Why this path?

People ask me, why have I removed both Alana and Josh from school. They can understand why I removed Josh given the issues with the school but don’t understand why I also allowed Alana to leave school. Well basically the answer is simple. Alana was not happy! Her confidence was notably in shreds. She was not looking after herself physically and emotionally was a mess. She was so wrapped up in the thought that she “can’t do it” that she wasn’t even trying when she could! And her attitude towards me and Josh was dreadful!
I hated school, I was bullied and the situation still affects my anxiety today, I never did a full week and dropped out altogether in yr 9…. I wasn’t home ed but even so this year I have gained my bsc hons health and social care…. While working and raising my children. I felt a hypocrite making her go in.
I felt it was unfair to allow Josh to stay at home genuinely believing I was doing the best for him yet to still make Alana go to school. What kind of mother would I be if I had done that really? I want to be the kind of mum who does what is best for her children, all of her children! And for us that is being and learning at home and spending time together.
I know I made the right decision, Alana has sparked a natural interest in the world wars and has created some wonderful poetry by her own choice. She has also mastered long division and multi digit multiplication.
Josh has redeveloped a love of learning….. as he now sees learning as different from work!
More to the point I get to spend time with my favourite people and I love it! I have booked up some holidays knowing that I don’t have to worry about term time and it’s great!
Nick has been sleeping until 9 ish so it’s great to not have to wake him up and rush him about. I imagine I will appreciate that so much more once he goes into boots and bars as who knows how much rest we will get then.
I am liking having the freedom and flexibility to respond to each of my children’s individual needs and interests and generally being the best mum that I can be.

 

In other news, I did get Joshs school report and the headteacher had been unable to resist writing a comment. Stating that he had several incidences with other children due to him messing around and being physical. Well that stirred up yet more anger from me. I am pushing through a formal complaint. I have written to ofsted and our local mp. I did write her a letter as well and took legal advice when doing so.   I am determined to get her to acknowledge her failings and to send Josh a written apology for all he had to endure at her school.

 

Nick had his tenotomy on Friday.  It was pretty traumatic and made that bit worse by a slipped cast on Monday.  Apparently he just has the right shaped little foot that makes him high risk for slips. This was our 2nd slipped cast. So we were back to Stanmore to get it changed again. Hopefully we can just keep going and get him to the next stage….. then the challenge of boots and bars will begin.

Not just Home ed

Nick had his 8 week check and first jabs. I felt bad for him and he is very unhappy, had 2 jabs in one leg due to his cast 😦 I declined the rotavirus, I was lucky that they didn’t even question my decision. I decided that given that it is a live vaccine for a stomach bug we wouldn’t be having it for two reasons. 1) A live vaccine would bring the bug into our home. Something that my family could do without. Especially as we use cloth bums! would be a nightmare!

2) PROTECTION AGAINST A STOMACH BUG? REALLY? I know how to treat and care for tummy bugs, I know how to prevent dehydration, I had 2 other children before this vaccine was invented and both got over tummy bugs pretty well….. not something that really needs to be vaccinated against imo.

We were able to visit stockwood park and see their alien invasion exhibition. Alana and Josh both completed the activity sheets. On return home Alana and Grandad made pate then Alana was able to write down step by step instructions detailing what they did.  Both Alana and Josh also used water colours to paint their own aliens and label their parts.

I received a message regarding head teachers comments on another childs school report, clearly making digs at home education stating the importance of learning in the classroom and relationships with children. Its a pity that at that school “relationships with other children” clearly includes getting beaten up while teachers stand around and do nothing.

It got me wondering if I would get Joshs report, or if the head would make any comments on it if I do…… I wonder what if anything I would say or do? what do I hope to gain from pushing my complaints? 

I know that I do not want other children suffering the way Josh did, but he is already happier and more confident sooooo…… isn’t that my priority?

I wonder if there was  some way I could promote home education. It seems so many parents think about it but lack the legal knowledge or the confidence to take that step. I think I will compile a list of 10 things about home ed I wish I had learnt sooner…… hmmmmmm…..

1) Legally children DO NOT have to attend school. They do have to receive full time education that meets their age/ability/needs.

2) You DONT HAVE TO follow curriculum, children learn  better when they are leading the learning around what interests them.

3) You DONT HAVE TO follow a strict lesson / term time. Learning opportunities come up all hours of the day and night!

4) Taking time out to deschool is fine, and in many cases recommended. School can be traumatic for children, it can take time to recover from that and to rediscover a natural curiosity and love of learning.

5) You owe the school and local authority nothing immediately, you don’t haveto explain yourself to the school and its fine to tell the local authority that you plan to deschool for x amount of months before putting any sort of plan in place. 

6) There is no reason for any social services involvement, you are doing nothing wrong.

7) You don’t need to be a qualified teacher or know it all…… we are parents, we are supporting our childs learning from the day they are born. There is no one better qualified to act with our childs best interests at heart……and anything we don’t already know we can learn with our children. Thisis actually brilliant, my children get to see me enjoying learning as well!! There is a huge range of resources available for any given topic!

8) Children don’t need school to socialise! Its simple! there are clubs, friends, other home educators etc….. home education support groups organise get togethers, trips and workshops.

9) Trips , days out at low rates…. merlin attractions have a lower rate for home educators and you don’t have to tackle big long queues for rides…. oh and low rate term time holidays!!

10) Exams are not legally compulsory…. and if you and your children do want to go down the exam route there is no set legal that they must sit them by! You can apply to colleges etc, maybe have to pay a fee for the exam but it is perfectly do-able.

monday

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Yesterday was spent at Wendover woods where we built dens….. One even went so far as to include a roof that held weight so had 2 levels and was spacious enough to fit 7 people inside.
We did am assault course timed to make it a race and generally had a bit of a run about.

Today I had an early trip to Stanmore for nicks cast to be changed. He doesn’t like it. He was happy having his morning bath with me and we tried him with the jacuzzi bubbles, he seemed very content and we were able to stay in the bath soaking the cast long enough to crack it. But once at stanmore he was very grumpy. I guess it’s the heat. Or maybe because after his cast slipped last week he was given 4 days without one and now doesn’t like it, I am not sure but he screamed a lot! He wouldn’t even be comforted with boob!

This afternoon Alana and Josh found a wild plum tree and were able to fill a plastic bag with fruit. We then made wild plum jam…. While it was cooking we read about the first world war.
All round was a very good day.

Our first whole week

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We have completed our first week and now my daughter has finished too.
This week we have learnt About proteolytic enzymes using jelly and pineapple. Josh really enjoyed this learning and now knows the difference between venom and poison.

He has fed the snakes and learnt about how they strike and swallow prey.
We visited the zoological museum and took a trip to St Albans where we played ball, played in the splash park and then went for a walk around the lake discussing the birds and then looked at the roman ruins. Then we watched gladiator.

health visitor

Today the health visitor came round. I know that I don’t have to agree to her visits but she is a nice friendly lady and I enjoy talking to her.

She had not seen us since before Nick was taken into hospital so she was happy to see us.

Nick is currently without a cast as his cast slipped yesterday and he has a sore on his foot so physio made the decision to leave the cast off until Friday, she is confident that it wont set us back and we are still due for him to have his tenotomy on the 18th.

Today though the health visitor was able to weight him, we weigh him as castings between casts but I guess she wanted to see it herself, which was fine we are happy to oblige. He now weight 11lb 4oz, which is a gain of 6oz in 4 days.

She had a chat with Josh and discussed home ed with us, she is in agreement that I am doing the right thing, not that I had any doubt but its nice to have a health professional confirm it and be on my side sometimes.

Josh amazed her with his talent for drawing and his interest in reptiles and arachnids. The boy who was almost phobic of reading and writing is very happy to read out loud about these creatures in order to answer my questions.

Today he has fed our pet snakes with me, usually he doesn’t show much interest after watching them strike but today he watched them carefully and saw how they swallow their food whole. He took some photos of the process as well.

He has become happy to take photos of what he is doing, he was nature watching in his nans garden yesterday while I was at the hospital with Nick for his cast and he took photos of squirrels and a magpie.

Tomorrow we will be looking at the spiders in his book, and will be doing an experiment using jelly and pineapple for him to learn about enzymes.

Currently while I type this he is enjoying his “PE” and bouncing on the trampoline.

My Usborne books order came today as well so we are now set to begin learning about the romans next week 🙂

deschooling and overcoming a fear of “learning”

20140706_15193220140706_155145Following the removal of my eldest son from school last week the change was almost instant. Sure he still gets grumpy when he doesn’t get his own way and he gets frustrated and argues with his sister….. but generally he is more relaxed and overall happier.

What I have noticed is his apparent hatred towards learning. This time last year I had a school report telling me how much he loved learning. … wow how much has one academic year with a new headteacher changed that!!

It’s almost like a phobia of reading and writing he has. So we have a journey ahead of us to overcome. Also, he can be happy doing an activity until I mention the dreaded l word then the shutters come down.

I have been informed today that “no mum I didn’t do any learning yesterday it was sunday”….. However after a day flying kites and watching the hang gliders etc he now knows all about air currents and rising thermals….. but nope we didn’t do any learning!!! 😉

So this is how we will continue for now, trying to relax, find our feet and get my happy boy back and maybe / hopefully some hidden learning along the way.

Home Ed

This week my son, Joshua has left school.

No he hasn’t sat exams and finished school, he is in year 4, but he is no longer registered at school.

I handed the letter in to the school on Wednesday to de register him following a wholeacademic year spent battling the new headteacher, and dealing with my happy cheery go lucky son turn in to an uptight moody and highly strung little nightmare due to lack of confidence and bullying.

On Wednesday, his last day, I had my thoughts confirmed and my certainty that I was doing the right thing enforced when I witnessed him getting beaten up outside of the classroom, in front of parents, pupils and at least 3 members of staff. I watched his class teacher turn around and walk back into her classroom while my son cried and was rescued by a random mother that was stood closer to the action than I was.

 

 

So our journey into home ed has begun. I have read about deschooling and have decided that for both of our sakes this is what we need to do. I am not worried about curriculum etc at the moment though there are subjects and activities that we are interested in covering.

Yesterday consisted of me teaching him about Sudoku, and he managed to complete a puzzle. He then looked on youtube for instructional videos and tried following them to learn how to make a rainbow loom starburst. He hasn’t managed to make one yet, but has learnt the importance of following instructions accurately as he went wrong several times. He kept his temper and persevered for a fair while though. That is a huge improvement for the boy who several days ago would throw something if he didn’t get it first time, so we are taking small steps.

Today he is making me a poster about a book. He chose the book and was very eager to do this activity, however he then got distracted by the tv, and then got bored so I encouraged him to carry on until it was done as I feel it is important for him to get into the habit of completing things, there was no reason for him to leave it unfinished.

He is still going by school day timetable. So got annoyed when he realised he had been doing stuff through “his break time” I had to explain he doesn’t have a set break time….. that he is not following school time table.  Again he got upset when at 3pm I encouraged him to continue what he was doing. I again explained that we are not following a school time table…… Hopefully we will get there and he will calm down and we will both settle in to the change. 

I am lucky to be an Usborne book seller so ordered a selection for our home use. oy first big project will be the Romans 🙂