It is exactly two months since we began our home education journey. Overall we are a much calmer household and everyone gets along easier. These past two months for me have been about learning what makes the children tick, how they best learn and just getting to know them better.
Let me start with R. I have discovered she enjoys history and would like to visit more stately homes and old churches. She enjoys using the pc and her skills navigating the computer and typing are improving. She is very physically active, enjoying cycling, swimming, rollerskating, scooting and trampolining. She loves cooking and baking and has recently been asking to try new foods. Her love of books is returning and she often asks to be read to and will read to the younger children. Her imaginative play has developed massively and she gets bored a lot less often than when she was at school.
E is a lot different to R. He loves stratigic games and is quite mathematically minded. Even in his small world play. He learns at speed, quick facts and conversations; he retains what he has learnt well. He loves to be read to, mostly non-fiction. He is very interested in animals, the deadlier the better!
S is my little sunshine. She loves to help everyone, she is kind and thoughtful. She loves reading and writing, something I hope to encourage and develop with her. She is a house full on her own with her laughter and bubbly nature.
Two months ago Little S barely said a word, now her speech has developed such a lot I understand most of what she says. She adores having her older siblings around her and greatly benefits from them being at home. Although, at not quite 2, she is not officially home educated she is learning all the time. She is a feisty little girl who stands her ground and she loves giving everyone cuddles.
Although it can be tiring and there are times when I want to lock myself in the bathroom for 5 minutes peace. I know that this is the best thing I could do for my children. They are happy, relaxed, learning all the time and enjoying life just the way they should be.
Daddy had the day off yesterday so after watching the end of the eclipse (we missed the beginning due to cloud) we packed a picnic and headed off to Beaulieu. We started with a tour of cars used on Top Gear, then looked at some cars that had been used in films and on TV. After a play in the park and a little lunch we were off for a ride on the mono rail which the kids all loved.
Next we went to look in the museum, the 1st car we found was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The kids all love this film and even little S was excited to see it and kept saying “Bang Bang”. We all enjoyed seeing the old cars and motorbikes, E loved to find out how fast the cars could go. We went on a history tour of how the car has developed over the years, this was a favourite of R’s. There was a section on tyres and we learnt and talked about the difference between solid and pneumatic tyres. We were amazed to find out some of the uses for recycled tyres including shoes and flooring for play parks.
Although Daddy could have spent hours in the museum the children had had their fill and were ready for a ride on the old bus. The clouds had cleared, the sky was blue and the sun warm so we headed up to the open top deck of the bus. The ride was a bit bumpy but thoroughly enjoyable and we had the whole bus to ourselves.
R wanted to go and look around the palace house and gardens next, so off we trotted. Inside the house we were greeted by the maid in costume dress who was lovely and answered all our questions. We went through to the dining room where there was an open fire which smelled gorgeous. The children looked at the old toys and talked about which one was their favourite. We went upstairs and saw paintings, pianos, old chairs, and lots of interesting things. There were stuffed ducks in glass cases, to which R responded that she “thought it was not very nice to kill them if you’re not going to eat them”. R asked lots of questions about the history and the previous owners. She really enjoyed the house and thinks her Granma and Granpa might like to take her to other stately homes where she can learn more about the olden days.
We then walked round to the abbey for a brief look. R found it very interesting but the smaller children were getting tired having been walking round for almost 4 hours, so Daddy took them on the monorail back to the other side and we met them there for icecream. It was then time for home and dinner, we all had achey feet but had an amazing day.
This week has seen some very lovely days and also a very sad one. Thursday the girls went to Nanny and Granddad’s for the day as E had an appointment at the dentist. A whole day with my little boy, after the dentist we popped to a cafe and had a walk around the shops, then we headed home for some lunch. After lunch I decided to neglect the housework, make a cuppa and snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket, and watch a dinosaur documentary with E. We also spent time baking and played cars together, it really was lovely.
Friday I took R and E on a Tesco Farm to Fork visit with some other home educating families. We talked about where our fruit and veg come from, looked at bread being made in the bakery, and talked about the fresh fish on the counters. After the tour we went upstairs to try some different foods, R tried (and enjoyed) quite a bit.
Saturday we had a family fun day at my parents with my brother and his wife too. My parents don’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays so once a year we get together on date of our choosing to eat a meal together and exchange presents. The children were spoilt rotten, and us grown ups got some lovely gifts too. The day had an “at the movies” theme so we all went in fancy dress and the house was decorated with balloons and banners.
Monday ended on a very sad note. Willow, my parents dog, the dog we got as a puppy when I was in my teens, had to be put down. She had become ill a couple of weeks ago and was discovered that she had an enlarged heart. Treatments didn’t work and it was kinder to let her go. She will be very much missed by all.
Today has been a quiet day learning wise. The children are tired after getting over coughs and colds so we visited my parents to distract from mourning, then we when the my in laws and played, did puzzles and colouring. Daddy joined us after work and I took R and S to their swimming lessons then back to Nannies for dinner and home to bed.
I have printed off some worksheets for tomorrow, we have addition, times tables, acrostic poems to write, and crosswords to do. I have also set R her 3rd reading challenge, this time she has to write a little sentence about the book too. We also hope to do some cookery together.
With spring well on the way we have lots of new activities to try, there are potatoes chitting, seeds have been sown, we’ve begun digging in “the woodland” to make a wildlife pond and we even have some new house guests that we will raise, watch, study and set free. 5 little catepillars that will eventually become 5 painted lady butterflies.
R has already completed her 2nd reading challenge. This brings her total books read since being home educated to 44! When she was at school it was such a struggle to get her to read, to see her wantng to read is wonderful. We have now started looking at poetry and rhymes. We also all made rainbow suncatchers to hang in the windows.
Last week the children made their own bread rolls and beef burgers. We’ve been trying new foods with the children suggesting what they would like to try, sushi seems to be a popular choice for our next cooking session.
Friday we are looking forward to a farm to fork trip to learn about food and we have lots of posters about farming and some wheat to learn about how it is processed.
Our home ed journey is wonderful. Today we have done a science experiment, E wanted to do explosions so we made a Bi-carb and vinegar “bomb”. It took 3 attempts to get the bag to explode as the 1st time the bag sprung a leak and the 2nd time we decided didn’t have enough bi-carb in. Then the girls and I did some painting, after that the older 2 did some problem solving games on the pc. Little S went for a nap while I cleaned up and planted some bulbs in the garden.
There has barely been a cross word between the children today, they’ve been too happy playing and laughing together. I’ve actually had to ask them to laugh quieter! Tomorrow we are all looking forward to trying out a new softplay with a group of home ed families and then swimming in the afternoon.
Friday I took the older girls to a roller disco which was a lot of fun, although after ten years of not really using my skates I did ache on Saturday!
R is on her 2nd reading challenge after completing her 1st one. She is now asking to read and always takes a book to bed with her. Depending on the book it can lead to interesting questions. The other evening she was asking about medieval torture methods! She has also been asking to do maths and we have been learning times tables together.
S can now read all the level one Biff, Chip and Kipper books. Level 2 is still a little tricky for her though and has shown that we need to look at blending sounds more. I understand that she is only 3 but she is so keen to read so I am being lead by her enthusiasm.
The house is so much calmer without the chaos of school runs, uniforms and homework. The children are happy again and we have so much to look forward to. I feel very blessed.