Saturday, 27 July 2013

No, We're Not Having a Summer Break

The holidays are here. But not for us. More on that in a moment.

Firstly, I would like to point out that I am in favour of the six weeks' holiday for schools. For those staff and children who have packed more than a year's worth of work into 39 weeks, they not only deserve a break, they need one. Very much so.  For them, the summer is a time of recovery, reflection and preparation. To shorten it would be a mistake.

Why then, are my children and I not 'breaking for the summer'?

Haven't we worked hard enough?

Am I just plain mean?

Many people have asked me, "Have you broken up for summer?" and "Have you finished work now?" and so on.

No. We haven't.

Here's why:

We are home educating, which is quite different from recreating 'school' at home.

We do not sit down at our desks between the hours of 9 and 3.15, thence to leap joyfully into the sushine. Far from it.

You're more likely to find us playing games, indoors or out, than filling in a worksheet.

You'll catch us Doing more than Listening.

Our days consist of following our interests and curiosity, far more than we follow any arbitrary agenda.

Isn't that the point?

Because I only have three children in my 'class', their learning can be very self-directed and individually tailored.

Because I live with them, 'school' can take place over breakfast, in the bath and at bedtime.

My children get out their Maths books when they feel like it. There is no Maths lesson and therefore there is no End Of Lesson.

Learning is part of life. It happens all the time.

Isn't that true for you, too, as an adult? When you want to know about something, you find out.  You don't say, "Oh, it's after 4pm, I'm not going to learn anything else today."

We don't do 'school' - we live life. We explore, we question, we investigate, we experiment, we play.

For my part, I try to follow some advice I read early on in my home ed journey and leave an interesting trail.

If I start baking, measuring, drawing, building or whatever, I soon have several curious little people wanting to have a go too. It works.

At other times, my children go off and occupy themselves, increasingly with role-play games and still lots of Lego, Gears, Marble Run etc.

When they start to get frustrated with each other, I direct them to something else.

I never sit them down and tell them what they have to learn.

So, if by 'break' people mean letting my children go off and do their own thing, entirely, I'd ask them, what's fun about that?  Un-directed youngsters soon become fractious and start fighting. I certainly don't want to spend 6 weeks listening to my children being silly or, worse, parking them in front of the tv to keep them quiet.

I love doing interesting things with the children. That's why I home educate. I love art, baking, board-games, word games, making music, singing French songs. I love going for walks, exploring, collecting leaves, playing outside. I love play-dates and picnics. I love National Trust gardens and farm shop tea rooms.

I hate noisy, silly behaviour from unattended children who have long-since finished their cooperative play and have overdosed on CBeebies.

Why, when our life of learning is so fun, would I want a break?

So no, we haven't finished work. We never even started :o)

Latest pics:

Making 6's from different combinations of Duplo:

Beating eggs for bread and butter pudding (Elizabeth and Sebastian had already buttered the bread):

Mixing in the cinnamon:

Playing cards:

Elizabeth helping Sebastian with his sticker book:

Francesca arranging stickers on her 'dressing up fairies' book:


  1. Best to keep them interested and busy. Well done!
    Good to see that Elizabeth is able to help Sebastian.

  2. I bet there would be plenty of parents enduring the summer break from School who'd be glad to have such an array of productive/worthwhile things for their children to do.