reflections on our home learning 26

After last week’s uphill battle, a dear friend back in Vancouver who also homeschools took the time to write and encourage me. Her words spurred me on and so last weekend I took some time to rejig some lessons and this week life has looked very different. It has been a bitty week as Zog has had ENT and speech therapy appointments but all to good avail as his tonsils are coming out in May. And so long as Kanga does not develop continual bouts of tonsillitis next winter I look forward to a healthy winter than the past five.

Our biggest area of frustration with Bob and lessons has been his reaction to having to write anything down. So with the words of my friend fresh in my mind, (she scribes still for her 8 year old whose mind also works faster than her hands can, while younger son loves to write.) I changed up how we did maths and history and lo and behold pages of maths have been requested as Bob works them out either in his head or with manipulatives while I fill in the workbook with the answers he gives me. We also added in some living maths with the introduction of money. With him turning 6 this month we have begun to give him pocket money but there is little value in that if he cannot identify coins and understand how coins work. So with a variety of games and manipulatives we began our living maths chapter on money. This has been great fun and by Thursday and Friday while I was still filling in the workbook answers he was actually doing long addition on paper without thinking about the fact that he was writing anything. What was a real encouragement was that I realised half way through that money maths requires an understanding of place values with hundreds, tens and singles which we have not done and carrying numbers but he took it all in his stride. We have a way to go before I hand over the family budget but he is doing well.

Reading is sheer joy to him and for us hearing him read to Zog. Though it has brought a whole new challenge with regards to the awareness of time and needing to get him to put a book down occassionaly to do certain tasks. His delight this week was reading the whole way through a young child’s version of the Wooden Horse of Troy. Ancient Greece has continued to be our focus for history and the house is filled with pages and pages of pictures he has drawn recounting the events. He has even occasionally started to add colour to his pictures, in contrast to his younger siblings who add colour to everything and anything they find. Zog at least now limits that to either paper of himself for the most part but Kanga and a pen is a loose cannon.

Considering how well the week has gone and that we have momentum and there is need for some catch up time I am not going to take a full two weeks off over Easter but keep going next week for 4 days with a long weekend break for Easter which will include meeting up with friends from New Zealand who are on their world travels. This flexibility is one of the great gifts of learning at home and takes the pressure off weeks when folk are feeling under the weather. We can give ourselves time to rest and recuperate knowing we can switch things up at other points. For that I am very thankful after this winter.

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