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Category: Principles

What I’ve learnt about the early years now all my children are past them.

My youngest recently turned eight. While he’s far from grown up just yet, there’s no denying that he’s not a littlie any more. There are many educational and philosophical approaches that treat the first seven years as a particular period of development in a child’s life – for good reason. The early years are uniquely important, challenging – and lovely. It can be hard to take a breath when you’re in the middle of them, but if you get a moment, here’s what I’ve learnt now my four are all firmly in the next stage of life. Learning Playing really…

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The power of rhythm (not routine)

I’ve seen them. You’ve seen them. I even have one, of a sort. I’m talking about the daily homeschooling timetables, with maths at 10am, science at 11, complete one exercise from the workbook a day. Don’t get me wrong, having a framework for the day can be super helpful, especially in unusual times. Some people will love a timetable (I’m quite partial to making one – less so to following it). Some will buck against it and refuse to even contemplate the idea. And regardless of preference, most of us will have at least some things that are fixed in…

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How to start planning your own time

For most of us, we either rely on an external structure to push us through our days, or we buck against it. Sometimes a bit of both. This goes for adults and kids alike. Right now, many of us are thrust into a situation where we’re responsible for managing and planning our own time, with little to help anchor us, and it’s a tough prospect. I’ve been doing it for thirteen years and it’s still tough. Added in are the vastly different requirements and priorities we all have. For us, cancelling outside events is a blow, but some of our…

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Psychological nutrients

I recently read – and really enjoyed – Indistractable, by Nir Eyal. One aspect that struck me was the idea of psychological nutrients. Eyal cited Dr. Richard Ryan and Dr. Edward Deci, who developed self-determination theory from research they’d done since the 70s, and their key idea that people are driven by three basic needs. Just as the human body requires three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) to run properly, Ryan and Deci proposed that the human psyche needs three things to flourish: autonomy, competence and relatedness. When the body is starved, it elicits hunger pangs; when the psyche is…

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Is school compulsory? These are the options for your child’s education.

“You have to go to school, it’s the law.” I’m willing to bet you’ve heard someone say this. Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. The thing is, it’s not quite true. The law does say that children of a certain age have to be educated, but going to school is only one way of doing that. So, if you’ve ever wondered ‘do I really have to go to school?’ or even ‘does my child have to go to school?’ then here’s the lowdown… What the law says (in the UK) It’s British law, so there’s bits and pieces about schooling…

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Our Story – Learn What You Live

Educational philosophy is big in home ed circles. It can be reassuring to hear ‘unschooling’, ‘Charlotte Mason’ or ‘Classical’ and feel like you have some idea where the friend you’ve just met is coming from and what their days look like. The truth is, of course, that we all make our own adjustments and few of us have days that pan out how we’d planned in advance anyway; so those quick descriptions are less helpful than you might hope. Back when we were first considering home education, I did some reading around early years philosophies. I read about Waldorf education;…