Michelle Israel, Luton, UK, didn’t plan to homeschool for longer than a year… but now she is glad she did!
2 Children: Amélie, aged 8 and Judea aged 3
“When I first started homeschooling for the first year I classed myself as an ‘accidental homeschooler’. I only ever intended to homeschool for 1 year… 3 years later!
Prior to homeschooling, my daughter attended a nursery school that was part of a private school for 3 years. The January before her 5th birthday, I had enrolled her to continue her education in the primary school and she would have started reception in September of the same year. However, a few months later I found out I was expecting my second child and I had to re-evaluate finances so decided to opt-out of sending her to a fee-based school and look for a public school to send her to. I emailed the school to let them know that they no longer needed to hold a place for my daughter for September as she would not be continuing at the school. Then to my surprise, I received an email back from the headteacher expressing his disappointment that my daughter would not be continuing and sharing the following with me:
“I wanted to let you know, among other things, that Amelie came top of all the children tested (both within the school and of all the outside applicants too), which is some achievement!
She got a standardised score of 143, which is phenomenally high – it means she has an IQ that is 99.8% higher than all the children in the UK who were born at the same time as she was. She is clearly extremely bright and has great potential – a potential that would, without doubt, best be met by an academically selective school.”
Firstly, I had no idea she was being tested. She was 4 years old at this time and I question whether I would have been told this information had I decided not to continue at the school(?). However, this new information on her potential changed the way I considered where to put her next and given most schools had received new intake requests in January (it was now April), I wasn’t impressed with my choices so I decided I needed to take my time choosing her next school and that I would homeschool her for 1 year whilst I thoroughly assessed potential schools. I figured she’s already ahead of most children her age that a year with me would be fine.
At the beginning, I tried to recreate school at home. I got her a little uniform (blue check summer dresses and matching cardigan and knee-high socks). We started at 9 am and planned to go through ‘til 3 pm.
Oh my days!
What was I thinking?!
It was a disaster.
I mean proper “Wa, wa, wa, waaa!”
I quickly realised this ain’t the way but really wasn’t sure what was the way, at first. Then a month later baby was born and this “disruption” was really the best thing that happened to our homeschool because it forced a changed I likely wouldn’t have made (or would’ve made very slowly).
We were forced to relax and chill out!
In the new year, I started to find my groove again and YouTube was a great source for exposing myself to a range of homeschooling methods and styles and at that time I started to lean towards the Charlotte Mason method. I loved the idea of nature study, poetry teatimes, composer study, short in length lessons with high expectation.
Three years on we still love Charlotte Mason and the structure of our morning is still built on that framework to some degree but we’ve become more eclectic. I don’t put the label on us as being Charlotte Mason homeschoolers so much anymore. We take elements from everywhere. Sometimes our approach reflects the Wardorf style or the unit study approach, it just depends on what we’re focusing on and where our discussions and explorations take us.
Daily we do structured and unstructured schooling. Meaning every morning we do math and reading and rotation of other weekly subjects. Once we’re finished up my daughter is free to explore whatever interests her. Lately she has been working on publishing a book.
Last year my daughter studied a composer called, Joseph Bologne Le Chevalier de Saint-George. She included this study into an award scheme she was working toward called an Arts Award which resulted in her writing a short story book about him for the award.
Her dad was so impressed with her book that he encouraged her to turn it into a real book, and she has debuted as a first-time self-published author, and she’s only 8 years old! I’m so proud, I could cry!
Her book, ‘Joseph Bologne Le Chevalier de Saint-George, the first black composer’ is available on Amazon now.
★ We’ve all heard of Martin Luther King Jnr., Rosa Parks and George Washington Carver, but not many have heard about the multi-talented Knight of Saint-George. ★
Doesn’t ring a bell? Keep reading! Jump into the eye-opening life of Joseph Bologne Le Chevalier de Saint-George, the first black classical music composer, who is also known as, “The Black Mozart”. In this amazing book authored by an 8 year old little girl who wished to bring lesser known and hidden black history personalitiesback into our everyday consciousness.
✓ An astonishing story of success to remember during black history month. ✓
A WORD ABOUT THE CHEVALIER ST. GEORGE
“I have been writing about African and African Diaspora history for a long time, but I remain inspired by the youth. And rarely have I been more inspired and excited as I am about this current work by such a youthful author on one of the most fascinating personalities in our history.
It is a wonderful work and I am so very proud of the author!
God bless you! And may this be only the first of the many fine works that you are destined to gift to us!”
Runoko Rashidi, Historian
For me, this is why I continue to homeschool. My daughter gets a fully customised learning experience tailored just to her. She a ‘mathy’ and ‘artsy’ child so these elements show up a lot in our homeschool practices. I’ve noticed she learns best by doing so we try and make it as hands-on and discussion-based as possible.
Homeschooling or home education has to be one of THE most rewarding experiences ever. I feel like my daughter challenges me and opens up my thinking as much as I do for her.
It’s no easy feat but if you’re committed to creating beautiful learning experiences for your children, the fruit of that labour makes any hard times so worth it.”
What Is The Charlotte Mason method?
Instead of worksheets or answering questions in the back of the book, The Charlotte Mason method requires the child to retell, or “narrate,” everything he/she can remember from the book or text. It also includes a wide variety of subjects spread over the week in short, interesting lessons. This approach works with the way children naturally learn.
What Is The Wardorf style?
This is a holistic liberal arts education where subjects are not separated from one another and education covers body, mind, and spirit. Textbooks are not used until the children are older and then only infrequently, and moral qualities are subtly emphasized through life. Early education is focused on activities and experiences rather than head learning.