It’s time to reflect on another month of home education. As we come to the end of the school year, a lot of friends have asked how we’ve found it. I have learned so much this year about balance.
I started the year flitting between going to loads of home ed groups and outings, and just staying in. I’ve learned so much about the value of self-direction but have also become more confident about when and how to offer structure and support.
I worry less about what other people are doing and simply enjoy seeing both my children grow and develop. We’ve had so much fun together.
That’s despite me not feeling great a lot of the time these past nine months from first trimester sickness to pregnancy exhaustion and mild depression to now being less mobile. In that time, they’ve each become a lot more independent and helpful. And they’re so into playing together!
There have been “recognisably” productive periods and weeks where we’ve completely gone with the flow. I imagine there’ll be even more of that dance once baby number three is here. My guess date is in a couple of weeks but who knows, eh?
Friends have asked whether we plan to “take a break” over the summer holidays. What we do is actually really low key and informal so I don’t think we really need a rest. The things we do are things that the girls want to do.
Certainly, I don’t intend to do anything that involves planning – mostly because I’m about to have a baby! – but we’ve reorganised the playroom to allow the girls to reach for what they want to do. I either lend a hand or encourage putting away after. Clearly I didn’t do enough of that over the weekend, though, because I’d like to show you what we’ve done to the room but it’s a bit too messy for me to take pictures right now!
Talitha’s drive to learn to read has seriously intensified over the last month. I think it’s been a huge revelation to her that she can read quite a lot. It’s something I’ve noticed for a while but for some reason it’s only just occurred to her that this is a thing – a thing she’s really excited about.
I don’t at all think this is the approach for every child or even that every child reads at a certain age but Talitha has loved those magazines and I often have to tear her away from them so we can go out. She still prefers to do them with me (a time together thing, I think) but now that she can read most of the instructions herself, I can sort of dip in and out with her while playing something else with Ophelia.
I also ordered the next batch of Oxford Reading Tree books (marmite for both kids and adults, I know!) and she’s loving powering through those while realising she can read other books too. Reading to her little sister is now a favourite activity.
What’s just as brilliant is hearing Ophelia “read” in return, which mostly involves looking at the pictures and making up her own stories! She can recognise her name and Talitha’s and loves repeating what we say when we read books, which is like the toddler reading equivalent to stopping to look at every flower and insect on a walk around the corner – cute, fun but slow!
Talitha did a home ed class with The Animation Workshop. Together, in three hours, the group made this cool stop motion animation telling the story of St George and the Dragon. She especially loves spotting her name in the credits.
The girls’ drawings have been really interesting to observe over the past month. Ophelia has suddenly gone from scribbling to drawing faces and actual things with a clear idea of what she’s drawing. Laurence is often pointing out to me that Talitha is using perspective and including new details. I must admit, I’d often just look at her pictures thinking they’re cool but not really knowing why. She got an Usborne drawing book for her birthday, which she’s a bit obsessed with. It seems she’s building on ideas she’s already been developing, which is fascinating to see.
It’s interesting seeing her handwriting develop too. I’m conscious that I haven’t helped her much with this at all and while her letter formation looks solid, her technique often isn’t the most efficient. At this stage, I don’t feel that matters much but she’s been asking to learn to write in cursive and, knowing how I’ve benefited from it (writing more quickly and thinking more creatively in cursive) I’m considering finding something she can follow if she wants to give it a go. This month she’s written a lot of thank you cards for her birthday. We still have a few more to do.
We gave the Mathematics Enhancement Programme a go as I mentioned we would last time and got through the first term of reception in a couple of weeks partly because I didn’t ask all the practice questions because it was all stuff she’d already conceptually grasped simply through real life. I’m inclined just to keep encouraging her to play with our Spielgaben set and offering the resources that come with that when she wants more input. Ophelia is now solid on her colours, having been mad on learning them a month ago, and is obsessed with counting everything.
In June, we read Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s such a page turner! We have started C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While she really wants to know what happens next and is highly engaged with the story, I’m actually not sure whether we’ll manage it because she’s finding it scary. It’s hard sometimes to know when to encourage her to keep going or just shelf something for later on. She’s also been a bit unwell lately which always prompts her to requests audiobooks so we’ve been listening to Paddington Bear.
This month has involved making the most of Laurence being around more by going on outings I would have struggled with on my own. We camped on a goat farm just after half term and met up with my friend Jess and her kids at Barrington Court, a beautiful Tudor National Trust property.
We also enjoyed a look around Bristol’s Victorian attraction, Brunel’s ss Great Britain. The girls loved running in and out of cabins and looking at the lifelike wax models.
A ticket allows you a year’s access so we’ll be back to take it in at our own pace too. It seems an easy place to take them on a quiet day midweek when the baby’s here, regardless of the weather. It’ll also be a useful outing depending on whether we dig more into history over the coming year.
Other highlights include lots of gardening, an intro to yoga via Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube and enjoying birthday presents like the sewing kit below.
Ooh, and this is why it’s good that I take photos, I almost forgot that a huge deal this month has been watching our caterpillars become butterflies! Hopefully, this will become a yearly tradition for us.
Do you home educate? Please do consider linking up any post about something you’ve been up to below. All approaches welcome! x
Other posts in this series:
Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess, Polly and Laura. If you blog, consider linking up.
This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.
The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.
1. Link back to one of the hosts. You will find the code for the badge at the bottom or if you prefer you can use a text link.
2. Link up a post from your month, no more than 3.
3. Link directly to a specific post, not your main blog.
4. Follow the hosts on at least one of their social media platforms.
5. Visit and comment on some of the other blogs linking up.
6. If you share on social media then you can use the #thishomeschoolinglife so we can all find each other.