Collective Snails - a home educating family!
We started keeping snails many years ago to encourage our youngest son in his love for snails, at the time
we had no idea how addictive snails would be!
All of our children are home educated.
In 2012 our eldest daughter was struggling with depression due to being bullied at school. At 8yrs old.
The school couldn't deal with it so we decided to keep her at home.
It was a spur of the moment decision made at 3am whilst our daughter was in tears about going back the following day.
About a year later we pulled our then 7yr old son out of school because he was so tired, angry & frustrated every day
after school due to finding reading & writing almost impossible.
By then he had had 2 sets of grommets because of hearing difficulties which meant that he didn't pick up on his phonics
& letter sounds in nursery class. The last straw was being told that he would have to sit a SATS test
even though the school knew he wouldn't be able to read the questions
- they were setting him up to fail and I wasn't going to sit back & let them do that to him.
Six months later we realised that our two eldest children were so relaxed & happy, eating properly & enjoying life again
just like a child should be able to do, that we made the decision to keep our youngest two at home as well.
It took a while to get used to a new routine and find out what works for us & what dosen't,
and to be honest, we are still learning even now. But we haven't looked back.
We don't have to follow a set curriculum or stick to set days, times & holidays or even weekends
- Our youngest daughter has always been an early riser so she is quite often doing her maths at 6.30 in the morning
and by 8.30 / 9am all her 'work' is finished & she's got the rest of the day to explore her individuality.
We take each day as it comes & if one of them is having a 'bad day' that is fine,
we all have those now & again and we all know that there is no point trying to focus on something when your brain won't work
so we'll just go to the woods or the beach instead (we like to be outside as much as possible all year round)
You can't beat a nice relaxing walk around a nature reserve.
We usually turn internet off in the mornings (unless we need it for research) as it is fascinating to see the kids go from
"But Mum I'm bored, I need wi-fi time"
to doing something awesomely creative
that they wouldn't of thought of if they hadn't been bored in the first place!
Just last week our youngest boy was about to complain that as his work was done he had nothing to do, and our 10yr old told him "There's no point telling Mum you're bored, she'll just say 'It's good to be bored' Come on, lets go and make a lego robot"
Left to their own imagination for a while, it is amazing the things they will learn!
We also have a fruit & veg plot in the garden & a greenhouse to keep them all busy growing stuff,
including Wild Horseradish, which is part of our snails main diet.
We usually do the essentials... reading, writing or maths for a short while 2 or 3 times a week, and the rest of the time
the kids are free to learn about whatever interests them - they suggest a topic & we do it...
Most of our subjects are at their own request, so an average year for us includes things like:
Bushcraft / survival skills - foraging, campfire cooking, den building, firelighting, knife skills / whittling, first aid & herbal medicine.
Native plants, flowers, bugs & wildlife, cave men, myths & legends, astronomy, paleontology, flower arranging, horticulture,
basic car mechanics, various science experiments, anatomy & internal organs (humans & animals), archery & shooting.
Woodwork - from home-made bows & arrows and birdboxes to trellis & fencing.
Brickwork, mixing cement & patio slab laying.
Farming - soil types, crop rotation, poultry, game & large animals.
They also help with all the painting & decorating, cooking, cleaning, food shopping
& lots of other things that they will need to do as they get older.
It is amazing, the things that I have learnt whilst studying with my children and I consider myself extremely lucky
to spend all this time with my kids and watch them learn & grow, and yes, we do get on each others nerves at times
but most families do anyway!
Yes, for the first couple of years we sometimes wondered if we were doing the right thing (who dosen't do that now & again?)
but then one of the kids would say, write, draw or build something so wonderful
that we knew it was the right choice for them.
Here in Norfolk, UK there are approx 800 home educating families
so we get to meet up regularly with other home-ed families for days out, educational activity days, play dates & zoo trips etc.
This is why I only answer messages either first thing in the morning or last thing at night...
day time is Kids Time for me, I have all my notification settings turned off
and no internet in the mornings if we are busy!