As I sit down to write this, it dawned on me that July heralds the end of our first academic year. There’s probably a separate post to write about how I’ve found home educating through reception year, and I will write it at some point soon.
But lets focus on July, a month that has had it’s up and downs if I am honest. It started off brilliantly with a much-needed family break to Scotland, and I’ve written a few posts about our time visiting Doune Castle, Stirling Castle, Dunblane Cathedral, Inchmahome Priory and the Steam Railway. The value of travel, whether within your own country or overseas, can never be underestimated and I think that Daniel, in particular, really got a lot out of our stay in Scotland, and I hope when we come to study the Tudor period in a couple of years time, he recalls the places that we visited. His holiday memories book will certainly be a big help with that.
As wonderfully as the month started, it hasn’t ended quite as well. I try to be honest about life, and if I am truthful, July ended with both Damian and I despairing and genuinely wondering if school might be the better option for Daniel. I think, on reflection, the hot evenings have led to little sleep for us all, but most noticeably Daniel who is, most evenings losing around 2 hours sleep as he is going to sleep much later than normal. No matter how late he goes to sleep he still gets up at the same time. Damian and I are sleeping less and there have been a few things in our life that have been stressful and challenging. I think these things all came to a head and resulted in a very grumpy five-year-old and two tired parents. After chatting with a couple of friends I think it’s just an age thing, and I am sure this week will be a better week.
Daniel responds well to knowing what he has to do. A free unstructured approach does not work for us, so we have implemented a weekly list of things we ‘need’ to do. We don’t really need to do them, but if that’s what we are working towards then it will, I think, become clear on what bits we are consistently missing out each week. Daniel seems to have responded well so far to this, and I think it might help improve things over the coming month. I’ll use August to try out different targets with him and then from September we will become much more focused.
But, onto the rest of July. As well as our trip to Scotland we have been doing lots of crafts and colouring in. Egg box crafts are a firm favourite here at the moment and both Daniel and Emma have enjoyed making various things. I have also noticed a real interest in drawing with Daniel now and he drew lots of pictures for his PE and Football teacher to say thank you for running the sessions as well as drawing lot of pictures to represent the World Cup games he watched. We have a box in our dining room where I put any old bits of packaging; things like tubes, egg boxes, toothpaste boxes etc and the children help themselves. This has worked well and I’ve found them making all sorts of creations, and it’s nice to see their creativity and imagination.
We have continued on with our Sassafras learning, and I am aiming to have the Zoology book finished around the end of October. We have completed the Canadian farm section, which I don’t think they particularly enjoyed, but have now moved onto the rainforest which has engaged them much more. We have also been to a session about stars/constellations and they had a go at recreating Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting which was good fun and is something I intend to try again with them in the winter.
We have continued with gymnastics and swimming (Daniel had moved up a stage now) and our Spanish lessons are still proving to be lots of fun. They are now progressing to putting sentences together and I’m really excited to see how the year ahead will go, and I really do need to think about signing up for the One Third Stories monthly boxes as now Daniel is reading, I think these would be a really good way for him to improve his Spanish.
Daniel also started his Geography fair project – world flags and Emma wants to do big cats (and where they live) so we will continue those over the next six weeks or so.
July has been difficult but rewarding and I am pleased we made it through a full academic year. I can see the huge improvements in Daniel’s written work; he is able to write some things independently and his spelling is improving all the time. I am excited for what the next academic year brings as we move into Key Stage 1 with Daniel and start the reception year with Emma, and of course continue with Harry’s early years too.