As there are so many new families starting their home ed journey at the moment, I thought I’d update a few posts which I hope might be helpful to those diving in for the first time and interesting to the rest of us who have a healthy curiosity! Here is the first; I wrote it about 4 years ago …Lanky Dude is now studying for an engineering degree at the University of Bristol.
One of the most asked questions among home educators is to do with how we structure our days; do we have a routine or rhythm? How do we do “lessons”? This question came up in our wonderful home ed group and sparked some lovely posts. So, here are some of my thoughts, as well as some ideas from others. Every home educating family is different, and one of the joys of home ed is its flexibility; not just for individual families, but for seasons within those families’ lives. I find a structure to our days and weeks is helpful both to me and the children, and appreciate the freedom we have to tweak it as our circumstances change and the years pass by. I like to have some idea of what each day holds, and this is especially important for a couple of our children. However, it’s great to be flexible….ie to exchange books for shoes and a coat and head out to enjoy some good weather on a sunny day. I find that the children behave better if they have some sort of structure. It’s like having pegs on which to hang various activities. In the early years we did lots of play, outdoors exploring, craft, cooking, visiting museums. We start the day with reading the Bible together and praying, then I tend to do the maths and English, our table work, in the first part of the morning, leaving the rest of the day free for more hands-on learning and sofa reading together time.
As the boys have grown, and exams have entered our world, I’ve tried to help them develop their own pattens for individual study. I work with them for certain periods of the day, and they self-study the rest. This seems to have set Lanky Dude up well for A levels at college as he’s self motivated and used to organising his own work I try to spend time every day with each child, as well as some learning together and some self-learning. It’s harder with an age range, but reading aloud is something we can all enjoy, alongside Lego,colouring, playdoh etc. Food is also a wonderful way to bring kids together over a story. I taught the boys together for all but maths and English for years, as they are close in age.
Every day we have Bible and prayer time. I think this is the foundation of our day. I read with different combinations of children depending on the day. Lanky Dude is at college most days now and reads his own Bible before he sets off on the bus. This is a really exciting subject, with so much space for creativity that I’ll write about it another time. We also have a “Quiet time” each day after lunch. This is when the children spend time in their own rooms, usually reading or listening to an audible story and playing quietly. And it’s when I have my prayer time with a cup of tea in hand…not only blissful, but entirely necessary for my sanity!
And then there are our weekly routines and also some annual traditions…for another time!