A Little Luxury

Before I took the children out of school I had 6 hours 10 minutes each day, Monday to Friday (in term time), when I could have time to myself.  Now they are here every minute of every day and although it can be very rewarding it can also be very hard especially when you want a little ‘me’ time.

I’ve given up an awful lot to home educate and have to juggle so much each day. Collecting birthday & Christmas presents needs military planning to make sure the child doesn’t see the present. The shopping used to be done while they were out, now we have to drag unwilling children around the supermarkets.  I used to love to sit and read when it was quiet, it never seems to be quiet enough now to concentrate.

But, the little luxury that I can’t do without is my bath once a week. Now before all the yuck’s start, the once a week is my ‘take as long as I want in the bath’ night.  Other nights are a shower or a 15 minute bath. I used to do it regularly, but during the day, when they were in school, now, forget it.

The warnings start 2 hours before, I’m going for a bath at 6pm. I’m going for my bath in an hour. Does anybody need the bathroom before I have my bath in 30 minutes. In 10 minutes I am going to lock the bathroom door, if you don’t go in now you can’t for a minimum of an hour. They all know that unless someone is dying that I am not moving until I’m ready.

Now, the main bit of luxury is filling the bath up so high that the water immediately starts to go down the overflow the minute I get in. No problem, I just keep filling in up. Lots of hot water and bubbles are the order of the day.

So, you can keep your flowers, chocolates & bottles of wine, OK maybe not the wine. The only treat I need is my deep, hot, bubbly bath and an hour with no interruptions and I’m happy.

 

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Nessy – Help For Children With Dyslexia – Review

Nessy was recommended to me by a friend who had used it with her daughter. We think Jess is dyslexic, although she has only had very basic tests which show a problem but nothing was confirmed. We had so many problems with numbers & letters back to front, letters completely missing from words even when she had written it 10 minutes before, she has always had difficulty telling time and so much more.

The Nessy reading & spelling  program was developed by a team of specialist teachers & psychologists at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre, with dyslexic children in mind. It is aimed at 5-12 years but I think Jess would have struggled with it before she was 7. There are 10,000 schools worldwide that use the program so your child may have already have knowledge of it.

We have Nessy Reading & Writing & also Nessy Numbers. Both are used equally on an almost daily basis.

I have noticed that some of the reading games can be done too easily, just by looking at the initial letter of the word rather than actually reading it, this is a minor issue though.

Jess loves the games and earning nuggets that she can spend in ‘Monkey Town’. I personally feel that the games could get boring if they are doing them too often. But, it’s not me that uses it so I asked Jess to tell me what she thinks.

Please ignore the spelling & (lack of) punctuation as she is working 18 months behind her age. She’s slowly catching up and is doing a lot more work than she did at school.  This is partially down to Nessy 😀

Jess – 9

I am home Ed and I use Nessy. Nessy is a fun way for kids to lean I find it very useful at times like the  first time I went on Nessy I did not know how to tell  the time properly but now I know that for pm all you need to do is take away  twelve and that is just on Nessy clock island. On Nessy tables of doom I learnt my 3, 4, 6 and 7 times tables

On Nessy reading and spelling I am learning to spell properly also on Nessy there is something called monkey town. In monkey town there are rewords like if you complete an island you get an egg and you can see the egg via the big tree in monkey town and there are loads more rewords to collect

Lapbooks

If you have children and haven’t tried using lapbooks you are missing out on a fantastic resource.  I use them as a home educator but they are just as useful for a schooled child to reinforce a topic.

Families with children of different ages can find lapbooks very useful as the same subject can be used for several children who are  at varying levels and have different learning styles.

All you need to make a lapbook is a document wallet, but you can also use construction paper or card.  All a lapbook is really is a large outer cover which contains a collection of mini-books, flaps, pockets, folded display material and anything else you like. The content is totally up to you, we like to add artwork to the front to show the topic.

If you’ve been covering a subject the lapbook can collate all the main information into one place.  We were covering The Vikings when I first found out about lapbooks so this was our first book. They are a hands on way of learning and the information seems to stay with the child as they are so involved with the construction of the book. My youngest regularly goes back to her lapbooks and re-reads them.

There are plenty of templates online as well which we do use, it is possible to make the complete book just using these.  Just search lapbook resources and see what comes up. Pintrest is also full of usual boards for most subjects.

We are still quite new to lapbooks but below are photo’s of our first lapbook and the one we are working on now which is on volcano’s.

 

 

Cooking

It’s times like this that I love home ed.  Abbie is sat at the table doing a blog post on the Sticky Toffee Pudding that she made yesterday while keeping an eye on the spaghetti bolognese that she is in the middle of making.  She’s been wanting to make a ‘proper’ meal for us for ages.

I will update with links to the recipes tomorrow.

Updated a bit earlier than planned. Here is the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe 

Spaghetti Bolognese

 

Storm Doris – Video

Storm Doris was due to hit most of the UK today but luckily we got off very lightly in Nottinghamshire. I went out early afternoon and it was a bit windy and a couple of gusts stopped me dead but not as bad as it could have been.

Abbie and Jess spent a lot of the day just watching the trees in the woods behind our house and it sparked discussions about storms and the power of mother nature. The rest of the day was spent doing word searches and drawing.

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.

 

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!