Sunday, 8 January 2017

Happy New Year

It's a brand new calendar year, and whilst it's not traditionally the time a new academic year starts, I have surrendered to the recognition that we need to re-vamp the way we home educate. 

I have been re-evaluating everything, from our use or non-use of curricula, our schedule, our achievement and of course how we all feel about the way things are going. The catalyst for this was my 9 year old finding it harder and harder in one particular academic area and often things ending in tears (everybody's) and the main lesson being taken away from our learning was that it was hard/ I am stupid/ I can't do this. So after spending a great deal of time over the Yuletide I have changed almost everything about how we do home education in our home. 

First off I am no longer filling in a daily schedule in my planner. No more "do x on Monday" because time and time again we fail. I cross it out and transfer it to the next day and move the rest of the week a day along. It feels like failure (and it messes up my beautiful planner and any of you planner girls out there will know how hard this is to take!) In place of this I am having a list of things we intend to achieve over a week in my weekly planner, organised by subject, with anything extra we do in a tick box table at the bottom. 

This one single thing has had an immense impact on our home education journey. Not only has it transformed how much we achieve in a week but gives us all a tremendous sense of control, organisation and satisfaction. Seeing all those ticks each week (as any die-hard planner girl will tell you) gives me a huge thrill. And if we don't get any of the "bits" done then I can carry them onto next week's list. The other MASSIVE thing this has done for me, as the one responsible for the home education here is the RELEASE from GUILT. On Friday we went on a Lego workshop at a local
Museum and, whilst this "counts" as education, usually in the back of my mind, subconsciously even, I would feel guilty about doing more of the "fun" things. It felt like skipping school, especially as it wasn't part of the contents of any particular curriculum we might be trying to use. But I felt so liberated on Friday knowing that everything on our list had been ticked off for that week. That in itself is worth the paper alone. 

Along with how I plan our weeks, I have also taken into consideration the learning styles my boys have and have revamped the materials and methods we use. I'm currently waiting for orders to arrive, but I'll share as soon as we're up and running. 

Here are some of the amazing things we saw at our Lego workshop and the exhibition piece our group created (which will stay on display for the remainder of the exhibition. How cool is that?). 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Proud Mummy Moment

One of the biggest worries I think many of us who are educating our children other than in school have is reading. How old are they when they finally "get it", once they do get it do they have an appropriate "reading age", are they reading good quality fiction and. On fiction from a good range of genres. The list goes on. And even though I find myself telling my concerned colleagues that they shouldn't worry and that little Freddy will get it in his own time and then he'll fly, I still sometimes, just sometimes, allow that doubting fear to creep into my mind. 

E was a natural reader (and I was a smug parent lol). He seemed to learn to read by osmosis. By the time he was five he was reading simple chapter books and by seven devouring Harry Potter like a jam donut. He practically inhaled it. 

But B. Well. He was different. He IS different. He is nearly seven and finds it hard. He didn't seem to have the same innate desire to learn to read that his brother had. He manages life perfectly well without it, thank you very much. And I wonder if he'll ever "get it". 

Roll forward to bed time reading on Friday. Reader, he read! My heart wanted to burst as much as my cheeks were. He read almost entirely by himself a level 3 (because level is important, right?) Biff, Chip and Kipper book. My proud mummy moment was happening right there in that snuggly bunk bed. He was decidedly underwhelmed by my exclamation he was reading, of course. "I'm not reading Mum, I'm
just working out the sounds in my head and saying them out loud!" 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Need more sleep or time or both

This time of year I just want to cozy on up by the fire, drink tea and read great books. I always feel like I need more sleep. Hibernating sounds very appealing. So that is what we've done (nestling by the fire,not hibernating) in between writing our Christmas wish lists, our usual outside the home activities and a visit to the cinema for IntoFilm week (see for more details about this wonderful learning opportunity that happens in November each year). 

We went to see Alice Through the Looking Glass where the Jabberwocky got a brief mention. So naturally once we got home we hunted out the brilliant poem Lewis Carroll wrote about the Jabberwocky and settled down by the fire with a cuppa and some brilliant reading and poetry. 


Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 
All mimsy were the borogoves, 
And the mome raths outgrabe. 

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son! 
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! 
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 
The frumious Bandersnatch!' 

He took his vorpal sword in hand: 
Long time the manxome foe he sought 
So rested he by the Tumtum tree, 
And stood a while in thought. 

And, as in uffish thought he stood, 
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, 
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, 
And burbled as it came! 

One two! One two! And through and through 
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! 
He left it dead, and with its head 
He went galumphing back. 

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? 
Come to my arms, my beamish boy! 
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' 
He chortled in his joy. 

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 
All mimsy were the borogoves, 
And the mome raths outgrabe.

By Lewis Carroll

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The year so far in pictures

Autumn Musings

Still a contender for the world's worst blogger, I am back to have another go at "regular blogging".

I was recently introduced to using beautiful planners and journals to plan and record my daily/weekly/monthly goings on and have really enjoyed committing my thoughts, ideas and memories to paper, using art, poetry and quotations to embellish my own mediocre ramblings.
As I delve further into middle age I realise that my brain really does have a finite capacity, most of which is filled with song lyrics (I'm a singer in a band) which I promptly forget when the spotlight is shining on me. So it makes sense to use other means of memory keeping. I am truly loving my new found creative outlet and as I was happily cutting and sticking I recalled I had a dusty old blog somewhere out there in the world wide ether. Of course!! This too is the perfect memory keeper. That was my original intention.

With a quick trip down memory lane I really wish I'd managed a bit more. So in my shiny new planner/journal, under the page headed "goals" I have firmly placed a bullet point entitled "post to my home ed blog once a week". It can't be that hard? Surely?

Monday, 7 September 2015

Not back to school

It's that time of year again when my social media is full of those pictures of shiny, smiley children, standing in front of their houses, bedecked in brand new uniform. With faces full of excitement and anticipation for what the new school year brings. 

Our first day back looked like this:

We kicked things off by heading to the park with the dog to drink in the hazy morning warmth of the last days of summer. Or are these the early days of autumn? I'm not sure, but either way we spent some time together talking about our plans for the day and appreciating the renewed  tranquility that is ours now school is back for everyone else. 

I suspect these glorious warm morning walks will be few in number as the month progresses and soon we'll be donning our sweaters and wellies. I'm looking forward to it! Happy new term. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015


Nearly a year since I last posted. Well that's embarrassing 😳

I think maybe daily posting was setting my expectations to high and so I crashed and burned in glorious anti-climax. 

So what had brought me back? Two things really. Firstly my gorgeous gymnastics crochet buddy has oy gone and left the country (how rude)! Luckily for me she and her family are blogging their adventures so I can at least live vicariously through her as she gets up to mischief half way around the world from me. Her blog entries reminded me that I too had means to collect my memories for safe keeping in blogland and so I popped back in here to have a look. The second kick up the backside was seeing all those beautiful threads of my memories, some of which I'd already forgotten which has galvanised me into action. So on the advice of my beautiful, wise friend, I'm setting the bar lower and am going to attempt a weekly post of what we've been done. There should still be plenty for me to reminisce over when my babies fly the nest. 

So here in the UK right now it is official school holiday season. The parks are all teaming with people, my facebook feed is a mix of family holiday snaps and desperate cries of "need more wine" and "when do they go back?!" We however just try to continue our gentle pace, minus the extra curricular clubs that have all suspended for the summer. 

Since I last posted I have begun to adopt more structure to our journey and we are using a beautiful Waldorf inspired curriculum from Oak Meadow. Our day rhythm goes something like this:

Morning walk
Main lesson time
Afternoon studies (craft, cooking, music etc)

In addition to that, at certain times in the week we also have a weekly history co-op (where we use The Story of the World book and activity books), swimming lessons, our local home ed group and forest school. It sounds hectic, but really it isn't. 

So this week in literacy we looked at the traditional folk tale from Scotland about Grey Friars Bobby. The boys drew their own interpretation and did a summary. 

In science we learnt why we have day and night and seasons and in our history  group we looked at the first writing and had a go at making our own stone tablets with cuneiform letters and parchments with ink made from berries.  

E finished his current topic in maths and is about to start the next topic - times tables! B has been doing his phonics work and both boys have been practising writing the letters a and b, really concentrating g on how to form them correctly and in E's case trying out cursive. We met with friends in Friday to play our recorders, went to a birthday party or two over the weekend and alongside that lot there was much playing and merriment. The weather has been lovely this week. It's all set to change next week- watch this space.