I want to keep some kind of online documentation of our home school journey and instead of starting up a new blog I think its best if i keep everything in one place since that’s why I started this blog anyway! We are currently working with a couple of review pieces that are fitting in perfectly with our home school ethos so having it all under ‘one roof’ will be easier in the long run.
Amelia is still under the age of 5 so this means that she does not need to be signed up for any kind of school education until at least next September, Evie has just turned 8 so would be in year 2 of primary school. In the past few years there has been an awful lot of talk about whether schooling should be started at all until children turn 7, research has shown that learning through play up until that age sets children with a better foundation for academic learning. Finland and Norway, who already adopt this concept, are top of the leader boards in Europe for education.
I knew when making the decision to home school the girls that we would be undertaking a ‘learn through play’ way of schooling. We want it to be fun for the girls and something they enjoy, something that feels less like work and more like play. Games we have played in the past have all had educational aspects to them, Orchard toys are fabulous for this kind of learning with their shopping list board games and matching memory games.
We make sure we cover all of the basics of a curriculum, English, maths, science, history, geography, PE – but they are all done in a way that is unstructured and FUN! We are members of some great online forums and also know a great range of tutors and programmes including social study tuition.
Evie writes our shopping lists and helps make a menu of what we are having to eat during the week. Prices are put next to the items of what she thinks it will be and when we get to the shop both she and Amelia finds the items and corrects the price. This is covering both English and Maths!
Crossword puzzles are another way of encouraging English, I found some fabulous ones via Teachers Pay Teachers which is an American site but host a whole lot of printables and worksheets etc. One thing I have realised is that Evie struggles with her numbers, times tables in particular so we made a little game of learning with lots of lolly sticks so that she randomly picks one out and figures out the answer. Again work sheets and those at home work books from The Works and Poundland have come in handy.
Although Amelia doesn’t need to be doing work at the moment she loves puzzles and writing her own name, counting and exploratory work. I have printed out and laminated a few word puzzles for her that are easy to put together and we are working on her recognition of letters.
Amelia loves numbers and is constantly singing number songs and counting so the next logical step was to recognise them written down. She is doing so well and wipe clean books are a great help to get her following the lines – which she loves doing over and over again.
Our April projects are nature and bugs so we have spent a lot of time outdoors this past month. We collected branches to make our Easter Tree and used some of the smaller ones for the girls to spell their names.
I will be doing a full blog post on the following but we have just watched our caterpillars make the move to create their chrysalis! The girls have loved watching them grow from teeny caterpillars when they first arrived, eating up the sugar substance in the bottom of their container. We are now just waiting for them to go hard so we can transfer them to the net to watch them transform into butterflies. We have drawn what we think they will look like and have documented the whole process of metamorphosis as it develops!
Since we were unable to find any frogspawn to photograph and watch grow we decided to make our own so that the girls had the experience of touch instead. We filled a tub with water beads that were a great sensory project (there is something so calming about water beads!), we cut out lilypads and bought a lifecycle of the frog toy set so that the girls could see how a tadpole changes into a fully grown frog.
With the change in weather too we have been able to start work with seeds and write down which ones grow fast, which ones need plenty of sunshine etc. Also taking pictures of them as they grow so that the girls see that these things take time and how much care goes into making things grow etc.
Whilst outside we made tally charts of the bugs we found and the girls spent some time looking up all of their new friends, finding out what they eat and where they live as well as different varieties etc. We managed to find a great Horrible Science jigsaw that shows where insects live and with the girls love of puzzles this went down a storm.
Of course we have our regular play too but again this is all part of learning, playdoh is about colours and structure. Painting is about dexterity and colour combinations, Evie loved glass painting and that the different paint used formed more of a skin that she could see through rather than blocks of colour. Digging for gems teaches patience and history as we discuss finding fossils and where gems are found in the world (geography too).
Considering that during April schools had 2 weeks holidays I can safely say that the girls have been learning every single day, including ‘holidays’ without even realising it. You may not realise that you are teaching at all times but every single thing you do with your children is encouraging their minds to work and so far we are all thoroughly enjoying our new lifestyle.