Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to School ~ Year 12!

It's really rather hard to believe that I am now one week into my 12th year of officially home-educating my children! 12 YEARS! That's a LONG time! And I'm in it for the long haul... with a one year old still in the house I have more than another 12 ahead of me! I wonder how H.E. will look around here when I get that far in?! I anticipate having a grand-child, or two possibly added into the mix by then, or at least running around the house whilst Chip (Baby) is doing his studies & preparing for his college years! When I think about where we began (a vague in many ways, but distinctly unpleasant memory), where we have travelled and where we are now, I see a twisting, turning road, with many hills and valleys! Right now, this week, I am in a happy place. Things worked quite well last year, and with only a very tiny tweak here and there, we are doing the same this. The big'uns are all settled and happy with the way things are. I just needed to fit in something that would work for the littl'uns. Smiley charts weren't quite working for Stitch and DD, and only slightly working for Lilo, so this year I have lumped them in together and have them working the whole morning with me on very similar material. They have little flip tick-charts just so they know where they are up to in the day. Nothing complicated.

 They are all rather obsessed with 'order' and it might take them a little while to understand that, aside from the first three 'things' and the things we do together with the big'uns, the rest can be done in any order they choose in the day, but they will get there. Stitch has a couple less things to do in a day than Lilo & DD, but then just getting him to 'sit' is an achievement in itself!

For Bible Study we are using Building Christian Character 

 which can be downloaded here;

All About Spelling (AAS) I had to order from the states...
and I have to say I am VERY glad I took the plunge & swallowed the postage ~ which I have to say was REALLY quick! Even just this week it has helped me identify gaps in Lilo's phonic knowledge (despite covering phonetics so many times before). This programme works towards mastery and then uses phonetic grounding. It's not a reading programme that teaches the breaking DOWN of words  for reading (although they do do one, which I understand is also very good), but one that teaches the building UP of words for spelling (iyswim). All three seem to be enjoying it so far. It is spot on target for DD & Stitch. I had thought Level 1 would be a little easy for Lilo, but I think I might be proved wrong there. So essentially she, in Yr 4, is working at a Yr 1-2 level. I actually think it's going to be too easy for DD (now would be Yr3), but I can let him 'run ahead' if he needs to :D. I have bought Level 2 as well, just for that reason.

Maths they each do something different: I never thought I'd see the day where that was the case, but I have eventually found materials that 'suit' my children!

Lilo ♥ Miquon Maths, so she does that (green book) + Singapore My Pals are Here. She is a quite whizz at both and I think they complement each other nicely :D

DD is using S&S & it's a little easy, which is good, as it's the 'transition' book and means he is more than ready for this year's material. 
He'll probably move into MPH maths from here, because that's what I know, but otherwise we'll go with the Collins materials like Stitch is using (below) or some unused Heinemann Maths that I have sitting around on shelves, that might actually suit him well I think. 

Stitch is using Collins materials because they 'appeal' to him and anything that he agrees to sit and do is a bonus! He seems to be pretty quick with maths too though, atm. :D

On top of this all three are signed up with Conquer Maths (primary), Sumdog & Tutpup for practice ;D

This year's newest adventure for EVERYONE will be studying FISH; which we shall lapbook as we go along with this

Aside from all this, Taz has decided that Music is his passion and is aiming for studying it at college, so with a little bit of a push from me he has added 'Music History' into his agenda this year and today started researching Vivaldi. He came out from an hour of study really enthusiastic & full of facts, so I hope that one's a hit! He really loves learning about people and History, so I think it will be a good fit for him :D Anyone recommend any good books? He's also decided to add in IT & RE. The RE will again be self-research, because I actually believe it's right for him to discover what other faiths believe without my influence: not that I won't be there to answer questions and guide his thinking if he asks me to help him out, but I really want him to begin to try to think these things through for himself. I've given him some topic headings to work under and I want him to think carefully about what he reads and how that stacks-up against his own beliefs and experiences. This will be a good stretch for him I think :D. He's kicked off with Islam! No small task there then ;)

Bugs is trying hard to be ready by 9 ~ with marginal success! He knows he's got a lot of ground to cover this year, but motivating himself to get out of bed is a real challenge! He's trying to put a portfolio together now, but finding hours in his day/week is a challenge ~ welcome to the real world my sweet son!!

And so, this week has gone really well. We pretty much managed to achieve all we set out to :D Thursday was a bit of a blip when some of the sign-ins for computer activities refuse to work and swallowed a chunck of day. But that's hopefully sorted now and shouldn't be a problem repeated next week. There are a few things I need to do over the weekend to make things easier for Taz & Bugs to do their research. But all in all, I think we are set for a good ride ahead  this year! ~ watch this space!

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In other news...
DD Learnt to ride his bike ~ just out of the blue said he wanted to and promptly did! And he's now been offered 12 hours of Gym a week. We can't fit that in (or afford it), so he's doing 6. He might be able to go up to 9 if his swimming lessons change day, but for now... Stitch is also doing more ~ currently 4 hours now I think.
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And so we venture forward...

And this is how life look on a weekly basis...

Monday = School & swimming (x3 primaries) + sometimes Girls Group (older girls)
Tuesday = School & Prayer Group (older 4) + Bible Study (P & Big Boys)
Wednesday = School + Dance Club (older 4 / 5) + Gym (two boys)
Thursday = School + Table Tennis / Youth Band practice
Friday = Toddler group 
Saturday = Gym (two boys, two girls), Ballet (Minnie) & Shopping!
Sunday = Church + Hydro G (oldest 3)

Not at all busy then!!

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