Teen Education. Think Outside of the Box (2 Min Read)

Routes to take for teenage education.

  • School, yes school! If you find the right school for your child then they can do very well taking the traditional route of GCSEs. Look for independent academies that don’t have catchment areas to have more choice.
  • Distance Learning, recommend Oxfordhomeschooling
  • Treehouse, this site is the most amazing online up to date resource to study Web Design, Coding and App Development. For a small fee or a free trial, your child can start to build skills and network links that will see them into a career. Not just aimed at kids, I’m studying with Treehouse myself, so it’s something that I strongly recommend.
  • Flexi Schooling, This is becoming more and more popular, find a Head that agrees to it and you can arrange for your child to attend school or college part time sitting a few subjects rather than the usual 11 or 12 GCSEs.
  • Local College from 14. Contact your local LEA and college for details, funding is available for 14-year-olds to study core subjects. It does depend on your location, though.

Continue reading “Teen Education. Think Outside of the Box (2 Min Read)”

Sick Days

Today is a sick day, not as in “this day is super cool” more, everyone has the lurgy, myself included. Today is a day to rest and heal, drink tea and write, read and catch up on my work, in between bathroom trips and sipping lemsip, this bug is really getting me down.

I’ve managed to get dressed finally and feed a young man, I’d administered physio, he thought his legs were broken this morning, he had a cramp. Some tough love from me, “stretch it out, yes I know it hurts, now walk on it, no, walk properly”

Had left him distraught until he realised he could run, he ran laps around the house to celebrate!

My third son is still in bed, I really must go up and check on him, 1pm is late even for him. My lot have a great knack of really milking a cold for all its worth, I suppose because its only of the times I’ll fuss over them. I’m not usually a fussy mother, not my style. I’m raising men. Men who can do their own laundry, wash up and even my youngest can cook a meal. But when they are ill they don’t have to lift a finger, I’ll sit by their beds while they fight a fever, rubVickss into their (sometimes hairy) chests and make soup, endless honey and lemon and run hot baths with olbas oil in, filling the house with nose clearing vapours, buy their favorite ice cream and watch endless TV to keep them company.

It is nice to feel needed, time flies and my boys are nearly all grown. Sad to think that in ten years or so they’ll have their own lives and wives to share them with. I hope they remember fondly feeling safe and loved.

Whats sick day traditions do you have? Please share in the comments.

 

How Not To Freelance…

We have all been there, we try our best at making life better for ourselves and our families but it’s only later down the line with great hindsight that we can truly appreciate our almighty mistakes and erratic decisions.

  • Quit your day job, bonus points if your wife does so as well, special badge if you’re also expecting a baby.
  • Level up if you’ve also pulled your children out of school to home educate them, you can work at the kitchen table with constant interruptions. Wouldn’t want to waste money on office space.
  • Register as a business with the Tax Office even though you’ve not yet secured any clients, this helps with the next point.

Continue reading “How Not To Freelance…”

How We Balance, Home Educating With Sucessfully Freelancing.

How to step outside the rat race and live a life less ordinary in just a few steps.

Just over a decade ago myself and my husband made some big changes in our lives, we left safe, comfortable jobs, he was in sales, I worked in retail, running a deli. We retrained in completely different areas and began new careers at the same time as beginning home education.

Life beforehand had been a mad rush every weekday to get out the door on time, Sul rushed to be able to drop our eldest off at school each day before his long commute across London to work, not returning until well after our children, then aged 7 and 2 had fallen asleep. Family life was strained and we struggled to make ends meet, we hadn’t had a holiday together for years.

The change came shortly after September 2001. We made some major life differences in our lives after the tragic events of 9/11. Like a lot of people, we began to value our loved ones, time together and to reassess.

It ended up with us changing our lives for the better. Sul used his illustration and art background to begin building websites, doing graphic design, print layouts and video introductions. Every evening after work he’d work into the night to get good enough to secure a paying client big enough to quit the day job.

I trained as a professional Birth Partner/Doula and became an apprentice, I worked with numerous families across London and was privileged to help many mothers birth their babies, an absolutely amazing job. Constantly learning and training, every year I added new skills to my repertoire. Exhausting and ridiculous hours took their toll, though. I missed anniversaries, Birthdays and celebrations to attend mothers. I finally hung up my Doula bag for good in January 2014.

Our children are now nearly all grown up, they’ve each gone into an industry they enjoy. Home education and the freedom of working freelance has given us time to nurture their individual talents and for their confidence to grow.

Together we’ve enjoyed a holiday almost every year, sometimes more, trips up and down the country to museums and historical places of interest. Summer holidays that go on over 3 months and long winter evenings together.

It’s been wonderful and I’d like to share with you all how we’ve managed it, answering common questions along the way and letting you into our secrets, tips and tricks from:

  • Mistakes we made in business and how to avoid them
  • How to successfully time manage to ensure you make the most of every day.
  • How to de-register your child from UK school and where to begin with Home Education.

All this and more will be answered in detail in the following posts throughout January 2017.

Change is good 🙂

Why and How we Home Educate.

Hiya all, If I had a pound for every time someone asked me for our schedule, home education resource list or How we home educate, I’d probably have about a tenner !
So why home educate instead of sending our sons to school?

Well mostly because our lifestyle and work methods mean we’ve been fortunate enough to have the freedom to spend time educating them. We value freedom, of expression, artistic flexibility and life.
We’ve home educated for many years and had many term time UK holiday! In fact, I think almost every holiday for the past five years has been in September, the weather is still warm and the lower prices make it very affordable.
Our children have developed their own talents, talents they didn’t know they had until we took them out of school, simply because school is quite rigid and can’t spend a great length of time on any one subject.
We currently have a budding computer coder who designs online, a skateboarder who is a talented urban artist and a budding engineer/inventor who can spend hours building and modifying toys, lego, electronic equipment.

We don’t have a set curriculum through we closely follow the UK National Curriculum for Maths and English, just because of convenience. We do intend our children to rejoin the U.K education system, our older son is at college so we need to cover essential subjects in our curriculum. We use a lot of online resources.
We are currently educating our two sons aged 13 and 8 years.
8-year-old uses
time4learning.com
for maths, science and English language.
An American site the only one he got on with, very well priced with great discounts for additional siblings and the added benefit of the stronger British pound over dollar, they also have curriculum for all ages up to 18 years. Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.

Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.
Some days are dedicated to whatever project they are working on, whether they’re perfecting a biscuit recipe or getting that kick flip on film, sometimes we just relax and go with it.
We use Letts workbooks for reinforcing lessons and practise, they have a wide range of books covering English, Math and Science for all ages from 3 years all the way up to A level.
We do a lot of science together, we buy kits from Maplin, over the past year we’ve built an engine, made our own crystals, amongst other projects.

Older son uses https://www.khanacademy.org/
for a lot of subjects, very accurate and covers subjects from medieval history to grammar and punctuation.
He often dives in and will follow a whole subject through to the end.
https://teamtreehouse.com/
is the resource we use to learn coding and design, the team tree house format is a series of interactive videos, you actually follow the video and build your code along with the tutor, you gain badges and build a portfolio that has value with potential employers. The lessons start at beginner level and are basic enough for a confident teenager to begin.
All ideas are explained and each step, so before you know it your teenager can be building a basic website themselves, I’m not promising the colour scheme will be great, though, teens seems to go for the brightest ad boldest looks, not easy on the eyes!
https://www.duolingo.com/
This site and app are how our children learn modern languages, it’s a nice resource that also has an app and teaches in small bite size pieces so they can do 15 mins a day and build confidence, the app means they can fit it in where ever and whatever we are doing. It has handy reminders and they can build a monthly streak, another great point is that it’s free and also that they can cover more than one language at a time.

So this is a basic run down of what we use on a day to day basis, obviously, I’ve not covered all aspects of our schedule, but in case you were worried about P.E, we go swimming regularly, play football, skateboard everywhere and climb a LOT!
Art is encouraged and usually something they do for fun as is cooking and gardening, building and decorating.

I sincerely hope this helps anyone thinking of home education but unsure about resources. We are not anti-school we are pro-freedom in education and everything else !

Spring Has Sprung


Hello wonderful people who follow my little blog.

So the past few weeks have gone past in a blur, we have a new addition to the family, our little kitten who has almost doubled in size since the end of January.

We’ve visited The Brunel Museum in London, it was incredible the feats of engineering they managed with the limited tools they had, the danger was very real and men risked their lives. The boys were quite inspired, it was their idea to visit. Its a tiny place in the original pump tower a few mins walk from Canada Water, I recommend it.

We finally visited the local farm for the lambing weekend, this is something we’ve planned to do every year and never got round to, usually because of the awful weather at this time of year. The lambs were incredibly cute of course.The boys enjoyed getting up close to beef cattle, they were huge, petting horses, goats and seeing the ducks, geese and chickens. We gave the pigs a wide berth , we could smell them, that was enough for us !

I found the shed which housed the still pregnant sheep in was my favourite place, each sheep was sat looking tired, fed up and eating steadily, just like any mother who goes over her due date by a week !! Seeing the baby lambs moving while still inside their mother was amazing, and we think our baby’s kick hurt !

There was a little notice to say that when the sheep goes into labour, they don’t move her or disturb her in anyway, they let her get on with it, it towards the end she needs a hand then they will step in, but they try not to. I wish trainee and some more experienced midwives were made to visit farms more and see that nature takes its course, you don’t hear of sheep epidurals or c sections !

We’ve been making the most of our local area, our budget means trips into the city are rare, but we’ve discovered that King Harold (the one shot in the eye at the battle of Hastings) is buried in the next town, so we’ll be doing a trip to Waltham Abbey sometime soon to have a look at his tomb as we’ve been researching the ancient history of Briton. A trip to Hastings to finish off the project would be nice.