Over the last two weeks I havent blogged very much at all. It has been school holiday time though that doesnt actually affect the learning that goes on around here. I get pulled two ways when I start thinking about the school holidays. Firstly, we dont have school holidays mainly because we dont go to school. Secondly, I do find that I appreciate a bit of a break every so often so I do wonder if it wouldnt work well to take holidays every 3 months or so. So I tussle between these two thoughts and come up with a mid-way plan. We will do some table time, to focus on the key things for each individual child, but should something else come up we will go with the flow. So at the beginning of the holidays I set out hoping to get to table time for 1-2 hours a day 50% of the time.
Then Reality hits. Because everyone else is on school holidays then it is a great time to catch up with people and do some social things that the school routine doesnt allow. So over the last few weeks we have had time with friends who go to school. We have also had time with homeschoolers who were also in social mode.
We actually had two Homeschool Network meetings where the mums talk and the kids look after each other. The first meeting was predominately older kids who had a ball cutting down bamboo and making bows and arrows (dont think the arrows worked too well so they found some real ridgy didge arrows that worked much better). We also headed for the dam for a swim.
The second meeting was more little kids so the older ones spent their time looking after the littlies there was lots of running around, ball play and bouncing on the trampoline.
We also had times where friends dropped in here. One particular visit there were some little boys who hadnt been here before so Jess took them under her wing and after some outdoor play they raided the dress up box and all became kings. Jess helped them make crowns. They then had a coronation, all recorded on the camera by Daniel.
In between all this social buzz I have been pleased to see what the children are gravitating towards and the growth that I see in them is very encouraging.
Joshua has taken responsibility for his study subjects (Math, Latin, History, Science, Economics) and worked a study schedule so that he can complete what he needs to do. What I was really impressed with was that he took into account the family schedule and assessed the days that would give him the most continuous study time and allocated that to his key subject, Science. He also wrote into his schedule opportunity to catch up should the family get involved in something else. He schedule is set but very flexible. He did a good job. He has asked for a diary to help him both with his daily direction as well as weekly. We found one for 2007 so he is photocopying pages to get him through the rest of this term.
Josh has found a rhythm for his Science balancing reading and experiments and writing. We discussed the value of tests and just knowing the answers of the answers versus discussing it from your perspective if you have something else to add. I want him to think beyond the one sentence answer that is required for the test. This is going to require us discussing the subjects not him just reading and answering.
There have been a few mornings where Josh has taken his books off to the Lucerne paddock, plonked himself down and enjoyed his solitude of study. The dog goes with him and it is a typical picture of a boy and his dog off in their own world. Except Joshuas world always includes several books.
Jessica has finished her study on Egypt and for a while was wafting around with no real focus. We discussed her need to at least focus on her creative projects if she had no academic study at the time. During this time Jess has written several letters both handwritten and on the computer. She has had a few card making sessions. She is writing in her journal/diary every couple of days. She has written a few blogs. She has helped in the house especially with the laundry and cooking (the tidying she does without even thinking about it.) Then she started to really connect with learning about computers. She is reading a technical book on digital technology. This is giving her vocab a real stretch so she is reading this book with a dictionary beside her. She has found some computer magazines that I was subscribing to a while back and worked on a few projects there learning different skills with Word, Publisher and Powerpoint.
The big project Jess has taken on board is a publishing project. She is putting together a book of stories and writings by the local homeschoolers. She has put out a flyer asking for submissions. We have talked about her budget. She has a publishing calendar to keep track of her deadlines. She has worked on finding a catchy title she used the online thesaurus for this. Finding a title was a good activity in Alliteration as she played with words.
Jess has also finished reading Next Door Saviour by Max Lucado. She really enjoyed this book and found it personally challenging and I could see her grow as she read and discussed a few things.
Josh and Jess have been consistent with their math work too
Nomi has been fairly relaxed in the last two weeks without a consistent project to work with. She has completed a few notebook pages each one she is learning more ways to work with Word. She has also started writing a story. She is choosing to write in her free time often throughout the day.
Daniel has also been fairly relaxed with regular practices with his Speech and OT work. I bought some workbooks that he is enjoying. He is finding them easy but they are leading onto other things. One page was a maze, which he found ridiculously simple, but it lead to him building a maze for me to drive a matchbox car through, then Nomi built one for him and then he built one for Nomi. This took all afternoon and he included many extra dimensional things like a trap and a road block that was removed by his radio controlled car.
Nomi and Daniel have had lots of playtime together imaginary games, climbing trees, ridging bikes and some card games.
The diary sheets are working well, and I think I will go and buy another 3 diaries for next year. It gives a clear space to record family happenings as well as assignments set for the day. It also gives space for the older kids to write their own goals and challenges. I have tried many systems to keep on top of both required learning and the learning opportunities that come our way. I am hoping that now that the kids are older a system where they can take some of the ownership will work for us.
So though we havent sent out to do school or even to have lessons there has been plenty of productivity happening. That is what it is all about making wise choices as they spend their time, learning as they go.