Todays Top 5

  After looking last week at what would make our home ed life easier I thought I would look at the good points of it. This top five is going to look at my top five perks of home education.

  1. I don’t have to share my boys with the school.  When the boys were in school I lived for the holidays, I hated the start of the new term and weekends weren’t long enough.  The school got the best of my boys during the day.  When they came home to me they were tired and grumpy.  More often than not I then had to try and get them to do ‘homework’, we did not get enough time together to enjoy as ours.  We sure do now, we get to be together as much as we want, just like when they were younger and it is one of my favourite things about home ed.
  2. They can follow their own interests which helps to grow their interests.  It also gives them more confidence in themselves and makes them happier. Gone are the days of ‘this is your topic, this is what you must learn’.  Here are the days of ‘you want to know how they make marbles? Lets look that up’, ‘you want to learn about moths? lets make a moth trap and go to the library for some books’, ‘you want to learn bushcraft? Lets go to a really wild camp’.  Anywhere their minds take them is the path we can follow.
  3. We don’t have to have a stressful morning routine.  When we get up we have time to eat breakfast together because I am not having to pack up lunches at the same time.  The boys have the time to care for their animals themselves rather than others having to do it for them.  I don’t have to shout at them to get dressed because if they are not ready at 8.30 it is not the end of the world.  If they do have to be ready to be out of the house they generally are because it is to do something they want to do, like climbing or forest group.  
  4. We get to enjoy lots of days out and lots of family time.  With a Daddy that works 4 days on, 4 days off we had times when the boys didn’t see him because he was working the weekend, now no matter where those days off fall we can do something as a family.  We spend more quality time together and we can make the most of those days by going places that are a lot quieter than at the weekends.
  5. I can learn alongside them or pass on my knowledge to them.  Sometimes when I am doing things they may come and ask me about it and sometimes they ask questions, want to learn how and so I teach them.  Sometimes their interests are nowhere near mine and so we try and find out together what it is they want to know and so we all learn.  I do believe we all carry on learning for all our lives, after all the old adage goes ‘you learn something new every day’.  Through choosing home ed we all get to do this together!!

So what are your top 5 perks to home ed?

What would you add to the list?

I’m sure we must all enjoy different aspects, this is just my view.

Growing in Confidence

Being a home educating parent can be frustrating at times, especially if you follow an autonmous route. Inevitably there will be times when your mind tells you the children should be doing more formal work (at least, if you’re quite new to all of this or if, like me, you’re an ex-teacher and can’t quite shake off the shackles of state education thinking, even whilst disagreeing with most of it!

But this isn’t a post about how frustrating it can be, this is a post about rays of light poke through that frustration and how reassuring those rays of light are.

Bean is 9 and like many children his age, he likes computer games and plays them a lot. More than I would like, but I keep reminding myself that there are skills in them too, and whilst he’s playing them his brain is still processing other things that he’s learnt by being. Just being.

Earlier this week, he put down his game very deliberately and headed for the Arts & Crafts supplies. After digging around he found a set we’ve had for ages, for making sand mandalas. We did one of these a while ago, and he enjoyed it, so I was pleased to see the set making an appearance again. He completed a mandala, closely following the “sand by numbers” formula and was pleased with his results. And then he said something that shocked me. He was putting away the instruction booklet and choosing his own colours!

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One of the mandalas made to the colour specifications. His “freeform” mandala isn’t finished yet.

This is a big step for Bean. When it comes to certain things, he has to play it by the book. If the instructions say to use number 7 in this section, then number 7 it must be. So to say he was just going to use the colours that pleased him was music to my ears. To put it into his words, he was “going freeform” with it (all the freeform crochet I’ve been doing has clearly had an effect!) He hasn’t finished that mandala yet, but he has been really happy with the results so far. He loves how the colours he’s choosing fit together and give the mandala he’s doing a different look to the colours laid out in the set. I’m really proud of him – I know that this is a big step for him.

And then later he came with me when I took Plum to her ballet lesson. Not because he has a particular interest in sitting in a stuffy waiting room waiting for his 4 year old sister to finish her lesson, but because the boys street dance class began straight afterwards and he wanted to give it a go.

Bean loves street dance. He loves watching it, he loves trying out his own moves at home. He has not, to this point, loved the idea of anyone seeing his moves, or of going to a lesson. What if he wasn’t good at it? But he finally decided to give it a go. And he loved it. He came out full of confidence, beaming like a Cheshire Cat. I was proud all over again.

And I can’t help but think home ed plays a part in all of this. He has all the opportunities he needs to stay safe in his comfort zones when that’s what he needs, building his confidence, bonding with others with similar interests, trying new things in a “safe” environment, and when he’s ready, he has equal opportunities to push beyond those comfortable spaces, and the confidence to do it.

When we first took him out of school, coming up to two years ago, he had none of that confidence. People thought he was a confident boy, but mostly it was an act. He’s managing to move beyond that now and not worry so much about what others might think or say.

It’s great to watch and be part of.

Review: Dork Diaries, TV Star

Nikki Maxwell, Queen of the Dorks, is back in the seventh book of the blockbuster Dork Diaries series. Nikki and her friends are about to have their five minutes of fame! A reality TV crew is going to follow them for the whole month as they record their hit song together. But will the excitement also cause unexpected problems, now that cameras are everywhere Nikki and her friends go?

Is life in the spotlight really going to be all they think it is or will it be a Dork Disaster?

Full of Nikki’s doodles, diary entries and dorkish disasters, get ready to embrace your inner dork with his brand new novel from the hit series. Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Jacqueline Wilson.

Rachel Renee Russell has said that the Dork Diaries series was inspired by her own middle school experiences, as well as those of her two daughters, Erin and Nikki. Her older daughter, Erin, helps with writing the Dork Diaries series and her younger daughter, Nikki, helps with illustrations.

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We asked two of the Tuesday Project families to review Dork Diaries, TV Star . Here’s what they had to say.

Rebecca, aged 7

It’s about this girl that likes this boy. Her BFFs are Chloe and Zoey. The mean girl in the book is called Mackenzie. I love it. It’s the best book I have ever read. 10/10

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Praise indeed!

William, aged 10 said:

I wouldn’t normally read this type of book because I don’t like the way it is written as a diary but I think other people would like it because it has funny characters and the story has lots of twists and turns. I didn’t like the look of the book or all the text talk. There were quite a lot of characters but my favourite was Nikki’s Mum.

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You can visit the Dork Diaries website and Facebook page or buy the book here.

Review: The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Little Mermaid

We were chosen to review the children’s book ‘The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Little Mermaid‘ by Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard.

 The Sea Witch has a wicked plot to trick the Little Mermaid – can anybody help?

Dive into an underwater adventure with the fabulous fairytale hairdresser. This twist on the classic fairytale features swimming sweethearts, soulful singing and sparkling seaside styles.

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Here’s an interview with Abie and Lauren, the author and illustrator:

I sat down to enjoy the story with my almost 6 year old daughter N… She was instantly excited that the little mermaid, or, ‘Ariel’ as she was more commonly known in our house, was on the cover!

Once settled into the story, of course, you realise it isn’t Ariel as such, the leading lady in this story is a little mermaid called Coral, though, of course, this is based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic story.

Now as a parent, I have to be brutally honest and say I didn’t find much depth to this version. It was the story of the Little Mermaid of course, but ended with the mermaid becoming famous for her singing. What I don’t want to take away from the book are the the beautiful illustrations. The cover is glittery and eye catching, and my daughter absolutely loved spotting all of the fairytale characters throughout.  The ilulstrations are clever and there’s lots to spot for both children and adults alike.

Conclusion: My almost 6 year old loved the illustrations, but perhaps she’s just a little on the old side for this particular version now?

L xxx

Today’s Top Five

  I was thinking today as I stood doing a job I hate and find little time for how it would be easier if I didn’t have to do it.  This train of thought led me to my ‘top five things that would make our home ed life easier’. Catchy title don’t you think??

  1. Cleaner/ironer.  – I don’t have the time to spend stood ironing all the time. And cleaning takes me away from the children. Having someone to do these for me would make for a much happier me!
  2. Chef – when we have spent all day out of the house be it at groups, in visits or just out exploring the world it would be lovely to come home to the meal all ready instead of having to start to cook. As a stand in for having a chef I say thank goodness for slow cookers!  
  3. Space – space to store all those educational materials I acquire. Space to store all the things Panda and Tiger create. Space to have a creative room. Space, lots and lots of space. 
  4. Money – I’m not talking lotto win money (though obviously that would be nice) but money to join in all the groups, activities and trips without having to pick and choose. 
  5. A teaching assistant – someone who got ready what you needed for that random activity the boys decide they want to do just as I’m in the middle of cooking dinner because the chef didn’t show up again!!  Someone to organise the work they do into folders. And someone to share a cuppa with at break times. 

What are your thoughts on my list?

  Do you have a similar list? 

Or does yours look completely different?

 Do tell me what you would add to the list. Hope you all have a great week!!