November has been an absolutely jam-packed month – we seem to have done lots of little bits and things, and a lot of finishing up of areas of work. It was always my intention to slow down as we moved into December and all the excitement that Christmas brings with it. We have already been to see Father Christmas and crack on with Christmas crafts!
In October I took a real back to basics approach with Daniel in his maths work. He was struggling with some areas, and I think we just hadn’t covered it enough, and often enough for it to really make sense for him. He is much better at English work, and loves practising spellings and learning about how the language is structured, but Maths he struggles with a little.
We have been using some books I picked up in Home Bargains, and they’ve really worked for him. The little and often approach seems to have really worked, and we don’t seem to be having the same battles and resistance we once were. We have continued this approach in November and he has almost finished the book now and I’ve been really pleased with how he has taken to it. We have covered a lot, including multiplication and division and it seems to be sticking for him. Emma is continuing to work through the Maths No Problem books; she seems to be able to grasp mathematical concepts much better than Daniel so we are whizzing through this with relative ease, dipping in and out of other maths activity books to embed some of the learning as we go.
We have also done a lot of English based work, and it’s surprised me how easy Daniel has found this. He asked me about punctuation a few months back, so we started to look at capital letters and exclamation marks, but this was all a little easy for him. We have been looking at spelling and I’ve picked up some grammar and punctuation workbooks for him. Again, we follow a similar approach as with maths and dip into this almost daily. Little and often is working well for us. Emma is following the Language Arts study available from The Good and The Beautiful, and we dip into this once a week. Her reading is quite good, and I am sure in the next few months things will really click into place for her. Daniel often picks up some of this if there are bits I think he could benefit from a refresher on.
We have had a couple of museum visits this month,; the University of Manchester Museum and the museum in Bolton. The children enjoyed these and it was a good way to work towards their RSPB badges by spotting the creatures they were studying. At the museum, Emma decided she wanted to do some observational drawing, and I’ll be sure to make sure we have the drawing books packed for future visits as well.
We have continued with our weekly poetry tea time and this is something that all of us enjoy doing, and I love looking at the poems the children choose, and how they choose to illustrate them. We are using the I am the Seed that grew the tree book, and this is a brilliant book. It’s got such a wide variety of poems in, with varying styles and I am thoroughly enjoying exploring this with the children.
The children have been creating all manner of fun games this last month, there’s been cafes and restaurant games, intricate wooden train tracks and ‘weddings’ with Emma’s princess dolls and Daniel’s monkey toys. Harry gets himself involved and was designated as the guard during a recent game of ‘moving castles’. I love listening to them as they play, and its so nice to listen to them teaching Harry as they play.
We really enjoyed taking part in Nursery Rhyme week and I think I might try to plan a nursery rhyme day each week next month – Harry enjoyed getting involved and it made me think of different things I could do to extend the activities. I won’t pretend we are going to do this in December!
We met with friends for our RSPB badges work this month; and this is something I am so glad I set up as the children really enjoy it. We are moving onto Dinosaurs for the next presentation so we will start that at some stage in January. They’ve also completed the Walking with the Snowman trail and taken part in the local home ed nativity (which was fantastic!).
We have continued with gymnastics classes, swimming lessons, PE and Football groups. They’re enjoying their Spanish classes and growing in confidence as the weeks pass way.
December is unusually free of plans for work – realistically we will only get one week of ‘formal’ work in, so we are going to just concentrate on maths and English work. We have finished up the Sassafras zoology unit and I just need to purchase the next one (anatomy) which I plan to start in the new year. I also plan to take a look at the Good and The Beautiful Marine Biology unit which was a free download this week; I’m not sure how much we will use of it but I like the idea of it so it’s something I’m going to look at this month with a view to using elements of it in the new year.