This week I am sharing a guest post from Adventures with Monster. I loved reading about their education style and I hope you will do too!
We are Monster Family. There’s myself, my partner and our two children, The Bundles, aged 2 and 4.5 years old.
We have recently relocated to the South West of England and we started on our home education journey this month.
You can read more about us and what we get up to on my blog adventureswithmonster.wordpress.com
What made you decide to homeschool?
I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mum even before having children and when Bundle Number One arrived I stopped working and stayed at home full time with him. We visited the local schools (both state schools and Steiner school) but nowhere felt right somehow.
We had always known about home education but didn’t realise it was a valid and totally legal choice, when we discovered it was something just clicked straightaway, the decision just felt right for our family and so I did some research on the subject, googled lots and read lots of books, we especially liked ‘One-to One A Practical Guide to Learning at Home’ by Gareth Lewis, this was the book that made us believe home education could actually work!
We attended our (then) local Home Ed group and spoke to many other local families who were at various stages with Home Ed and this gave us a confidence boost, especially when we met a Home Educating family with five young children!
Do you use a curriculum?
We are currently using Waldorf Essentials Early Years and Kindergarten Curriculum. We chose to use this curriculum because it is very gentle and fits with our seasonal approach and we love the ethos of keeping the more formal ‘academics’ until the children are older (around 7 years old) There are aspects of Steiner Waldorf education we are not keen on but these are easily adapted to suit our family.
What does an average day look like for your family?
We have only just begun with Kindergarten this month so we are still getting to grips with our rhythm but so far it looks like this;
On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays we start at around 10 am with ‘Circle’ during which we say/sing some seasonal verses/rhymes/action songs and fingerplays together. We also do our ‘Daily Rhythm Chart’ (everyday of the week) which involves sticking laminated activity pictures onto a chart to plan our day, Bundle Number One loves this as he likes to know what we are doing each day!
The curriculum we are using involves a weekly story (we adapted the provided stories by changing the main character to one of Bundle Number One’s favourite toys) which I memorise and tell to Bundle Number One, (quite often Bundle Number Two listens too!) then there is the opportunity to play with the props I use for the story before we move on to our activity which usually involves cooking, modelling with dough or wax, arts and crafts, and nature walks.
This all takes around an hour and a half and for the rest of the day, and on the days we don’t do Kindergarten, we do the usual family stuff, for example, trips to various places including parks,museums, beaches, woodland, shopping, visits to the Library, swimming, playcentres and so on.
We also attend an informal Home Ed group locally and have various other Home Ed groups which we join for trips and events.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced on your homeschooling journey?
The biggest challenge for us is finding the time for a break, some adult time in which to persue our own interests and relax and ‘switch off’…we are told this gets easier as the children get older and we are slowly finding ways to build in that much needed time.
Also the constant questions we get about Home Ed were very waring at first, we felt the need to explain and defend our decision. These days we are used to the questions and are far more confident in our replies!
What has been the best thing about your decision to homeschool?
The fact that we get to enjoy the learning journey with our children and that they get to enjoy a long and unhurried childhood. We are constantly amazed at the enthusiasm they have for learning and how much they learn without ever actually being ‘taught’
What advice would you give to a family considering homeschooling their children?
Research! Read, Google and absorb all of the information and options, there are so many different ways to Home Educate discover the approach that fits your family and remember you can adapt things as yours and your children’s needs change.
Don’t be put off by people’s opinions and questions (which can often be negative!) as you become more confident with what you are doing the answers will come easily, you might even find that the same people who started out negatively become your biggest supporters! Surround yourself with others in similar situations, find your local Home Ed community, ask lots of questions and build up a support network.
Most of all believe in your abilities as a parent, you can do it!