Reflections on our home learning journey 44&45/2

(ps – I know ps’ normally come at the end but having just read through this and my last post it seems that my reflections are very similar, but that encourages me that so I am keeping this post in)

Hard to believe another year is now under our belt and 3 weeks of holidays lie stretched out ahead of us between the end of this year and the next. We have now completed 3 years of intentional learning with Bob and now Zog is of age to join in at this level, not that younger siblings are ever excluded and I am sure he will find many lessons familiar as he has joined in and the same is true of Kanga. This evening we will celebrate with pizza and ice-cream and present them with a new book each. Bob is getting an atlas of historical events, Zog a book on anmial habitats with reusable stickers that include a proper African Buffalo and Kanga who loves nature and walks in the woods is getting the complete Brambley Hedge collection – high time she had a few story books that were her own.

Bob having started the year reading confidently has increased that ability and now confidently reads novels and loves to read ahead with bedtime stories. His writing while still needing significant work is coming on and when he is inclined can do a  really good job, it is a matter more of building up the inclination in the first place. One area I have been encouraged in is his maths. Often during lessons it can really feel like we are banging our heads mutually against a brick wall but he loves to go to bed doing maths and has loved the Life of Fred books we have just started. Somehow in the midst of the frustrations of actual lesson time, math concepts are sinking in. There is still lots of just offering up endless numbers for answers in the hope that he will at some point say the right one. I would love to get to the bottom of that issue over the course of the next year and help him slow down and actually think through the possibilities of the answers he offers to see if they really could be the answers. He continues to love history and science and devours books on those topics at a greater rate than I could ever consider to cover. He is going to bed these past few nights with the periodic table in anticpation of chemistry lessons this next year.

Zog is a different child to where he was a year ago. Reflux is improved significantly since we switched his diet and use spelt rather than wheat. This has also improved his sleep which has been good. Also a year without tonsilitis pulling him down has seen him make good strides forward. As for his speech he has come on in leaps and bounds and this has built up his confidence in talking with others and sharing his passions with others. He is really coming into his own. His loves are Buffalos, animals in general, colour and geography. Maps and painting hold his attention for hours on end. He has very different fine motor abilities to Bob and has taught himself to write and is never without pen and paper. The house has stacks of paper with his art work and writing all over the place. He has also started to learn to read having decided himself it was high time he caught up with Bob.

Kanga is soaking the whole world up, hero worships Bob and loves nothing more than getting into mischief with Zog. Just this week a new hair style was in fashion for her thanks to the pair of them. She sees no distinction between their and her abilities and frustration quickly mounts when reality kicks in in regard to what she and they are able to do. Her sense of awareness of others and common sense and practicalites though do put her way ahead of her brothers on that score. Even the other evening when she offered to set the table, in my head I assumed the cutlery of any quantity and form would simply be stacked/strewn across the table, and she had in fact set 5 places properly with knives and folks. She may feel she has alot to learn from her brothers to keep up with them, there is also plenty they have yet to learn from her.

Last week we had alot of fun taking part in a free online art class and the children are all keen for the next one in July 2017. Each day we had a 10 minute video to watch and then had a project to do. There was a FB group where people posted their photos and it was fun to see what others had done and to know that people all around the world were taking part in it. This week has been very gentle, finishing up maths and grammar with plenty of reading, lego and gardening.

Character is an area I felt this year did not get the attention it needed from us. Tiredness, in the moment reactions and letting things go took over in that area. I really do want to be more intentional and thought through on character this coming year. There are many good seeds and much for which we can be thankful for in the character of our children but there are, as with ourselves, weaknesses and traits that need pruning or training and I would like to ensure we give time to that as well as academics.

The coming year holds many new challenges as Zog will be entering into more strucutred learning as well and working out how to keep them both going while also ensuring Kanga is occupied. It will require a step up from Bob in levels of independent work as some of my time will need to be given to teaching Zog. This will stretch him with his writing as I will not always be able to write for him. Our days are going to be longer and fuller and so in areas such as meals and general house blessings I will need to be more creative with my time and organised. This year will also mean a move at some point, be it for a job, another temporary job and knowing that is ahead but not defined is hard.