Just 20 minutes

People always ask me how I get my children to sit down and do the work they need to do. What this question fails to understand is that home education need not be 'school at home'. There is liberation from endless worksheets, and berating one's children to get them to read aloud or to learn that list of spellings becomes a fading memory. Rather, learning flows naturally and a routine and a little encouragement seem to help us get done what needs to be done. Everyone is more relaxed.

My eldest son chose to learn about the Second World War this term. We have used the BBC Kids website as a starting point for looking at different topics relating to the War, and I find that just 20 minutes sitting side by side and discussing what we find there achieves a great deal. Children do not receive a lot of one-on-one attention in a busy classroom, so it is amazing how much you can cover in just a short, focused amount of time.

He was working through a page of subtraction the other day, and learning the written method of carrying numbers. Although his mental maths is very good, he found this puzzling but persevered. The final exercise asked him to fill in numbers which were missing from various subtraction sums, and it was hard! He and I puzzled over it for about 25 minutes or so and got there in the end. I was so impressed at his perseverance and at the satisfaction we got from figuring it out together.