Are you thinking of Home educating your Child/Children but you’re not sure where to start? Well good news, you’re in the right place. I’ve put together my best tips for you, to help you on your way.
I “flexi-schooled” my child but that turned into a full time home education programme. Now Charlie is back in a mainstream school, but I always did what was best for Charlie and at the time, full time home education suited his needs best. But now he’s happy and thriving in his new school.
Is a great way to test the water before jumping into the deep end!
So what is Flexi-schooling? Flexi-schooling is a unique arrangement between the parent and the school, in which children are registered at school normally yet only attend part time. The rest of the time the child will be home educated. Flexi-schooling is not for everyone, but it can work very well for some children. Flexi–schooling is usually considered a legal option for parents, but the headteacher at the school must agree to it.
So how do we get into a Flexi-school arrangement? The best bet is finding your child’s school email address. You can usually find this on the school website under contacts and email the headteacher that you would like to flexi school and give your reason. Although you could always approach the headteacher directly and have this conversation in person.
8 times out of 10, they will try to help you resolve any issues you have and allow your child more time to settle in before agreeing that this option is necessary. Only when the headteacher believes it will be mutually beneficial, for the child and his or her peers, to be Flexi-schooled, will they accomodate. But, normally, this is something they are more than willing to help with.
2. Keep it fun
Now, especially primary school levels! This is super important as their attention span is short. Just because your home educating doesn’t mean they need to sit at a table all day. So get creative!
You are now in charge of your child’s education. I would do my home schooling at my local museum. They always have educational days during the week you just need to sign up for the news letters.
Let me give you an example:
Instead of reading and writing about the moon, I just took Charlie to the moon. I know it sounds mad right? Well not really! The Harris in Preston had the moon coming to town and it was free to view it. We had a look around and he asked me so many questions about it and was fascinated by it all. The display really stimulated his natural curiosity.
Then actually a few days later we found a pop up book about the Solar System. I must have read it 100 times now. Charlie finds the whole thing so captivating and he has a passion to learn. If I just sat him at the table and talked about it for 20 minutes he would have just switched off completely.
When you really think about it, getting creative with your child’s education is practically common-sense.
3. Sparkle Box
I’m a big lover of Sparkle Box. It saved me so much time! Every sunday night before I go to bed I would dedicate just one hour to planning the week for my boy’s education and the best site I found was Sparkle Box. Not only does it have 1000s of FREE print-outs, its also what UK teachers also use in their lesson plans, so the material meets the national curriculum. Click here to check out Sparkle Box
There are a few more resource sites that I like that I’ll include later in the post, but I found Sparkle Box suited my needs the most.
4. Educational Apps
So my advice would be to purchase the fire kindle if you havent already. They are very good for children that don’t like learning like my Charlie.
He thinks he is playing games but in reality he’s learning important lessons about a diverse range of topics, like reading, writing, science and numeracy.
There are 1000s of great free apps and ones that cost a few pennies but the few I’m currently loving are:
- Letter Formation
- Sight World game
- Short Vowel word study
5. Trips out
Every school, at least twice a year, take the pupils out on educational trips. The beauty about being a home education mummy is if you ring around a few places you’ll find you’re eligible for decent discounts on things like zoos and museum’s kid courses.
I recently took Charlie to hang out with some lemurs and I literally mean “hang out”! He got to see them up close instead of sat in a class room looking at book with animals in it.
They learn so much more than what a picture and a few sentences can teach.
Recently I asked my Instagram followers if they had any questions so picked a few and I thought I’d share them on my blog:
“What materials are worth the expense?”
- HP Office jet printer
- Exercise Books
- Wipe clean activity books
- Junior Artists Colouring & Painting Case
- Compact Clipboard
- Amazon Fire Kindle
“What are the best teaching resources to use?”
“Do you have any scheduling tips for home Ed?”
First of all the best schedule is the one that works for you and your child. There really is no right or wrong answer. However, there are things you can do to make your life easier, such as:
- taking an hour once a week and plan the lessons ahead
- Don’t obsess over trying to duplicate what the public schools are doing – a home is not the same as a school, and learning won’t look the same
- No mum can function without some down time so make that a priority. I record each week Number Blocks on BBC and put it on in the afternoon so whilst Charlie was watching that it gave me a great opportunity to wind down
- Checklists for the day might work better than a schedule with specific times on it, especially if you have a baby or toddler to work home education around
- Let kids have input on their curriculum choices, especially as they get older.
- If you’re concerned that your child may have a learning disability, get him/her tested, and don’t be afraid to call on professionals for help.
- No one “covers it all,” not even the schools! So don’t put pressure on yourself over it.
- Don’t be afraid to ditch a curriculum that isn’t working – in the middle of the year even!
- It may take a couple of school years to figure out what curriculum works for you. I discovered that I hate programmes that are too “scripted.”
“How do you maintain your sanity? (asking for a friend)”
now this question has made my day
- Make sure you hang on to your sense of humor. Some days you just have to laugh… or go crazy!
- Don’t teach your child something while frustrated. Take a break if necessary.
- A morning out at the park on a beautiful day is worth it and don’t worry too much. After they get tired, you can always stop and check out the wildlife and local flora and fauna – after all, it’s still learning.
- It’s normal to feel like giving up about once a month (I know I certainly did)! Take a deep breath, step back, and remind yourself of all the reasons you chose to home educate.
- one big glass of wine while on the job didn’t harm anybody!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re having a bad day.
- If your child is in primary and still has no idea what day it is let alone year and you’re ill, just tell him/her its saturday and no home education today! 😉
“Do you have any money saving tips?”
Okay so your definitely asking the wrong person for this! At 25-years-old, I managed to get my own mortgage but after that my savings went down hill.
The best person for this is my fellow blogger friend, Thrifty Clair she is abslouly wondeful and ive learnt a lot from her so check her out.
I’ve noticed you call it home school sometimes, but then home education other times. What’s the right term?
Technically, the “politcally correct” term is home education. This is because the home is not a school. It’s a completely different set up and what you are doing is educating your child at home, rather than turning your home into a school.
Some mother’s do get offended by the term “home school” for this very reason. But don’t worry about it too much. Whatever term works best for you is the one you should go with, but the name really isn’t important. What’s important in the grand scheme of things is that your child is actively learning!
So, there are my tips to being a successful headteacher of your child’s education. Take it easy, allow them to have input into what they want to learn, and remember, the resources to succeed are out there and easily accessible.
It can be hard and home educating your child comes with its own set of highs and lows, but on the whole, if you follow your instinct as a mother and don’t push yourself, you’ll come out on top and so will your child!