Our Messy Homeschool

It’s been almost 5 months since Mabel didn’t start school, so I thought I would write a little update on how we’re finding it so far. Well, where do I start? I’ll be honest it’s not quite what I was expecting back in August when I started preparing for official home education. I had all these plans, schedules and topic lists, I had visions of pinterest crafts and workbooks and projects we could do together and well, it hasn’t exactly worked out like that so far. Don’t get me wrong, there has been a bit of that. But there’s mainly been an awful lot of err… not that.

Because Mabel at the end of the day is four years old, pretty much all she wants to do is play. Also sing, dance, make a lot of mess and watch cartoons… but mostly just play. Which when you think about it is probably what she is meant to spend her time doing… after all she’s not even five yet.

When I want to sit down and do a carefully chosen and planned out craft activity with her, she couldn’t be less interested. Then the minute I turn my back, out comes the paint, paper, glue and scissors, and before I have a chance to say ‘for pity’s sake put an apron on and let me cover the table child!’ the dining table is the centre of some pretty intense creative action (or sometimes the wall but let’s not talk about that today).

And that’s the most important thing I’ve learnt about learning with my little free spirited girl… just leave her to it. I set things up, bring in new resources that I think look interesting and hang around mostly to wipe up spillages but also to answer questions every now and again… and that’s pretty much all I’m needed for.

The biggest challenge for me is learning to step back, be ok with it when projects aren’t finished or veer off in a completely different direction to the one I was thinking of and chill out when she just wants to play for a whole week. This isn’t a box ticking exercise, it’s not a race to learn to read and write and do times times tables, it’s not a set of criteria that we need to fill.

This is learning through real life and it’s messy. It’s all over the place to be honest. If our homeschool was in a pub it would be refused service. It’s quite often wearing pyjamas with paint in our unbrushed hair and compost all over the table. It’s regularly making such a mess in the playroom because their imaginary world just calls for every types of toy to be dragged out and scattered across the house. It’s sometimes emptying the contents of the kitchen cupboards into a bowl to make a potion to reverse the spell the wicked witch put on your dolly. It’s loud and crazy and everything and nothing.

I hope we’re slowly, very slowly making our way towards one day doing those lovely projects together, learning crafts together, reading chapter books together. At some point in the future I’m sure we’ll get there. But for now I’ll take our messy crazy homeschool over school runs and homework tasks all day long.

I filmed a little update about our homeschool which includes a bit more about the kind of things we’ve been up to this month.

Dear Bear and Beany

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  1. January 26, 2017 / 8:07 am

    THIS is the exact reason why I like the idea of homeschooling – let kids be kids and be free to explore their own creativity! Our daughter is only 10 months old but I am really interested to learn more about home schooling. For now, I’ve enrolled her in a Montessori playgroup, so we can start with that. Best of luck with your homeschool journey x #SharingTheBlogLove
    Lucy | Leaning In recently posted…The working mum paving the way for women in her workplaceMy Profile

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Thank you! Yes it’s a crazy life but when I look at everything they have to do at school at such a young age I think it’s definitely the better option! xx

  2. January 26, 2017 / 10:04 am

    I love this. Looks like the perfect learning environment for a 4 year old. It should all be about following there lead, providing experiences and explorations. And thats where mainstream schooling goes wrong. Your photos are beautiful and your daughter looks interested and engaged. Just perfect. I love it. #sharingthebloglove

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      Thank you! There is too much pressure on children and the teachers these days, it’s all too much too soon xx

  3. January 26, 2017 / 10:05 am

    My daughter is hoping to homeschool my two grandchildren so this post is really interesting. Am going to share and subscribe

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Thank you Suzie xx

  4. January 26, 2017 / 10:06 am

    I would absolutely love to homeschool and I think it is so lovely and important to play to their strengths as individuals as you can do that at home. So much is learnt through play and crafts and that is one thing I miss having time for since Eva started school and miss having time to do the things with Roma that I did with her, although she would definitely be more ’empty the cupboards’ than ‘read chapter books’ I am breeding two very different children here!! Great that you are embracing it and that most importantly Mabel is happy x
    Laura @ Little Ladies Big World recently posted…My December Birthday, My Fairy Party & My Overcompensating MumMy Profile

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Thank you lovely! I still don’t have a lot of time to do crafts with them, well not the pinterest friendly ones that I want to do haha. I spend most of my life running around and clearing up messes after them but they are learning and being creative and most importantly away from any of the pressures and stress of school and that’s the main thing xx

  5. January 26, 2017 / 11:24 am

    I adore the photos in this post. I’m really considering home schooling as due to personal circumstances me and my boy are a bit all over the place at the moment, currently back living at home with family and i just don’t know where we’ll be come this time Septemeber when he’s due to start school. I think taking a step back is so hard to do as a parent when you have so many expectations to uphold and projects you want to do! But that’s the beauty of flexibility i suppose! #sharingthebloglove

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      I think with your first child it is the hardest. With your second or third, you know they will be ok because you’ve been through it before but with your fist you are always worried you will mess it up. Home education is a great option! xx

  6. January 26, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Really interesting to hear your thoughts so far Louise, and I’m pleased it’s going well. This is exactly why I plan to home educate Rosalie, because I can follow her lead and she can play or not play, explore, be creative, all at her own pace and in her own way. Who needs tests and homework? Sounds like you’re doing a great job 🙂 Mabel always looks happy in your photos. Does Greta join in or do you do other things with her? At the moment I try and have a little theme each month with Rosalie to give our play some focus, it seems to be working for us. Jess xx
    Jess @ Picnics in the Rain recently posted…Homes and Houses theme {playful learning}My Profile

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      Thank you Jess. I wanted to show that home educating isn’t like school and it is chaotic but that’s what’s brilliant about it. Greta will sometimes join in if it’s a more practical activity, sometimes I’ll start with both and end up with one after the other has walked off to go do something else. They mostly play together in their own imaginary worlds to be honest and rarely need me! xx

  7. January 26, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    This is exactly what 4yr olds should be doing. Gorgeous pictures X

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:45 pm

      Thank you xx

  8. January 27, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    This looks like they’re both having so much fun! Sure it looks messy, but it looks like exactly what I’d expect a four year old to be doing – being creative, exploring, and discovering new things. I think the wonderful thing about home schooling is that the child is able to lead the activities to their interests, rather than being driven by a curriculum. Honestly, it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job – I’m totally in awe of you because I know I couldn’t do it! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:45 pm

      Oh thank you Katy, it is hard work and sometimes completely maddening but when I read about what some schools expect of children these days, spelling tests at the age of five and loosing their play time if they don’t get enough right… I’d do anything to protect their childhood from that xx

  9. January 28, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    This is one of the many reasons we moved out to Sweden…they let children be children, and with a school starting age of 7, it’s much more appropriate for them. Even then, they are home after a morning of school. There is lots of time, and one of the hardest lessons I had to learn was going against convention and going more with the flow…I only wish I’d thought of this earlier!! Enjoy the mess and chaos, and as I try and brain wash myself with this, keep saying it and it might work!! Chaos is creativity!
    Sonia recently posted…Nature Curriculum Week 19 – Winter Ponds.My Profile

    • Louise
      January 29, 2017 / 1:43 pm

      Absolutely! I love everything about how the Scandinavians approach childhood. It is very hard to embrace the chaos on some days when the art box has been emptied onto the floor for a third time and there’s paint on your walls… but a few deep breaths, reminding myself it’s all going to be worth it and maybe a chocolate biscuit to cheer me up 😉 

  10. January 29, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    I love this…. life is messy for sure. I love that you are instilling a love of learning in your children. #sharingthebloglove

  11. January 29, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Mabel looks so different with her hair up, gorgeous girl. I love to see children being creative and allowing them to explore, taking any direction they wish. Their imaginations are amazing at this age. You are doing a great job for Mabel and seems to thrive on it. It’s hard making these grown up decisions for our children, but we will do anything for them. God, we moved house for the school that we wanted Alice to go to. Because it was the right school for her, one with no rules, just beautiful values and lots of outdoor adventures in the village. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Growing Up…The Ordinary MomentsMy Profile

  12. January 29, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    That sounds perfect to me! I think we’re conditioned into thinking sooner is better and that the more formal academics we can cram into children at an early age, the more success they will have in later life, but it’s a concept I’ve struggled with for a while, despite being a young in the year high achiever myself, and after Kitty started to entirely disengage with school because she was bored, aged five and telling us she hated reading and writing, we took a very different path that so far is proving perfect. A gentle entry to education is the loveliest gift to be able to give her 🙂
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies recently posted…The StorytellersMy Profile

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