Thursday, April 29, 2004

I'm Sooooo Tired!!

Well my pics have disappeared - hopefully temporarily - my webhost has decided not to accept my password and I was try to add some more. Some how it lost the ones it already had?!

I've toned down the colours in the blog - at Merry's request - hope that's better now - I like it more too!

It's been a productive day. Jacob managed to catch-up with what he missed on Tuesday and we finished the week 'on schedule' - I like that!! But the baby kept me awake last night from 4am onwards, coupled with no hubby around until late tonight, I'm wiped!! Somedays I just feel like collapsing in a heap and leaving all the mess til' the morning, but instead I 'time-out' here for a bit before I try to muster the energy to go unload/reload the dishwasher and wipe down the kitchen from the days doings!

One frustrating moment today...Joel asked me to do the craft activity suggested in his Jolly Phonics book - making a cut out cuckcoo clock. I 'm not one to enjoy craft, but dutifully (and lovingly) prepared the drawing for him to cut out and make into something beautiful. Earlier he had coloured a lovely picture of a cuckcoo clock in neatly and I had high hopes for a nice piece of 'art', but no - he scribbled over the whole thing in brown - clock face, surround, pendulum and all - I was fuming! Why did he ask to make it and then when it came to it he really couldn't be bothered to take care? I hate to confess I was SO cross at the wasted time and effort and his disrespect for my careful efforts that I binned it :( I know I probably should not have done that, but I think it did show him how hurt /cross I was and might mean a more careful effort from him in the future. I did explain to him WHY I was hurt and why I had binned it. Still...can't help thinking I shouldn't have?!

Other than that quite a good day in all - the boys even tidied their room well tonight without me having to nag too much!

And ends another h/s week. Tomorrow is unschool day again and I think I'm planning NOTHING!! What comes about will and what doesn't...well...we didn't miss it!!

Another Day over

Well the day's work never quite got finished! Jacob came to a grinding stop after a comprehension exercise and begged to go to bed for a nap - bless him - although he was devastated when I made remark that if he was too tired to finish his school-work he was also too tired to play on the playstation! (The PS1 is a reward for work finished well). He really did need that nap though. I often wonder how he would ever cope at school - he would be permantly tearful and exhausted I'm sure. At least at home we can 'allow' for tiredness and catch up for lost time at our own pace. It amazed me though that Joel, the younger one, managed to soldier his way through his work relatively uncomplaining despite also being very tired. He was rewarded with PS time - making it even tougher on his bro' I'm sad to say :( (if any of you are wondering why my boys were so tired today - they didn't get to bed until almost 11pm last night after the day in Prestatyn!!)
Ah well - best to bed myself now- another long day ahead tomorrow - Paul won't be home til' late I'm sure. I don't know about the old addage that "behing every man there's a great women" - I know that behind me there is a great man and I struggle when he's not here!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Curriculums & Tired Children!

We were away til' late last night (busy few days). We went across to Prestatyn to the Elim Conference for the day. The boys had a ball (the two older girls stayed at home with a friend) and it was another nice change of scene for us - I spent too much on books though! Paul is staying for a couple of nights though so that leaves me solo with the five - ho humm!!

Some of you were asking what curiculum/s we use. Well we use Singapore for Maths and also use them for English Grammar (Grammar Skills and next year Grammar for Students), Health Education and Basic Science. Then I use CGP Books for ICT (this is actually a year 3 subject but Jacob is clever and keen), spelling practice and for more general English skills (comprehension and composition). We also use 'Focus on Comprehension' (Collins) about once a fortnight - this is more challenging to Jacob, so we don't do it too often because he takes ages over it!

Next year we will expand a little. I plan to use 'Next Stop' (EPS books - the suppliers of Explode the code) for English reading/comprehension/skills, continue with Singapore Maths, Grammar Skills, My Pals are Here Science (as a core) and Health Ed' - I reallly like the Singapore style. Then I also have CGP science topics - they do six per year and look really comprehensive and interesting with a project at the end of each topic. Continue with CGP as an English 'core' guide (tells me which 'bits' of English I should be covering) and a supplement. I'd like to use Diana Waring for History, but I also have CGP history as a 'bonus' source and then CGP as a geograph core - again tells which bits to do! The CGP books are so cheap (you can get schools rates if you homeschool) that I just like to have them around as an extra even if I don't use all of all of them.
I also really like a lot of the Nelson Thornes resouce, but they are a bit pricey!
I'm also looking into 'doing' judaism for RE - found a good source for that on-line.
We are hoping to get Muzzy too for languages.
For Learning to read we use Jolly phonics.

None, except Diana Waring, has a Christian background, but there is nothing in it that challenges our beliefs (perhaps that odd mild inference which is easily ignored or explained). We then use Postal Bible School (which is once a week) and other Bible devotional materials (TOPZ (7+) and Tails (3-5) - CWR everyday at the start of school.

So there that puts you all in the know!!
I LOVE hunting for materials, but it is SO time consuming. I have wondered about an all-in curriculum and have looked at Calvert - very prescriptive and structured, but also looks to be quite good fun. I hold it as an option for the future, but as yet I'm not quite there. I might reach that point someday though when I'm sourcing for 5!!

Right now (lunchtime) the kids are running a mock and no school is being done. We did a couple of hours this morning, but the boys are tired, so I might have to wait until the girls rest this arvo and there's less distracions before I can get the boys to knuckle down again. Helps that we have IT scheduled for this afternoon and that is always a motivator!!:)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Motivation Issues.

Been away over the weekend to my niece's dedication in Birmingham. We had a lovely time with all our immediate family (on my hubby's side) there - seldom happens - he is one of four and we are all spread around the country now. But what is about exciting weekends - it always makes school seem so unexciting to the children! Strangely my youngest seems to have sussed that one school is done he gets to play and despite his tiredness applied himself well today. My eldest however took nearly twice as long as he needed to to complete his given tasks. When eventually he realised that the work was NOT optional he knuckled down and finished quickly, but why is it so often a fight to get to that point? I even mentioned the 'school' word today! Not as a threat (I've been there before and don't believe in empty threats), but as a question to him;
"Would you like to go to school? You'd still have to do the work - and probably more - and you wouldn't get to play in the sunshine nearly so much. You wouldn't get home til' almost 4pm and then you'd have homework to do too..., but if you want to go...! Do you like homeschool? "
answer "yes"
"then help me to like it too by getting your work done without me having to nag you so!!"

Conversation over - he got on with his work!! - Ho hum!!!!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Unschool Day

We had some homeschool friends over to play today. Friday is our 'unschool' day, but it's amazing how much learning goes on all the same!!

discovering curcuits
Posted by Hello

more electricity/magnatism/curcuits
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puddles & soggy clothes!
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The 'school' yard!
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We had Fun!!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Homeschooling Bliss!

Well school day over by 3pm and all the babies napping - sometimes happens, other times...! Bear in mind that we start school at 9.30 and intersperse with long run breaks - especially when the sun is as lovely as today!

Joel (5) announced to me today that he wanted to try to read his books all by himself so that he can work at his desk without me - well, at least the spirit is willing!!

On our way to collect my oldest daughter (Abbie) from playgroup we had a wonderful sensory lesson. We encountered so many different smells - sweet smelling blossom, wet mud and a lorry full of old sillage!

My eldest son made a mistake when measuring out a 20cm square on a sheet of A4, instead of saving it for scrap drawing paper, he scrunched it and threw it away. I commented that when we waste paper it's like wasting trees because that's where paper comes from. He was astounded!! And of course asked "HOW? How do you get paper from trees?" - looks like there's another project in the making!! Sometimes I wish I kept my mouth shut - it makes for a whole lot more research, but then it also makes for a whole lot more FUN!! I never thought I'd seee myself on the 'child-led' path and on the whole I do restrain from straying onto it, but every now and then the urge to shed restraints just gets to me and we stray 'off-the-path' for a while (thought you'd like one Jan!).

Home-school truely is an adventure and I enjoy it more with each passing term. As the children become more interested in learning they also become more interestING and rewarding to teach.
A positive day on all counts I'd say , but be warned...they're not all this lovely!!


Hi folks - I'll get started on this tomorrow!