Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Not Back to School - Tips for Parents

It's the end of August so naturally my Facebook feed is full of back to school posts, tips, articles and checklists. Well, I didn't want us home educators getting left out, so here especially for you is my Not Back to School checklist.

1. UNIFORM
This is an important one. I've read several times this morning that it's an absolute must for all children at this time of year, so in view of that I suggest you pick out something here. Aye. Pyjamas. The unofficial uniform of home educators. Practical and comfortable, they can be worn to do anything from playing Minecraft to cooking to chemistry experiments to trampolining to wiring circuits. Maaaybe swap them for actual clothes if you're off out for the day, but each to their own :)
NB There's no uniform monitor, and no penalties for flaunting the uniform rule I just introduced for thousands of people I don't know, so feel free to swap it for whatever awesomely picked out (or otherwise) outfit you choose, whether it's mismatch chic or a Stormtrooper outfit or underpants and a sombrero. We'll likely have done all of these options by the end of the first day Not Back.

2. NOT-SCHOOL TRIPS
Otherwise known as, erm, days out.
We all know what the start of September means. It means that all those fabulous places that belong exclusively to us home edders in term time (no butthurt please school-going people, they really do), are back to being ours. ALL OURS. Mwahaha.
While we most definitely still do lots of stuff over the summer, we really do try to avoid the sorts of parks, play areas and visitor attractions that just get so busy over the holidays that you can't see the trees/climbing frames/potters' wheels*.(*insert locally relevant item of interest here) So while we'll likely have a day at home to start off with (with just the people that live here, for the first time in six weeks!), it's good to remember that the start of September is a good time to rediscover those places that the kids love and find interesting that will be sooo much quieter, and might even have a home ed discount going on in term time :)

3. PACKED LUNCHES
Everything mentioned in #2 usually also means at least one Not Back to School Picnic.
Now, I love Pinterest and all that it offers, and I even cut sandwiches into the shape of dinosaurs every so often and make watermelons into pirate ships. But today I saw someone's plan to make all their lunchboxes into a little geographical feature. There was even a Japanese flag made of nori and salami, I think. Extremely awesome, and I've no doubt pinned it, but by the time we've stuffed the boot full of parachutes and bubbles and pirate swords and we're on out way out to the park (always late these days, why???), and I've driven halfway there and remembered I've forgotten the picnic, and we've gone home again to grab something, what we actually take is a cucumber, a block of cheese, a multipack of value crisps and bags of whatever fruit and salad is in the fridge. And a knife. Luckily we have no school-imposed restrictions on potato products or the percentage of vitamins in our apples or whatever, so my lunch-related checklist point for you all for Not Back to School week is the rather all encompassing 'Attempt to have food in that you each like, try and remember to take some out with you when necessary, and remember a knife. If you like.' Very specific, I know. 

4. SUPPLIES
Woohoo! The best thing about September used to be a new pencil case and choosing which Smash Hits poster I'd Sellotape onto the inside of my ring binder. Exciting times!
With home ed, however, the possibilities are boundless, with the added kicker that IT'S NOT LIMITED TO SEPTEMBER!!! So whether their interests currently lie in Facerig or painting or loom bands or circuits or art or singing or guinea pigs or baking or decoupage or make up or tiedye, every day they're learning is a fab reason to source the things they need. If you have that itch especially in September, the whole world is your resource oyster, not just Rymans (or Partners as it was when I were a lass. Ah Partners, how I miss your whimsical pens and scented erasers.)

5. HOMEWORK
Just kidding ;)

So! I think that about covers it. To sum up, this Not Back to School time, wear what you love, go where you like, eat what you fancy, and learn from what interests you. Ooh, just like the rest of the year! Happy Not Back to School everyone :)

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