The wonders of modern technology tells me that I tried to start writing this post 21 days ago. Eesh. I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I just haven’t found the time to sit down and finish it. I wish I could say I’ve been lovingly filling the children’s days with educational activities and learning moments of joy(!) but that’s not really been the case. I’ve been juggling the baby, home educating Sophia, occupying Isaac, housework, going on holiday, trying to fit in some workouts and doing some social media management work for three clients that I have unexpectedly (but excitedly) gained in the last month. Life is full right now. But definitely in a good way. My only moment of woe is in the neglect that this blog and my knitting are facing. I can’t even knit whilst doing stuff with the kids now Elijah is cruising, grabbing and taste testing everything – I fear my yarn would meet a sad, dribbly, demise fairly quickly! But given that the last seven months have flown by in the blink of an eye, I know that before long I’ll be able to brave getting it out again so I’m not too worried – third time round, I’m just trying to embrace every moment of his babyhood as I know it is so fleeting and will be gone before I know it (sob).
Anyway, as always, I digress. Apologies! My point of writing this post was to muse on our educational plans and goals for Sophia this year. She is currently still our only child of compulsory school age and would be in Year One if in school. To recap, she is a pretty fluent reader, loves anything craft or nature related, is learning violin and has taken to basic maths and science pretty well. She is most definitely a starter though, she is keen to give anything and everything a go but not always consistent at finishing tasks and projects. Last year we followed Wee Folk Art for two terms and completed their Harvest Time and Spring B’s kinder curricula but missed out the Winter Wonderland term due to Elijah being born.
I spent the summer trying to decide what to do this year but a month in, still haven’t really figured that out. I guess we fall halfway between structured learning and unschooling but I’m leaning towards wanting a bit more structure. Unfortunately Wee Folk Art only offer their kinder curricula and I think she’s ready to move on from that but still a bit young for the Easy Peasy Homeschool or Ambleside Online curricula, both ones that I’m interested in but I think are probably just that bit too structured for someone who is still only five.
This first month we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants a little but it seems to have worked. Every week I’ve made some time to do some maths games or workbooks, to do some comprehension and handwriting work and to try and address a bit of history. Our weekly home ed group is looking at the Victorians so we’ve been looking at that at home which is going little by little, but sinking in I think. We spend plenty of time outdoors and seem to have a lot of conversations about what is happening in nature during the different seasons so for now natural sciences are being covered as well. A lot of the latter is happening by revisiting our books from last year’s Harvest Time book schedule, lots of simple scientific books about why the leaves change colour and the like. I’m trying to encourage her to practice her violin regularly and am not worried about her reading as she seems to have her head in a book every time she has more than a minute to herself!
Re-reading that, I feel encouraged (as is so often the way when you write things down). I think we are probably doing plenty for her age and the amount she learns from informal conversations is astounding, she really pays attention when we’re talking about something she’s interested in and is apt to recalling information days or weeks later. I think for now, we’re likely to continue as we’re going – following her lead at times and also drawing out day trips to continue the learning at home. Next week we’re going to Dartmouth Castle and a fortnight after we’ll be heading to Wheal Martyn (the UK’s only china clay museum) so I’m looking forward to those trips immensely.
I have to remind myself that not only is she only five but that I also have two other little people at home that need my attention. Isaac is not like Sophia was at almost four, he needs to be outside, running and shouting, he is not keen on sitting still at the table (unless he’s drawing which he’s surpisingly good at and really enjoys!) We were hoping to start going to the Natural Learning Group at Embercombe regularly but so far Dan has had the car on Tuesdays. However, I think we’ll make it this week which we’re all looking forward to. In the future, when Isaac and Elijah are older, I suspect we’ll revisit the Wee Folk Art books and activities for them and I think by the time she is 7 or 8, Sophia might be ready for a bit of a timetabled approach to home education. I will look at one of the curricula I mentioned earlier when we reach that point. We’ll also start reading ‘Our Island Story’ when they’re all a bit older as a bit more of an in depth introduction to British history.
In the meantime, Lynn Seddon of Raising Little Shoots has released a nature curriculum called ‘Exploring Nature with Children‘ which looks amazing that I’m planning on purchasing. My amazing Mother has also told me about some geography resources and I’m looking into Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography which looks great at slowly easing ourselves into geography as a formal subject. I’m planning on starting the latter in Spring and the former next September I think.
So, I think I’ve fairly extensively summarised our plans for this year and the future. As ever, this could all change but it’s good to have a plan laid out somewhere, however vague it might be! I continue to enjoy home educating (mostly – we all have rubbish days where I postulate that boarding school could be a good option!) and from our perspective, it’s still the best choice for our family. I would love to hear what educational choices you’re all making for your children and how it works for your family.