As most of you will know i started my Home Education journey in February 2016. This decision was the result of long discussions with my parents, grandparents and after talking to members of the Home Educating community.
Our initial reason for opting to keep my education at home was because i had an impacted bowel. I have always had problems with my bowels but in the last few years it has definitely gotten worse, so much so that i was starting to have attacks! This was usually in the form of a pounding, tight feeling where my bowel is- these have on occasion lasted for more than an hour and happened 5 times a day. While i was waiting to see a specialist, it just wasn’t feasible for me to attend school; i couldn’t concentrate, i was in a lot of pain, things like light and sound hurt me and i just wasn’t getting any work done.
There were questions about whether i was allergic to wheat or milk, i had a lot of tests!
I spent time in and out of A & E- i spent the night after Christmas 2015 there and i can honestly tell you that it is 100% not fun. I was exhausted, i felt sick and obviously i was in tremendous pain.
I’d like to say that now, i have a wonderful specialist who listens to me and talks to me in a way i like- i want cold hard facts Doc, give it to me straight! I’m managing my bowel disease quite well now because i listened to the advise of my specialist and although it hasn’t gone away i do things to maintain bowel balance. Although i just can’t get rid of these bags under my eyes, apparently it’s a sign of the disease! Who knew!?
That’s Po by the way, he welcomes you when you visit the children’s outpatient area of the hospital. He always makes me smile!
We were always told that it was obvious that my parents were hands on at home because i knew so much, i was always eager to offer answers and i presented myself well. So the leap from being educated at school to being educated at home wasn’t difficult at all!
I wont lie, there were some other reasons why i wanted to leave ‘formal’ education, such as bullying, lack of support, being bored, wanting to take on more, even stress etc.
Now i love being Home Educated. Every day is fun and an adventure, i get to have a say in what i learn and how i learn. We follow the curriculum quite closely but if i’ve enjoyed a project- such as Pumpkins against Poverty, i have the chance to learn more and more and even a little bit more (i’m currently doing GCSE Geography- it’s amazing!)
I’ve studied subjects that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on at Primary school, such as Geography and Science. If you know me, you’ll know that i retain facts like a sponge so i love quiz shows- i like to show off the things i know! I’m studying French and Computer Coding.
I go swimming every Monday which is good for my bowel, i get to spend an entire hour in the pool and not just 10 minutes like before. It took 2 weeks before i chucked away my armbands and stopped bringing my float- i even started collecting my swimming certificates! Now i practically live in the deep end and i spend most of my time doing laps, diving down in the deep end to retrieve my Intex sinking ball and doing breathing exercises under the water. I’m a real life mermaid!
I do core subjects like Mathematics, Literacy, History and Art but i also document my Days Out, i have Cookery and i do Gardening. I love Technology and i’m also learning the piano. I used to go to football training and aikido but they hurt my bowel- it’s not that i wont ever do them again but i need to learn how i can do them without being in pain. I currently do yoga, it’s incredibly relaxing and it helps keep me fit.
I’m a member of the chatterbooks group at my local library which i attend with my best friend, who usually has a sleepover afterwards. We meet up with other Home Educated children to go on special trips or events and i like to meet authors at book signings so we incorporate my reviews of their books and activities into my learning experience.
I would say that being Home Educated has helped me keep up to date with my blog and my writing but i was doing all of those things before, i’m a hard core multitasker and i’m still reading just as many books!
Being Home Educated is not cheap, we have to pay for everything ourselves- we don’t get things subsidised so we have to manage money very carefully. I’ve always been good at saving my pocket money so if i find something i really want i put money away and wait. We never say no to books, my Mum instilled that in me quite early on. I used to scour the charity shops and withdrawn books from the library (they cost 10p if you’re interested), i look out for books on gumtree and freegle. In case you hadn’t noticed- i love to read!
Obviously now i get sent books to review or i win them so my book collection has grown a lot! Wanting to encourage children to learn to love reading is great but it’s maintaining it that’s really important.
I’ve found a lot over the years that people’s attitude to me is different because i learnt to read easily and i read all the time. I learnt to read with ease because my Mummy was practising phonics with me constantly! She was helping children learn to read in schools while she was at university and her little brother is dyslexic- he can’t read phonics- so she’s always been passionate about helping children learn to read and keeping them reading. She piled that all into me. Thank goodness!
I save my pocket money to buy books by my favourite authors, Waterstone’s is my friend- thank you for your buy one get one half price! You can’t beat independent bookstores though, those booksellers are the best.
I love gardening, it’s so hands on and there’s nothing like watching something that you have cared for grow. I’m a keen gardener, did you know that? I grow Apples, Pears, Blueberries, Strawberries, Goji berries, Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Blackberries. Not to mention herbs and salad items! Growing is great but the rewards are in the harvesting. Mmm.
I even managed to go to the Gardener’s World/ Good Food show this year, it was so cool! I really wanted to meet Alan Titchmarsh but i didn’t see him.
Home Education might be different and i might miss out on some things because i’m taught at home but my educational world exploded the day i started Home Ed. There are surprisingly few doors closed to me! I am entirely myself, i don’t get to dismiss the parts of learning that i don’t like or subjects that i wasn’t keen on before- instead we find new ways to learn them. It’s not about the child not being able to learn but it is all about how they are taught and i love how i am taught!