Home Ed Bargains Of The Week

I do like my bargains, they are even better when they are educational as well.

We went to the car boot sale yesterday and got a couple of really good things. Firstly for Jess I bought a ‘make your own wind chime’ kit, the ‘jewels’ you stick on the side were missing but not a problem as I’ve got loads, everything else was there, that was 10p.  On another stall we found a new copy of a DK Find Out magazine with a free min kite attached, she was sat reading the magazine yesterday for around an hour and is waiting for a windy day so she can try the kite. There was also a new sealed small purple (I love purple) notebook which I have claimed. We were charged 20p for both.

The next stall we went to was selling everything at 10p.  Jess got a doll that’s half of the height of her. We found a Ravensburger 540 piece puzzleball. Not sure yet if all the pieces are there but the box is immaculate  so hoping so, if they aren’t we haven’t lost much.  There was also a part completed latch hook rug kit.  None of us have done a rug before, although Abbie wants to do a rag rug at some time, so this might be fun. As it’s a dog design there may be a few arguments as too who gets this in their room.

Just as we were leaving I noticed 3 ring binders on a stall. Abbie asked how much and the lady said 10p, so she picked a purple one with stars on. She was then told she could take all 3 for the 10p so another bargain buy.

So for a total of 70p we got loads of things to keep the children occupied and (what Abbie hasn’t thought about) lots more storage for worksheets!

 

Is Home Education More Expensive Than School?

I’ve read some articles where people had said that they couldn’t afford to home educate their children as it would be so much more expensive than sending them to school. After I took the youngest child out of school to join her sister I did wonder the same thing and so found myself sat working out how much we spent on the children  when they went to school.

I took both of mine out when they were in junior school so the cost of uniforms wasn’t much of an issue. Due to the state they regularly came home in I started buying the supermarkets own brands, I could buy a full uniform, 2 of everything, for around £20. Shoes were the most expensive single thing and could cost up to £30. In total I probably spent around £150 per year for both children.  I know this would have gone up though as the eldest would now be at secondary and I’ve read that would work out at over £300 just for her.

School trips were starting to become a big expense. I remember only having one educational trip a year at school, these 2 were having up to 3 a year.  They cost an average of £10-12 per trip, around £70 a year.

School meals or packed lunches were the other big expense. When the youngest left I think it was £2.15 a day, even when they had a packed lunch it cost so much more to buy things for a packed lunch rather than cooking a meal.  Almost forgot the weekly (or twice weekly) tuck shop, plus the regular raffles and other sales.  And, (thank you Emma), the fancy dress days where you had to either buy or make a costume, the ‘pay 50p to come in your own clothes’ days as well.

When I add all those up, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something important, It comes to over £850! I know it seems a lot but if you work out an average of £1.50 per child for lunch so for 2 of them it’s £585 for the time they are in school! That really came as a shock to me.

When you add up that the children spend an average of 39 weeks in school that works out at almost £22 a week. We probably spend around £80 a month on activities or we will when we start back horse riding again. So almost the same that we would spend if the children were at school.

I use a lot of free online resources for the children. BBC Bitesize is one of the main ones  we use but there’s a lot more when you start looking. We also use the internet a lot, there’s so much you can learn off youtube. It probably works out no more than £2-3 a week when you add up the paid for apps and the workbooks we buy, plus stationary.

But balanced against that are the additional monetary savings we make.  If we go on holiday in term time it’s almost half the price that it is in the school holiday. Going to an attraction during term time rather than a weekend or the school holidays reduces stress levels so much and that is priceless. And now at least the money we spend on trips is something the whole family can enjoy!

In conclusion I think that you can spend as much or as little as you want on home education, it’s all personal choice. It is possible to provide an excellent education for very little if not free. 

 

100 Ways To Home Ed: A Week In Our Life

Today I’d like you to join us to see what a typical week is like in our family. This post is being written as part of a series, #100waysofhomeed, in which home educators give you a glimpse into their daily lives. We are all part of a blog hop (see all the previous posts here) and each day a different family will write about how they educate their children. Yesterday we heard from The Purple Sheep about world schooling which is something we would love to do but maybe on a more part time basis.

Our family is probably a little different from most of the families you will hear from as we are grandparents to the children we home educate. We have special guardianship of them so we have full control over their education.

We started off using a structured approach when we took the eldest (Abbie) out of school when she was 10 and in year 5. The very first morning we worked out a timetable which covered the majority of the school curriculum, which we thought it was best to stick with. Well that was what we thought at the time, it lasted for a month at most!

Now 21 months and quite a few changes later, we are following a semi structured approach, and Abbie, who is now 12 has also been joined by her younger sister Jess who is 9. Apart from some set subjects our weeks vary and there is no such thing as a typical week, so I’ll tell you about the last 7 days:

We don’t tend to work on Saturday’s as the children normally visit their cousins. This week though we didn’t go and Abbie decided to write a blog post on the whales that beached in New Zealand a few days before (she does write a fair bit on animals – blogs by the way form part of our teaching, the idea is that it helps with their grammar spelling and punctuation etc, not to mention keyboard skills), and Jess finished off the gingerbread house she was making from an empty cereal box. Abbie then decided to make some Rocky Road and wrote another blog post on that.

Rocky Road

Sunday as we were staying in, I let them choose what they wanted to do. I was expecting them to play on the PS3 all day but they surprised me! Abbie decided to make croutons while Jess was learning online with Prodigy Maths and Nessy Reading. After that they sat down to watch a couple of episodes of Inside Natures Giants.

Probably should mention at this point that we use any and every resource that we can think of to help us, this includes documentary programs and educational sites that we find on the net, we are also teaching the children cookery, which in our view is an essential life skill (it also helps with weights and measures), plus the children enjoy it. Add to this helping with our business accounts and basic website building and they are getting quite a rounded education.

Actually Abbie has always enjoyed baking, but has now asked if she can start cooking full meals. I’m assuming that she has an interest due to seeing us making meals from scratch on a daily basis. But, I suppose it might the fact she hates our cooking and so wants to learn to cook herself so she doesn’t have to eat ours!

On Monday we were back to our ‘normal’ routine. They both do maths and English most days, Jess loves history so we quite often fit that in for her. Abbie likes science so that is a part of her daily routine. Another big part of the day involves a walk. We are taking part in the #Walk1000Miles challenge to complete that in our 12 month timescale we have to walk just over 19 miles every week. I try to do a fun activity when I can and today it was building a bridge from spaghetti that would hold a bag of sugar.

Spaghetti Bridge

Tuesday was pretty much the same as Monday with the maths, English & the walk (we did 6 miles today) but we also did drawing. Both children did an animal fact sheet that involves drawing an animal of their choice and then researching some interesting facts about it which include its diet and where it lives. Abbie also read about the digestive system and drew it.

Wednesday is our busy day, it starts quite early with a 30 minute drive to a home ed parkour class. Once we get home we have a quick bite to eat and then out for a 3 mile walk. We have our evening meal early as Abbie has to leave for St John ambulance cadets just after 4.30. We don’t do any ‘sit down’ work on Wednesdays but we do talk as we are walking around which could be anything from identifying a new bird or a discussion about pollution and the hole in the ozone layer.

We went to see another home educating family on Thursday afternoon. Before we went Jess did maths and some more on her lapbook about volcanoes, Abbie spent the morning doing GCSE maths & some physics. It was nice to sit down and talk to another adult, other than my husband, and the children enjoy spending time with their friends. But, the learning for the day wasn’t over. Abbie spent a couple of hours making a chicken & vegetable soup from scratch, then croutons to go with it and finished off with a banana cake.

Today will be some more GCSE maths and biology for Abbie and I’m hoping that Jess will complete her lapbook, and will also be spending some time on Nessy numbers. As we’ve just got a boxset of the Victorian & Edwardian Farms & the Victorian Pharmacy I think we might have a few hours watching those in the afternoon.

For our family having a semi structured approach seems to be the best for us. The children have a sense of direction and we have found they work better when they have an idea of what they doing on a daily basis. We have the freedom to change things around as and when we want to but it is a constantly evolving process.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how home education looks for us. Coming up on Monday is the lovely Elin at Elin Sion.

#100daysofhomeed – Week One

Taking part in #100daysofhomeed has encouraged me to take photo’s of the things the children do on a daily basis.  It’s amazing how much they do that I don’t even register as learning.

This week while we were taking part in the #walk1000miles challenge, we have identified trees and worked out the age of trees plus learned the names of a couple of new water fowl that we didn’t know before.

They’ve met up with other home educated children at the local park and also at parkour. A lot of painting and baking seems to have happened this week plus a few blog posts. And all the usual English, maths, science and history of course.

I wondered what would happen today as I didn’t ask them to do anything at all. I was quite surprised though as Abbie asked if she could make some croutons to go with the chicken soup that we made yesterday, Jess asked to go onto Prodigy maths and then they both asked if they could watch a couple of episodes of Inside Nature’s Giants.

All in all not a bad week.

 

What Is A Good Education?

We all want our children to have a good education. But what is a good education? Nowadays so many people seems to have or want to have a degree. But is that what prospective employers want?

When you enter the world of employment, a degree in your chosen field is fairly essential. Isn’t it? Maybe not. Lectures  and exams can only teach a certain amount and the majority of that teaching is theory & knowledge. But you don’t actually get the hands-on, practical experience which can be invaluable.

¹ The National Citizen Service recently surveyed business leaders and teenagers who will soon be entering the job market. 69% of the teenagers questioned thought that exam results were the most important thing when you were applying for jobs. But 63% of business leaders said that the best young employees are those who have developed skills and interests outside the classroom.

67% of the business leaders thought that younger employees came into the workplace lacking necessary skills, such as time management skills and team working abilities, and 70% of business leaders agreed that many of the skills essential for the workplace cannot be taught at school.

These leaves students with only a few alternatives. Take a gap year from university to get work experience; take on a part time job while studying or delay going to university until you have some work experience.

This is where home educated children have a distinct advantage though. Home education gives the child the chance to get both the experience and the qualifications, if that’s what they want to do.  Without the constraints of school, children can do voluntary work from early teens (this varies on the profession) to get experience in their chosen career.  Most volunteering can only be done from 14 upwards but there are some organisations that take families with young children as the parents will be supervising them.

In order to help me answer the question of what a good education is I looked at an online dictionary. This said: ²the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

So reading that it seems that if my children have developed a good general knowledge, are intelligent and mature and can reason then I’ve succeeded in giving them a good education?

No, I think education is about so much more than that. It is also about creativity, problem solving, thinking critically, happiness and understanding.

In the end though the only person who can say if they had a good education is the person who received it. My parents probably thought that sending me to school was the best for me. I loved junior school and hardly missed a day, secondary though was a different matter. I hated it,  I was picked on and so I did everything I could to get out of going, and as such learnt very little.

I think the best we can do as parents is listen to our children and follow their lead whenever possible. If you home educate and they want to try school let them, if they want to go to sixth form or college again let them try it. The worst that can happen is that they find it’s not for them and go back to what they are comfortable with.

 

¹ Taken from hrgrapevine.com

²dictionary.com

It’s Wednesday Again!

Since Jess joined us at home, mornings have been a lot more relaxed. No rushing to get up, dressed and out by 8.40, unless we have a meeting or trip to go to. Apart from Wednesday’s.

Wednesday is busy from start to finish. The children have to be up by 8.30 at the latest, that doesn’t sound too bad, unless you have an Abbie! This strange creature doesn’t seem to like surfacing before 10am (11 if she can get away with it). I now try and organise things to start after this time where possible as she’s like a bear that’s been woken early from hibernation when she’s made to get up and she doesn’t want to.

We have to leave the house just after 9.30 (this will change to 9 in a few weeks but I’ve not given her the bad news yet) to get to their parkour session. The 30 minute drive though gives her time to properly wake up.

We got home again just after 12 and grab a bite to eat then it’s out walking. We try to do a minimum of 3 miles a day as part of our #walk1000miles challenge. We did 4 miles today but Jess cheated today as she took her scooter 🛴  😠

Back home again after the walk and we have around an hour until Abbie goes to St John ambulance cadets. Tonight they were doing casualty simulation and Abbie did a bullet wound on her friend with latex. I’m impressed!

 

Why Home Education Is Right For Our Family

We have been home educating 21 months now.  But, the decision to home educate didn’t come easily.  I suppose the main concerns we had were where we capable of doing it? And, were we going to cope with having no child free time! Although once we realised that if it didn’t work you can always put a child back in school again, we decided we had nothing to lose?

One main thing that made it right for us was the flexibility. I’m self-employed so I can work around the children most of the time by working in the evenings or early in the morning before they get up. Being self-employed is also a perfect opportunity for the children to learn about running a business and more importantly keeping accounts. If both parents need to work then home education would, I feel, be very difficult.

I like the fact that we can go on days out during the week in term time when it’s a lot quieter (I don’t like crowds) and you can get some really good prices for flights out of season. I see a trip to Sweden coming soon 😃. I also like that we can go at each child’s pace and if they don’t understand something then we go over it again. If that still doesn’t work we try a different method which is something schools don’t have the time to do.

Because one-to-one, or one-to-two in our case, is much more effective, the whole school day (around 6 hours) can be condensed into 2 hours maximum. This leaves so much free time for the children to do what they are interested in. It’s also easier for the children to say if they don’t understand something as they aren’t ridiculed in front of their friends.  I’ve also found that the eldest seems to like (sometimes anyway) going through work with her younger sister and they have even worked on projects together despite a 2 1/2 year age gap.

The amount of testing they do on children these days (sorry making them sound like lab rats…) is too much for many children, mine included. Seeing a child coming home deflated because they only got 90% in a test (yes really) and made to feel like a failure because of this was too much. I don’t normally tell them actual ‘scores’ on the rare occasion I do test them, all I will say is you passed or you did really well, and that’s all the child needs to know.

The local home education groups have been fantastic for the children when it comes to new activities. They have tried several things that have been arranged at a discount price due to the number of children taking part.  The horse riding lesson was a favourite and they enjoyed screen printing their own t-shirts. We visited the theatre for the first time last year and the eldest even spent 2 days in a local university studying animals. A new activity is parkour which they both love. None of these would have been possible without the home education. Neither would getting up at 2.30 am to see a lunar eclipse on a school day!

From my point of view I now don’t have to iron the school uniforms and mornings are a lot more peaceful as we don’t have to rush to get the children out of the house in time to get to school. Also illnesses and colds have been minimal since they have been out of the school environment. But the big thing is head lice!!! Since both children came out of school no head lice, not even a single one. I think that alone would stop me ever putting them back!

Since I started to home educate my brain has (I think) started to work again. Long since forgotten maths formulas have come back, OK sometimes google has helped, but my brain is actually working again.

I think having the children at home can be really tiring and you can feel very lonely at times. But it’s also making me closer to the children and we are (hopefully) going to be passing on skills to the children that will set them up for life. I think home education is totally worth trying if the school system doesn’t suit your child.

 

#SaferInternetDay #SID2017

As a home educator my children spend a fair amount of time using the internet. They are often doing research for a topic, looking for answers to a question or even just watching a documentary online.  I do of course monitor what they are doing but it’s so easy for them to stumble upon some inappropriate content.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally each February, this year more than 120 countries worldwide, including all 28 countries of the European Union are celebrating it for the fourteenth consecutive year.

Safer Internet Day addresses concerns by helping parents to understand the problems that children can face when using the internet and then arming them with the right tools to keep their children safe while they are online.

Evidence shows that whilst children are taught internet safety at school, or by parents, not all behave safely online.

  • Ofcom found that 45 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds understand how search engines operate but one third say they think all search engine information is truthful.
  • Ofcom found that around 20 per cent of 8- to 15-year-olds with a social networking profile have it set to open.
  • EU kids online found that 29 per cent of UK children have had contact with people they had not met before.

The NSPCC have a fantastic online guide which is well worth a read if you have children who use the internet, which I’m assuming is most of us.

Appologies

This is an apology in advance to my followers for the mixed ups posts that will be coming your way over the coming days/weeks. I used to do 2 blogs and I’m now combining the 2 together in this one. I’m going to add some of the more important old posts on here as newer posts won’t make sense without them.

So sorry if you get excess posts that go back over a year or so. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

They Said I Can’t Home Educate I’m Not A Teacher!

A lot of people don’t seem to understand that parents are equipped to home educate their children even without a teaching degree. After all, who teaches them to walk, talk, use cutlery, who helps them learn their colours , numbers and shapes?  We do! I taught myself to build a basic website and cook. My husband taught himself to do plastering, plumbing, leatherwork plus loads of other things.  If we can learn to teach ourselves things like that why can’t we teach our children maths and English?

You don’t have to know the subject in depth to teach it. If you’ve got a computer I’m sure you can find the answer if you don’t know it.  Buy text books with the answers in them or sign the children up to sites that ‘mark’ the tests for them. I don’t have to know all the answers in order to be a good teacher, I just have to know how or where to find the answers. I’m also willing to learn with them, I’m not too proud to say I don’t know what the answer is to that, lets look.

There are of course things that I just can’t teach them. My youngest loves drawing but I’m no artist, but people on youtube are and there are some fantastic tutorials.  So if anyone tells you that you can’t do it as you are not a teacher, just tell them, yes I can!