In the two years that we’ve “officially” been home educating, we have almost always had an autonomous style, following the children’s interests and making the most of everyday learning opportunities. This week we’ve been trying out some structured time in the mornings. At the moment it consists of a Bible memory verse, handwriting practice, Miquon math, French vocabulary and a Biff, Chip and Kipper reading book.
Aaron has always written in uppercase letters because he finds it easier, but now wants to learn the lowercase letters. Writing is still quite tiring and frustrating for him, which is holding him back from things he would like to do. After a lot of research into different handwriting schemes, we’ve started using this one from Scholastic.
Tabitha has enjoyed doing some of the easiest Miquon lab sheets with hardly any help. She can now recognise all the numerals, which is not something I have taught her. It’s amazing how much they just soak up.
Aaron likes being able to choose his own lab sheets from the folder. So far I’ve only photocopied the first section of the first book which was really far too easy for him, so I need to spend a few evenings scanning more.
For a long time he has refused to have anything to do with the Cuisenaire Rods, so it was nice to see him playing with them. First he built some horse jumps, then he looked out of the window at the church opposite our house and created this representation of it. We also used the rods to build a scale model of the ark during our morning Bible reading, which he found very interesting.
I’ve downloaded a few apps to complement our morning studies, including this French one. The tablet makes a nice change from worksheets and is useful when I need to focus my attention on one child. This week the children decided to concentrate on learning French colours.
Aaron is still enjoying the Biff, Chip and Kipper books and thinks they are very funny. There are so many reading schemes out there, but I think it’s really important to find early readers that interest and suit the individual child.
All of that takes less than an hour in the morning, leaving plenty of time to play or go out. We spent a lovely afternoon on the beach at Instow, where we watched two military hovercrafts doing practice drills.
These cardboard playhouses from Lidl have been very popular on rainy (and non-rainy) days. Aaron used the left-over cardboard packaging to make roads.
They have been dressing up as “Ironman” and “Ironlady”. Aaron asked me to look up Ironman in Google Images and then used the pictures as inspiration to make a mask.
Yesterday was very hot and I got burnt despite having suncream on. We drove to a nearby town and the children played in the open-air paddling pool while I finished a knitting project and re-read “Project-Based Homeschooling”. Afterwards we spent another couple of hours in the big playground there and finished off the afternoon by eating ice lollies and watching a group of children having kayaking lessons in the estuary.
This afternoon the children rode their bikes down to the park and playground.
After a tiring day the children enjoy listening to Roald Dahl audio CDs. Tabitha’s favourite is “The Enormous Crocodile” while Aaron likes “Danny Champion of the World” and “The Twits”. We had to ban “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” a while ago when Aaron woke up crying in the middle of the night, complained that he couldn’t stop the chocolate dancing in front of his eyes and was promptly sick all over me!
Such a structured approach is radically different from anything we have done for a long time. Aaron’s behaviour and emotions have been quite challenging recently so I’m hoping a change will help with that. At this point I have no idea whether we will continue down this path or not, I’ve got a lot of thoughts and ideas buzzing around in my head.