Don’t give up on reading this, I promise you it soon changes direction!

I awake gently from my peaceful slumber to the sound of children chattering and the smell of our home-bred bacon sizzling. The homemade bread the children made the night before is waiting, warm and fresh on the kitchen side, ready for one of the children to slice. They have done a great job laying the table, collecting the eggs and doing the other farm jobs before breakfast.

Following our feast and joy-filled conversation the children brush teeth and clear the table, ready for their school day to begin…..

I can but dream. I awake back in the real world, to the sound of a shouting child, it was a lovely dream, but I know that reality is running down my corridor. I hide under the duvet and hope that they will stop yelling and leave me alone for 5 more minutes. Mission accomplished, tiny feet retreat back down the corridor and I grab 5 minutes with God and a quick scan of the news. I can feel that my quiet moment is about to end, when I hear an argument begin in the boys’ bedroom. Hungry tummies are causing angry words and my day must begin. Reluctantly, knowing that it will be 14 hours before I am truly alone again, I open the door and face the day.

Dressed in dressing gown and slippers (getting dressed can wait) I bleary-eyed go to Katie where I am greeted by her gorgeous smile, the day is starting to improve. Unfortunately the boys’ argument wasn’t resolved amicably and so I intervene before they do something painful to each other.

Breakfast is a casual affair with cereal or porridge except for one fussy eater who has toast, due to the ‘unpleasant sogginess’ of cereal! I write up jobs on the white board and a chart with all their morning tasks, including, dress, teeth, bed, jobs, schoolwork. They get on with this with varying degrees of success, depending on how motivating I am feeling!

When we moved here I dreamt of children following Daddy out to milk the cow, but let’s get real, it’s minus one and nobody wants to leave the house at 8am. So instead we focus on life skills inside, until about 10am.

We follow the ACE curriculum. We started out planning our own curriculum, but as our family grew I reached out for a readymade curriculum, to save me planning time. We cover Maths, English, Social Studies, Science and Literature. With the younger children I focus solely on reading, writing and maths and then gradually add other subjects in as they grow in confidence. ACE is fairly self led, although each child needs help with marking, difficult questions, attitude issues, motivation and reading for the early readers.

We spend about 2-3 hours accomplishing our written work and aim to be finished by lunchtime. I keep it flexible though and sometimes they are busy doing something productive and so I don’t stop them to come in and do schoolwork. I find that quiet moments are rare and so when I get one, I run with it. They normally come in when they are hungry, at which point we have an early lunch and do our book work between 1 and 4. The little ones only work for 30 minutes or one hour and then it goes up with age.

Spare time is spent pursuing their other interests like woodwork, animal care, gardening, gymnastics, riding bikes, reading, art and baking.

I am often pulled in multiple directions at a time and I won’t lie, it can get overwhelming. It’s been especially hard over lockdown because we haven’t had any groups to go to. Normally we have gymnastics, swimming, home ed groups, church, visits to grandparents and friends to play, all which help to break up the week. The endless lockdown days have meant that I have had a lot of extra demands placed on me. Phil is very supportive, but he also has a job to do and this property to care for. Thankfully the children have each other and that really helps. They do play well together, although they can also fall out really well. I am trying to reach out to God in prayer when things overwhelm me. I am often reminded of Susanna Wesley, mother of Charles and John and 17 other children, who would often, when overwhelmed, throw her apron over her head and pray. I don’t wear an apron, but I do have a toilet with a lock, it sounds less holy, but it’s a bit quieter 😉.

Much of our home ed learning takes place when we’re not doing book work. It’s in the conversations, it’s in the shared experiences, it’s doing life together. A phrase that often sticks with me is, ‘more is caught than taught,’. Hopefully, through our example, we show our children that the most important thing they will ever learn is to put God first and all the rest follows. Thankfully God doesn’t require us to be perfect parents or perfect home educators, he just requires us to look to him, the rest will follow.

We have been very blessed by our choice to home educate, despite the challenges. I have only skimmed the surface of home education in this posts, if you want me to write more posts about this, or if you want to ask questions in the comments, please feel free. Blessings to you all, Vicki

5 thoughts on “Learning and Life Skills under Lockdown

  1. Lorraine [Laurie] Everitt says:

    Dear Vicki, I love to read about your family life. It is wonderful to know how it’s all going and you never fail to amaze me. Your attitude towards teaching your children how to live well is so inspiring, Having watched your television programme last year I can envisage your environment but seeing up to date pictures is great.

    Well done to you all. xx

    • Laurie, so lovely to hear from you. I hope you ok, I miss our Sunday morning chats. Thank you for being such an encourager, Many blessings, Vicki

  2. Thanks for this. I am a vicar in Staffordshire, and we have a few families in the Church fellowship who are struggling with home schooling. And they are not used to it as their children normally go to conventional school. Thank you for your honesty as you confront the challenges of home schooling. Please pray for our families too.
    And selfish prayer request. We are hoping to move (retirement beckons) to Bridgnorth area, need God’s guidance in getting the right house. Please pray we get it right.

    • Simon, thank you so much for getting in touch. We would love to pray for the families in your church at our family prayer time, I know this is a very tough situation for many families. It will also be helpful for the children to have a focus for their prayers. I (Vicki) was brought up in Staffordshire and went to school in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, so your county has a very warm place in my heart. We will also pray for God to lead you to the right home and make His will clear to you. Bridgnorth is a beautiful town, I can certainly see the attraction. Please do visit the blog again, it’s lovely to hear from you, blessings Phil and Vicki

      • Simon Roger Boxall says:

        Thank you for your quick reply. I won’t be bothering you, but just wanted to say how amazing that you went to school in Newcastle-under-Lyme, because I am actually a vicar in Chesterton, part of that borough! Will keep praying for you all.
        God bless,
        Simon

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