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The first day we started Home Educating was a strange one.
08:00 am It started with no uniform. That’s right, you do not have to wear a uniform anymore while learning, have your breakfast.
09:00 am Okay what to do next, let’s not rush into anything and take it all a small step at a time.
09:10 am Right let’s look at the Curriculum and get going from there, Maths, I like Maths so it will be a good place to start.
09:30 am This is going well.
10:00 am You want a break, yes good idea, I need a break as well.
10:20 am WHAT HAVE I DONE? I’ve just wasted 20 minutes of his education. He will never pass Maths IGCSE, we have to catch up NOW!
10:40 am I’m sorry, yes you are not ready for quadratic equations at age 6. Let’s go back to what we learned this morning.
11:00 am IS THAT ALL WE’VE DONE?? It’s been 2 hours since we started. We will have to skip lunch to catch up!
This roller coaster continued, perhaps it was time for sensible wife to plan the lessons…… What? You don’t know what to do either?
There are some wise words at the beginning of the Science Fiction novel The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy – “DON’T PANIC!”
Starting Home Education is a little like the day you bring a new baby home from the Hospital, you leave the wise nurses and Doctors of the NHS behind and take your fragile human being home along with the enormous responsibility of keeping it safe. Turn around, we are going back.
So the first week was dealt with a little trepidation, fear, anxiety, and concern that we were not capable of providing an adequate education for our son. So my wife and I sat down and had a good long chat about how we wanted to proceed.
What were our goals? We started with why we took our son out of School; we had concerns that his time was being wasted and his ability was not being fully capitalised. Okay, we can deal with that; he’s way past Biff and Chip books so anything we teach him at a higher level is an improvement on the School.
What can we learn from our own experiences of School and use to help us? I recanted a story from my School years. I did O level Chemistry, two years trying to learn chemical formulas and the only practical was putting them into a test tube together and watching a litmus paper turn a different colour. I passed (just) but found it so boring. Then on our last day our Teacher said he would show us some fun things. We saw the metal Lithium dance on water and catch fire, a beaker of clear liquid turn instantly dark, oxygen banged, things smoked and foam expanded enormously – why did he leave it to our last day to show us that Chemistry is fun?!
So we decided anything we teach our son must be fun. Yes Algebra may not be everyone’s idea of fun and has to be learned, but we can break it down into small blocks with learning a new Dinosaur in between. If our son got bored with learning one subject, we simply moved on to another.
Another thing we realised is that passing SATS is not for your child’s education (even with all the effort they put in). SATS are used as a measure of the efficiency of the School. Therefore your child is taught how to pass a SAT exam, the School will concentrate on this to get a good mark – for them! Anything outside the realm of a SAT will not be given priority and once the SAT level is achieved for your child, they will move on to those who have not; leaving your child waiting for others to catch up.
There are no such limitations with Home Education, the sky is not the limit! (as we found out when studying Voyager 1 space probe).
We this is going really well, let’s not even bother registering our younger daughter for school.
To be continued….