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Education Parenthood

20 reasons to home educate your kids (and 5 reasons not to)

You’re probably asking yourself “Are there really 20 reasons to home educate?” and my answer to you is no, there are more! Home Education was on my radar since I was a teen, I was determined to home educate my future children.

Unfortunately, life didn’t turn out as I expected. Being a single parent I felt forced to put W into primary school which was a disaster. I pulled him out after one term to Home Educate. What followed was: two terms of home education; one academic year in a Moroccan Maternelle (nursery, for the French); one academic year of flexischooling (2 days at a co-op, 3 days at home). The plan is that in September they will start attending a French/Arabic bilingual school nearby. Home education is definitely on the cards for the future. I want to travel more, but Covid19 has highlighted the importance of putting down roots and having a family home. So I’m working on that first. That way if there’s another global pandemic we have a base to come to from our travels.

I wouldn’t claim to be a spokesperson for Home Education, there are more qualified/experienced people out there. But until our education system is given the shake up it sorely needs, I’m an advocate. So without further ado here are MY top 20 reasons to Home Educate (and 5 reasons not to).

20 Reasons to Home Educate

  1. Your child’s learning will be tailored to them.
  2. Flexible daily routine – no more early mornings & rushed breakfasts.
  3. Your child will make friends from different age groups.
  4. There are many ways to facilitate learning.
  5. Your child may be happier and more confident.
  6. If your child has any diagnoses, you can better cater to their needs.
  7. Your child can enjoy self-paced learning.
  8. Family time is a part of everyday life and no longer a luxury.
  9. You can take as may breaks as you need.
  10. Time to focus on any learning areas that require extra support.
  11. You may learn something yourself.
  12. Education isn’t limited, the world is your classroom.
  13. It doesn’t have to be expensive, there are lots of free resources.
  14. Some SEND children can be better supported to learn at home .
  15. Learning takes place in the ‘real-world’.
  16. Delve deeper into subjects with no bell telling you when to stop.
  17. Your child can follow their interests.
  18. Children can take charge of their own learning.
  19. Learning can take place whenever and wherever you want.
  20. You can take learning outdoors.

5 Reasons NOT to Home Educate

  1. If your child’s school tells you to. This is call off-rolling.
  2. You just want to have a child genius. Hot housing can be detrimental.
  3. If you just want to recreate school at home and think you know everything.
  4. Your children don’t want to be home educated, then don’t do it.
  5. If you don’t enjoy spending long periods of time with your child(ren).

If you’re a Home Educator, is there anything you would add or take away from my lists?

Disclaimer: Home education refers to the term used in the UK. Homeschooling is a term used worldwide. If you do not reside in England & Wales check local laws. Home Education is illegal in some countries. Always seek advice and information before taking any action.

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Activity Ideas Education

Black History Month: Week 5 – The Future

Black History Month for us, is not just about celebrating and learning about Black History. It is also about how the lessons learned from Black History can help shape the future of the black community.

Here are my top three for the week:

Then, Now, Next

The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

About, Black Lives Matter

It is widely known that Black History has been blighted by the systemic mistreatment of the black community. Black Lives Matter are working towards a future, free from the systemic targeting of black lives. While I wouldn’t discuss the movement with younger children as it could lead to a difficult conversation about the violence towards black lives, I would recommend discussing the movement with teens and young adults.

Fighting for a Future

If your climate change activist is looking for somebody to look up to, who also looks like them. Isra Hirsi is the ideal candidate. The 16yo co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Isra Hirsi’s focus is building an environmental justice movement for young people of colour, advocating for communities disproportionately hurt by climate change.

The Future is…

Robotic?! We are all to familiar with the talking, moving, blinking robots that were once science-fiction and now a scientific reality. However, what makes BINA48 unique (other than her AI capabilities), is her appearance as an African-American woman. You can read more about her here.

Black History Month 2019

You can find all previous Black History Month 2019 blogs here:
Week 1 – Activities
Week 2 – The Slave Trade
Weeks 3 & 4 – Africa & PoADS

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Activity Ideas Education

Black History Month: Weeks 3 & 4 – Africa & PoADs

When somebody tells you they spent their holidays in Europe, you usually ask them which country. If somebody tells you they spent their holidays in Africa, it usually ends there. Our focus for Weeks 3 & 4 was on Africa, the continent as well as our family’s personal history as People of African Descent (PoADs).

Africa

Did you know that Africa is a continent made up of 54 countries? Of course you did, but not everybody realises that the countries in Africa have their own language, culture and history. A lot like Europe.

The focus for Week 3 was learning all about the continents of the world, focusing on various facts about Africa herself. As we are currently in a North African country at the moment, our environment lends itself as a handy resource on our doorstep. We have friends from other countries in Africa and while I have dreams of visiting Ethiopia one day, the children would like to visit Egypt and Ghana. Drawing on our existing knowledge, we are able to appreciate and understand that each country in Africa is unique. Coupled with online resources, we were able to touch on Black History within the continent before The Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Lesson Ideas

English: Read the poem Civil Lies by Benjamin Zephaniah. What is Mr. Africa trying to say?
Maths: Imagine you Mansa Musa I of Mali. What will you buy with your gold? What were the types of currency used during those times? Can you create your own currency?
Science: Pretend you’re an Ancient Egyptian embalmer, mummify some fruit.
Humanities/ICT: Learn how to use Google to answer questions about the history and geography of Africa. Pick one country to focus on – what is the capital city, what language(s) do the people speak, what does the flag look like etc.?

PoADs

During Black History Month we also take the opportunity to look at our own personal history as People of African Descent (PoADs). In particular the journey my grandmother (pictured below) took from Jamaica to England in the 1950s. We still have the suitcase that she used for her journey, and while she passed away many years ago. I try to share as many memories as I can of her and what she did to allow us all to be here today.

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Activity Ideas Education

Black History Month: Week 2 – The Slave Trade

Our focus for Week 2 of Black History Month was The Slave Trade. If you missed our activity blog from Week 1, you can find it here.

You will not find any activity suggestions in this blog. This is just my personal opinion.

Depiction of the transportation of slaves in ships.

Learning About The Slave Trade

We all learned about The Slave Trade at some point, it’s often the only part of Black History that’s covered in schools (minus the odd mention of Rosa Parks). Even then, it’s taught from a European perspective, the focus being that slavery wasn’t a new concept to the 15th century and it was the Europeans who banned it (eventually, in the 19th century).

The Slave Trade was the systemic displacement of a large group of people from a particular community. Hardly comparable to the slavery that was common at the time: people captured in raids and battles, as punishment or to pay off debts. It is believed between 12 million to 13 million people were enslaved and transported like cargo to the Americas. This was our focus during Week 2 of Black History Month.

Activity Ideas

I know I said no activity ideas, but here are a few I couldn’t resist sharing:

What’s the solution?

You can still teach children about what happened. Share all the facts with them in an age-appropriate manner. You can discuss facts vs. opinions at the time compared to what we know now. Think about lessons learned and the impact of displacing a large group of people. Just don’t engage in questionable activities that could land you on the front page!

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Activity Ideas Education

Black History Month: Week 1 Activities

It’s October, which means it’s Black History Month in the UK. Because we are a multiracial family with Jamaican roots, located in North Africa, black history influences our daily lives and conversations. However, we also believe that Black History Month is a great opportunity to provide an education that stretches beyond the current narrative: black history began with The Slave Trade and ended with The Civil Rights Movement.

Our first week of Black History Month focuses on prominent figures and segregation. These people were prominent in Black History from both the UK and the US.

Mary Seacole: Homemade Playdough

Mary Seacole, born in Jamaica in 1805. She helped care for and comfort wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. But she wasn’t recognised for many years, until her statue was built in London in 2016.

Inspired by Mary Seacole’s use of natural remedies, you can make your own herbal playdough! Research the different remedies she used and how they were prepared, as well as what illnesses they were used to treat. We use this homemade playdough recipe for our natural herbal playdough sensory activity.

our lemon and mint homemade playdough: a sensory activity for all ages

John Edmonstone: Lego Taxidermy

John Edmonstone, a former slave born in Guyana, South America. After he was freed, he moved to Scotland. He worked for the National Museum and taught taxidermy to students at the University of Edinburgh, his most famous student being Charles Darwin. There is plaque dedicated to him in Lothian Street, but nobody knows when he was born, when he died or where he is buried. His existence is only known because Darwin wrote about him in his diaries.

invitation to play: Lego Taxidermy

Actual taxidermy is a bit too gruesome for my liking, so we opted for Lego Taxidermy. Choose an animal you love and try to recreate it using Lego. While this may not be an exact science, it does give you a newfound appreciation for taxidermists having to preserve a lifelike quality in their subjects.

Rosa Parks: Literacy Activities

Rosa Parks is famous for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger as per the segregation laws at the time. Her arrest prompted the Montegomry bus boycott and eventually lead to the desegregation of the bus system. She was nicknamed the First Lady of Civil Rights.

We read all about Rosa Parks’ life and then they both had a literacy exercise depending on their age/ability. I made my own resources, but you can find PDFs available for purchase on educational resource sites.
B (4): Story sequencing – B was given picture cards with an accompany sentence of Rosa Parks’ story. He was tasked to place each card in the correct order. This activity helps children realise there is a logical sequence of events in stories (and life). You can read more about it here.
W (6): Anchor chart – W tasked with placing statements and phrases cards about Rosa Parks under three headings (was, had, wanted). W also had blank cards to write his own ideas. I use this activity to encourage the development of comprehension skills. You can read more about it here.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams: Heart Science

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams born in Pennsylvania, USA in 1856. He performed the first successful open heart surgery in 1893. He also opened the first medical facility to have an interracial staff, and a training school for black nurses.

We took this opportunity for some health heart science (and maths). We measured our pulse rate while at rest and after various exercises. The children decided to extend the activity because they wanted to find out what other activities could affect their heart rate. They made their own charts and W wrote a few observational sentences about the changes to their heart rates.

our anatomical model of the human heart

Film of the Week: Hairspray

Our film for this week is Hairspray. This film helps children visualise the concept of segregation. It allows for discussion, without being too serious or scary for young children. As always, I recommend watching for yourself and judging if it is suitable for your child(ren).

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Education

Education 2019/20

It’s that time of year again. School education 2019/20 started back in August and September for most children. We took a trip instead. Most children have already become accustomed to the routine of the school day. Nothing about our days are routine. Why? We are worldschoolers.

Worldschooling can look different for everybody. Although we have experienced a variety of education systems, we have always returned to home education. The children would be entering Reception and Year 2 (UK system) this academic year. Which, significant for some, has made me reassess the type of education I want them to receive.

W (6) would be entering Key Stage 2 next year. A time when prepared parents begin looking at secondary schools. I don’t know if we will return to the British education system and I’m not keen on the French education system. An affordable democratic school, in a good area with access to plenty of extracurricular activities, seems like an impossible dream. So until then, ‘Education 2019/20’ is all about making sure the children are prepared for their educational future.

Literacy

B is learning to read, while W is working on becoming a more confident and fluent reader. We use a combination of phonics/early reader books and online applications, like Teach Your Monster To Read.

Writing is a little more tricky. W has ASD, DCD and an unhealthy need to achieve perfection at all times, making writing a huge challenge for us. This year, the focus is on gentle encouragement and developing writing skills. Planning work and using our dictionary to check spellings, is already giving him the confidence to expand his writing beyond two or three sentences at a time. B however, is confidently using his phonics knowledge to attempt writing any toilet related word he can.

As they are both French speakers, we are using the online phonics & comprehension program Lalilo in French.

Numeracy

Maths at this stage is all about object handling and real world application (eg. shopping). However, it doesn’t hurt to make use of the age-appropriate courses available on Khan Academy. I use the program to introduce new concepts and identify areas of understanding that may need more work.

Science

My background is Biochemistry & Biology. I worked as a Lab Technician, dabbled in Analytical Bioscience and had my own STEAM education business. Science education at this age, is a walk in the park. Most of it, can be done using the world around you and the contents of your kitchen.

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Education Marrakech

LL Shorts: Education in Morocco

We’ve had an interesting experience trying to find the right school for our family here in Marrakech. If you’re thinking of sending your child to school in Morocco, here are the top 5 things you need to know:

  1. What type of school?

There is a public education system here but the class sizes are large and noisy. There are international schools as well but these tend be a huge expense and then there are the Moroccan private schools which I felt would give the boys the best chance at learning the language and being introduced to the culture while also enjoying the privileges a private school has to offer.

2. Entry requirements

This can vary wildly depending on the school, one school required the children to sit a 3 hour French exam and W to sit an Arabic exam despite only knowing English and both of them going into Maternelle/Kindergarten.

3. School day

The boys’ school is from 8.30am-3.30pm, some schools are from 8am-5pm allowing students to go home for lunch and a short rest between 12pm-2pm.

4. School supplies

You have to pay for school supplies! This was an extra fee we paid for registration but next year when W goes into Primarie, I will be given a list of supplies and textbooks for him to buy. This doesn’t happen in the UK, but apparently there is a shop where everybody goes and they can put a little pack together for you to ease some of the back to school pressure.

5. Food

In England, W would get a carton of milk and a piece of fruit at break time. School lunches where also free but I packed him a bento box everyday anywhere. Here they need to bring their lunch or buy one from the school canteen (if the school has one) and they also need to bring in a little snack such as fruit, a small homemade cake and a juice for snack time as well.

I’m sure as we get further into the school year the list will grow, but for now these are the top 5 things that I find very different to the school system in England!

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Education Parenthood Travel

LL Shorts: One school, two school, home school, world school.

Many of you who have followed our unschooling/home education journey so far are properly wondering why I’m sending the boys to school here in Morocco.

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight, I’m not anti-school, I’m anti bad school. I would only send my children to a school if I truly believed that school could do a better job than what I’m doing currently. Don’t get me wrong, schools are not the place (in my opinion) for developing emotional intelligence which is a huge part of parenting boys for me. However now that we are on our slow living worldschooling journey, the educational goalposts have changed.

I want to be raise global citizens, give them an exposure to the languages and cultures around us which brings me to school. I’m an English speaker, we all are. I have a smattering of French left over from GCSEs but that’s about it, just enough to get by but not nearly enough to ensure we all have the opportunities I’d like us to experience while we are here. It would be all too easy for me to find an English speaking community and stay within my comfort zone, but that would defeat the purpose of what we are doing. Which is why, I feel that for my boys at least, school will be able to provide them with the opportunities that I value as an integral part of our worldschooling journey.

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Education Parenthood Travel

LL Shorts: Worldschooling

I love London, I think it’s a great place to bring up children. Little Londoners was born out my desire to share all the amazing and affordable activities my hometown has to offer families.

However, I realised that something needed to change. I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to change our education set up but our lifestyle was no longer sustainable in London. I always said that I would never live outside of London unless I was living outside of the UK, so being the travel lover that I am I started exploring my options and discovered the wonderful world of worldschooling.

Worldschooling is essentially a combination of education and travel, but it can look different for every family. I don’t know what it will look like for us yet as we are only starting out but my main objective is to bring my boys up to be global citizens, with an understanding and respect for our world and the people and animals that inhabit it.

Our first stop is Morocco, a country we have visited on many occasions. After Morocco? Well we’ll see where the wind takes us!