Those who follow me regularly will know that I Home Educate my children and, in the light of possible upcoming school closures (already happening for some of my followers across the world), I thought I’d share some thoughts about it here.
You will have to find a routine that works for you and your family. I’ve seen various ones banded about that look lovely, but that would definitely not work for us (they don't include 3rd breakfast for example). Please don’t compare yourself to what other parents are posting and don’t beat yourself up if it’s not all sunshine and sparkles. I absolutely adore being at home with my kids, but there are days when it’s hard work and they fight! You will need to find your own groove and if that means days when the TV is on and no one gets dressed, so be it.
Usually, for us, there are plenty of occasions when we get out and socialise with our friends, but many Home Educators are pulling in right now and so our usual meet ups with friends are dropping away a bit. We are treating this as a season where we can definitely get cracking on with our studies and get ourselves, our ponies and our dogs fighting fit, but it's definitely going to take some getting used to for a few months.
Our usual day goes something like this. My husband wakes at 6am to get ready for work. He lets the horses in for breakfast and brings me a cup of tea. Usually he then heads off to the gym, but he's currently working from home, so he does a work out in the house before getting ready for work. Between 6am and 7am, I work (from my bed!) on my laptop or phone.
At 7am, I get up and go around the house opening curtains and turning on the lights etc. I leave the kids to wake up slowly until 7.30 whilst I shower and put the first load of washing on. At 7.30am, I call them for breakfast. They unload the dishwasher and we sit down together. I read to them over breakfast (our current read-aloud is Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series – they LOVE it!) which gives a lovely peaceful start to the morning. After breakfast, they dress and come and walk the dogs around the field with me. Then they feed the other animals and chill out until we start lessons.
We start lessons at about 9am in the morning – we like to do them when we’re fresh and bright. We do a couple of hours before lunch, and the amount and intensity of study depends on the child. My eldest (13) has just started her GCSE studies and is feeling pretty hard done by right now with the extra hours of study she’s having to pull…
They make and tidy away their own lunch and then we muck out the horses together.
After that, we might ride, or bake, or draw, or play games, or read, or go for a walk, or play outside, or bounce on the trampoline, or climb a tree, ride our bikes, make animations; anything that we fancy really, it's largely up to them. Then it’s time to sort and fold our laundry and tidy up the house before screen time which they have for a few hours in the run up to dinner time. I like this time, it’s quiet and I have time to think and then get ready for dinner.
Dinner is around 6pm and the time after dinner until bed is for quiet playing or reading and showers etc to wind down (the 8 &10 year olds go at 8pm, the 11 year old at 8.30pm and the 13 yr old at 9pm).
It's taken time for us to find this rhythm which works for us. Other Home Educators are less structured, or do their lessons later in the day.
1. Don't compare yourself to others.
2. Find a rhythm/routine that works for YOU.
3. Plan plenty of fun activities, but be prepared to be flexible and for your schedule to go out of the window.
4. If you are able to leave your home, get out in the fresh air to let off steam.
5. Be prepared for your house to get very untidy! This might sound daft, but honestly, just let it happen and tidy up altogether at a certain time.
6. Get the kids to help out in the home; you are not their slave.
Feel free to find my alter-ego account https://www.instagram.com/invisible_home_edders/ to see what we often get up to.