Sunday, 1 July 2012

Work - is it still happening?

When I started out blogging a few years ago, I set out to record our home education achievements.  I guess all that we do could be classed as achievements, but I rarely talk about the work side of things these days.  Well, just to reassure myself that it is still happening, albeit in a somewhat random fashion, I thought I’d write a few words about it.

I’m delighted that Hermione is now reading for pleasure every day and not just when she ‘has to’.  I feel that’s a huge break through.  I worried she’d never have the love of reading that I have.  I gain so much pleasure and knowledge from reading and want my children to share in that too.  So, hurrah, it’s finally happening!

She’s steaming ahead with her maths, still using predominantly the Conquer Maths programme.  She wrapped up what would have been the end of this academic years work a few weeks ago, and is now pressing on with what, in the system, she would be starting in September.
English is still coming along nicely, and like her maths, she’s working ahead of the level that would be expected were she in the system.  We still use Galore Park for the vast majority of our English work. 

Everything else is covered in a much more random fashion with the help of other Galore Park books, Brain Pop, First News, study units from places such as Curclick and more.

The end is in sight for the Bronze Arts Award.  I think she has till September to have that submitted for moderation but I think it will be wrapped up well before then.  It’s been an interesting journey and I think she’s gained much more from it than I originally envisaged.  All being well I hope she can get cracking with the Silver Arts Award hot on the heels of the Bronze.  Currently the Arts Awards qualifications carry points which can be counted when applying for college and university admissions.  That system is going to change within the next year or two but those who have already earned the points will be able to keep them, so, the pressure’s on!

On the IT front, the Arts Award has been the stimulus we needed to really get to grips with Prezi, the new online presentation programme which is set to take over from PowerPoint.   It’s a great way to present text, pictures, video clips and more.  Hermione used it to present the Neo Classical Architecture aspect of her project – complete with a hilarious tongue in cheek video clip her and a friend made about it.  I never thought I would see a panda and a dragon discussing the finer points of Neoclassicism, but I have now!

French has come to an end; we concluded the efforts and returns weren’t in keeping.  I know that languages are highly valued these days and I’m aware that many colleges expect one language GCSE as part of entry requirements.  We’ve talked about it and we’re interested in exploring sign language – just as soon as we have a moment to spare.  I know it’s not the same, but then home educated children aren’t the same; that’s the point in a way.  If someone wanders into Asda and can only speak French, there is a fair chance that someone will be able to come forward and assist.  Were someone to wander into Asda and could only communicate with sign language, I’m not so sure there would be so many folks able to help out.  I think it’s a good skill to have and we really must make time to look further into it.

I still have a tutor helping me out three hours a week, although I’m not sure how long we will have her as she’s a university student in a gap year.  I’ll be sad to see her go.  I didn’t envisage using a tutor at the outset, but, I’ve come to accept there’s a limit to how thinly I can spread myself and sometimes it really helps to have someone to ease the load.  It sometimes pains me to bring in someone else to do what I can do myself, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Well, what about Miles?  He’s ever so busy, doing more work type stuff all the time.  Literacy can be heavy going, but he finds maths to be a breeze.  He’s zooming ahead with the Conquer Maths programme and loves BrainPop.  

He’s spent hours of late playing Monopoly, so much so that I can take no more and have decided it’s about time he learned to play Chess.  I think he has the patience and determination to master it but last night I decided to Google for tips about teaching children to play.  I discovered a game called No Stress Chess which helps children to learn the moves.  It’s a chess game with a deck of cards which each have a chess move on them.  You take a card from the top of the pack and you have to move the piece which is on the card, and, it shows you the pattern in which that piece can move.  Obviously the outcome of the game is determined by chance, but in the meantime newbies can learn what each piece does. 

I could go on but I think I’ll stop there.  I think I just needed to satisfy myself that there still is something to say on the subject!

It’s been a hair raising week with sickness (to include hurly behaviour in the midst of a sleepover, guests being evacuated from sickness zone at what felt like crack of dawn), hospitals and much other dross.  When the rest of the country was watching the water levels on the roads rise, as we had the worst storms and flash floods in years, I came round in a wet recovery room to find nurses frantically trying to stem the creep of flood water from slipping under the operating theatre door with incontinence bed pads!

Here’s to a light and airy week, free from the feeling of trudging through treacle!  I'm off to bed now with The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

No comments: