Dear Home Ed Mother Me, a year ago

Dear Home Ed Mother Me, A Year Ago,

I know you have read all the articles about how some homeschooled children read later, and how they get there in the end, and I know you are trying to have faith in the process, but at the same time you are holding your breath, waiting to see if it is true or not for you.

I know you have filled the house with books, books that you actually read and that you read to your children, and I know you watch as your eldest, now eight, plays with his lego and listens to audiobooks for hours. I know you are aware that his vocabulary is good – see what all that reading aloud has done – and that understands what he is listening to. That he understands a great deal about a great number of things.

I know that together, you and your son, have worked your way through your reading program, and that you have looked for ways to sneak in reading practice in ways that your son can tolerate. I know you have thought hard and researched whether there is an underlying problem, and come to the conclusion that you don’t think there is one, but will keep your eyes open. I know you have walked the thin line between not pushing him to hard, but also not avoiding the whole topic because it feels so hard.

I know you know that he has grasped the general rules of sounding words out, that he knows quite a few sight words, but he is unwilling to read more that about 5 sentences at a time.

But here’s what I – you a year in the future – know that you don’t yet know:

I know that a few days before you go on holiday in the summer you will go to the library. You will pick up a funny, silly chapter book about pirates on a whim, because the cover caught your eye and you are going to the seaside. I know that you will read the first chapter to your children the first night you are all away, and that they will want more but that it is time for bed. I know that your son will nick off with the book before going off to his room (it is probably a key point that he has his own room, and that he isn’t keeping anyone else awake with his bedside light.)

The next morning he will tell you he read three pages of the next chapter and you will hold your breath. He will tell his grandparents too, and you will start to smile because maybe this whole homeschooling thing won’t actually ruin your children. But you will also wait to see what happens next. He will take the book to a restaurant, and when he goes to the beach. He will have his nose in a book throughout that holiday like he has been doing it his whole life.

He will finish the book, and then he won’t really know where to go next, but he will also know that he has finished a book, and that he did it for fun, and that is an important spark.

He will start reading Beast Quest books.  Then he will start inhaling them. He will have a sleepless night at another grandparent’s house and not care because he will read two and a half Beast Quest novels through that night, and be mighty proud of himself. He will pick up a book called ‘Spirit Animals’ at the library (which will lead to a conversation between the two of you about cultural appropriation) and he will inhale that too, even though the print is smaller that Beast Quests and the page count is longer.

You will, nonchalantly, as if you don’t really care, stick a reading word test in front of him, and idly suggest he tries reading the words until he gets three wrong in a single set. You tried it before, in late spring, while panicking about your ability to do all this, so you happen to have data to compare him against himself. In less that two months he will have jumped four grades.

He will move into his own room and your early bird will start sleeping later because he is staying up reading in his bed. You will go to the library on a Tuesday and on the Friday have a pile of books to go back, which is good because the reservations you and he put in have turned up.

You will buy him eighteen Beast Quest novels for his birthday and two months later there will be three left under your bed, waiting to be read, being over taken by library books for new series that he wants to try.

He will read the first two Harry Potters, and go straight on to the third.

He will devour books. He will build lego figures of the characters. He will offer up their stories in other conversations, connecting information together. You knew he loved stories, he has bathed in stories since he was small, but now he has them at his fingertips.

I know you have read all the articles about how some homeschooled children read later, and how they get there in the end, and I know you are trying to have faith in the process.

Have faith in the process. He gets there in the end and it is SO worth it.




There are many ways to plan a Home Ed year. This is mine. Part 2 – What We are Using 2017-18

You can read about what I used to plan our Home Education year here in part 1.

Table Work

Table Work is what we call all the sit down work we do at home. It’s a chunk of our learning every day, and it currently covers Maths, phonics or grammar, spelling, and sight words. Sometime this work is done altogether, but for the last six months or so I have been doing it as a one to one with each child, which works well. This year I am making table work shorter, so that there is more room for other learning, mostly because I have seen that doing a bit every day adds up.

We use Maths No Problem for maths, which is UK based Singapore maths programme. I really like it, it’s reasonably priced and works really well for us. The only problem is that the Teacher’s Guide and answers are via an online subscription and cost £200 per year, because the curriculum is set up for school use rather than home educators. Right now we do completely fine without them but as the children get older and the work gets more complex we will have to switch to something else. Which sucks to be honest.

Maths – No Problem books 1A, 3A and 4A plus the wipe clean document folders I use to keep the worksheets in.

For phonics we use Ready2Read from Annie Moffatt (aka The Moffatt Girls) – my 4 year old is starting Level 1 and my 6 year old is just finishing up Level 3.  This is the only phonics curriculum we have ever used and it has worked really well for us.

I really like The Moffat Girl’s products – they are solid and mostly No Prep, which means you can print out what you need and get straight into it, rather than having to do lots of work ahead.

(That said, Ready2Read does have prep if you use the hands on activities, which I would recommend because they are great. They need printing out on card and cutting out where necessary. But it wasn’t very much work and I have saved and re-used those piece within each unit, with each child, and then just re-printed out the worksheets for each unit as we have come to it.)

We are also using 1st and 2nd Grade Language Arts and Grammar as the work my 6 year old and 8 year old are doing post-Ready2Read, and the Build a Word bundle for hands on spelling.

Our sight words are mostly Learning Resources Popcorn set 1 and 2 (which I got for a lot less money than that link would suggest.) I pull out 10 cards each for the 6 year old, and 8 year old. For the 4 year old I have printed up the pre-primer and primer sets from here and have pulled out 7 that we are working on at the moment.)

Morning Time

This year I have reinstated Morning Time, which I have split in two – Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday as one group, and Thursday/Friday as the other. Thursday/Friday we watch some educational videos (TEDed, and The Kids Should See This), followed by me reading the next chapter from whatever Arabella Buckley we have on the go, (right now it’s Wild Life in Woods and Fields). I am trying to encourage the children to draw while I read, and have a good book on drawing trees, and some Usbourne colouring books that I hope will help this along.

On Monday we will start our Map Making project which I’m hoping to run till half term in October. This is something I am winging, due to my love of maps and geography, and because I think it’s will take in a whole load of skills that will be useful as we dig deeper into history and geography, and global studies later. My plan is the start with mapping a room, and then our home (particularly apt since we have builders in and will being having work done now for the next few months), our street, suburb, city, country, country, continent, and the World.

I have a load of great resources for that, so I’ll try and give it it’s own post once the project is properly under way. (Wish me luck!) Map Making will be our Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday project, and I’m hoping to follow it up with a project on what I am calling ‘Global Studies’ but which could equally be called ‘How People Live Around the World or ‘Hey Kids Lets All Expand Our World View and Try to Become Better Global Citizens’. Again I have some great resources and this project needs it’s own post, once we are actually doing it.

I am planning for this to include looking at religious festivals throughout the year. As a secular family in a broadly Christian country I think my children have a general understanding of the standard Christian festivals. However I think it would benefit all the family for us to look at what festivals are common elsewhere, as well as festivals that are celebrated by those of other faiths in this country. I’m planning to use Children Just Like Me: Celebrations as the basis for this, and then order books from the library about the specific festivals as the come up.

And then ready for the depths of Winter my bestie and I devised a list of musicals, so that we can curls up and have a Musicals project. And aptly that’s around the time I’m off to see Hamilton in London, so we will likely be all about the Musicals at that point.


We are still using Mystery Science. It is still really working for us, but we didn’t do it as much as I would have liked last year, and so it now has it’s own dedicated time in our weekly plan.


We are using Write Shop for our writing this year (Primary and Junior), and personally I plan to read some more by Julie Bogart. I am working on a three day a week schedule for each child for write shop this year. We will see how this goes. Probably I should be combining my six year old and eight year old, but right now I’m not.

Because of how our schedule works we should do write shop on a Friday, but that would squash a regular opportunity to meet up with friends, so I am trying, for this term, to do our Friday Write Shop sessions straight after breakfast on a Saturday, and leave the time after table work on a Friday for time with friends, and after that, play and down time for us as a family. I’ll let you know how that goes once we’ve done it for a while.

The Extra Curriculars and Regular Meet Ups

As with last year we are doing a home ed climbing class, home ed music lessons at the local council music center, as well as after school swimming lessons at the local pool, drama group, and the eldest is still doing cubs. (I remember a time when I said we weren’t going to do too much. Thank goodness they aren’t all after school or in the evenings!)

We also have some meet ups with friends that are regular enough to be on our schedule (and if they don’t happen for whatever reason then that is more time to play, follow rabbit trails, or read.)

So that’s it. That’s the plan.

I’ll try and check in at half term and let you know how things are going, because we all make these great plans during the summer, and rarely show what worked and what sounded good but fell by the wayside.


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