Visit from LA & Elective HE Network Meeting.

I promised that I would do a post on the Elective HE Network Meeting that we attended on Tuesday afternoon and I thought I would tie it in with the visit we had on Tuesday morning from the Attendance & Pupil Support officer from my local authority.

‘Allowing the LA to get involved with your HE decision is your choice!’

For anyone considering home education or a newbie like myself, allowing the LA to get involved with your HE decision is completely your choice. From what I understand if your child has a SEN then in occasional cases permission or further discussions with the LA maybe needed but in most cases it should be your choice.

‘The LA Radar’

In our case, we are already under the ‘LA radar’ as Keira was registered within the school system. Because of this, her de-registration details were forwarded to the LA who contacted me to request a home visit. I accepted on the basis that I was intrigued to hear what they had to say and also because I wanted them to understand that no one wants to best for Keira than what we do as her family. I haven’t gone into the world of Home Education without doing thorough research and  I am confident that this is the right decision for Keira and I really wanted them to hear that from me. I was also intrigued to hear what support or advice they had to offer.

‘The Visit from the LA’ 

The Attendance & Pupil Support Officer that visited us seemed genuinely lovely. She seemed supportive of our decision and asked questions that I expected such as ‘how do I plan to HE Keira around my job’ but understood that because of my job socially Keira would have many opportunities to make friends and socialise with other age groups. Socialization seems to be many people’s main concern when I mention HE but both Keira & my youngest daughter Scarlett seem to have a better social life than I do. I had already prepared a folder for Keira which includes the National Curriculum for KS1, some of Keira’s work that she has already done and her school report that was sent from school a couple of weeks ago. She had a look through that but said she was impressed with the research that I had done and that she had no concerns in regards to Keira’s HE. She ended with the request to visit again in 12 months time which I gladly accepted 🙂

I understand why some HE families choose not to get involved with the LA. My only advice is that if you are faced with this choice, have confidence in your own decisions. I realized a long time ago that no matter what school I send my children to, they cannot possibly want the best for them in the same way that we do as their parents.

‘The Elective Home Educators Network Meeting’ 

I promised myself when I started this blog that I was going to be completely honest. I think sometimes I can be too kind for my own good. If i’m not happy with something I just won’t leave a review at all and i’l keep quiet. However I understand a lot of people who read my blog are researching and intrigued to hear about certain experiences that we face during our HE journey so this is something I must share.

The meeting was held at Cliffe House which is a lovely venue that I have visited before for various courses and even remember going many years ago for a school trip. I had to book a place on the course and when I called they told me various activities would be set up for the children which I thought would be great. Keira’s almost 5 and much better at entertaining herself now however Scarlett is only 2 and you are lucky if she sits still for 2 minutes! When we got there I was pleasantly surprised to see some other HE families. Some had been home educating for many years and some were just at the start of the journey just like us.

Colouring was provided for the little ones but that was it in regards to activities so I was a little dissapointed and it made it difficult to listen to what was been said as Scarlett decided 10 minutes in that she had better places to be.

The best part of the meeting was finding out that as Home Educators we can take advantage of BooksPlus which means we can borrow 2 boxes of resources per term to help us with the girls studies. We we’re given a list of boxes and you simply email them to request the boxes of choice. This has to be the best part of the whole meeting.

As Scarlett was by this point trying to make her way out of the fire escape it was really difficult to socialise with any other professionals or HE families. I also felt awkward because one lady who I think was from the council spent the whole time we were there watching me. I don’t know if it was because I am a ‘younger parent’, new to HE and shes observing how I deal with the children  or something else but I felt really uncomfortable and for that reason & the fact their was nothing set up for the children we won’t be attending again.

So that’s my blog for today. A little long but I hope it gives you an insight into the home visit from the LA & the E
HE meeting too.

Jenna x

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So this week I have set myself the challenge to spend as little money as possible.

We have been home educating for over 5 weeks now and initially I planned so many activities/days out to ensure the girls days were as ‘fulfilling’ as possible but I spent an absolute fortune.

More experienced Home Educators have said to me that HE can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be and they are completely right.

Today was a working day for me and we were joined by L (3) and A (2). I absolutely love Monday’s as both little ones are fantastic and get on so well with Keira & Scarlett too.

We starteIMG_3742d the morning making fruit salad which the little ones really enjoyed. Through my job as a childminder I follow the EYFS and the topic we are looking at this week is ‘healthy eating’ so getting them to learn about and try new fruit seemed appropriate. They did some drawings and coloring of fruit which we then stuck on the wall.
All the little ones then helped me get the picnic ready, ready for our day at the park.

We are fortunate that where we live there are plenty of lovely parks and outdoor areas. Today I decided to take the journey to Manor Heath Park in Halifax which all the children love. We were joined by a fellow HE mummy and her two children, J (4) & I (2) and it was lovely to see the relationships continue to build between all the children.

We spent time in the butterfly garden & they loved watching the fish and the terrapins. We then ran around the walled garden (queue me panicking that i’d lost Keira who thought hiding would be a good idea!) They played in the water area and spent a lot of time in the outdoor playground. All the children had waterproofs & wellies on so even when it rained it wasn’t too bad. Did find though that for the little ones in the puddlesuits slides are lethal! Ha. We even managed to eat our picnic sitting outside once the rain had taken a break. Scarlett just decorated the floor with our lovingly prepared fruit salad!

It was honestly a brilliant day and I spent … (drumroll please!) just £1.00!!

It cost me £1.00 for me & 4 little ones to enter the Butterfly Garden! A good result if you ask me. If you are looking for a nice day out I highly recommend this park. There is also a cafe onsite, public toilets (though you pay 20p for the privilege) and an outdoor gym area so plenty to do for all ages.

Tomorrow is my day off work and I have the dreaded meeting with the council lady about my HE journey! I will most definitely do a post on this at some point during the week and let you all know how it went. The lady I spoke to seemed pretty nice on the phone though so I have my fingers crossed.

Oh & just had to share this adorable picture of Keira & Scarlett cuddling up before bed tonight. Scarlett loves having her hair brushed & Keira is more than happy to play the role of hairdresser.

x Jenna x

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Educational Websites & Resources.

One of the things I have been focusing on this week is putting a good plan together to ensure that we are providing enough opportunities to enable Keira to reach her full potential.

As Keira is still 4 years old (4 and a half to be precise!) her year group would have been following the Early Years Foundation Stage. Through my job as a childminder I implement this into every working day anyway so the EYFS is second nature to me and its safe to say we’ve covered all aspects with Keira. From September Keira would have been starting year 1 which would have seen her beginning the journey into Key Stage 1. I have already started implementing this into our daily routine to give her a head start.

We’ve bought a few workbooks – I absolutely love the shop ‘the works’ as can always seem to pick up something good for a decent price and we’ve also got some exercise books for each subject so we can keep a record of things we’ve learnt and look back on them as Keira gets older. I am also not ashamed to admit that we also use a few websites to download resources and also play online games or challenges which Keira really loves.

I thought it would be useful for me to share some of our favorite websites with you. Whether you home educate or not, I think anyone with children should take a look at these sites as I think there is something to learn from each of them.

The first one I have to mention is Twinkl. I actually have a Platinum Plus account as I originally started using it to download resources for my mindees. There are many different memberships available and some resources are also free to use. I personally cannot recommTwinklend this site enough. You can download so many different resources covering so many different topics. They cover the EYFS right through to KS4 and even have resources for people with Special Educational Needs which I think is fantastic. There is a section specifically for Home Educators which I find really useful as well as a secti
on for Parents, Childminders and even Adult Education. Many of the resources can be edited to suit you and you can even personalize some of them too. You can also request specific resources which I think is amazing. I haven’t had to use them yet but from what I have heard the support team is also fantastic so a good company to support. To find out more visit www.twinkl.co.uk 

When it comes to online gaming I am quite selective over what Keira plays. She really likes the BBC Bitesize Games which I completely approve of as the activities are based on KS1 Literacy, Mathematics and Science. Her current favourite has to be the Khan Academy. I have to be honest I think this site is fantastic and I am completely amazed that its also free. I have learnt so much from it myself and I really love sitting with Keira and being able to explore it with her. She has her own profile (which is very safe and secure) and can choose from a variety of subjects. We have focused on the early maths section at present as Keira’s really enjoying it so seems silly to move onto something else yet. I love how she Khan-Academy-logois given questions but if she doesn’t yet understand it she can select ‘I haven’t learnt this yet’ and it remembers that. It seems to then gradually reintroduce the missed question but at an easier level so she can slowly get her head around it. She can also watch tutorial videos which are available alongside every question asked which give a quick explanation on how to work out the question which is great. The bit that Keira loves is that for every question she gets right she wins points. The points add up and she has a little avatar that changes as she develops. As she earns more points she can then personalize the character. She absolutely loves it and it really does motivate her to work harder. I highly recommend you take a look. To find out more visit www.khanacademy.org 

Other websites we enjoy are however I haven’t used these enough to review them yet:

http://interactivesites.weebly.com/ 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/

http://www.what2learn.com/

https://allinonehomeschool.com/

https://uk.ixl.com/

Jenna x

 

Confirmation of de-registration! Eek.

After a super busy week I have finally had the chance to sit down and publish another post.

I feel that we have really embraced home education this week. Every day has been packed full of learnFullSizeRender (1).jpging, experiences and most importantly fun and it’s safe to say that I am so ready for the weekend! Mr. B will be home from work and we can all relax a little.

I had a call from our local council this week confirming that they had received Keira’s de-registration letter. We’ve been home educating for 5 weeks now but just receiving that call made it feel so real. I am so proud of me and my other half for working together to make the best decision for our children and I am sure when they a
re older they will appreciate that too! I hope they do anyway! Ha.

The attendance and pupil support team also requested a home visit which I accepted so they will be visiting us next week. I understand that this isn’t compulsory and I appreciate that some HE families don’t want any sort of interference from the council which is completely understandable too. I made the decision to accept the initial visit simply because I am confident that what we are doing for our children is right. I want to hear what the council have to offer in regards to additional support for home educating families but I do not want a lesson in ‘how we should be teaching her’ and that is something I will politely make clear to them. One of the main reasons I have taken Keira out of school is because both me and her dad believe we can offer her more 1 to 1 support and a better learning environment than what any school can. I believe that every child has the potential to be fantastic but I believe that different teaching methods need to be used and the school system seems to promote a ‘one size fits all’ method which I completely disagree with. Keira and her sister will have the freedom to explore and follow their own interests and as their parents we wholeheartedly support that.

We are also attending an Elective Home Educators Network Meeting next week which will be interesting to say the least. I am intrigued to learn more about different practices used by HE families and to explore the support available to us as home educators.  I will do a separate post on this next week and share with you how it went.

Jenna x

Cannon Hall Farm.

So yesterday afternoon after a super busy morning, Keira asked if we could go to Cannon Hall Farm. As it was already 2pm my first answer was ‘it’s too late to go now but we will go another day’. This answer wasn’t good enough for Princess Keira and her response was ‘but please mummy, it’s not too late.. Please!’

I headed to the Cannon Hall Farm website to check opening times and check the admission prices as I felt reluctant to pay full price of we could only have a couple of hours there.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that on Monday to Friday’s during term time, entry is just £3.00 per person if you arrive after 3:30pm. Parking is also free which is great. You have until 5:30pm in the farm but until 6:30pm in the new Hungry Llama Soft Play so plenty of time for lots of fun.

We got ready (raincoats and wellies as it was literally chucking it down) and set off to the farm. We arrived just shortly after 3pm and was pleased to see that the car park was practically empty. I always love a good car parking spot especially when it’s near to the main entrance.

Off we went into the farm with a very happy 4 year old and a defiant 2 year old who had the privilege of her chauffeur driven pushchair because she decided wellies and socks weren’t on the agenda today. 

It really made me laugh when we came through the entrance and said to the assistant ‘I’m on a school trip and this is my teacher, Miss mummy’ She then proceeded calling me ‘Miss Mummy’ all the way round the farm. She’s really enjoying home education and I’m so glad! 

I have to say one of my pet hates is attractions during busy periods. I get so claustrophobic and anxious that our visits seem to he short lived if it is crazily busy. I was amazed at how quiet it was at the farm during this time and for that reason we would most definitely come again at this time! It was lovely watching Keira run ahead and not get lost in crowds of people.

The first place we headed was to the pigs! We were priveleged to see some 1-day old piglets that had just arrived back from their first injections. We met the cutest donkey family and Keira made friends with lots of goats! As it was quieter the interaction from the farmers was lovely too. A few of them stopped to tell Keira little facts about the animals and she was so intrigued. 


After spending a good amount of time looking at the animals we decided to give the Hungry Llama Soft Play a go. There is a buggy park outside the playgym which is handy – much better than a playgym full of unused pushchairs.

I have to say I was amazed at the size of it! It seems like they have considered everything when designing the playgym and there is so much for the little ones to do! We really could have spent the whole day in there! I know we would have done had the girls had their way.

I ordered some food for the girls as it was close to tea time. Keira had the turkey dinosaurs, homemade chips and peas and Scarlett had just beans on toast. Keira’s food was actually lovely and I was really pleased with the quality. Scarlett’s beans and toast was exactly what you’d expect but I have to say it was a bit overpriced as all she got was a small slice of toast and a few beans and it was £2.25. Other than that the food quality was good.


After running round the playgym after the girls for the past hour, I decided to sit down and have a rest whilst the girls continued playing. After about 10 minutes I realised I hadn’t heard Scarlett so went in to find her. You can imagine my panic after 5 minutes of searching I couldn’t find her. I reached that mown the of ‘oh my goodness! What do I actually do?!’ I kept searching and searching and eventually heard a ‘mum! Mummy!’ I looked up and Scarlett had managed to climb to the very top platform but couldn’t work out how to get down! When I finally got up there she was naked and shouting ‘I need a yee yee’ I have never felt so relieved to hear her say those words! 

For anyone thinking of visiting the farm, we would highly recommend. There is so much to do including feeding the animals, the outdoor adventure playground (which looks fantastic), sheep racing during peak times and then the Hungry Llama Playgym which I mentioned earlier in the post. 


All in all, Cannon Hall Farm is brilliant especially at that time and we will definitely visit again. If you would like to learn more visit http://www.cannonhallfarm.co.uk

Jenna x

Thank goodness I home school!

On Friday we decided to have a day out to the National Coal Mining Museum. I remember visiting when I was much younger on a school trip and I thought it would be a nice place to spend a seemingly warm sunny day with the little ones. Keira is really interested in history at the moment and I love to see the fascination and disbelief when we talk about past events that happened ‘before she was even born’! 


Entry is free so for anyone wanting to save some money it’s definitely a good place to go. I was really pleased to find an under 5’s play area inside which was fantastic. The children really loved it. We got to meet 2 pit Ponies, Eric and Ernie and a cat with no tail – Keira obviously begged to take it home! Unfortunately the outdoor playground was closed for maintainance but I can imagine that being pretty fun too. 

After a morning of exploring and learning new things we decided to head to the picnic area for our picnic. We were then joined by a small school group. I would probably say no more than 20 pupils and 3 members of staff and I have no idea what school they were part of as the children had plain white polo shirts on. 

I have to say I was disgusted and upset at the way the staff spoke to the children. There was a massive lack of respect. I have never heard so much shouting from adults let alone teachers in my life. It really upset me. I understand this doesn’t happen in every school but it did make me think.. What happens when we aren’t there? Are our children treat in the same way that we would treat them at home? Are they loved, valued and respected?! 

I don’t think people understand the implications of their actions and words sometimes. Yes, adults have to be authoritative but I believe there is a right way to do that. 

As a childminder I am privileged that the parents of my minded children put their trust in me to care for their children. It is second nature to me to treat them exactly how I treat my own children and I view my business as part of my extended family. Every child is special and every child should be loved, valued and respected at all times. 

We finished our picnic pretty quickly as I didn’t want to my little ones to witness any more negativity. I grasped my Scarlett and little A’s hand while Keira skipped ahead and felt so reassured that I’m making the right decision for my girls. I want them to grow into beautiful confident souls and from what I witnessed on Friday that school in particular is not going to nurture that with their own children. Very sad.

Anyway here’s to a good weekend. Back to it next week.

Jenna x

Tuesday is Adventure Day!

Tuesdays have to be my favourite day of the week as it is my day off work. This means that me and my girls can spend the day together doing whatever we want to do.

FullSizeRenderAs Keira is the eldest sibling she seems to automatically become the decision-maker for the group. To be honest she does seem to come up with fantastic ideas so it works well for us all and I certainly look forward to hearing her exciting ideas.

We are relatively new to home education. 3 weeks in to be precise! Our first Tuesday was spent at our local splash park at the new sports centre in Huddersfield and I have to say it was just fantastic. On our second Tuesday together Keira had a lie-in (another perk of HE) and when she got up the heavens had opened. She decided that it would be fun to go to the park so we put on our wellies and off we went. We took a workbook and pencil crayons and had an absolute blast jumping in muddy puddles. The girls were absolutely filthy but I completely agree with the statement ‘Messy Kids are Happy Kids’ as my girls were certainly happy that day!

Last night Keira decided she wanted to do lots and lots of jumping and bouncing.  I got my thinking cap on and headed to google to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised to find a trampoline park that wasn’t too far away from us. I will do a separate review for this but it was amazing! We will most definitely be going again.

I think its so important that as parents we let our little ones be decision makers sometimes! Its so lovely to see their ideas come to life and be able to enjoy their plans with them.

Jenna x