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It’s been at the back of my mind over the last month to write down what our plans are for Home Education this next academic year. I’ve put it off, and put it off because I’m not really sure what the plans are.
It’s not that I don’t have a direction of travel – I do and I know what I want to see by this time next year, but my plan to get from A – B isn’t one I really have in the same way I did the last two years. I think this is more a reflection of my confidence in what we are doing, and feeling confident that I don’t need to set myself a clear and distint plan to reach those goals, more that I am confident I can move and adapt in a way that allows the children to achieve the things they want to (and ought to be).
Structure or Free?
I’ve never hidden the fact that we are reasonably structured in our approach. Something that was borne out of my own need for structure, juggling the needs of three children close in age as well as it being something that works better for Daniel and Emma. I don’t see any changes to this ahead, and if anything the last six months have seen the rhythm of our home education become much more distinct than perhaps it had been before.
- encourage creative writing
- Emma to be a competent reader
- Continue Maths No Problem Curriculum
English and Maths are still very key things for me to work on. The path we are on with these seems to be working at the moment. Daniel is a more than competent reader and this year we are going to be encouraging his writing skills; something I’ve noticed he has been working on independently and completely unprompted. Each week Emma is growing in confidence with her reading which is lovely to see. It’s been a slower pace for her than it was for Daniel but her comprehension of what she is reading is much better than it was at this age for Daniel; these things tend to even out over time.
In terms of encouraging their creative writing, I have been looking at a couple of books we were gifted by Bloomsbury Education. The first one, Vocabulary Ninja, is a really interesting book and has given me a few ideas of things I can do to help expand the children’s vocab. A lot of the information is hard to implement in a home education setting, but it’s given me a lot of food for thought about the things I can do . The other book, Igniting Children’s Writing is one I think is going to be really useful as it offers lots of practical games and activities that I think I might introduce as a morning, post breakfast activity. There are a couple of ways I can see that I can bring Harry into this too, as I want to work on a few bits with him this year.
Maths is straight forward; we will continue our Maths No Problem curriculum and supplement as and when to ensure they’re secure in their knowledge as we go along. This has worked well for us so far so I am sure it will continue to as we go along.
- Participate in the quarterly project fairs
We are lucky to live in an area with a thriving Home Ed community, and we have quarterly project fairs that we attend. I like to go to these and I find them to be a good focus for the children as they work on larger projects and it’s great to see the work of other families. We are currently working on the geography fair project ready for mid September time.
Geography & History
- Try History classes
- projects on volcanos and earthquakes
I don’t have a huge plan for the humanities this year. I think we will mostly be guided by where the children’s interests lie over the year. I want to cover volcanos and earthquakes with them, and I might even do this as a group activity and invite friends to join us. We are also starting history classes; we have booked six weeks of these and we will see how it goes. I’m not sure how I can commit to it on a regular basis as our week is looking very full but we will give it a go and see how we get on. The first session proved to be a good success so hopefully this will be a good addtion to our week.
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Today the children attended a history class run by @paulmarkjennings . This first six week block is all about Celts and Picts. The class was the perfect mix of 'giving' information, hands on learning and recording the learning via making the start of a lapbook. Here you can see D and E putting the daub on the wattle and daub structure the children made. We are looking forward to next week and building on what they learnt today.
- Complete Sassafras Human Biology
- Earth Sciences curriculum
We will pick up Sassafras again, and I think we will have the current book finished by Christmas time. This one is covering Human Biology and the children have been enjoying that. We have taken a slight break over summer but it will be good to pick that up again and get back into it.
We are also going to be starting the Elemental Science Earth Sciences course. We are doing this with a friend so it will be interesting to see how it works. At the moment we plan to get together fortnightly, and I think it might be a case of covering a lot of the actual detail of the content together then in between completing some of the other bits such as some of the experiments and completing the filling in the lapbooks on our own. We will see how it goes and adjust it as we need to.
Other general things
PE and Football are still on the list of things the children want to do, but I think if we continue with the history classes long term then PE or football might need to go, so we can get a bit more ‘free’ time built in. We will see how things look and adjust by the October half term break if needed.
We have some events set up that we are hosting about artists (taking inspiration from a book called 50 Fantastic Ideas Inspired by Famous Artists). We are covering three artists with friends, and I suspect we will cover some on our own too. This is an area that all three children can particpate in, and all enjoy and exploring their creativity is high on my list of priorities this year.
We have speaking and listening groups planned for September and October and if people want to continue with them after that then we can do. Swimming lessons continue and the children are making great progress and I hope to start Harry by the October half term with his lessons.
And finally, I’m just waiting for confirmation about the children’s Spanish classes which I hope they’ll continue to enjoy attending. I need to do more with them at home on their Spanish, and introduce it to Harry too. I’m not sure what resources might work for us yet – something that makes it fun but that I can also use to introduce basic vocab to H and extend Daniel and Emma’s learning too.
So time to get going!
So, whilst there isn’t a definite plan in place, there are plenty of ideas of things I want to do with the children and see how things go. Our approach in terms of following curriculums in some areas and their interests in others is an approach that is working well for us right now so I don’t think that will change too much. I’d like to explore the possibility of music lessons but I need to work out how we can fit that in!
How are your plans looking for the next Academic year?