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A home educating family – A guest post by Granma

November 6, 2015 - family, Home education
A home educating family – A guest post by Granma

I am the grandparent of home educated children ages 7, 6, 4 & 2. To be honest, when my daughter said 10 months ago that she was taking the two older children out of school & that the third child wouldn’t be going to school the following September because my daughter would be home educating them, I did have my reservations.

My reservations were not because I thought traditional schooling was the way children should be taught, far from it, I disagree with a lot that happens within our school system. No, my reservations were more ‘how do you teach four children of different ages at home?’ ‘What happens if my daughter is ill?’ ‘How would she find things without ever getting a break from them, time to breath, or do housework, grocery shopping etc etc?’

granma

It soon became apparent that as most mothers do, my daughter new best. My grandchildren have blossomed, they are on the whole so very much happier. They get on with each other better, yes they still have their moments, but then they wouldn’t be children if they didn’t, would they?

The vast array of things that they are learning in fun, often in a completely hands on way amazes me. All things that matter, that will in some way be used throughout life. Ok so learning how to make a raw egg bounce may not be a vital life skill, but learning about chemical reactions and how one thing, the vinegar in this case, can alter the molecular structure of another, the eggshell for instance, is very important. (I’m sure there are a whole host of every day reasons why knowing this is important!) My grandchildren also learned that if you drop an egg with a soft shell it will make just as much mess as one with a hard shell!

To learn about the Tudors by visiting a Tudor house and building one of your own, even if in miniature is far more fun than talking about it in a classroom.

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The children know, at least in part, what berries are safe to eat and which are poisonous, what to do if you get stung by a stinging nettle, how to ease a sore throat using plants & weeds from the garden.

They have built a pond, learning why putting goldfish in it will lesson the amount of mosquitoes next year. Learned the cycle of plant & animal life, first hand. As they watched a butterfly lay her eggs on a leaf, saw those eggs turn into caterpillars, watched some of those caterpillars chrysalis themselves & later emerge as butterflies, looking just as their mother did. They planted seeds & watched them grow into seed producing plants.
They have had tours of supermarkets, going behind the scenes to learn how food gets from ‘farm to fork’. Grown their own vegetables, finding ways to stop slugs from eating them, built a hedgehog house and welcomed a hedgehog as the ultimate slug hunter.

They have performed experiments, baked, & cooked learning English, maths & science along the way. They have had to work out codes & spellings to be able to go on the PC. They have used maths whilst doing the weekly grocery shop to work out which is the best bargain, and that it isn’t always the thing that is ‘on offer’.

Over this past 10 months I have seen all four of my grandchildren become more confident, find it easier to talk to and mix with people of all ages, from children the same ages as them, to much older children & adults at home ed clubs. I have seen them use their individual strengths & weaknesses to solve problems alone & together.

I have also watched as my daughter has discovered more about herself as well as her children. As she has learned what works best for each child as the individuals that they are.

Learning isn’t about sitting behind a desk watching the teacher at the front of the class, it’s about working together, or alone, getting stuck in, muddy, dirty, or sitting back & watching, listening, working things out.

lizard

For me as the mother & grandmother of a home educating family, this last 10 months has been fantastic. Not only have I seen all the changes & heard of all the adventures in learning, I have had the immense privilege of being a part of this home educating journey.

19 thoughts on “A home educating family – A guest post by Granma

Erica Price

I’m very tempted about home education, although I do have some concerns about the social side of things especially as my son is an only child.

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    Happyhandley

    I think in some ways it would be easier with only one child. There is so much going on in the home educating world, always places to go and people to see. With 4 children we do sometimes miss out on things that would just be too expensive but with one would be fine. If you find a local home education group, there would be plenty of social opportunities.

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    Granma

    My daughter had some concerns too regarding this aspect of he but there are lots of other parents out there who are educating their children at home, far more than you realise until you are one of those parents/grandparents too. My daughter went on Facebook and just searched for home educating groups in her area, there were around 5 some closer than others.
    My daughter & grandchildren go to he groups once or twice a week. Some of these groups are social, the kids play, the adults chat others are structured with different subjects to learn. The children always get to meet and engage with other children, they have many opportunities to socialise, just as many as at traditional school. Please dont worry about this aspect, do some research first so you have a good understanding of what is out there, then you can make that all important decision. It also doesnt need to be a permanent decision, you can alway try it for a while and see if he works for you.

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      Amz

      The idea that home educated children are isolated and don’t get to spend time with others or learn good social skills is probably the biggest of all the misconceptions about home ed. The home ed community is huge, most areas have thriving home ed groups which will have regular social meetups, activity groups, trips out and about, etc. Our local area does dance classes, a brass band, a choir, art groups, we’ve done archery, foraging, baking, knitting, ice skating, visited farms, wildlife parks, toured a fire station, we have a sports day just like schools do, one year the kids did a Christmas play, the list is endless! Friendships formed through these groups then translate into the ‘real’ world; my daughter gets invited to numerous birthdays and playdates. As well as this, home ed kids also meet and spend time with friends in all the other places any child does – with family, family friends, youth groups, hobby groups, neighbours and neighbourhood children. If anything, some home ed families find that there’s so very much on offer, for both the kids and the adults, that they could easily be spending every day of the week with friends doing one activity or another and if anything they have to schedule in some downtime.

      It’s also worth asking yourself what social values children are actually learning in school, because not all of them are positive ones. There are two brilliant articles here about that: http://happinessishereblog.com/2015/09/socialization-what-i-learned-from-school/ and http://zakslayback.com/2015/10/12/an-open-rant-to-those-who-worry-homeschooling-doesnt-properly-socialize-children/

      The social ‘issue’ is always everyone’s first and biggest worry when considering home ed. Once they actually take the leap and start home edding, most people find that not only is it a huge problem, but that it actually isn’t an issue at all.

      Reply
    loonyliterature

    Hello Erica – my son too is an only child. He’s now at college doing A levels – he is an A student and entertaining the other students with his impersonations of Winston Churchill. If there is one thing that I am sure about in life it is that I home educated him. Hope this helps.

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Charlotte

I really take my hat off to you! I have a six year old daughter who would not learn if I taught her as she doesn’t listen to me! I do however visit as many educational places as possible on holidays to give her a varied and fun time, their little brains take in so much at that age.

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analternativefuture

Lovely post, nice to hear from someone who isn’t the parent but sees the huge benefits to home ed.

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nessjibberjabberuk

I hate leaving my son at school but I realise I don’t have enough knowledge to be able to teach my children myself. My daughter comes home from school with English grammar I have never learnt (and I have a degree in Journalism!) and maths theories which are beyond me. There are no home educating groups round where we live and nothing much to do as we live on a huge housing estate. In other parts of the city home educating is popular but the support network is well established.

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Sarah Bailey

I spent the end of my school life being educated in a small group for home ed kids – we had a building in a primary school and a couple of teachers and it was wonderful so much nicer than being in a traditional school.

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Kara

I have considered home education, especially with my 7 year old as school isn’t his thing – he wants to do rather than listen, but I am not sure I am disciplined enough to do it and mine love the social aspect of school too. We do fun educational stuff at the weekend which works well for us

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Mums do travel

It sounds like your daughter is doing a great job and that the children are thriving. I have a 17 year old and a 12 year old who love their schools, and I know that I’d never be able to teach them all of the things that they’ve learnt at school. Home ed wouldn’t work for us!

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TheMadHouse

What a wonderful post. I love that you have seen so many positive changes and trusted your daughter to know best.

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RossMountney

Such a rewarding post to read – inspirational! Thanks for writing it Grandma! Have shared! x

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Jess @ Catch A Single Thought

I have always been tempted by home educating but had similar reservations to the ones raised here. This post has really made me think though, what a fabulous way to teach and to learn!

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Stephen

How absolutely fascinating, I don’t know of anyone who home schools their children and it has definitely opened my eyes!

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Oana

Your daughter sounds like an amazing mother and educator, I am a teacher but I wouldn’t dare taking my little one out of school just as yet as I do think the first years and setting strong foundations are essential for later life and confidence. But then again, maybe I am wrong!xx

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Anthea

I really wish I had home educated my girls during their early years at school. Well done to your daughter for taking steps and making it work

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  • Jo

    How fantastic to have family support, I hear so many stories of families who have had an awful time trying to explain why they home educate and do not have the support only comments that don’t help..

    Reply

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