So…we have been home educating for almost three weeks now! It is something I never, ever thought I would do, not even in my wildest dreams (or nightmares)! But adoption has led me down all sorts of unexpected paths. This one, I must say, is not quite as bad as I expected it to be and touch wood, I haven’t gone completely bonkers yet (my friends may beg to differ).
But thanks to the support of family, friends and professionals, home educating is looking like a longer-term option than first anticipated, not least because Winnie, the pupil in question, seems to be much happier, even if she still isn’t that keen on learning. And so, what started as a temporary measure, while we look for a suitable school that can meet her needs, is evolving in to a plan to trial it for a while….a year maybe?!? Let’s see how it goes.
Don’t get me wrong it is not all rosy. In my dreams home educating looks something like this:
After a healthy breakfast of fruit and yoghurt and freshly squeezed juice, we settle down for a creative literacy session, followed by some stimulating maths exercises that inspire Winnie to learn.
We then prepare lunch together, the children helping to chop, stir, butter, cook etc.
After lunch we head outside to explore nature on our doorstep, capturing what we see through photographs and drawings.
We return home to record what we have done/found and embark on an art related or science activity, while calmly listening to music.
In reality home educating actually looks like this:
I scrabble around looking for something to eat for breakfast because I have forgotten to go shopping. I end up serving chocolate chip brioche and slightly squidgy bananas.
We attempt some literacy or maths exercises/games, which usually result in a meltdown (both me and Winnie) as she insists, for example, the word neenaw rhymes with pin and that the computer cannot possibly be right!
We pop to the local shop to pick up ready-made sandwiches for lunch, before heading for the great outdoors. This bit does actually happen and is in my opinion the biggest benefit of home schooling (although I might change my mind when it is cold and wet).
We return home where I attempt to print out our photographs and immediately break the printer. I set-up an art activity involving paint, which I think will keep both Winnie and Baby Billy engaged while I make a work phone call. As I am talking to my colleague, one of the kittens knocks everything off the kitchen window sill in to the sink. One plant pot knocks the cold tap on and water sprays everywhere, sending the second kitten darting across the table through the paint palette and on to the floor leaving a trail of pink, green, blue and silver paw prints behind him. This triggers wails of ‘Mum, mum, mum, mum” and sets the dog off barking. The TV goes on!
But despite the chaos, further enhanced today by Sammy the teenager attempting photography experiments in the kitchen using, vinegar, boiling water, raspberries and lemons (and breaking a mug in the process), it is actually all going quite well!
Home educating is opening up a whole new world to us and a whole new way of learning. If Winnie isn’t in the right frame of mind to practice her phonics we will do something completely different. We are slowly realising that everything can be turned in to a learning experience, for everyone, and it can be fun! Plus there is no school uniform to iron. Everyone’s a winner. Let’s hope it’s not just a honeymoon period!