Saturday, 16 May 2015

5 years time

5 years ago, we were in the very early days of our home education journey.  Fred was nearly 5, Betsy was 2, and I was 8 months pregnant with Meg.  Here we are, a month or so after Meg was born:

I did blog then, though I didn't do it very often until Meg was nearly 1.

I only had one school age child, and he wasn't even of compulsory school age anyway! Betsy was a toddler, and just came along to wherever I was taking Fred.  Fred tended to be my focus, though even then I didn't do any structured 'school at home' stuff.

Home education then revolved around going to the zoo, the woods, to playgrounds.  We went to a weekly group - a sanity saver for me when the children were so young.  We played with train sets, dinosaurs, bricks and Duplo.  We watched Cbeebies.  A lot.  We played in the garden, went to the library, fed the ducks.

Many of those activities remain part of our week or our month.  Garden play was hugely enhanced by the addition of a trampoline.  We often go to the woods, but are no longer members of the zoo.  Animal/creature activities are very much enjoyed, and they've all held birds of prey, various insects and arachnids, watched lambs being born, been pond dipping, watching caterpillars transform into butterflies, fed goats and sheep, been horse riding, collected hen eggs and lots of other things I've forgotten!

Fred and Betsy both learnt to read.  Fred did so with little direct input from me - I read things out to him when he asked, and I continue to spell words for him when he's chatting online with friends.  It was amazing to watch him pick up the skills for reading, slowly, naturally, over time.  I found it a real privilege to be able to let the process happen.

Betsy wanted more structured help.  She liked Reading Eggs and the Songbirds phonics books.  She sometimes reads books to Meg now, which is the sweetest thing.

Over time, we have dropped weekly commitments.  A week may be busy, or it may be quiet.  
We may have lots of day trips planned, or find ourselves with lots of visitors to our house.  I used to worry more about the quiet weeks, but now I feel they are part of a cycle, to do with our energy, the weather, the season.  I've written a couple of 'different every day' posts over the years, a summer one here, a spring one here.

Ipads, computers and games consoles have become very important as the years have gone on.  Minecraft is played most days, Netflix is loved by all.  Fred connects with kids around the world on the PS3.

Crafts seem to be less enjoyed than before - Betsy will sometimes choose not to make things whereas she always said yes.  Meg still likes to paint/glue/make a lot.

I can't imagine what the next 5 years will bring.  Fred will be almost 15, Betsy 12 and Meg nearly 10.  I'm guessing the Duplo may be gone by then!

Here are the kids now - this was taken on Monday at Legoland.  I'm sure they'll still be loving theme parks in 5 years time!

Part of the Four Pesky Hobbits blog share.  And because this song was going through my head while I was writing it, and Fred used to *love* it, here's to the next 5 years!


  1. Lovely post Jo, I can empathise so much with the not wanting to do craft, we used to make so many things and now it's very rare. I also kind of miss CBeebies! Thanks for taking part in the blog share :)

  2. So cool! It's like you guys are 5 years ahead of us! Good to know about energy levels & cycles. I too worry about quiet weeks! E loves Legoland too!

  3. Minecraft is an essential tool for the home-edder ;-)

  4. Keep on enjoying your time together. What a lovely age all of your children are to be truly enjoying their home educated time.