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Category Archives: Milestones

A Very (Mr.) Happy Birthday

I was feeling a bit low last Friday. Our two weeks of holiday were coming to an end and I really would have loved to have another week (or 3) off. But by Sunday I was looking forward to resuming lessons and trying out Song School Latin.

Saturday was Esa’s seventh birthday. I decided to throw him a real party. In the past we’ve either done something as just the three of us; stayed home, ordered pizza, and watched a movie; or just had a cousin or two over to play for a bit. I’ve always made him a cake and made a fuss over him, but he’s never had a real party.

It was, however, still a modest affair as birthday parties go. We played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (homemade), musical chairs (which made me a little uncomfortable because I don’t like games where children get “out”…they always look so sad, and it’s supposed to be a party after all…), pass-the-parcel, and the piece de resistance: a piñata (again, painstakingly homemade.) The piñata was filled with fantastic goodies: party crackers, mini Mars bars, Kinder hippos, Pop Rocks, chocolate coins, Love Hearts, and loads more.

The piñata took nearly an  hour to bust. Initially, the children were blindfolded and allowed 3 swings (they were allowed to feel for it first). After each child had had 2 or 3 goes, we did away with the blindfold. At one point, the piñata broke away from the string, and the children shouted with joy, but my husband, who was enjoying it more than anyone, shouted, “Wait! It’s not open! I’ll reattach the string and you can keep bashing it!”

Men.

So, the fun went on for another 30  minutes. By the time the piñata was well and truly busted, the stick they used to bash it was broken and those poor kids barely had the strength to gather up the goodies.

Not really. The sight of chocolate was like reviving salts- they dove after the stuff.

As I’ve mentioned before, Esa loves Mr. Men. We decided to do a Mr. Men-themed party, so we had plates, cups, napkins, and banners all in Mr. Men. He requested carrot cake, which I iced and decorated with Mr. Happy, his favourite Mr. Man.  He also received a Mr. Happy mug, a SpongeBob calendar, a Lego annual, Tonka trucks, some money, and agamefor thexboxthathegotfromhisdadandIknowIsaidI’dneverallowhimtohaveonebut theyworemedownandreallyhe’sbeenveryrestrainedandI’mnotallowinghimto playittoomuchsopleasedon’tshootmeeventhoughI’mahypocrite.

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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Family Life, Milestones, Second Grade, Time off

 

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Week 2 or, The Template of all Future Weeks

(Dictation exercise from last week; forgot to post this)

Wow, what a week! We did everything I’d planned for the week…everything. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. All the extra work hasn’t phased Esa one bit. He’s enjoying it and asking for more…I’m very happy to oblige. Here’s a snapshot of some of what we did and a few tweaks I’ve made.

  • Reading

On Fridays Esa has IRT (independent reading time). During IRT, he’s to choose a book that he’s not yet read, go away and read, then tell me what the book (or chapter, or whatever) is about. This was fabulous. Esa chose a Hot Wheels annual (not exactly Newberry material, but it does have lots of big words). He was happy to be finished, but later in the day I saw him reading from it again.

  • Spelling

Last year I purchased Sequential Spelling. It was great, but it was just too much handwriting for Esa and since he wasn’t doing a lot of writing I felt it was pointless to worry about spelling. I also knew there was a real risk of him forgetting everything he learned, so I shelved it. We’ve picked this back up and it’s working beautifully. Esa is loving it and he’s learning a lot.

However…I’ve been really tempted to try All About Spelling. This programme looks great and I like that it teaches the spelling rules. Sequential Spelling teaches patterns, but you aren’t told the rule behind it. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time or if you know me at all, you’ll know that I need to know the rules behind spelling (and everything else).

The problem is, AAS is only available from the AAS website. It can be shipped here, but it’s very expensive to do so. They do have a very generous guarantee, but I wouldn’t get that shipping charge back. I was also a little put off by all the cards- word cards, phonogram cards, and whatever else. It’s just too fiddly for us.

Since Sequential Spelling is working for us and it’s really the rules that I’m after (and it’s now available as a Kindle download, so I can view it on my computer or a Kindle if I buy one), I thought it made more sense to buy a book with the spelling rules in it. I’ve ordered the  Handy English Encoder Decoder: All the Spelling and Phonics Rules You Could Ever Want to Know which I’m hoping will live up to its title. We can do Sequential Spelling and learn the rules alongside it. Problem solved. Hopefully.

  • Latin

Sometimes when we begin a new curriculum I’m not always sure what I’m doing. I read through it and try to plan, but inevitably the best thing to do is just get it out and make a start. Within a few days things fall into place and we develop a routine. This happened with Story of the World and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. When I got Minimus I saw quite quickly that this was one of those I-can’t-figure-out-what-to-do-with-this-so-I-won’t-try-we’ll-just-wing-it programmes. But after a week I was still just as mystified as when we began. We listened to the CD, followed along with the book, translated the passage (well, I translated it for him)…and then I just didn’t know where to go from there. So we did it again. And again. And again. And on Monday, Esa and I looked at each other with mirrored expressions that said, ‘what the blazes are we supposed to do with this?’ Even the teacher’s manual wasn’t shedding any light on things.

I needed something more scripted, something that would hold my hand. Something parts-to-whole.

Enter Lively Latin.

I’d planned on using this for third grade, but after having another look at it, I thought Esa might be ready for it. Esa and I spent a good hour on the Lively Latin website having a look and decided to take the plunge. We were both giggling and giddy when I clicked ‘pay now.’ We purchased the PDF version, so we were excited to be getting it right away.

But that didn’t happen. I never received the password to get the materials. I sent an email to the Magistra, Catherine Drown, who replied within a few hours, and then we were on our way! I printed out the introductory material, the notebook cover and dividers and the first lesson.

After spending a few hours printing, organising, and planning, the little cheeky rascal picked up Minimus and proceeded to read the first passage, in Latin, with near-perfect pronunciation. You can watch him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBfhpYt9Dig

Oh, for the love of all things holy!

Never mind; I was going to get Lively Latin anyway, so if we do go back to Minimus, it’s not wasted, it’s just one less thing I have to buy for next year.

Lively Latin is fantastic. I think Esa is a little bored because it’s parts-to-whole so the beginning is a bit slow and tedious, but I know things will take off once he’s got a little vocabulary under his belt.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel by telling you all about Lively Latin; the website has all the info you need, but I just want to mention what I love about this programme.

  • Holds my hand. I know exactly what I’m doing and how to teach with this. It’s not scripted and you can adapt it, but there is a sense of direction and I know what I need to do.
  • Parts-to-whole. This is how I learned French, German, and Spanish so I’m very comfortable with this.
  • The added bits. This programme has some art appreciation, Roman history with templates for making a My History of Rome book, activities, online games, flash cards, chant sheets, teacher’s notes, and more.
  • The introductory material. There’s some interesting stuff here, with a language family tree, an article on why we should study Latin, the origins of English, and why English is so messed up. There’s also a choose a Latin name section and tips on staying organised and how to teach. I love it.
  • It’s secular. That’s a big one for us. So many of the Latin curricula are religious and I don’t want to have to work around all that.

So, which are we using, Minimus or Lively Latin?

Well, I don’t know. We’re going to keep going with Lively Latin and see how it goes and use Minimus as a supplement. If it’s too much for him, we’ll switch back to Minimus and make the most of it.

  • British History

This is back on. I’ve nicked a great idea from Neo: instead of reading from Our Island Story, listen to the audio book. I bought this book last year, but we didn’t have time for it. To fit it in and make it easier, we’ll listen to the audio book, which I got free when I joined Audible. (You can also listen for free here.) We’re doing British history on Fridays. We’re also using :

  • Poetry

Happily, we’re back to reading poetry each day. Hat tip to Suji and her fantastic poetry recommendations. We’ve added

to our poetry library. These are fantastic additions and have spiced up our poetry reading.

Science

We’re continuing with BFSU, which is just the greatest science curriculum ever, in my opinion. It really can stand alone, but my little guy loves science and could do science all day, every day, and sadly we’re only doing science once a week at the moment. I’m going to try to add a little nature study and some fun activities to our week. More on that later.

 

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The Holidays Are Over…Time to Get Back to Work

We’ve had a few glorious weeks off which were spent lazily and indulgently; they went by far too quickly. The week before last Esa and dh along with 20+ members of his family all went to Scotland and stayed in this gorgeous Jane Austen style, seaside house for a week. I had obligations at home, so I stayed behind. I spent much of the week working through The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (I can’t begin to tell you how great this book is for homeschoolers and anyone wanting to learn to draw) drawing, and painting. It was lovely having a week to myself (the house stayed so clean), but it was just a little too quiet.

Esa was a little out of sorts during his holiday. The family thinks he was missing me, but I think it was because he’s was coming down with a cold and not feeling well. He perked up, however, when he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels.

The day he came back, he lost his first tooth. It’s been a week of milestones.

Last week saw us returning to lessons; we’re doing a gentle summer school with 4-day weeks, reviewing a few things, continuing with science, art, and handwriting, and taking a jaunt through prehistory.

We aren’t doing anything all that special for prehistory. We’re using the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History along with some library books. We’ve got a dinosaur colouring book, too, but I can’t seem to find any other activities or colouring pages for prehistory. We’re doing a timeline and I’m having Esa memorise the different eras.

Our books for second grade have arrived and I’m really looking forward to September.

This year I’m more concerned about saving time. Last year I was happy to spend  hours and hours planning, preparing, and putting things together myself. Not so anymore; I want to spend less time fussing about with things and more time doing.

I bit the bullet and purchased the teacher’s manual for Minimus. I had a 10% off voucher from The Book Depository, which helped, and I know I’ll be able to resell this once I’m finished. It’s a must-have, I think, and fleshes out the programme nicely. I thought I could create my own supplementary activities and worksheets, but when I sat down to do it, I just kept sighing and drawing blanks. The teacher’s manual also provides the answers to the exercises, which saves me even more time.

Writing with Ease level 2 workbook is another time-saving purchase. I spent so much time creating copywork pages and struggling to guide his narrations for writing…I can’t be bothering with that anymore. The workbook will make writing pick-up-and-go.

The only curriculum we’re using that is teacher intensive is our science programme: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. I can live with this. We love BFSU so much that it’s worth the prep work.

I see some changes on the horizon for this blog as well.

There for quite a while my life pretty much revolved around homeschooling; I spent vast quantities of time reading and researching methods, curricula…I read every book and article I could lay my hands on. I don’t regret this; all this preparation was necessary and has shaped our homeschooling. I think it’s helped prevent too much floundering and has contributed greatly to our success.

Homeschooling has broadened our horizons so much that we now have so many interests and pursuits that researching homeschooling isn’t necessary anymore. My enthusiasm hasn’t waned…I feel comfortable with what we do and now it’s just an integral part of our lives; it isn’t something that needs investigating, it’s something that we live. We’re living a life of exploration, investigation, and education…which is the whole point. 🙂

That’s not to say I won’t be researching curricula and reading articles from time to time; I certainly will, and I’ll still talk about it here. But I think I’ll be talking about a broader range of topics on this blog. (Art, which I’ve developed a passion for, is something I blog about here.)

We shall see.

 

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Second Grade Plans

We’re officially finished with first grade. We’ll have a few weeks off, then have a few weeks of light summer school, working on reading, math facts, pre-history, science, and a little handwriting. That sounds like a lot when I type it out, but we won’t do everything every day and it will be very relaxed.

My thoughts have now turned to second grade. I’ve been doing lots of planning, sorting, and arranging. Out with the old and in with the new. 🙂

Second grade sees the addition of a few subjects. Here’s what we’ve got lined up:

Latin

For a gentle and fun (and inexpensive) introduction to Latin, we’ll be using Minimus. Now, I believe in parts-to-whole learning, but looking back on phonics instruction, I know that kind of learning can be a bit boring, especially in the early days.  I want this first year of Latin to be fun and engaging; I’m not terribly fussed if Esa doesn’t walk away being able to read Cattus Petasatus after this first year. Minimus is whole-to-parts and quite lively. I think it will be much enjoyed.

Writing

Last year I purchased Writing with Ease. I didn’t purchase the workbook because I wanted to choose the copywork and narration selections myself and I also wanted to keep costs down. The result was that after a few weeks I stopped using it. I came back to it, but it got dropped again. It was too much work and I wasn’t sure I was “doing it right.” So for level 2, I’ve decided to purchase the workbook. I don’t think we need to begin at level 1; he’s done lots of copywork and narration, plus he’s gone through FLL level 1 which dovetails with WWE level 1, so we’ll dive in with level 2. I’m very excited about this for some reason…I’m not sure why. After all, it’s just a workbook and the WWE programme isn’t new to me…but there’s something about it…it feels weighty and substantial. We’re not in Kindergarten anymore, Toto.

Spelling

In first grade we began using Sequential Spelling. I stopped this because although it was great and Esa was learning to spell, it was a little too much and since he wasn’t doing much writing apart from handwriting and copywork, I worried that he would forget what he’d learned. In second grade he’ll be doing more real writing (he’s currently writing a book called “Lego City Police Story”) and will have more writing assignments and I think spelling instruction will be beneficial.

Here’s what else we’ll be doing:

Reading

Phonics instruction is more or less completed. We’ll be reviewing things from time to time because although the point of phonics is to get them reading, I don’t want him to forget the rules. Why? Well, I was taught by phonics, but I’d forgotten many of the rules. Since teaching Esa, I’ve found some of those rules to be beneficial to me. I want him to know these rules because reading instruction never ends; even as an adult he’s going to come across words he doesn’t know, so having a good grasp of those rules will be helpful in his reading and his spelling.

He’s been reading a lot of Mr. Men books. These are fun, lively, and challening. We’ll continue with these for the time being. Mostly I’ll let him choose his reading material, but I will steer him clear of twaddle or too many easy selections and there may be times I assign him something to read. I want him to read a variety of things, including non-fiction, which he likes to read, anyway.

Handwriting

We’re currently in the middle of Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Book B. We’ll plug away at this and move to Book C whenever he’s ready.

World History

We’ll be using Story of the World Volume 2: Middle Ages. I have the activity book, purchased as a download from the Peace Hill Press website. (Big mistake; they don’t allow you to save it to your computer and you’re limited in the number of times you can download it, so you have to print off all the 400+ pages…not very economical.) I also purchased the audiobook, which we’re very excited about.

British History

I was planning to do British history alongside world history, but I’ve decided not to do that. When we’ve worked through all four SOTW books, we’ll then spend a year or two working on British history, then we’ll do four years of world history again. The educational system works differently in the UK, so I probably won’t be homeschooling via the classical method all 12 years. During his last few years, he’ll be working on A-levels, which may not even include history, so we’ll probably only have two history rotations.

Grammar

We’ll be continuing with First Language Lessons. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed with level 1. Nouns went on for an eternity, but then pronouns and verbs were barely touched upon. And some of the lessons were, in my opinion, downright useless. I also didn’t like how the child was to learn the months (in order), but yet the poem which teaches how many days are in each month (what 6-year-old needs to know that, anyway?) gives the months out of order! We skipped that poem and I taught Esa the knuckles trick, so that if he does want to know how many days are in each month, he can work it out.  However, level 2 looks more promising, so we’ll keep using it.

Art

We’re about 2/3 of the way finished with Artistic Pursuits book 1. This has been a nice curriculum, but not spectacular. Some of the lessons are better than others, and if you want a pick-up-and-go art programme, it’s fantastic. But because we do a lot of art, including art appreciation, this hasn’t been the must-have curriculum that I imagined it would be. However, I do think the upper levels will be more useful to us and we will continue using it. This is a book that I know I can sell on, so I don’t feel it’s a waste of money.

Math

I’m not totally sure in which direction we’re headed with math. Second grade could see us adhering strictly to Singapore Math, we may use a little of it, we may use a different programme altogether, or we may just unschool math completely. I just don’t know. I’ll have a better idea of what the plan is come September. I don’t really like the idea of buying another curriculum. Math curricula is expensive and who knows whether it will be any better. There are some great things about Singapore:

  1. It truly has fostered Esa’s mental math abilities
  2. I like that you can skip around a bit; you don’t have to do everything in order
  3. It’s challenging and thorough

What I don’t like about it is that it’s a little boring. So, it’s one of those programmes that we will probably continue using, but we’ll supplement with other things, skip around, and take breaks from it.

Science

We will continue using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. This is an amazing curriculum and is suitable for all, regardless of your views on evolution because it’s not covered in this programme. It is quite teacher-intensive, but since everything else I’m using is pick-up-and-go, I don’t mind. I think science needs to be this way, at least in the early years. Once Esa’s a bit older, he’ll be able to take on some of the responsibility of initiating science activities himself.

My only complaint with this programme is that it could do with a little fleshing out via literature. There are book recommendations, but they’re all non-fiction selections, not always the greatest, and our library doesn’t usually have them. I think reading about science (in fiction and non-fiction format) is a great way to cement and supplement the learning, and Esa loves science books. I know once his reading skills advance a little more he’s going to be clamoring for science materials to read.

I think it would also be nice if for each lesson there were some sort of outline to ensure certain key points were covered. It’s a little too fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants for my linking. I don’t want it scripted, I just want to make sure I cover all the bases. I do make notes for each lesson, but I still worry that I’ve left something out.

I also need to devote more time to Esa’s science instruction. We only do science one day a week, plus read a section from The Story of Science, but because this book is being read out of context, it’s not much of a supplement. We’re not getting any nature study in, which I feel guilty about. I just don’t know what to do. We go out, look at a few plants and bugs, and I just don’t know where else to go from there. There’s nowhere within walking distance that will provide more diversity. (I’m working on getting my UK driver’s license, which will broaden our horizons quite a bit  more). I need to make more of an effort with this. And as I write this, I feel more determined to do so. It’s summer and we need to be out there exploring. I’d also like to start doing something about those nature journals.

Handicrafts

We haven’t done a whole lot with this. Esa is learning a little food preparation and he helps out a fair bit with housework, but this winter I’m hoping to begin him with some easy sewing or cross stitch and maybe crochet. I tried him with some cross stitch several months ago, but he wasn’t quite ready for it.

Music

We will continue with our composer study. Well, there isn’t much “study” involved. I choose a composer (usually whoever I’ve manged to pick up at the charity shop) and we listen when we feel like it. Esa likes classical music, so I count this area of our homeschooling as a success.

Artist

This tapered off a little at the end of first grade. We were using this set of discussion starters, but this died out.  We were studying Kandinsky and our library only had a few books on him, none of which contained the paintings I wanted to study. I allowed Esa to choose most of the paintings, but I did choose one or two, including a watercolour. 🙂

I’m hoping get back to our discussions, and I’d like to study a few watercolourists, including J.M.W. Turner.

Poetry

Although we faithfully memorised several poems (I say “we” because when you’re child is memorising a poem, you can’t help but memorise it yourself!), the reading of poetry for fun waned. I want to revive this. It’s just laziness on my part, really. (“It’s almost time for lunch…we don’t have time for poetry now.” Etc.)

Our days will take longer, I can see that. I don’t think it’s going to be realistic to expect to finish before lunch. I think we may do 2 hours before lunch, and 2 hours after. Four hours is a lot, but we will have little breaks here and there. (“I need to put the clothes in the dryer, let’s have a little break” and so on.) And breaking it up like that will hopefully allow us to get a good balance of quantity and quality; I want to take our time with things and not rush, but I also want to get it all in…or most of it, anyway. I always feel guilty when I rush things and I learned to cut out certain things and go  more slowly rather than rush through everything. This is partly why nature study and poetry often get missed out. But I need to make more of an effort to include these things.

We will begin second grade on….er, sometime in September.

 

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He Wants to Read!

We’ve had a real breakthrough in our house…Esa is wanting to read. A couple of weeks ago during lessons he asked to do his reading first thing. And he’s been asking if it’s time for lessons so that he can read. So I broke the great news to him: it doesn’t have to be lessons-time to do some reading…you can read whenever you want!

He’s particularly taken with the Mr. Men books and has begun collecting them. He’s giggled his way through Mr. Bump and is now guffawing through Mr. Tickle. There are some big words in these books (“extraordinary” comes to mind) and they are great for beginners who are looking for a challenge.

He’s also been picking up the Usborne Beginngers from the library. These are fantastic non-fiction books for “beginner” readers. I say “beginner” because they are quite challenging. But they’re a nice length, they’re visually appealing, and cover lots of great topics.

What I’m particularly ecstatic about is that his reading comprehension seems to be great. He isn’t simply reading the words; he’s understanding, enjoying, and even laughing at the written message. He’s learned a fair bit from the Usborne books and he’s discussing with me what he reads.

Our read-alouds are still greatly enjoyed. We’re currently reading the  Tumtum and Nutmeg series. These are lovely books, and even though they are a series, they’re not twaddle. They’re not what I would call “literature,” but they are fun, wholesome, and have a good vocabulary. The story lines are exciting and even I enjoy them.

My only quibble is that the author has employed the use of the inept parent, which has become increasingly prevalent in children’s books as of late.

A math update: we’ve ditched Singapore for the time being. We spent a lovely week just playing around with math. We worked on larger number-recognition using the dry-erase board. I would ask him to write a number, say 24, and then ask him how we would make that number read 124. He really enjoyed this game and wanted to take it into the thousands and ten-thousands. We also read Less Than Zero for the 4th time (he’s got a thing for negative numbers…he doesn’t totally get it, but he’s fascinated by them.) I’m not a huge fan of the Math Start books; I think they’re too “teachy” sometimes, but this one’s pretty good.

We’ve begun working on a personal record book. He has to take lots of measurements of himself, some of which will be long-running, such as height and weight, and record them. This coming week he’ll take his temperature every hour and then create a graph.

He also counted from 500 to 600 while tossing a beanbag.

And that was math for the week. Easy, fun, and lots of learning without the tedious workbooks and lessons.

 

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Now that I have a new blog for  posts about my art, we can get back to ‘normal’ here. I was feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t been posting about homeschooling. That’s what most of my readers come  here for, to read about homeschooling. Not painting. But if they do want to read about my painting, they can do so here.

I wasn’t going to set up a new blog, because I thought it would be more work and hassle than it’s worth and take up too much time, but I’m happy I’ve done it. WordPress makes it easy. I only need to log in once, and I can switch between blogs so easily. At the top of my screen, it no longer says ‘my dashboard.’ It now says ‘my dashboards,’ so I can click on which one I want via the dropdown menu. I can also choose to create a new post for the other blog while I’m still here with just one click, and vice-versa.

I like having things separated. I can’t explain why, I just do. It feels neat and orderly. The other blog is also a resource centre, with links and book recommendations, etc, so those interested in watercolour don’t have to sift through the homeschooling stuff to get to the art stuff. It’s also nice to see a different layout.

Did I mention that I have a new blog?

Despite my obssession enthusiasm for watercolouring, we are still managing to homeschool. But because the week before was cut short, we used this week just gone by to finish up the previous week’s work, which left us with some free time. And not only have I been  painting, but so has Esa. He’s also been using acrylics.

He recently did a bike swap. He had a Radio Flyer Twist Trike (bought at half-price), but has sort of out-grown it. So he gave that bike to a younger cousin, and the older brother of this cousin gave Esa his bike which he’d outgrown (got that? 🙂 ) I didn’t see the point in spending £60-80 on a brand new bike that he would only ride for about 2 years when there was a perfectly good one in my sister-in-law’s shed. I also had a suspicion that Esa wasn’t wanting a bike to ride, he was just wanting to buy a bike for the fun of it. But I was wrong. He loves riding this bike. He’s been out every day, pedalling around our driveway, and in the evenings dh potters about outside while Esa rides on the road (we live nearly at the end of a no-outlet street, so it’s pretty free from traffic),and takes him other places to ride. He even took him on the cycle path near Tesco today while I did the shopping.

But if the novelty does wear off, then we’ve not wasted precious £’s.

Here he is pretending to fall.

I haven’t mislead you; I am going to talk about homsechooling. Here goes.

We’ve got an issue with math. Esa is saying that math is hard and he doesn’t like it.

Oh dear.

That’s not good. Esa’s always enjoyed math: numbers, counting, patterns, working out his own made-up addition and subtraction equations.

Some might say a change in curricula is warranted. And a year ago, I might have agreed. But that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to do one of the following:

  • Completely unschool math.
  • Use the Teacher’s Manual from Singapore math as a guide for what to learn, but use games and activities instead of the workbooks. (We may do a few of the workbook problems on the dry erase board.)
  • A little unschooling, a few planned activities, a few workbook pages.

I’m leaning more towards unschooling math altogether. I know he’s motivated mathematically and will pursue it. But I’m reluctant to ditch the curricula altogether because he has learned a lot of math, much of it he has enjoyed, and the workbooks have been great for his reading. The instructions are written at his reading level and he’s learned the importance of reading the instructions first.

I’m not totally sure where we’ll go with this. I’m going to have a look at next week’s lessons and see what I can do with it. I’ll make a few plans and we’ll try it out. I want him to be able to dig deeper into something if that’s what he wants, a bit like we do with history and science.

We’re cutting out the artist study notebook. It just seems like busy work. I don’t want to have to tell him to stop narrating so I can write or type things out. I want the narrations to be more like discussions, and less like work. Maybe we’ll start them again when he’s older and an independent writer.

Our phonics lessons have gone up a few notches in difficulty. Esa’s now learning sounds such as -tious and -tion, and the rules associatied. Fortunately, we’re nearing the end of our phonics instruction. Reading is coming along well and he seems to be enjoying it a little more. He’s also begun to read things silently.

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The Universal Wishlist has finally arrived at Amazon.co.uk. I LOVE this thing! I’ve been able to add things like our microscope and art supplies to it; it’s great! It’s really going to help me to budget and plan purchases without having to visit multiple sites. What a time-saver.

 

Sleep Over

A few days ago, Esa went to his cousin’s for his first sleep over. Whilst packing his little pull-along suitcase, he chattered away about the merits and risks of taking this item or that. (“Hmmm…I might lose this…and I probably won’t even play with that…do I need 6 pairs of socks, or just 5? Shall I bring my perfume?”) When his auntie arrived to collect him, he shot out the door, the wheels of  his suitcase straining under the weight of his over-packing. Forget a goodbye hug and kiss; he didn’t even look back to wave! He jumped into the car, whooping it up with his 3 cousins while my sis-in-law and I chatted about the adventure the little munchkins were going to have.

That evening, I stayed up way too late playing Barn Buddy and Gardenhood reading and writing a blog post. The next day I ventured into town and had a nice long look at (WHSmith’s limited range of) watercolour supplies and books. Esa’s at that age now were he doesn’t really enjoy shopping, unless it’s for toys or clothes for himself (although he does like grocery shopping). So, I try to go alone now. I often go while he’s playing football Saturday mornings, but that only gives me an hour. I was able to have a long, leisurely look at things. I bought a bunch of stuff, and then returned all but one book. (Damn WHSmith and their 20% off voucher!)

I then did a little painting and reading and thoroughly enjoyed my time alone.

When I collected Esa the next evening, he was exhausted. Apparently, they’d all woken up at 4am, giggling and whispering. My sis-in-law informed them of the ungodly hour and told them to go back to sleep. Which they did. Until 6:30. Esa never gets up that early; he usually sleeps until 8. They played hard and had a great time. When we got home, he had some milk and fell asleep on the sofa at 7:30.

A lovely time was had by all…especially me. 🙂

The next day? We ditched lessons and had an art day. Esa decided to paint with watercolours.