I live with my husband and our three children, a daughter (22 years) and two sons (9 & 7 years) in the New Forest. I’m a Forest School practitioner working at The Outdoor Learning Company and I also work as a cleaner for the local council. My husband is an I.T contractor and has just set up his own I.T company.
I never planned to home educate; I didn’t even know it was something I could choose to do. My daughter went all through school and college and let’s just say it wasn’t a good experience for her or for us as a family to see how this wasn’t the right path for her in her education. Completely unaware that I could decide to home educate, I applied for a school place for my second child and was dreading when the day would come that I would have to send him into full time school at 4 years old.
A few days before his school placement came through and after speaking with a friend, who had already decided to home educate, I spoke to my husband about not sending him to school and for him to be educated at home. We both agreed that we felt he was too young and that we didn’t have much faith in the school system after previous dealings. We decided to deregister and give it a go.
Making the decision to home educate was so scary at the beginning, but Our Home ed journey so far has been incredible! We are always out and about because we love being outdoors and around nature. My boys are learning all the time through everything they do and it’s a joy to watch.
I would say our learning style is learning through play, discovery and activities. Both have naturally learned to read themselves and enjoy it. Which has led to them researching interests and ideas as and when they want to. Watching them learn and grow at their own pace and thoroughly enjoying learning makes that scary decision so worthwhile. My only regret is that I didn’t know about home ed earlier so I could have given my daughter the same opportunities.
My job with the council is an early shift that finishes at 7am. I’m back home before the boy’s are awake. I spend the time between getting home and them waking up doing the usual chores and getting ready for the plans we have made for that day. I work one day a week at The Outdoor Learning Company, as a Forest school positioner, currently studying for my level 3 Forest school leader. The boys attend forest school on the same day I work.
Our jobs fit around each other and this enables us to home educate. Our weeks are planned out around a few set sessions we attend and my husbands’ work shifts. This allows us to spend time together as a family during the week making the most of the quieter times during term time.
The boys and I attend forest school once a week, a lovely home ed group and one day a week for music lessons, sewing class and a regular meet up with friends. Most of our evenings are filled with clubs for the children but then we have two days a week we keep free. I use the time during these days to focus on what the boys would like to discover, learn more about. These days are very relaxed and start with the boys waking up when they want, take our time over breakfast and discuss what our plan for the day is. Sometimes the plan works and sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes I worry about it and sometimes I don’t. I am confident that no matter what we spend our days doing, I am doing enough for my children and they are thriving and learning all the time.
I’m not sure how long we will home educate for but at the same time don’t have any plans to send our children to school. My advice for anybody thinking of home educating is to go for it and see what happens. I would also advise researching as much as possible, something I didn’t do and I think that if I had I wouldn’t have panicked so much in the beginning and spent time worrying about things I didn’t need to.
You will mostly find Nikki stomping the woods with her boys & dog Buddy. She is passionate about child-led learning in the great outdoors. Connect with her @wild_schoolers_UK
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