I’m Tanya, I’ve been married for almost 11 years. We have 4 children R is 9, E is 7, S is 5 and Little S is 3. We live on the Dorset/ Wiltshire border with our dog Poppy and 2 guinea pigs Max and Nibbles.
How long have you been home educating and why did you decide to do so?
We have been home educating for just over 2 years. Before I had children I loved the idea of home schooling (yes, I believed I had to do school at home) them. Once my eldest was born I didn’t think I’d cope having to sit at a table with her and teaching her with other little ones to look after as well. So I sent her to pre-school, and later school. Her brother followed her even though he was summer born and seemed so young as just 4 to be starting school.
We moved house 3 years ago and so the children had to change schools. Neither settled very well. E has Autism and was finding the whole environment very challenging. R just wasn’t happy and was falling behind. I started to look into home education and was pleasantly surprised that we wouldn’t have to do school at home. We could tailor their educations to their individuals needs and make it a really hands on experience. One Friday they came out of school both miserable, we sat down as a family and asked them if they wanted to try home education instead. We said we would trial it for a year to see how we got on. They both just beamed from ear to ear.
We have just finished our second year of home education and we all still love it.
How would you describe your approach? Do you have a typical week?
When the children first left school we planned to take time to get school out of our systems and then to introduce a little structure for Maths and English. During our time of de-schooling I was amazed at how much they were learning. Through play, television, YouTube, Minecraft, friends, family and days out at museums and in the forest. We spend hours talking, asking questions and finding out the answers together. I have learnt an awful lot too! Occasionally they want to sit down and do a workbook but we don’t have set times for “school work”. We learn autonomously and follow our interests.
Our typical week starts with a day out with lots of other home educators on Mondays. We play in the park, go for a bike ride and built forts in the forest. Tuesdays I co-run a group for home educating families. We often have a theme with a few activities based around it. The children also enjoy seeing each other and us parents get to chat and drink a little too much tea! Wednesdays and Thursdays are mostly spent at home, visiting family or running errands. We love to bake, do science experiments, grow our own veggies, or play with our Dog and 2 guinea pigs. Fridays we meet up with more home educators and spend the day outside exploring and playing. The weekends we spent time with Daddy, maybe go out somewhere or see family.
What was your home ed highlight last week?
Our highlights of last week are probably playing in the park in the rain, playing in the sand with friends, finding a toad.
What is your favourite thing about home educating? What do you find most difficult?
I love more than anything watching my children enjoying their childhoods. I love hearing them laughing together, or discussing deep and meaningful. I love seeing how their little minds works and how they solve problems or come up with new ideas. I love watching them grow, physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m extremely grateful that I have this opportunity to spend so much time with them. It does bring its challenges too, I have very little time just for me and the house is always a mess! Sometimes I worry that I’m not enough, but then I think about how far they have come in the last 2 years. I know this is the best possible childhood and education that I could give them.
What advice would you give to other home educators?
To any home educator new or old it’s always good to know that we all have wobbles from time to time. Take a step back to enjoy your children, go back to basics and have fun.
Read more about their adventures at the following places…