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.

 

 

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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. 

 

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.

 

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!

Spring Walk

On friday we went to our local country park to feed the ducks.Ducks

I identified some trees and we had two go’s in the park.

And we were lucky and quiet enough to even see a squirrel up close!

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We also saw some ducklings and goslingsrsz_imga0811 rsz_1imag0438, sooooo cute!!

They came so close that i could touch them! But i don’t think mummy duck would be very impressed!

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Joint/Duo Reading

We have started reading today. We decided on a new strategy, a version of joint reading which we named duo reading. We have had a copy of  Blitzcat by Robert Westall for a number of years and we then found The Robert Westall Box Set but kept the single copy. So now either me or my husband have one copy and Abbie has the other. We read a page and she follows, then it’s her turn. This enables us to point out when she either adds words in or misses them out (which she does on a regular basis).

We have also found that she is more likely to ask about words that she doesn’t know the meaning of.