About Us.

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Essex, United Kingdom
We are a home educating family and we live in Essex. We took our six year old daughter (now 10) out of school September 2005. Our son is 4 years old and will also not being going to school at any point!! This blog was originally started to talk about what we do as a home ed family but over time it has just turned into a general blog which includes our pets, our family and our everyday lives. I guess our home education journey is just us living our lives anyway. If you have any questions or comments please email me at xscrunchee@aol.com

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Cooking, dancing and being a princess.

Having a lazy day today. We have spent most of the morning playing and chilling out. Haven't hoovered or done any housework exept the washing. lol
Emmie decided to dress up in her play clothes and be 'Princess Emmie'. She has been talking with a posh accent and chatting about all princess type stuff.  We had a royal dance and were taking turns twirling about and doing some ballet moves (Mmm-lol).

Liam was not impressed! He was telling us 'Noooooo'! lol He wouldn't join in and because we didn't stop when he told us to, he kept running out of the room shouting.(Not quite sure what he was shouting but no doubt it was something abusive as he sounded pretty angry). lol
 He did cheer up however when I fell over and ended up lying flat on my back because my twirl got a little out of control and I went spinning off!!!!!! LOL He then decided to help me out by yelling 'Shump' (meaning jump) and jumping on top of me, this made them laugh even more!
They were both in absolute stitches and were laughing for ages so it was worth the pain and bruises.(or maybe not) lol

In a minute Emmie and I will be making a home made chicken and brocolli pie.
It's unlikely that Emmie will eat the pie itself but she will eat the pastry, so we are having that with roast potatoes, green beans and maybe another veg too. We haven't made it before so it's a bit of an experiment but I'm sure it'll be fine. We'll let you know how it turns out. No doubt I'll have to bake some interesting little pastry shapes too. She normally makes snowmen and other little shapes out of the pastry, then I have to cook them. What normally happens is that the snowmen never cook in the middle and the tichy little bits end up cremated but she enjoys it so what can I say? lol

Friday, 25 August 2006

Round Nanny's today.

Today we went to Nanny's. Emmie and Liam's Uncle Gareth bought them a little pressie each.
Liam got a West Ham Utd football kit and Emmie got a big soft, cuddly teddy bear and a craft set that helps you to make bugs out of rocks.
She has already made two of the bugs. I will put photo's of them on here as soon as I can.
Emmie helped Nanny hang the washing out and then spent the rest of the afternoon sitting doing pictures and things with crayons. lol  They done 'under the sea' pictures, a drawing of Nanny's garden, looked at warm colours and cool colours, made pictures where you do stripes of colour on the paper, put a fresh sheet of paper over the top and draw pictures with a sharp pencil so that the coloured wax crayon ends up on the underside of the drawn picture. (If that makes any sense. lol)
They then also practiced bubble writing and learned about symmetry. A conversation took place regarding how shading something can make it have more depth and then they discussed the best was to draw life like clouds. Amazing really, so many things spoken about and learned, and all from sitting playing with a packet of crayons and some paper.
Liam had fun too, he spent most of the time running about, treading all over their pics and chucking crayons up into the air-perhaps he was studying gravity! lol

Also since starting her 'pets' blog, Emmie is picking up a better understanding of punctuation. She is paying a lot more attention to full stops and capital letters, apostrophies etc. Not because I mentioned it to her, just because she knows that they need to be used and wants everyone to be impressed at her blog so she calls down every five mins to ask if this word starts with a capital etc.  lol

If people ask Emmie "What have you learnt today?", she always says-
"Nothing really!"  That's what I love, she learns so much but is so busy having fun that she doesn't even know she is learning.
It's also lovely that the kids see their Nan so often and that Nanny makes time to do these little things with them :-) Cheers Mum  xx

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Emmies blog

Today Emmie has set up her own blog-bless her. It is all about her pets and she is pretty much getting on with it on her own. There is a link on the right hand side of this page for those who would like to look.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

A typical day!?

So, a typical day. Not sure if there is such thing! lol
Some days it feels like a complete mad house. We live in a small two bedroom house. There is me, my partner, Emmie and Liam, my 18 year old step daughter and weekends we see my step son who is 15. We have 3 cats (Jodie, Suggs and Lola), 1 dog (a staff called Marleen), a tropical fish tank, a fish pond, an old unused rabbit hutch which is now home to loads of garden snails, a snake and the foxes which we feed at the bottom of the garden. 
Some days we just chill and stay indoors. Liam runs about like a loon, Emmie joins in, this starts Marleen off, the cats leap about trying to avoid being trodden on or pounced on by the dog. lol  It can get a bit crazy.

When Emmie first started HE (home education) we used excersise books and work sheets and tried to work along the lines of the National Curriculum. After a few months we realised that this wasn't really working for us and we now use the autonomous approach, which basically means that Emmie chooses what interests her and how much we look into it. We have no timetable, no strict routine, no actual written work, other than what Emmie chooses to write. It is a very laid back approach but so far it is very rewarding and Emmie has learned so much more this way.

Emmie does a lot of reading and writing in her spare time. She loves making stories and books. Most days Emmie will use the PC, either to play games, type out and print off a story, she uses the internet to look things up. At the moment she is reading all about butterflies. In the last 12 months she has looked into so many different subjects from 'Why do we get a stitch when we walk fast or run?',  'Why does rain fall in drips instead of just pouring out of the sky?',  'What causes hiccups?',  and so many more questions. We rely on the internet and library books to answer most of the questions as she thinks of things which I just wouldn't have a clue about. lol

We do lot's of science experiments, making crystals grow using boric acid or salt, making volcano's with vinegar and biacarbonate of soda, we have made glue with milk and vinegar, a lava lamp using vegetable oil, coloured water and alka seltzer tablets, a colourful experiment using milk, food colouring and washing up liquid and many more.

We basically just get on with our lives, just as people do before their children start school. We go shopping, go to Nannies house, go to the park, we love taking walks at the local nature reserve and visiting the millenium centre.(Photo's above. 1 and 2) Recently on one of our walks we actually got to see woodpeckers. We could hear them tapping so Nanny got a stone and a piece of old tree bark and Emmie sat there tapping the stone against the bark. The woodpeckers began tapping back. It was brilliant. Emmie was so pleased that they were answering her, it made her day!
 Some days we go to Valance house museum. (Photo's 2-6)    Inside it has period rooms, a cafe and a gift shop. The museum has a moat around it and we like to take bread to feed to the ducks and geese.
Our journeys seem to take so much longer now. A simple walk to the shops can take us ages, maybe because we don't have to rush anymore. We can take our time and enjoy the simple things around us.
The only thing which is guarenteed-every day is the fact that Emmie asks so many questions. How things work, what things are called, names of birds, tree's etc. Her mind is now so open and aware of what is around her. She did start to loose that zest for life and need for knowledge, but since coming out of school it is all back which is fantastic.

I don't think there is such a thing as a 'typical' day.  We have good days and very good days. Of course there are the odd days when I feel like pulling my hair out and having a nervous breakdown, but so far so good, I haven't had one so far! lol

How it all began.

I was never completely happy with the idea of sending Emmie to school. I hated the thought of strangers looking after her when I had done it perfectly well up to this point.
I thought that I had no choice though so ended up sending her. At first she liked nursery but after about two weeks she didn't want to go any more. She would say that it was boring etc. When I spoke to the teachers they said that Emmie was a very bright girl and there wasn't enough there to stimulate her but when she moves up into year one she should get more settled.  That whole year was like a rollercoaster. She went but didn't really enjoy it. She didn't understand why children were destroying the things she made, scribbling on her pictures, climbing over the side of the loo when she was in there. She just found it all hard and confusing, but we got through the year and I hoped that the next September it would be better.
Wrong! Once again she liked it for a week or two but just like the year before, she started  wanting to be at home. To cut a long story short I was told that she was a very bright girl and was way ahead of the rest of the class. The school told me that Emmie was already working through year one's work as the reception class work was not challenging enough for her. They even asked me to try and discourage Emmie from learning new things at home as she was getting further and further ahead of her peer group and was suffering from intense boredom.
Emmie started to have tummy aches every night and would ask if she could stay at home. She would say that school was boring and that she missed me and baby Liam soooo much.
She would be deeply upset by other children stealing her things, pushing and pulling her, teasing her etc. She just found the whole thing a big ordeal and she was sad, you could see it in her eyes.

We had another whole year of headaches, feeling sick, tummy aches etc. I was glad when the 6 weeks holidays came! (Quite the opposite to most parents lol).

Emmie really brightened up during the holidays. We had no crying at bed time, no feeling sick etc, although  she wouldn't speak about going back to school and when it came to buying uniform etc she would become very withdrawn. As the end of the holiday approached Emmie started to become quiet and not herself.
I couldn't believe how badly the thought of school affected her. It really got her down and I felt helpless.
I can't remember what I was looking for now but I know that I stumbled upon the Education Otherwise website and found out that I could educate Emmie at home. It was a perfectly legal option and thousands of people are doing it. I spent hours reading, checking out the law, finding out my rights and searching web site after web site just to check that it was really true.

Well, I was so excited. I discussed it with my Mum and my partner and they said that I should go for it. I told Emmie about it and asked if she would like to be taught at home and she was over the moon. Running about like she'd had tripple helpings of food coulourings. lol

And here we are today. Happy and free. I won't even bother sending Liam to school from the start. All we had to do was send a letter to the school to de-register her and that was that. If you're lucky the Education Authorites don't get in touch and you have no obligation to contact them.
In our case I made the huge mistake of contacting them. We are now having a minor battle as they want proof of education etc, but there is no legal requirement to do this unless they suspect that NO education is taking place at all.  We will see what happens and I will keep you informed. But other than that-life is great :-)

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Emmie and Liam.

This is the most recent picture of the kids I have at the mo, due to the blue tooth trouble. This must have been taken about 6 months ago or so.

A bit about us.

Hello all,

My name is Jay and I am Mum to Emmie-6 years and Liam-18 months old.

We live in Essex and have been home educating for nearly a year. We decided to take Emmie out of school for several reasons, but mainly because she was starting to show signs of school phobia due to lack of stimulation in school as she was in reception class and had already completed most of the year one work which was not leaving her very much to do other than to spend the day getting bored and wishing she was at home!

Our life is so very different now compared to 12 months ago but it is 100 times better-honestly. We are all so much happier and it just feels right.  I didn't even know that it was an option, I thought that kids had to go to school but the law states that a child HAS to have an education, the law does not state how or where.

Perhaps this blog will inspire people to look into home education themselves or at the very least, learn that it is an option :-)


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