Today we're talking with Beth of As He Leads is Joy. Beth is a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year with me. She is also in England! I thought it would be nice to have her over and get a glimpse into homeschooling overseas.
Kemi: Tell us a little bit about your children's ages and grades.
Beth: I have two children both of whom have bits of special needs. My daughter, Miss K, is 10 years old and has Down Syndrome. She is high functioning but does need guidance and help with schoolwork. Miss K loves to read but math is a struggle. She is working on a 1st/2nd grade level. J is 14 and his special needs are not as oblivious but tend to come from his years in an orphanage. J is in 7th grade which would be Year 8 here in England but based on age he is Year 9.
Kemi: Beth that is admirable. What homeschooling method do you use with your children?
Beth: I love the Classical Approach which helps to give the structure and then to that we add other fun things to the mix hopefully keeping learning fun and enjoyable. At this time I have continued to use resources from the US. I am looking to add in resources from England. The homeschool community here is smaller with not as many resources. Here it is called home education. There is so much history here. We are enjoying field trips and other fun outings. One of my son’s favourite cities is York which has Roman history, Viking history, things from William the Conqueror, Henry VIII and more. Here are some photos from one of our trips.
Kemi: Can you give us a peek into your typical homeschool day?
Beth: My family is not early risers which is fine with me as it gives me some time in the morning for my own quiet time.
Once the children are up we eat breakfast and then begin our school time. We begin with the things we do together partly so I can make sure it gets down.
I love checking things off the list. So we do our Bible, history or geography depending on the day and J does his Latin.
After that time, I spend time teaching and guiding Miss K while hopefully J is doing some independent work. When Miss K is finished, she goes off to play while J and I work together on his remaining subjects.
It sounds so peaceful on paper but in reality it can be a bit chaotic as I try to keep children focused or loud as both children want to ask a question at the same time wanting to have all of my attention.
We get through the learning part of the day. I like to get that done in the morning so I can check it off and then move to other things like cleaning and cooking or having some creative time.
My husband works from home so he is here as well. Depending on the day we have various other activities — ballet, football/soccer, gymnastics, youth group or kids club. Thankfully we can walk to some of these or my son can take the bus so I don’t have to taxi everyone.
Dinner is family time together and then we all work together to clean-up. I have assigned the children days to help with the cooking with the goal that they will learn how to cook.
One of the fun things that we have to decide on since moving is what spelling will we use — will we follow American spelling or switch to British spelling. I have been flexible on that and just ask that J be consistent in what he is writing. (That's a something I never thought about!)
Kemi: We love to see where homeschooling happens. Can you give us a peek into your homeschool room?
Beth: Our school area is also the dining room which means we have to put things away and keep the area neat. At times I miss my dedicated school room but I am learning to enjoy the space we have. You can see it here. (I took a looksee and I love all the little touches for learning Beth has done. It's making me think differently about our schoolroom).
Kemi: So Beth Homemaking Organized is all about homemaking or the details of home. We love to find out how others keep their homes. Can you tell us about your own homekeeping and how you manage to fit it in with homeschool?
Beth: We have lived in Asia and then spent five years in the US before moving to England in April 2013. We are still settling here. I have been driving though at times I have to remind myself that I need to stay on the left side of the road. The roads are narrow and windy so that adds to the challenge.
Online grocery shopping is my new love and has made that task so much easier. That is very common here with a number of the shops delivering. I am learning to cook a combination of things we know from the USA and things here. I have come to rely on my kitchen scale for measuring butter. Bangers and mash is one of my children’s favourite meals. (love that “favourite”!)
We have a washer which is a combination washer/dryer so I can only run one at a time. I have also found that the dryer takes a long time so we try to use the dryer after things have been hanging and begun to dry. I get up in the morning and sort the laundry and get a load started. Then I fold what is on the drying rack from the previous day. I don’t have laundry sitting in laundry baskets waiting to be folded — because I don’t have any laundry baskets.
I have learned that a little bit can make a big difference. So it might be just giving 15 minutes a day to a project or just tackling the stack of dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher) by doing a bit and coming back later.
Kemi: Do you have any crafts or hobbies that you would like to share?
Beth: I enjoy piecing quilts and have learned to machine quilt just so I am able to finish the project. I love finding fabrics and looking for patterns and watching it come together. For me the hardest part is picking the pattern and making those first cuts. I do some scrapbooking which has been great for helping to keep memories alive of things that we have done, places, we have been, and people we know.
Kemi: I think that's a lesson we all can learn. I'm fascinated by your expat life Beth thank you for sharing.
Beth is a missionary wife, mother of two who is settling into life in England. Coffee keeps her going during the day and dark chocolate helps.
You can visit Beth at As He Leads is Joy