All posts filed under: Home learning

Gardening Without a Garden

We live in a ground floor flat with a shared garden that nobody uses – it isn’t a great space for children to play in, and we are not allowed to plant anything.  For a while, we solved our lack of outdoor space problem by renting an allotment.  We adored our allotment, it was an amazing place for the children to play – we built them a play house and a rope swing on the cherry tree and took toys and tools for them to use.  They dug and planted and watered and we spent so many happy family hours together in our allotment. We really miss our allotment but sadly we were unable to keep it when James changed jobs.  His hours increased and he wasn’t around to run us up to the allotment after school.  I don’t drive and, in the winter months, with a four year old who was quite the reluctant walker, it was not feasible to get there.  Most weekends were wet and cold and so we rarely visited.  On …

Compact Gardening

Gardening is good for you, according to a new infographic produced by Compost Direct. Older gardeners have a 36-47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, and gardening, alongside all forms of outdoor and natural education, is proven to be beneficial for children.  However, with large numbers of people (ourselves included) living in places that simply do not have gardens, the opportunities to grow your own seem to be dwindling. However, all is not lost – did you know that there are many ways to grow crops in small spaces? From potted plants indoors to mini vegetable patches, window box herb gardens, and grow bags, there are many ways to garden within your own home.  I’m excited to discover that you can grow potatoes in compost bags or even bin liners, which is something I cannot wait to do with my little ones. It is also possible to grow crops in specialist grow bags; with just a small amount of space, you can grow fruit and veg to feed your whole household – from tomatoes and carrots to …

Our Reading Nook

I love books. Actual books; I’m less keen on the digital variety. Kids books are a particular weakness. We have far more than we probably ever needed, but I cannot resist them. For years, I’ve scoured Pinterest for the perfect reading area, convinced that we had the space somewhere. In a two bed flat with two children, space for anything is actually at a premium, therefore space for something that isn’t vital (even something as wonderful as a reading area) has been difficult to come by. Earlier this year, we stacked the kids in bunk beds, freeing up half of their room for wardrobe and drawer space, meaning that the inbuilt cupboard in the corner, the one that had been home to Miss J’s clothes, was suddenly beautifully empty. So we did this with it. We’ll gloss over the fact that my children are in fact using it as a gaming cupboard in the above photo… It is actually a reading nook; I finally have one and am ridiculously excited by it. No, it’s not …

Home Learning

I’m a big fan of home learning as a supplement to state education.  I wish I could say I was brave enough to try homeschooling but I think we all benefit too much from the respite school affords us to give it a go.  My ideal situation would be to have a mixture of both – one or two weekdays at home and the rest in school.  Obviously, I can see that this would be way too much of a headache for schools to ever actually be offered as an option, so I try to make the most of after school time, and school holidays, leaving weekends free for family fun. I think one of the common misconceptions about learning at all, but especially at home (or in “free time”) is that it needs to be organised and produce results to be worth the effort.  Extra-curricular activities, handwriting practise, workbooks… these all have their place, but I truly believe that the best way to learn is by experimenting and playing. My children do participate in a number …

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Messy Play, Nature, and Education

I believe, wholeheartedly, in hands-on learning being the best form of education.  You wouldn’t learn to drive by reading about it in a book, or copying text about the mechanical procedures involved from a white board, so why do we expect our children to learn in this way?  To flourish in classroom environments with so few kinaesthetic learning opportunities?  It makes little sense to me.  When we stayed with Forest Holidays in May, it was with great pleasure that we found their beliefs to be in tune with our own. Prior to our holiday, we were offered the chance to enjoy a ranger activity at the Forest of Dean site in which we stayed. When we eventually arrived, we chose the Young Explorers activity session for Miss J and the boy and didn’t think much more about it until the next day.  To be totally honest, I hadn’t expected much from the session.  Perhaps a short walk through the forest and then making a collage.  I am pleased to say it was way more than that. We met up …