What do the summer holidays mean to us?

This is our 1st summer holidays as a home educating family. I’ve been asked a few times if we’ll stop “schooling” for a few weeks or carry on. Because of they way we’re educating the children, through everyday life, I think we’ll carry on as normal. Some structured events, making the most of the extra ones available over the holidays, and some unstructured days.

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This past week we’ve been busy just being busy! We’ve done baking, colouring, cutting and gluing. We’ve played Monopoly, Lego, and Minecraft. We’ve read lots of books both fiction and fact, done workbooks and learning apps. We’ve been practising cartwheels and rolypolies, ridden bikes and scooters. Been to swing parks and been swimming.The children all met their new cousin baby N, and Granma and Granpa’s new dog Maisy.

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I don’t feel like we’ve done much this last week but we haven’t stopped either. I think over the next few weeks we’ll carry on learning but at a more relaxed pace. Enjoy the Great British summer weather and just enjoy life.

New life

Daddy has been off again this week and it has given us lots of opportunities to be together. We’ve had time to sit in the garden and watch a butterfly lay her eggs. We will be keeping an eye on the eggs to see if we can watch them hatch. We’ve found ladybirds in all their stages of life, larvae, pupal and adult and got to see them catching and eating aphid.

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Seeing all the new life outside it seems that the theme has continued elsewhere in our lives too. My brother and his wife welcomed their 1st child into the world. Little Baby N, a new cousin for the children and a nephew for me. He is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait for lots of cuddles. This new life did prompt a little lesson with R learning how babies are made.

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Daddy and I had a rare night off Wednesday. The children all went for a sleepover (the first one for Little S) R and E went next door and the 2 little ones went to Nanny and Granddad’s. We had an amazing time seeing Sir Tom Jones live at the Larmer Tree festival. He was outstanding and has a phenomenal voice.

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This week also saw a delivery of Alphablocks magazines and activities. S was particularly pleased and set about investigating them straight away, E was even keen to help his little sister learn her letters.

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The children are now looking forward to the schools breaking up for summer so they can spend extra time with their schooled friends.

Free to learn

The thing I love most about home educating the children is the freedom they have. Freedom to play, freedom to explore and freedom to learn. The children all have their own interests and hobbies and they have the time to develop these. E, as I’ve mentioned before, loves Warhammer. This week he and Daddy played a battle with E’s figures. Daddy taught him some of the basic rules and that to make your move you must roll dice first. This gave Daddy the chance to do a little maths with E and it didn’t feel like learning because it was just part of the game.
I’ve been doing lots of reading with the children this week. With E I have been reading a book by Steve Backshall all about bugs. E loves wildlife, especially the deadly variety, so we get to snuggle together at bedtime with a cup of milk and learn about wasps, praying mantis, giant stick instects and much more.

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With R I have been reading a book about ancient Greece. She loves history and historical buildings. We visited Portland castle last week and learnt a lot there. This led to discussions about Henry VIII and his many wives, and about Tudor times. The last few nights she’s taken a historical book to bed with her to read before she goes to sleep.

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S loves reading and read her favourite Biff, Chip and Kipper book to daddy this week without help. She always chooses a book or two for bedtime and likes to learn a new word from each of them. She remembers the word and then recites it every time it appears in the book.
It’s great how they all have the freedom to learn at their own pace in ways they enjoy.

Inspired learning

I love finding new ways to help the children enjoy learning. Using their favourite things and making them educational. For E he loves Warhammer and he loves playing on the computer. To incorporate this to his learning we’ve passworded the computer, when he wants to go on he has to spell the password. We’re starting with Warhammer words, this week’s word is Necron. Once he knows how to spell it we move on to a new word, he wants to be able to spell Space Marine next. While these may not be conventional early spelling words they will help him learn sounds and blending. It seems to be really working for him and he is teaching R how to spell them too.

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R loves Minecraft and when you love Minecraft the learning is endless. There is so much you can do and I have found so much online, Pinterest is particularly helpful. I could do a whole curriculum on Minecraft alone. We’ve been designing our own t-shirts this week so of course R chose a Minecraft design. We can use Minecraft to help with maths, English, science and art and she enjoys it and wants to do more. I went to the library and picked her up a book about Minecraft and she was so excited, more excited than she ever was about phonics reading books.

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We’ve enjoyed meeting new people this week and exploring new places. They can stay up a little later and enjoy the longer summer evenings because we don’t have to worry about waking early. They have a freedom now that they didn’t have when they were in school. They’re free to learn at their own pace through the things they enjoy with someone who loves them dearly as their guide and mentor.

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As they grow and their interests change their education can grow and change with them. The amazing thing about home education is that we can tailor their education to suit them.