Sunday, November 18, 2007

End of week 3 - homeschooling update..

We were out all day yesterday with 2 b'day parties to go to (7th & 40th!) so I don't think we'll get much school work done today - we need a pyjama day I think!!

For those that aren't aware, there really aren't any hard and fast rules about how to home educate - I'm speaking as someone based in NSW, Australia - it's probably different in other states & countries. Families choices range from "school at home" - eg sit down with school books and work through them, right through to "natural learning" - eg let the kids learn what they want, when they want by participating in "life". We're sitting somewhere in the middle - nicely called "eclectic" - in other words taking a bit of everything! There are set curriculums (curriculi?) you can purchase to work through if you want, or there are plenty of resources on the internet. I've decided to work in "integrated units" - think of a topic and then create activities around that to cover aspects of English, Maths, Science etc. I'm working towards covering the NSW Board of Studies outcomes for each subject over the year. We'll supplement with worksheets where necessary, and also just embrace any other opportunity that comes along even if it doesn't fit into the current unit. That's the plan at this stage, anyway - I'm sure it will change as we go!

We're just about finished the first unit we're working on - "About Me and My Family". Some of the activities we've done are:

* take a big sheet of butcher's paper, get Billy to lie down on it and trace around his outline. He then drew his face on and wrote words around the outside to represent himself & things he liked. He also did a hand & foot-print painting to go with it.

* Family tree - another big sheet of paper. Create a family tree by writing all of the family names on it (starting with my grandmother - the only living great-grandparent) in a typical family tree format - Billy did the writing. I printed out photos of everyone and he cut the faces out and glued them on next to the appropriate people. It was a really good exercise in helping him understand relationships. This was quite time-consuming - we did it in a few goes over several days - first the writing, then the cutting, then pasting.

* Cousin's timeline - I wrote the years from 1992 - 2007 on a sheet of paper. We then went through all of the cousins - circled when they were born, and he wrote their names. We talked about things like who was the oldest, youngest, no of years between him & various other cousins. A great way to teach some maths concepts in a relevant way.

* Poetry - we read a few poems on the subject of "me" and then he created an acrostic poem (a word about himself for each letter starting with a letter in his name) - the final poem was:

Billy buys

Ice-creams and


Lollipops and


* Family drawing and story - he still needs to complete this one.

* Stories - we read a few books together on families.

As well as that, he's also done a lot of art & craft - created a puppet theatre out a box, a bird craft at storytime, a Xmas tree picture using scrunched up crepe paper bits, lots of painting etc; some maths & english worksheets; we've played board & card games eg old maid, scrabble; lots of play-acting play, lego etc; done some cooking; played lots of educational computer games and had lots of discussions that we've followed up with a bit of research. Eg "do ants have eyes?" - we caught some and looked in the microscope he borrowed from the library, and then looked at pictures in the encylopedia; and - "where did people come from before there were any people?" - discussed evolution and looked up an evolution of man chart.

There's also been a fair bit of social interaction - storytime, swimming, visits with friends etc.

Our next unit is on Spain, since there was an interest because Pete was over there. We haven't done any formal activities for it yet, but we've done some informal stuff - he knows where Spain is on the map, what the flag looks like and we've read a bit about Spain.

Written down like that it actually looks like we've done a lot but we don't spend that long each day on "formal" stuff - maybe an hour or so.

One of the great things is the flexibility. I had a few activities planned for one day that would need a fair bit of concentration but he was in a really hyper mood. It wasn't worth the angst of making him do it that day, so we did some other more active stuff and got back to the concentration stuff another day!


Our Red House said...

Wow, that all looks amazing. I am looking forward to reading more of what you do.


emma.jean said...

Sounds great, Kez.