Welcome to our ‘nearly a year’ home education 2015 review! When I say ‘review’ – I mean ‘skim through with light sprinkling of opinion’. Indi has just gone to bed after screaming and ranting for a good 45 minutes, but that’s a matter for another post. Now to write about how great he’s doing at Emerald Lodge Home School (must Google ‘Supernanny’ after this).
Indi left his actual school Easter 2015, and the two week Easter holiday was a good opportunity to throw ourselves into the wonderful Home Education network we are surrounded by.
North, East and West we are offered a wealth of activities and opportunities, and if we tried to head South well, that would be the sea – and then there’s a whole world to explore! All in good time, B, all in good time.
First up was a trip to watch lambs being born at Gaston Farm in West Sussex. Though busy, we were able to witness a busy farm right in the middle of their lambing season, where farm hands would give us blow-by-blow details as we filed through. I met some lovely ladies who are now firm friends!
Next up we went to Brighton for the day to visit this weird and wonderful museum of taxidermy and natural history! Of course, we had to pop along to the Lego store afterwards.
We had a fabulous day at The Butser Ancient farm near Petersfield in later Spring. A real insight to the Bronze and Iron age, and lots of hands-on tasks. Indi adored it. Here we are being smoked out!
We visited Bracklesham Bay twice – once as an organised trip with a fossil expert, and once with our fab Wild Tracks Forest School group. We still have our collection of truly ancient fossilised shells, dating from pre-dinosuars. Hard to contemplate.
One of the main reasons that we began home schooling was the the plaintive statement made by Indi back when he was at school – ‘I don’t have any time to do what I want to do’. It’s true – he didn’t. Play time had disappeared completely. Teaching him that conformity was all he could expect from life at the tender age of 4 sat far from right with me, so over the past few months I have relished in the joy of watching him and his younger brother Etienne wallow about in the mud, roll about in the sand, fall over in rivers, lakes, ponds and seas, climb trees and get scared, graze their knees from running too fast, and even Indi getting a tick behind the ear after roaming about in bushes by the river for long periods of time. Yes – lots of washing. Emergency shoe,sock and pants purchases in nearby towns…only twice. We have just learnt to be better prepared. Wellie boots must ALWAYS be in the boot of the car. The three pictures above are from the Forest School and Squirrel Ranger sessions they have attended this year.
Home School Maths
I haven’t been great at taking pictures of everything. Three things I must mention that aren’t documented pictorially – Maths Seeds, the dreaded workbooks, and piano. Love it or hate it fellow home edders, Maths Seeds is embedded in our home education experience, namely because Indi loves it. We wouldn’t do it if he didn’t. He doesn’t feel so passionate about the sister application, and the original Reading Eggs, mainly because English is his strength and we need to skip about 30 lessons for it to challenge him! Maths Seeds is an online maths ‘lesson’ programme that presents maths in a fun, game-led way. There is plenty of repetition, colour and animation, and it works for him. Etienne sits and watches him like a zombie. I don’t think he can wait until he’s given an account!
Piano is brilliant. Maths is all over music, and he GOES to the piano to practice, without prompting, most of the time. Darrell’s keyboard in dying a death due to overuse! His piano teacher is fantastic, and he loves his time with her each week.
I do revert to workbooks in the week, but never more than two pages in a day, and we don’t do them every day. With the practical things we do, plus his online learning, it is just another ‘thing’. No levels, no tests, just a thing. Hooray! I have an assortment of workbooks I use, but I do like ‘Collins – Busy Ant Maths’ due to the layout. He used these at his school, so familiarity helps.
I’m sure many home edders might have an issue with my ‘board’ – but it helps me to remember what we’re up to, especially if we have a busy day. Having the date up for Indi really helps, and he can look at our ‘plan for the day’ and know what to expect. Often, we don’t achieve everything on the board – and thankfully, it doesn’t matter at all.
More Twinkl resources…
More Twinkl resources…this was number bonds to 10
We play SO many board games – literally a different one every day. Jigsaws are also a hit, mainly because he has time to see it though to the end, without losing interest.
I use ‘Twinkl’ resources weekly. It’s really good, though we seem to print a hell of a lot. I keep all the resources like this so we can return to it, and I’m sure to be using them again with the next two! Place value ice creams.
The boys play with Lego incessantly. Indi builds very well, and can follow the guides for 7-10 year olds without much intervention. I class this as Maths – it’s logical eh?
Practical division problems. We do a lot of ‘sharing out fairly’ with his brothers!
Indi loves cooking. He loves weighing, measuring, concocting, reading cook books, serving, and when we’re not actually cooking, he likes playing chefs, cafes, restaurants and so on. He knows all the lingo – we must spend too much time in cafes!
Indi loves a show, like his mother, pair of drama queens we are. I’m always dragging Will and Indi off to the theatre, but have started to take them separately as their needs are now different, and it saves me money! This year Indi has seen ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ (both by the superb Southsea Shakespeare Actors), ‘I believe in Unicorns’ and ‘Pop Up Flashback’ at Waterlooville Library, ‘Squashbox Theatre’ at The Spring, Havant, ‘The Imaginary Menagarie’ in Hayling, ‘The Snow Dragon’ at Park Community School, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at the Kings in Southsea, and ‘Wicked’ in London, during the free theatre for kids month in August. And of course all the theatre that mummy produces with TADAA. He’s finally started attending my Friday afternoon drama group too, after initially being reticent last year. He seems ready now, and he’s pretty good too!
Getting his poetry book signed after the performance of ‘Pop Up Flashback’.
Dance and Gymnastics
Indi does plenty of ‘moving about’. He’s a great scooter and bike rider. He’s not so keen on running at the moment (Sunday organised ‘Park Runs’ still attended by Will) but maybe in the future! He swims well too, but I haven’t put him into formal lessons yet, despite him having classes when he was two and three. This got him through any fear of water. He is keen to go back to lessons, as the ad-hoc swimming we do isn’t enough, and I’m LAZY with this. I don’t like being cold and wet. Cold and wet and pregnant (whale springs to mind) feels even worse. I used to have the zip but it’s gone!
So – after being on three gymnastics waiting lists forever we finally got ‘the call’, so bye bye tap dancing for now due to the clash in time. He loves his gym class, and has got his level 7 and 6 badge already, and I sit in bemusement and wonder gazing at the muscular agility of the squads that work alongside his group. I wish I was in class!
Here he is receiving his award for ballet last year. I wrote about his initial experience with ballet here.
Indi is still the only boy in his class. We usually run late on a Saturday, and he HATES being late for ballet. He dashes out of the car, strips and puts his own shoes on. He loves the attention. There’s a weird ‘double-think’ going on with Indi and ballet. He seems to have an awareness that it is ‘unusual’ for him to be there, but he also seems to embrace it without question, as he hasn’t had to create the ‘male identity’ so often formed when surrounded by peers who are acutely aware of what ‘might’ be expected of their gender.
Indi has his own YouTube channel. We haven’t touched it for months, but no doubt we will return to it. It’s about building Lego.
I would say Indi has developed a few key passions since home educating began – Lego, reading, literature in general and Greek Mythology. A chance reading of a comic book of Greek stories led to a desire to consume any Greek-related tale we could find. I purchased story CDs, and more books, and we took masses of books on the subject out of the library. This kid could give you a potted version of the Iliad and the Odyssey better than I could. This culminated in a visit to the British museum in the summer, to see some of his idols (Gods and Goddesses) in the ‘stone’ (as opposed to the ‘flesh’). We will return to Ancient Greeks, as we are loosely going through history almost chronologically, but I love chasing passions!
Wildlife and Nature
We’re out and about in the elements most weeks, and the weekly Wild Tracks sessions have given Indi some great learning experiences, such as lighting, and being safe around a fire, making bread outside, migration and hibernation, animal senses and so on. Looking after chickens has been great too. Dealing with death, minor ailments, cleaning and the wonder of producing an egg! We need to watch more nature documentaries – I’ll add that to this year! We’ve done some trips too…
We’ve managed two trips to Marwell zoo. We cries when he has to leave this place.
We’ve all had a Blue Reef aquarium annual pass since Indi’s birthday party so we’ve made good use of that this year. The sea was Indi’s previous passion before Greek Gods!
We also went to Longleat using a Groupon voucher. A great day, and we even saw Stonehenge on the way there and back.
We did a little Science….
Magnets and poles
Even grandad helped with soil experiment!
Mummy having a baby is a handy piece of biology too. I just love his questions….from boobies producing milk to the difference in the number of boy and girl holes…plus midwife appointments (he used the doppler on me recently) to ultrasound scans – he really gets the hands-on experience!
His Friday home education group in Rogate is also fantastic for Science and Geography, where they regularly link the two with a neat little ‘task’ or experiment. In his first session he made a play doh world with layers representing the crust etc. Can’t wait to go back in January as we’re looking at Inventions…think I’m more excited than the kids!
Friday Home Education Group in Rogate.
Other day trips.,..(starting to lose the will now)
Manor Farm near Hamble
Porchester Castle in Portsmouth.
Rock Up Whitely
Many trips to Paultons Park using his annual pass.
The World – Geography
Not many pictures to speak of here, but this boy likes his geography, namely maps. We discuss the world in relation to many topics and conversations we have, people’s holidays, where certain friends and relatives are, what’s happening in parts of the world on the news, and the history of the world. His main passion at the moment is closer to home. He studies the UK map, and roads, and seems to be very interested in general rules of the road and signs. Each to their own.
Oh, we’re always harping on about history in this house. Our timeline on the wall is a constant ‘go to’ whenever something is questioned in history, and placing his interests on a timeline is very rewarding for him, as it isn’t just floating out there in time – we can say – ‘this is when it happened, and this was also happening too. And this happened just before’. He’s learning about the history of his family, and how things have changed since we were children. He LOVES looking back at old family videos, photos and so on. Horrible Histories features a great deal. We have started using a book called ‘The Story of the World’ and this works things through chronologically. We recently did a mini project on the Stone Age…
We read about cave painting and made our own cave painting. Cave men wear jeans! Who knew?
Reading (and writing)
The big one. Indi’s reading is darn amazing. I think to begin with it was a fluke, but the daily ‘reading’ book, the heightened challenge each day, and the reading of so many other books, plus CD stories and read alouds beyond his capabilities as a reader have really paid off. And there are so many superb children’s versions of classic books, that by the time he gets to read the ‘real’ book, he won’t be daunted at all, as the story is so familiar. Harry Potter, Dickens, Sherlock Holmes, Clarice Bean, Horrid Henry, Naughtiest Girl in School, Hetty Feather, Diary of a Wimpy Kid… it was a bizarre moment in London last week when we were at the hotel breakfast table, with a 6 and 11 year old both reading a Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel. 5 years of school education to separate them. It reminded me that age segregation is nuts. Unnatural, and nuts. Writing is fine. It’s messy, spelling is getting better, but it really doesn’t matter at the moment. He has NO FEAR of putting pen to paper, and that is the best thing we could hope for.
Reading with Mummy
Guy Fawkes Poster – he loved this!
Good game in the early days – Silly Sentences
Making his passport for a holiday role play.
I’d love say more but my eyes hurt and I’m retyping every other word through misspelling! We have done some art (not enough) and craft, and listened to so many different types of music. This year, we’ll continue to amble along, without levels, targets and comparisons. And things will be quieter, closer to home…what with the impending new arrival. And we’ll do some more art.
Happy 2016 folks! Thanks for reading.