A new HE friend of mine asked me yesterday how I home educate; what methods I use. I first explained how structured I started out. Setting alarm clocks to keep a regular, dare I say it, school time and planning out lessons the night before - yes, I blush at how silly this must sound to some of the other HEers out there, but I wanted to be completely honest about it. You see when I first started out I wasn't sure where to begin I had a lot of worries about how I was going to teach my girls all they needed to learn in, what seemed like, those few years. What added to this stress was the amount of HE public policing I got and pressure from family members wondering how on earth I was going to manage it.
What I have learnt over the last 4 years how amazing a child's mind really is. How quickly they soak up information and, if they are provided with the tools that suit their learning styles, how easily they learn. For me it is now about making learning pleasurable; learning should be fun! Children, in my experience, don't take as much in when force fed education like those French geese are fed corn to make foie gras.
Instead of coming downstairs with a timetable in my head - or if I'm completely honest sometimes written down- I now get the kids dressed washed and fed, and then we settle down at the dining table to learn. Instead of saying: 'Right first we're going to do some maths,' I say 'what do you want to start with?' They usually answer with math, english or science, sometimes we even get geography, history or a language. If I do have a plan (yes, I still make some) it is usually something fun and interactive that even draws little HB to the table, like an art project, maths project, science experiment, making a board game that sort of thing. Still sometimes the girls draw out a plan of what they'd like to learn for the day sometimes. I just say let’s see how it goes and not get stressed about it. I've nearly blogged for a whole year now and what I have noticed most is how much we really get through; all without trying very hard too!
I find this method works best, certainly for my family. I have discovered that children - my children to be exact - flit from maths, maths, maths to science, science, science, to weeks of English and story writing, or suddenly we are in a past world studying history or travelling the world, learning about earthquakes or how what other countries are like: geography. Their interest in the world around them is what makes it all so easy.
If HB was my first child I think I would have panicked a lot more. The arguements I would have had trying to fit her into my schedule. HB is the most cuddle and affectionate out of all of mine I think, but she is super independent. Her learning style is, sitting down shouldn't be for long unless it is extremely fun. Workbooks can be fun apparently. At the moment, as I am writing this, she's really enjoying her gold stars book!
Back to today, or yesterday really, Chiara was chuffed that her HE friend completed all her questions from yesterday, his mum sent is answers to us and she thought his answers very clever! I also bought some matchboxes for our new matchbox project coming up. Handy because I have a new experiment I want to try which involves matches! I will be posting about that one!
Anyway back to HB and her workbook and N making 3D shapes for maths! I feel a maths resource immerging...