Our first term of home schooling Alice

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

 We are fast approaching the end of our first term of homeschooling. Of course, homeschooling doesn't really 'begin' or 'end', but we'll be changing things up after Christmas, so I'm kind of counting it as a term! I thought I would write a little post talking about the good points and the bad points of homeschooling, and about what I've learned along the way!

The first thing I've learned, is that you don't have to spend a fortune on resources. I bought the phonics books, which have actually been super helpful, but all of the art supplies and maths and reading resources have come from eBay or amazon, and I've always found them super cheap! Sometimes, being a little imaginative is all it takes. Using what you can find around the house, or making your own resources is just fine.

Secondly, children really do learn when they are ready to. I would panic at first about how to teach Alice to read or to count... and really it's all sort of happened on it's own! I think the key is to have letters and numbers around the place, as part of their play. I always have books about, or paper and pens available to play with. Eventually, Alice wanted to start copying the words in books, or name her pictures, or ask what certain words said. As soon as she found her own interest in it, she picked it all up super quickly!

Thirdly, it's incredibly rewarding. To be able to witness your children learning and growing every day is just such a privilege. Watching Alice figure out an activity, or start to colour within the lines, or present a piece of paper full of letters she has been practising is just the best feeling ever. But most of all, when her nanny or dad or anyone asks her what she's been learning and hearing her chat away about the Northern lights, or about what animals live in the jungle make me feel so proud.

The only downside we have had so far, is the fact that she doesn't have that social interaction I want her to have. Part of the reason for that is that we have been holding out for a school place at our chosen school, and I didn't want to settle her into groups and then suddenly take her out for school. Secondly, there aren't really that many around us! If a place hasn't come up by January at the school, then I will start her at a couple I have found which run in the week, which hopefully will give her that social interaction we are after!

If I'm honest, this first term of homeschooling has been more of a learning experience for me than Alice! I've learned to step back, stop worrying about what she needs to learn and allow her the space and freedom to learn at her own pace. I've learned that learning is far more productive when it's based on the interests of your child. And I've learned that it can all be fun! I've enjoyed coming up with games and activities and crafts for us all to do, and it's been such a joy to spend this time with her at home!

Honestly, I would still like her to go to school. And I will be doing my best to get her into one for January. However, I will be taking a lot of the knowledge and skills I've learned from homeschooling her and using it to help her learning journey in the future. Because learning really doesn't start and end in a school day, or a school term. It's happening all the time, in every activity they do, in ever car journey they spend looking out the window, in every trip to the supermarket! And that's the biggest lesson I've learned!


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