Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Eclectic Christian British home education

 It is unlikely that any one family home educates in the same way as another. These points are thoughts we went through in choosing our materials which we think are best for our children. One of the advantages of home education is that it can be tailored to the needs of individuals.

We are British, Christian home educators and use a range of  different curricula items. We have been home educating for just over three years. Our home educated children are 11, 5 and 3. 

These are 10 points that have been important to us in choosing materials. 

1.We are teaching from a Christian worldview. That doesn't mean that every book comes from a Christian publisher but that we would not use books as main texts which majorly contradict this worldview. 

2.We are British. UK English is different to American English and whilst there are some great American books around, I would think twice before using them for spelling or as a main phonics text.

3.We love books so a literature based curriculum for our younger children was ideal.

4.The children have changing needs. When we started home education, Middle Son had been in school for several years. We started using Apologia Elementary science. This was so different to his school science that we changed to something more familiar and workbook based, Singapore Science. After a year or so, Middle Son wanted to do science in more depth and we made a happy transition back to Apologia Elementary.

5.We want the children to be a happy with their learning. One of our children was very unhappy with the rather trendy maths book that we were using. A change to a  traditional style maths workbook, led to a child who now enjoys the subject.

6.Our children will need to take UK exams so, particularly for Middle Son, we are gradually changing to books geared to these. 

7.I have weak subjects. We have chosen to use an on-line provider for modern languages for Middle Son and also have his English writing marked externally.

8.I get tired so whilst using any curriculum for the younger children might be unnecessary, I don't have the energy to reinvent the wheel.

9. The curriculum is our servant-I don't have to use it to teach anything but it is there. Generally, we do follow the materials we have bought but often supplement them.

10.We do use the children's interests to make up unit studies and this has been very successful. For example, Middle Son wanted to learn more about the Netherlands so we chose this as our European country study when looking at countries from different continents.

If you want to see how this all works out in practice, I have written about our plans for next year.

This is linked to the Top Ten Tuesday. Do pop over for many more posts about 10 reasons for home education method and more.


  1. Great list. I think every single homeschool is unique. Thanks for a peek into yours.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Anthea in Essex21 June 2012 at 16:04

    I recognise your photo -- I met you on Saturday at the Bible Society event. I am the lady who sat near you in the tea room. Your daughter had on a pretty dress. The funny thing is, I thought you were home edders, and didn't have the nerve to ask you.

    PS We use FIAR, too.

  3. Anthea-it was good to meet you. Maybe we will meet there another year and have a proper chat. We enjoyed the tour-hope you did too.

  4. Anthea in Essex21 June 2012 at 21:38

    Hello again
    I see that you are looking for a follow-up to FIAR. May I suggest Ambleside Online, the free curriculum? One of my friends uses it, and says that some families have used it after FIAR, as it fits in very well. It's all planned out for you.

    I am still using FIAR, for a number of reasons. We started with Before FIAR, and so we began when the elder child, our ds was 4 1/2, and perhaps more ready for the mature content and language of some of the books. We also use the Homeschool Library in Surrey Quays, so we need not "hunt down" books. The main adaptation, although unplanned, is that we spend about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks on each book, and that makes me feel as though I've got the flexibility to spend time on other things. such as Bible memory work, or history, or reading novel aloud with the children.

  5. Anthea-thank you. I haven't really looked at Ambleside Online but will take a look. This sounds like a really good idea.
    In retrospect, it might have been better for us to spend longer on each FIAR book. I didn't because I was worried that the children would get fed up but if we had only read the book on FIAR activity days then taking longer would probably have been beneficial.