January has brought with it a need for us to create more structure. Before the holidays, we were all enjoying the free time we had together and any activities planned, but I was concerned it wasn’t enough. Eleanor (aged 8) also asked for more structure and more to do. Her sister did not share her thoughts on that one!
If I’m honest, I welcome to chance to plan, teach and assess a little more. After all it’s what I trained for and, really, the only way I know how to deliver an education. That doesn’t sit easily with the part of me that doesn’t want to recreate school at home. Andy and I have discussed this at length over the past eight weeks or so. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to try something new, see how it goes and adapt as necessary. That seems to be the mantra of home education. It’s certainly a joy of home education that we can try things and move on if it’s not for us.
Our New Structure
So, the first Monday of January appears and I’m ready with a new timetable and a new curriculum. The plan is to spend the morning on more structured learning, and some afternoons depending on classes we’re attending. Most afternoons the girls will get free time, so there’ll still be an element of unschooling.
We think that, having been in formal education, the girls are used to a certain amount of structure. Eleanor would be in Year Four now, and Phoebe in Year Two. That’s a long time for them both to get used to living by a timetable. After plenty of conversations about it, we’ve also agreed that even a loose structure is only going to be a good thing for them. Long term, they’ll both need to be able to work to a timetable; they’ll need to have a daily routine. That’s just life.
Phoebe’s reaction, although entirely expected, was not great. She’s six and the youngest in her school year; she’d much rather be playing than ever picking up a pencil. I explain to her that she’ll still have lots of time to play. She’s not convinced. I point out that if they were still in school, she’d spend far more time in lessons. She’s still not interested. I know that, in time, she’ll come around. I’ve made sure to plan plenty of fun things for them, and as many hands-on activities as possible.
A New Curriculum
Many home educating families don’t follow a curriculum, or at least not the National Curriculum. I don’t feel as though we need to follow the National Curriculum either, but I do want a structure to base our lessons on. Structure seems to be our word of 2020 doesn’t it?
Over the past twelve months or so, the girls have had all of the Harry Potter books read to them. Not by me, they prefer Andy to read to them because he does the characters voices! They’ve been enthralled by all of them, much like we are.
It seems to me like basing our new curriculum on Harry Potter is perfect. The wizarding world puts an interesting spin on topics we’d cover anyway and who wouldn’t want to pretend they go to Hogwarts? Thankfully, this is something Phoebe does agree on and Eleanor couldn’t be more on board if she tried.
I’ll write about what our Harry Potter curriculum looks like in another blog post for those who are interested.