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

 

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