100 ways, our home ed.

As part of the “100 ways to home ed” blog hop (Click here  to see all the blog hop posts) for day 4, I am going to fill in a bit about how our week has gone.  In our house the children are 15, 12, 2.9 and I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with number 4. We have been home educating since July 2014, what originally was a 6 month plan while I was on maternity leave to allow the older children a chance to recover from bullying and the trauma of their baby brothers health complications became a long term way of life when we saw the difference that it made not just to them, but to our whole family dynamics.

Yesterday I enjoyed reading about Jo and her adventures with her daughters. They have an unstructured, autonomous approach to home education and I always find these fascinating to read, it is the approach I aim to take with my younger children who wont experience the mainstream school system. You can read about their week over at girlsunschooled .

For my older children I feel the need to follow a bit more of a semi structured approach. They can struggle at times to get motivated and need a bit of encouragement to try new things. We find that sometimes the “I cant do this, I dont know how” can result in a total shut down and I aim to support and encourage them to pick it back up and figure it out, explaining that this is how new skills and knowledge will be learnt. However, with this approach it means that no two days, no two weeks look the same. Sometimes they will be flying through various tasks and we will have outings and experiences and adventures, at other times we will be chilling out watching documentaries together and just talking things through over the dinner table.

This week started off with my Monday banking. I am self employed and so Mondays are usually our day for a trip into town, I pay my earnings in to the bank, get any change needed for my cash tins and treat the children to lunch out. They are both involved in my work, they assist me on a Saturday with setting up and play an active role in welcoming my members and handling money. A has on occasion counted and balanced my cash tins for me if small has been being particularly difficult. This provides them both with valuable work experience and my members of all ages enjoy talking to them, they also assist with child care for my members who bring their children along with them so that they can have a sit down, a hot drink and an adult conversation knowing that their small children are being kept safe and amused. Upon our return from town we sat down and watched Sundays episode of “Call the Midwife”. We enjoy this program and it helps to open up conversation about history, child birth and a wide range of other health matters and issues raised in each episode. This week it was carbon monoxide, and we spoke about the dangers of poisoning, how we now have carbon monoxide detectors and how we now know there is no smell.

Tuesday the older children attended a day at a water treatment education centre. Due to the environment I was unable to attend this with them as I had small and it was also unsuitable for pregnant women. They attended with a home ed group and there were other parents there who we know quite well who were happy to take responsibility for my two. Here they had a tour of the treatment works, they learnt about where the water comes from, the importance and ways of conserving water, how the water is made safe to drink and they had challenges that involved putting together piping for water to travel around to get to all the locations and also to make their packed lunch with zero landfill waste. J was interested and in turn disappointed that there was not more hands on with regards to making water safe to drink so this is something that we plan to look into doing further experiments with using water treatment tablets acquired from a camping supply store and explored using his microscope.

Wednesday we had our big fortnightly social meet. This is at a local adventure playground and provides children and adults from birth up to 60+ (grandparents are of course welcome) the chance to play and mix with a wide range of materials available. From games consoles and pcs, pool tables, table tennis, gym equipment, drawing and Foosball inside to swings, slides, climbing frames, trampolines, sandpits, skate ramps and woodland outside. All secured and safe to explore with one gate in and out which is closed to the public. This is always great fun for all who attend. We have new people coming along and within moments their children have been whisked away for a mass game of it, or hide and seek, some children prefer the indoor environment and like a game of pool while some others bring along card games or board games and set themselves up in another corner. All this with tea, coffee and microwave facilities for the adults who also get to sit down and enjoy that social time. One thing that is often noted, is how no one seems to be interested in how old someone is, boys, girls, ages 6 or 7 up to 16 and 17 will often be involved in the same games. It is great to see the younger ones observing the older ones and learning from them, my two year old watched the older ones on the gym equipment and now will happily climb up and jump off into a forward roll on to the crash mat.

Our wednesday finished with the family sitting down after dinner to watch this weeks episode of Further back in time for dinner” which this week was based in the 1920s. This is another series we enjoy on bbc for yet more conversation about history decade by decade.

Today we are having a chilled out day at home. I have a stock delivery coming for work and had some admin to catch up on. A has completed her future learn course in childhood and infant first aid and has started looking into Cancer Medicines and J has a new range of CGP maths and English books that he has started working on, he often finds book work a bit of a challenge, but this is something that we work through together and he is now a lot more willing and happy to sit with me than he was 2 yrs ago and it gives me a great chance to really spot his progress.

Tomorrow they will be attending their photography course and in the evening A will attend Youth Connexions to continue her work towards her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. You will be able to read about another child led home ed family over at 3 kids and a gluestick for day 5 .

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