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!!!