacher I also have plenty of time to just be mummy.
And while I know and value that children are learning all the time through all that they do and see, I am a mummy and a teacher that likes a plan. I am a mummy and a teacher that likes a PlanBee!
Over the coming weeks and months on my blog and social media, and here with PlanBee, I will be sharing lots more about our home education journey. How I plan our days, how and why I choose certain topics, how I use the resources from PlanBee. I will share books that we read, physical resources that we use all alongside lots of practical playful learning and our educational days out, our Edspire Edventures.
Our aim is to give our children the best education we can and a childhood filled with wonder, magic, adventure and dreams.
I hope you might join us along the way.
You can learn more about us by following us on social media or reading our blog.