My thoughts have been turning to how we'll approach Year 3 next year. We did cover quite a lot more than I thought we did this year, but I felt we drifted a bit aimlessly, particularly in the 2nd half of the year (understandably perhaps given what was going on in our lives at that time).
English: I'm reasonably happy with how things have been going with English. We'll continue to approach English through lots of reading - both read-alouds and individual reading. Billy will take part in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge again which will involve reading 20 books from a set booklist. We do need to make more time for individual reading consistently. Billy reads well when he's in the habit, but he needs help to get into the habit!
Billy regularly writes (types) either stories or newsletters. If the opportunity arises, he can take part in any writing competitions we find in 2011. Spelling, grammar, punctuation etc are covered as needed - as we edit his stories, or while reading, or when he asks. I don't feel he needs a formal lesson at this stage. He'll use Spellodrome when he wants to for extra spelling practice and vocabulary building.
Maths: I'm going to make Mathletics a weekly requirement next year. He's capable of doing the work but drags his feet doing it. I've been letting it slide, but I think its come time to push a bit with the Maths. I also want to use more fun resources with him more regularly - board games etc. That'll be hard for me - I'm not keen on board games, but he enjoys them.
Science & Technology: We have so many under-utilised science resources! My aim is to do more science experiments and use the resources more - science books, science kits, DVDs, website subscriptions, trips to the science museum.
Human Society and its Environment: At the moment, this is pretty much covered through everyday life - exposure to other cultures, history & geography through reading, TV, excursions, and of course, travel. He's also been asking for another subscription to the Skwirk website which I'll investigate next year.
Creative and Practical Arts: He'll continue with drama classes, and I'm pretty sure will want to take part in the big drama production next year. Other than that, he's always making up little plays & songs so drama is all covered. :)
We've already got tickets to one play next year and I'm sure we'll see more than that throughout the year.
Billy's booked in for a series of art lessons in Term 1 culminating in an art show at the Tocal Field Days. We'll also make regular trips to the art gallery.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education: I'm pretty sure this one is covered between archery, martial arts and AFL :) The personal hygiene, nutrition, safety etc aspects will be covered in day to day life.
So in summary, I want to make sure Maths is covered more rigorously next year, and spend more time doing hands-on science stuff. Other than that, we'll just continue with taking advantage of any opportunities for excursions and experiences, and his normal weekly activities.
Although part of me is still wanting more structure, I know it doesn't work long term with us. On the other hand, part of me is also wanting more flexibility so we can grab opportunities without too much rearranging of things. We were way over-committed in Term 4 which led to burn out and exhaustion. It'll be a matter of balancing routine with spontaneity.
Wishing everyone a happy Christmas and a safe holiday season. If you're travelling, take care. Enjoy the time with family & friends and more importantly - make sure, in best Xmas tradition, that you eat way too much :)
After 3 nights in Coffs Harbour, 1 night at Hallidays Point, and 1 night at my sister-in-law's house, we're home - and more than ready to sleep in our beds tonight!
Yesterday was the family Xmas with Pete's side. A few tears were shed at times, being the first one without Pete's Mum, but we all rallied around and supported each other. Present time was a flurry of unwrapping - you can imagine the chaos with 8 kids opening at once..
Even Santa made a surprise visit :)
Santa's certainly a busy little vegemite at the moment. He came to visit our neighbourhood this afternoon in the fire truck, handing out lollies for the kids.. (The local bush fire brigade do the rounds of the neighbourhood streets at this time every year - kids suddenly appear from nowhere at the sound of the sirens mingling with Christmas songs :) )
Last week, Billy went on an excursion with other homeschoolers to the Australian Shark & Ray Centre. They were able to go in the pools with the sharks and rays, feed them and pat them. (Better them than me :) )
I didn't go in so I've had to wait for the photos from my sister - it looks like they had a blast!
In this first photo, this was a giant ray that was coming up sitting on their laps! It covered multiple kids at once!
It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to build all of the Lego kits that Billy received - it used to drive me nuts! Now he can follow the instructions with no problems or make up his own creations - I'm only required to help find the bits :)
Lego forms a big part of Billy's day lately. He only has a few kits, but they get transformed into some amazing things. We have one corner of the room that doesn't get through traffic, so he's allowed to keep it spread out much of the time. I do object if it starts to encroach into my walkway though - that stuff hurts when you stand on it!!
Billy goes back and forth from it throughout the day. Sometimes building. Sometimes making up elaborate stories and adventures with the things he's built.
Its a wonderful toy. It improves spatial ability, perseverance, engineering skills and inspires creativity. It lasts for generations! I just wish it wasn't so expensive to buy..
but I took the day off work today. (Its not quite the same ringing in sick when you work for yourself though lol.)
I woke up with a headache and feeling like my head was going to explode, and while I couldn't exactly pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep, I did it metaphorically!
I finished off a bit more Christmas shopping, went to yoga, wrapped the presents I have, and wrote some of the cards. Tonight I'm going to read a book and go to bed early (assuming Billy co-operates with that plan).
Yes, it will mean working longer tomorrow, but it was worth it. I feel refreshed and recharged!