I stopped waving workbooks under the sausages noses about two years ago. For me, the whole point of home education was to reinstate a love of learning (I say reinstate because M’s was wiped out by 2 years of school) and workbooks just weren’t cutting it.
Of course, there are other ways to teach Maths and English: there are countless ‘FUN!’ ideas out there. But for me, setting up a game with the purpose of learning a concept feels too contrived. The sausages would also be suspicious about it – they have a sixth sense for things like that.
In this house, home education has become about learning for the real world. I can see where certain maths concepts come in handy just in day to day life but English as a subject? Nope. The only reason I can see someone needing to study English for 12 years is to pass an exam at the end of it. You can appreciate plays and books without having to learn all the gubbins the government would like you to know.
Here’s a few examples of how we do English: D puts on plays using her toys as the characters; M recites and re-enacts entire film scripts; they make up rhymes; we watch films; we read books; they constantly (and I mean, constantly) critique plots and look for the reasons behind a character’s behaviour; they learn new words; they have even started critiquing sentence structure (!); they write cards, messages and sometimes emails to each other and family members. Even Shakespeare made an appearance the other day: M asked me if anyone has ever died on their birthday and I remembered Shakespeare (possibly a myth though), which led on to me telling them how he died 400 years ago on D’s birthday and that he was such a good writer that people still love his stories today. Both sausages were agog. This is the sort of lead in that usually happens in our house – there may now be a request to hear one of his stories soon. These are all the examples I can think of from the top of my head but there are probably more.
As for maths, again it’s all through day to day living. A few examples: D was doing a count down for a race through her imaginary D-Land – she got to one and realised we weren’t going to make it in time so started dividing the one into fractions; M was making chocolate cornflake cakes and needed 100g of chocolate – 1 square was 5g so she started to work out how many squares she’d need; M made up a car game a few years ago – if you pass a car on the motorway you get 1 point (or 2 if it’s a lorry), when you get overtaken you take a point away (she recently modified the game to go into minus figures for when I’m driving slowly), the aim is to get to 100; working out how many seconds/minutes/days/weeks they have to wait for something (at the moment we’re on a very long countdown to D’s birthday – she just told me it’s 576 hours away); both girls do a lot of mental maths for fun and D’s calculator is one of her favourite toys; not to mention all the maths that goes on when playing Minecraft, board games, measuring for craft etc etc.
Putting my school goggles on, it seems miraculous to me that everything the sausages need to learn, they can learn through play. Taking my school goggles off, of course it isn’t miraculous – it’s totally natural.