I met someone at the weekend who asked me how a home ed week looks. Of course, that's a difficult question to answer because each week is different. That is the nature and freedom of alternative education. However, she said it would be helpful for her to see what we actually do day-by-day, hence today's post, the first in a series I will try to complete each day this week - Home Ed Diary ....
So, this weekend, my parents were taking a trip to visit my Auntie on the south coast, who has two grandsons, the older of whom is the same age as my youngest. So, they invited my littlest boy to accompany them, which he was glad to do. He has spent the weekend on the beach in the sunshine, making new friends and enjoying time with his grandparents. He won't be back until later this afternoon.
My oldest son (16) is off on study leave and studying here at home for his GCSE exams which he is in the midst of. He says he prefers to study at home than at school because it is too distracting, so is getting on with his revision here.
My 12 year old has been to his home ed swimming lesson this morning, which is half an hour, and has then gone with a friend to play tennis. It is such a gloriously sunshiney day, so nice for him to be able to get out and enjoy it. I have been doing the weekly online shop, and making soup for lunch. My 12 year old is a creature of habit and likes home made leek and potato soup for lunch on Mondays! He comes home from tennis to join us for lunch, and a discussion about healthy eating and BMI, during which we looked up our healthy weight range for our heights and talked about lifestyle choices with regards to food.
Monday afternoon is chore time in our home ed routine when we usually put on some music and get on with cleaning the house for an hour. The older three boys all have assigned chores and the youngest is apprenticed to his brother to assist. But he is not here, so two boys and I get on with some housework. My eldest hoovers the bedrooms, stairs and landing. The 12 year old cleans the downstairs loo and sink and does some laundry. He and I are bearing the brunt of chores this year as the others are so busy.
My oldest son has been asking for new shoes for a while, and asks if we can go and get them this afternoon. So, chores done, the three of us troop across to the Common to the store he works at and where we can now, therefore, enjoy a staff discount. He selects the shoes, and chats to some colleagues whilst his brother researches some sportswear he is saving up for. Percentage discounts are calculated and shoes purchased. We then walk back. Conversation centres on what my oldest son will be able to buy for himself once he is earning on his apprenticeship next year. My 12 year old is looking at the trees, picks up a leaf to identify in our spotter's guide at home. Having done that, he settles down to read his current book which he is keen to finish, 'Twist of Gold' by Michael Morpurgo. His older brother cycles off to meet a friend from school who is coming round to do some maths revision.
My parents arrive with my youngest son having driven back from the south coast. He is full of the super weekend he has had, and pretty swiftly heads out to the garden to paint a clay man he made last week. He gets out the acrylic paints, palette and brushes and gets on with this independently whilst my parents and I have a cup of tea together before they head on home.
The school crowd arrive home, and my oldest and his friend head down to our garden room to tackle a GCSE maths paper which they will later discuss with my husband, who is a maths teacher and has now arrived home, too. My second son comes in from his day at school, and heads out into the garden. Littlest is now busy with his Lego. Our washing machine has packed up, so I am trying to haul washing out to the line to drip dry in the sunshine. Somehow this leads to a conversation with my 12 year old about soap. Does all soap come from soap nuts? How is soap made? He looks it up on YouTube, watching several videos about how soap is made.
It is now time for him to head off to his tennis squad training session. Maths tuition continues in the garden room. Dinner is prepared. Washing is managed. The garden is watered. Lego construction continues. Everyone assembles for dinner. Afterwards, my second son disappears to watch Romeo and Juliet. He has his first ever GCSE exam in English Literature tomorrow morning. The rest of us clear away, and then my littlest son proudly shows me his Lego construction. It is a mini figure in a rotating watch tower. There is a ramp brick up to the tower which looks like lava. I ask him if he has heard about the volcano erupting in Hawaii. Maybe this minifigure is keeping watch over the volcano. Yes, he says, maybe they have a watchtower like this in Hawaii. We watch a few YouTube videos together about the eruption happening now in Hawaii and talk about that a little.
Time for youngest's shower, and then a read-aloud with his brother. We are currently reading "Anne of Green Gables" together, which is a favourite of mine. Then smallest goes to bed. The older boys are still busy with their own work. Our online shop arrives, and everyone helps unload the boxes and get the food put away in the kitchen. As the evening draws to a close, they sort themselves out with showers, and drift bedwards. One day in our home ed life. How much did we learn?