A day in the life of home education - age 7 and 11
A whole year of Home Education has gone by. And what a year! It hasn't been what we imagined; no overseas trip, not as many term-time holidays as we'd hoped, nor day trips, nor even trips to the park, but we've made the best of it despite all that and we've really taken to it.
We've been in lockdown since Christmas, in fact we've pretty much been in isolation since early December.
Here's how our typical day goes:
Both hubby and I have to work so we arrange ourselves around the schedule and start our day fairly early with an alarm at 6:30am. We don't get up until at least seven though and we have some family hug time in bed and a natter about odd dreams or what the weather might be like outside the cocoon of the covers.
Then we all get out for some outdoor time before it gets busy. Some days that's harder than others but we know it gets the muscles working first thing and sets us up for the day.
The kids go for a run with hubby and I go for a power walk (gammy hip). We manage about 1-2 miles then we head home for breakfast. By now it's usually about 8:15am.
Breakfast done and the dishwasher loaded from the previous night, we settle down to some topic work and hubby disappears to hide away in the office.
We mostly use Twinkl for resources, or BBC Teach and Bitesize as well as YouTube. Recent topics have been: Winter, where we did poetry and geography; Martin Luther King where we learned about civil rights and discrimination; Garden birds where we took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch (the live webcam was great fun); and Chinese New Year where we learned some Mandarin and made a dragon head.
We also aim to get some music practice done during the morning and while one is on the piano I do a bit of 1:1 tuition with the other one, usually maths.
Lunch is at noon (the pre-teen can't go a moment longer without food apparently) and they both enjoy watching a documentary while eating.
If the weather isn't too nasty they go into the garden after lunch to burn some energy, though we haven't had many of those opportunities lately, except for the recent snow which brought great delight.
After lunch I go to work, all-be-it only upstairs, I need the isolation. So this is when they spend about 2 hours doing their online learning. At the moment they enjoy Prodigy for maths. It's a game type environment where they can play in the same world and battle each other by answering questions each at their own levels. I get emails telling me how many questions they've answered and if they have got stuck on anything. They also use Night Zookeeper which is still a favourite for English. We have a subscription for TTRS which is a typing practice environment. They do a section each day as it helps with typing and also it's an underhanded way of getting them to do spelling (shhh). We use Oak Academy too, that's the national resource which was set up at the start of the first lockdown. These are great for topics but can be a bit hit and miss with the teaching style, but they are free, so yay!
The kids tend to pick and choose which of these they fancy each day. Most days are the same but sometimes they do some coding instead or they just sit with an audio book. I've learned during this year to chill out a lot more about what they choose, and not worry about an individual day but to look at the whole picture. There have certainly been days when I've not been in the mood for something, so it's only fair they they are "allowed" days like that too! Maybe "don't sweat the small stuff" is the motto of the moment.
They seem happy to learn, we are using books more for research, we're getting through the mountain of craft stuff that I've built up over the years and we are all happy and healthy. So something must be going right.
One of the children usually has a club, dancing or karate via zoom, in the late afternoon. Then they go off to play online with friends. Minecraft and Fortnite are the current favourites.
I try to finish work by 6pm, then I make a meal and we eat together then we play a family game.
Gameschooling has become a bit of a thing for us. I came across it on a Facebook group and since the beginning of the year we've tried to make it a regular part of our day. We have got several new games and particularly enjoy strategy games like Kingdomino, Splendour (Marvel edition - it's so cool) and Zombie Kids. I've even got an app which tracks what we've played and who won! I do love a statistic!
This was a longer blog than I intended, thanks for making it to the end. I hope that if nothing else, I can use this to look back on, but mostly that it inspires someone else, just as I was inspired by so many others a year ago to get started with homeschooling. I worried that I wouldn't be able to teach my children enough, but as it turns out, all they really need is a little inspiration, an internet connection, a certain amount of herding and a glue stick!