Stepping into our 2nd year of homeschooling

DSCN1692 We are just over a week away from a new year of learning and discovery. Though to be honest as all of us who have any interaction with children especially young ones, know they are always learning, always questioning, always discovering. Steps in growing up do not stop for the summer.

I am both excited and daunted by the year ahead. How does one actually manage to homeschool a 5 1/2 year old (Bob) and keep a 2 almost 3 year old(Zog) busy and 9 month old(Kanga) cruiser out of trouble? What I do know is that friends have walked this road ahead of us and are still going and there will be great days, disastrous days, mundane days and the unexpected. This year I have gone with a new pattern of study and holidays, spreading the work over the full 12 months with week long breaks every 6 to 7 weeks which gives room for off days, unexpected turns of events and to keep routine throughout the year. It gives room for days like today when Kanga thinks cutting 4 teeth at once would be a good idea (not) and 2 year old hovers on the edge of another bout of tonsillitis (5th in as many months). Bob blossoms in the midst of routine and I also benefit and am calmer for it. It means we can take time out as a family avoiding ‘school breaks’ and so take advantage of many of the great offers places give to homeschooling families during term time. That was a great idea before the car died on us last week on our way to London but thanks to the kindness of friends at church adding us to their insurance I am sure we can still manage to have some great trips out as a family to places.

One of the highlights for the coming year I believe will be our Tuesday homeschool co-op with another couple of families. Two of the families will gather in the mornings (6 children) to do a craft project, for the most part tied into our history curriculum and for which I will be responsible for and music which the other mum will do. Then another family will join us for a nature walk come rain or sun at the park in the center of the town in the afternoons. After this week’s walk I think I need to get myself a fun pair of wellies to match the boys’.  This week as we have not yet got going with history I did this craft inspired by http://theimaginationtree.com/2014/06/bubble-wrap-print-fish-mobile.html to go along with a favourite book Tiddler by Julia Donaldson.

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Bob will be covering maths, history, reading, writing, spelling, grammar, science, art and music and possibly a french class if that works out and I will continue to use some of the great resources from http://confessionsofahomeschooler.com with Zog which he loves. One of the big challenges this year will be keeping the necessary basic steps in reading and spellings fun for Bob who wants to learn learn learn, especially all things History and Volcano related but finds the basic skills hard and inhibiting. It will be a great moment when the reading clicks into place and he can read at the pace he wants to which we cannot keep up with as things like preparing meal and laundry and errands need to take place let alone looking after Zog and Kanga. His writing has come on in leaps and bounds since we started using http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2014/06/kindergarten-bible-verse-handwriting-worksheets.html which he loves. It is amazing how learning and skills take off once you find an outlet for their engagement and thinking. We will carry on with these for the first few weeks before swtiching to the book ‘Writing with Ease’. What has encouraged me most though is that while the sheets have traceable letters it has made a big difference to his free style writing rather than slowing that down.

We are often asked why we homeschool and to be honest there are many reasons that join up to form that answer but in a nutshell it is the right thing in this season for Bob and for us as a family and so we press on in prayer and take each day as it comes. And be ready to adapt for Zog as he is a very different character who is very visual and artistic and sees the world through pictures. Between them both though their imaginations know no bounds. What has been an interesting observation though for me is that while the structure of words and sounds is Bob’s biggest hurdle at the moment he is our ‘wordy’ boy and Zog who is visual and artistic will not hold a pencil correctly and hates if we try and encourage him to hold his marker/paintbrush correctly.

Names given here are names they have given themselves and they use them interchangeably with their real names at home and out and about much to the confusion of other people who thought they knew our children’s names!

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