Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baby steps

Where are we now? Week five perhaps? I'm not sure. However, it's beginning to settle. We're finding a natural rhythm to our day and I'm even finding the odd pocket of time to do my own bits.
It's interesting to have the three of them at such different stages of their natural development. Master Beehive the elder is a bookish character, quite self motivated and with a love for maths and reading. He'll happily soak up various worksheets or projects, however, he hates to get anything "wrong" and finds it hard to inspire himself to do stuff outside what he's given to do. Master Beehive the younger, however, prefers to work with manipulatives. He's more tactile and a kinaesthetic learner. He likes to be actively doing things, so the montessori materials are coming in wonderfully here for helping him with his Th, H, T and U addition at the moment and animal classification.

Little Miss Beehive, on the other hand, loves to do the work, but being younger, needs more attention. She really could do with more time on the manipulatives, but needs me sat beside her.

I'm sure that time will help this division of my time.

Last night, much to Mr Beehive's horror, I sat and made a load of bead chains. LMB and I discovered a great Hobbycraft whilst the boys were at Spanish class and we bought several bags of coloured beads and some wire. We need to go back as my bead chains are only up to 8 beads so far, but there are 10 chains of each, so hopefully we'll move on to using these fairly soon. The History timeline.

LMB learning to number values by using the addition strips from WHSmiths!!
Tomorrow we are off to the sea bird centre all being well, which ties in nicely with our animals topic and on Saturday LMB is going to make some gingerbread men. Next week we are hoping to go to the Botanic gardens for a class on "Plants we use" with a some folks from the Home Ed group.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hit the ground running!

Well, we're closing our first *official* week of home educating and I have to say, I feel we've really hit the ground running. The myth that home educated children miss out on socialising has been well and truly squashed, albeit, quite where my social life will fit in on this may depend on the appointment of a regular babysitter for an afternoon a week! They are currently (between them) doing swimming lessons, Spanish lessons, music classes, ballet and cub scouts!
There are many approaches to home ed from my understanding, but ours is a more traditional *school* approach and we're aiming to continue using some of the Montessori methods that we've learned in the last five years.
The room has been set up in a pretty prepared way with low shelving and areas for each curriculum subject (or the main ones at least)

The lowest shelving has the more practical life type activities with mathematics on the top shelf of this unit.

There are dvds and cdroms of various things and a box of growing National Geographics and History magazines as we pick them up if they have interesting things in them.

Our rugs for laying out work stations and the magazine rack holds their various workbooks for different things.

The arts and crafts stuff is all in the wicker baskets with language and physical geography on the top shelf - and our massive pine cones from California, that all arrived uninjured!

Obviously if we bought a whole raft of Montessori equipment I'd currently be teaching them out of cardboard boxes on a street corner somewhere, so our materials are a mix of bought ones and home made ones. I invested in sandpaper letters (as I don't have the time or patience to make them), but made a moveable alphabet (well it wasn't what I called it then!) when I was teaching in Newcastle many moons ago, all beautifully laminated etc, so.....that works! Our countries work extends to two decent wooden puzzles and then a great magnetic Tesco kit that has countries, capitals and flags - there isn't quite the control of error, but for Will, he doesn't need that quite so much, so he does it with an atlas instead.

This is normally the table we use to snack at, but today it's become the drying table for the start of our iron age diorama. The children decided they wanted to make an iron age village after our visit to Flag Fen when we were back in East Anglia a few weeks back, so we've begun to make round houses, a river and fort. This week we hope to visit the remains of an iron age fort on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

With Elementary age, they naturally need a table to work at, so this is it. Each child's got their own work journal that we're working through daily at the moment, when they get in the swing of it and get a little older, they'll be able to pace their own days and get through their timetables to suit by the end of a week, hopefully instilling some sense of responsiblity for getting things done.

Books - lots of books - I need more shelves!

So this is LMB doing number bonds to 5 and making patterns - she's been doing this all week and seems to be pretty engrossed.

Master Beehive the younger doing some fraction reinforcement using a great game from the High Street.

The diorama beginnings in close up and appalling photography.
We have lots of plans lined up such as an intergrated project week in October to present to their grandparents, visits to the zoo to research a chosen animal in depth and also a visit to the Royal Botanical gardens to attend a plant classification class. There's also golf and tennis on the horizon, trips to the Edinburgh dungeons, setting up email accounts and working da interweb as well as.....just living!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Art Lessons

I just wanted to share this new blog that has been created by the Beehive's art teacher at the Montessori School. She promises to update this with lots of videos and how-to's so I am predicting we'll be taking many ideas from here for our art time.

Roll up your sleeves and enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Education for Life and integrated projects

It's March - supposedly the first day of the new season. Unfortunately there isn't much sign of new life here just yet. No daffs or snowdrops pushing through, however, there is up to 8 inches of snow forecasted for tomorrow *sigh* which is not a good concept when we're expecting movers to start packing and they're driving in from NY State.

We've not officially started Home Edding yet, but Master Beehive the elder is entering a geography competition which requires him to do a project on planning a trip to the North Pole, so he's quite caught up in that right now and ... well, monkey see, monkey do, Mr Beehive the younger is keen to do a research project too, so has decided to do one on "Elictisity". He wanted to know how electricity worked and inspired by the integrated projects that the Middle School at the Montessori did this week, he wants to do similar. He made a list of 10 items in the home today that use electricity.

We'll probably go to the library this week sometime to get out some books on the topic and he has already learned to build a circuit with Daddy, so when we get to Edinburgh we'll just reinforce this by getting the electricity kit out again.

I am envisaging a lot of work of this nature, the boys choosing something that grabs their interest and then we incorporate other subjects within it. It's true to life education i think. Education that happens as a natural extension to curiosity of the world. We may have to be a little more specific with maths and english, particularly for Master Beehive the elder, primarily because I feel there are things that "ought" to be known in english and things that will come up in exams in the future in maths that, even if they are never used in daily life, are necessary if he wants to sit an exam or return to school at some point. His dad is an accountant, so I am definitely expecting some form of natural mathematical tendencies to show through in one of the children, but then saying that, they have me, the maths dud, as their mother, so it may balance itself out :-)

Master Beehive the elder is supposed to be in the school Spelling Bee this Monday (weather permitting of course). We've had a lot of fun looking at the origins of words and then breaking them down. This is more my cup of tea!! Hopefully he'll get the chance to give it a bash before we leave, but the snow is not in his favour right now.

Okay, back to my real cup of tea!