Welcome to our world of 4 boys, Autism, Homeschooling and life in general.

Hi I'm Angie, busy Homeschooling Mum of 4 young boys aged between 4 and 11 yrs.

Bailey (11) is a huge car enthusiast, particularly classic cars, VW 'Herbie' beetles and VW Combi vans. Bailey lives with Autism (ASD) and Epilepsy but does very well coping with everyday life these days since we made the change to homeschooling back in 2010.

Dane (8) enjoys playing guitar, building Lego masterpieces and all things superhero! Dane also lives with a form of Autism (Aspergers) and a Language developmental delay (Apraxia of speech).

Ehren (5) is our gentle 'giant' and is a keen student in our Homeschool classroom. He enjoys both physical and mental pursuits and has a clear interest in currency!

Fraser (aged 4) is our little pocket rocket. He's a confident, head-strong little boy who never stops talking, singing or dancing!

Follow us on our journey as we learn about the world around us in our own unique way!

Monday, January 24, 2011

20 Reasons why Homeschooling rocks!!

Today is the first day back at school for many children. For a few of my friends it's their child's first day ever at school. It had me thinking how cute it would have been to see my boys in their little uniforms, meeting new friends and seeing their new classroom for the year. This would have been Dane's first day at school, he was due to start Prep this year. We decided it would be best for all of us to homeschool him along with Bailey and he's happy with that decision.

I know there's lots of benefits for kids going to school. These past few days however I have found myself counting all the good things about Homeschooling and thought I'd write a list!

1) Interaction with other children of their own choosing. Homeschooling kids make friends with other kids of their own choosing, not just because they are in the same class or of the same age. Often they will make friends with kids that have similar interests as them or have similar personality traits.
2) Ability for a child to further develop skills that they are naturally suited to. We all have abilities that come natural to us. Some of us are better at art than others, some are better mathematicians, others are very good sportspeople. Homeschooling allows a child to further develop their skills at their own pace, completing more difficult work where they are able to.
3) No morning rush for school. This one aimed at the Mums, we don't have to endure the early morning rush, packing of lunches or battling for a carpark in the school grounds. We can take our time most mornings, even cook up breakfast for everyone before our school day starts and it's as easy as simply getting the kids to make their way to their desks!
4) No huge outlays. There are no uniforms to buy, no book lists to get, no pencils to label and books to cover. There are no art levy fees, no school shoes or backpacks to buy. The kids get to wear anything they want every single day, something I would have loved as a kid!
5) No boring school parade. Homeschooling kids don't have to sit on a cold hard concrete ground listening to teachers drone on about who knows what, having to endure the school band play out of tune songs from yesteryear!
6) Holidays any time of the year. We can take our holidays whenever we like, in the off peak season, when the weather suits the location and the roads are less busy. How good is that!
7) Having an excursion when we have plenty of money. There's no worrying about paying for an expensive excursion or camp when money is tight. You have excursions when you can afford it, when it ties directly to a topic you're currently learning and on a day when the weather is just right.
8) There are way more Homeschooling families around that you could even imagine. I was so surprised by how many people teach their kids from home. I'm part of several online support groups and have joined a group of other Homeschoolers relatively local for our kids to participate in things like swim lessons, spanish lessons, drama and art lessons, all at group prices!
9) No nasty creepy crawlies. Head lice!!! Yuck! Need I say any more? Less chances of catching them makes me a happy Mum.
10) Theme park visits on quiet weekdays. It's great to take the kids to a theme park on a weekday when other kids are mostly at school. There's less lining up at rides but more importantly our kids always get a great seat and a more interactive learning experience at the hands-on shows.
11) No catching up on schoolwork missed when your child is sick. If your child is sick you just give lessons a miss that day, there's nothing missed to be caught up later!
12) Letting your child direct the learning. It's great for kids to have an input into their lessons. They are more likely to find the whole experience enjoyable and you can centre some necessary lessons around their favourite topics.
13) Enjoying a special bond with siblings. I have found my boys do fight like all siblings but they share a very special 'best friend' bond from spending their days together at home. They know each other very well and are always there to lend a helping hand when the other needs it.
14) Learning can take place just about anywhere. We've done lessons from the classroom at a desk, lessons in the backyard, lessons at the Museum, lessons on the front verandah on a beautiful sunny day. Our kids enjoy the different settings that their learning can take place.
15) Learning without the threat of 'keeping up'. Our boys have no real sense of competition when they're learning. This helps their self esteem immensely as they can achieve at their own level.
16) Any food for lunch. Our kids can eat whatever they like for lunch. Leftover dinner, no worries. Peanut butter sandwiches? Sure thing! There's no concern for other children's allergies here at home!
17) Toilet stops when required. Our kids can go to the toilet when they want, and take as long as they need without the need to ask permission.
18) Never missing a beat when it comes to your child. We know our kids like no-one else, we see them all the time. We know when they seem a bit off colour, or when they're in need of a cuddle. We know how much of their lunch they actually ate and we know the kind of kids they're hanging out with.
19) Choosing the kind of kids you want yours interacting with. How many times have we heard parents express concern that their kids are hanging out with the wrong crowd? Homeschooling parents know exactly who their kids are playing with and can monitor their behaviour accordingly.
20) Homeschooling is fun. Our kids love to learn. They get to spend all day with their family learning in a place they feel safe and loved. What's better than that?

Until next time
Take care

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A new Homeschooling year awaits....2011 here we come :)

It's official! Our second year of Homeschooling has rolled around but this time I have 2 of my boys doing lessons. Dane commenced his Prep year this month and Bailey has moved on to Year 2. It's all very exciting and also a little daunting, but we seemed to have started off in the right direction.

Today I make even more changes to our classroom. It seems I never have enough room and being the overly organised person that I am, I like everything to have a home. I'm a mad keen lover of Ikea and have set up majority of our classroom with cube shaped bookcases to store everything from art and craft, toys and education resources. I label each box with the name and a picture so the boys can clearly see where things return when they've finished with them. This saves us valuable time looking for and packing up things.

I'm starting to realise that having the boys sit at different desks to complete their work is probably not working for us. They like to see what each other are doing and for Dane it's probably a good thing that he sees what work awaits him in a couple of years. I am finding Bailey likes to help Dane a little too which is lovely to see.

Our main goals for 2011 are as follows:

  • To be fluently reading age appropriate books
  • To improve handwriting legibility and use of punctuation
  • To improve spelling of basic commonly used words
  • To work more independantly when given set activities
  • To meet some other Homeschoolers in the local area
  • To participate in Homeschooling excursions/playdates with Homeschooling groups
  • To use the computer more independantly
  • To write his full name without assistance
  • To recite his address without assistance
  • To sit for longer periods of time without constant reminders
  • To improve pencil grip
  • To identify all letters of the alphabet
  • To commence identifying the phonic sounds of the alphabet
As we go throughout our year I aim to keep this blog updated with our progress.

Until next time
Take Care
Angie xxx