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Frugal Living · Saturday August 16, 2008 by Christine

by Christine

During the summer we have continued with our home education as usual and have involved Thomas and Caitlin who usually attend school.

I love the flexibility of being able to do what we want when we want to and the children have tried so many things that they don’t have time to do during the school term.

One of the things we’ve begun to change in our household is our reliance on the utilities, like gas, electricity and petrol. With prices soaring we are convinced that the way forward is to become more self sufficient and it was brought home to us big time following our holiday in Florida in May.

Disneyland was full of fast food, paper cups and napkins . Everyone travelled by car and the buildings which were lit up at night made me realise just how many ressources are being wasted.

Our return to England made me rethink how we could change our lifestyle and albeit belatedly we started to separate our rubbish, compost more , and recycle what we didn’t want on recycle.co.uk.

The children are in charge of the trips to the compost bin, telling dad off when he forgets and puts a banana skin in the kitchen bin instead of the compost bin, and of unloading the plastic bags and bottles at the recycling area at Tesco.

They also sold some unwanted toys on ebay and made some money to buy new toys and I had a fantastic find in our local furniture recycling shop- a beautiful oak wardrobe and dressing table for Caitlin’s room for £120. They would have cost me £1000 had we bought them new.

We even looked at recycling a dog at our local rescue centre, however as we had desperatly settled on a black labrador puppy we succumbed to a two week old puppy born in the farm up the road, rather than the flea bitten wolfhound which had been abandoned at Appleby horsefair by the gypsies which I rather took to!

Even buying a dog led to obtaining a dog cage on recyucle.co.uk and our trip to the dog rescue wasn’t wasted as we learned about a charity which rescues battery hens which are then homed by families and which, after a few weeks settle nicely and finish their days as happy healthy free range hens.

We plan to adopt 6 of them, Molly, Dolly, Polly and Holly, Heather and Birdseye (The last two names were chosen by the kids!)

With a friend being on holiday Thomas was in charge of watering their vegetables and we were allowed to eat the crops. He picked fresh tomatoes, broccoli, mange tout and courgettes and that’s led to us talking about growing our own vegetables next year!

We have already inherited apple, pear and plum trees and loads and loads of brambles but most of them were left on the ground to rot last year so we have resolved to use or give away as many as possible.

If you are wondering what all this rambling has to do with home education then her’s just a few things which have learned…...

We have read books about black labradors, caring for a puppy, done market research at pets at home and on the internet, read about hens and making a chicken coop.

Decorated two old wellies for the village horticultural show and made a vegetable animal to boot (sorry the joke wasn’t intentional) from my neighbour’s very, very large courgette (and won second prize).

It’s education about REAL LIFE and revolves around people rather than material possessions and I’m really proud of all they have learned!

Book reading has trebled over the summer holiday and Thomas,(who is generally very reluctant to read if he can avoid it) came down the other day and asked me if it would be possible to build a den in the garden out of straw.He’s been reading ‘Conor’s Eco Den’ by Pippa Goodheart and it had fired his imagination!

I’ll be very sad when Thomas and Caitlin go back to school , but we’ve done so much above and beyond the national curriculum and working with them gives me the opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses so that I can facilitate them in what they want to learn rather than what the government dictates their teachers should teach them.

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Travel broadens the Mind! Moving into Full time Home Education-Wish us Luck!

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