We have been using Dreaming Spires since 2018, our 4 older teens have done a number of different English courses as well as Spanish and a couple of the summer mini-courses. They offer a wide variety of subjects and we have friends who have enjoyed some of their science and history courses. I initially used it to help our eldest get through his English Language GCSE (3 sons have now completed their English gcse successfully with DS) but I have been really impressed with the wide variety of literature they have read (and mostly enjoyed!) and the Charlotte Mason emphasis on reading Living Books and doing narration. There are also plenty of optional fun activities they can do alongside the more academic side of things and they get to do about three presentations a year as part of the course which is great experience.
The lessons take the form of a lecture from the teacher with slides to look at and the students communicate with each other and the teacher via the chat box at the side of the screen. The kids have made some really good friends through their classes and the chat forums on the site (though we do have to monitor how much time they spend chatting with their friends instead of working!).
You can do a 30 week year course (£365) with an additional ‘add on’ class if wanted (£140) or one of the 6 week crammer courses in January or summer courses (£120). We have found the courses quite home-work heavy (mainly lots of reading!) we found two courses (one English and one Spanish) just about manageable in addition to our other study commitments. Dreaming Spires came highly recommended to us from other families we knew and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others!! We have really enjoyed meeting other home-educating families from around the country through the connections the children have made as well!
‘Meet the Artist’s Family’ is a fantastic resource for studying art history and actually doing art in your ‘home-school’. It’s written by a creative fellow home-Ed mum, who has put a great deal of thought into making it user-friendly, interactive and fun. The original course gives you 20 weeks looking at a different artist each week with a brief bio, a picture to look at, an art project and, my personal favourite, rabbit-hole suggestions. Who doesn’t want to have a Mexican feast when learning about Frida Kahlo?! All for the fabulous price of £15. The YouTube links shared are another hit with the kids, helping to make the work of the artist come alive. We haven’t used the course consecutively, but we dip in and out of it during the 6 week artist studies that we do. Since the original course, Rebecca has produced another 3 courses which are all the same great format. She has a great Instagram feed, too, which is really worth checking out for further ideas of how to incorporate art into your learning lives. Highly recommended!
5-7 years | 8-10 years | 10-12 years | 12+ years | All ages
Disco and Circle are what every unschooling parent has been waiting for. Lucy Aitken Reed pours all her real life experience, learning and expertise as a coach and mentor into these courses and community.
Disco is a great course which covers consent, autonomy, respectful parenting and self directed learning, what it is and how to create a learning environment where the whole families learning needs can be met.
Circle provides ongoing community with other families and more specific coaching support. It’s full of compassion, experience, support, play and nurtures self love, acceptance and joy. It’s brought transformation and joy into our home like nothing else. It’s a wonderful space, full of fun and super empowering.
I love things that are free and fun (this was a pre lockdown adventure.) We booked a course with our local apple store for our home ed collective group of kids. We were 15 kids and three adults and had 1.5 hours in the Apple Store learning how to make an imovie. As we were a big enough group we were able to book for just us at a time that worked for us, so we chose a quiet Tuesday morning. The two facilitators were fantastic and great fun. We had a short teaching session. Then the kids were put in 3 groups of 5 and given an ipad and shown what to do and then we took over half the store and created some short imovies – the kids demonstrating their wonderful creativity (we had a sock murder, a teddy bear kidnap and a superhero adventure!). The Apple team were there to direct and help trouble shoot. All 15 kids learnt quickly and were able to create a short imovie by the end of the session. We then had fun sharing what we had learnt. All this happened whilst other people were in the store shopping – felt quite surreal!
Apple runs lots of teaching sessions and when the store is open they have an app where you can check out what is happening each week. My kids have also done a session on how to code a Spiroball which was also fun. Sessions after school can book up quickly but there are lots in the day which work well for flexible home edders. Always worth getting to know the team and we have found they have been willing to run sessions for home ed groups. We just spoke to them directly and booked a group session. A five star rating as it was free and very enjoyable.