Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ok. About today (and all the higgledy Day 2 pics)

Well, I tried a different way of posting to this blog - by email from my phone, throughout the day. It was more efficient but we've still ended up with photos and comments in the wrong order, and, as one of The Enthusiastic Supporters commented, all in different posts.

I'm not editing it now, but I'll have to try a different way tomorrow.

The so-called field trip was a success though. The rain held off and we made loads of bark rubbings, which Elizabeth said was her "best bit" of the day. The children also did lots of physical activity, which has got to be a good thing.

I've noticed throughout the school year that Francesca has had less energy for physical things. Last year she did Tumble Tots and ballet. In the first two terms she did Irish dancing after school once a week, but by the summer term she was SO tired, after school activities consisted of crying and watching tv.

One benefit of home schooling might be the increased opportunity to get out and about and be more active.

I'm pleased with her academic progress in Reception class but perhaps that's slightly at the expense of her energy levels.

Arrived home to an answer message from someone inviting us to go on a day out to Holy Island tomorrow.  I so totally can't face another full day out and about. I've had to decline.

We're going to have a quiet one, putting our pressed leaves and bark rubbings into our special tree project book. Maybe we'll do some more thank you cards and maths games.

Tea time

Decided to feed the children before we left because everyone wanted to stay longer. That way it's only bath time when we get home.

Perks of the job

Ice creams then a play in the park

This is what we came for

Bark rubbing for our tree project


We're going to climb every tree!

Found a millipede

Let me hold it!

The fun you can have!

Then they went for a paddle.

Day 2 Field Trip

Morning break at Wallington Hall, followed by "Best of British" games on the green.

Day 2 A Great Surprise

Found this in the woods. Elizabeth could hardly contain her excitement!

Day 2 A Walk In The Woods

Walking in the woods to find trees for our project. We've brought crayons and paper to do bark rubbings but we're a bit distracted by this little house. Everyone wants to add a stick.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Day 1 - In Which We Start Our Home Schooling Trial

After a few tired tantrums from Francesca this morning, we finally got 'school' underway, at a fairly respectful 9.30. This after managing to squeeze in a ten minute violin practice (of sorts) and 20 minutes 'special time' (doing jigsaws) with Elizabeth.

During the introductory meeting, in which I explained a bit about how Francesca could choose what sort of things she wanted to study (rabbits) and said that sometimes, I would insist on her spending time on certain compulsory things, and how TV was absolutely banned until Friday... Francesca interrupted to tell me a very long, involved story about her dream, in which she had got some baby chicks. Then Sebastian filled his nappy and I abandoned the meeting in favour of a clean up operation.

I set Elizabeth off arranging her fairy stickers:

I suggested that Francesca draw a picture of her dream. I suppose I was wondering how best to get off the topic and onto some 'work' without raising another tantrum. Luckily she was keen to get drawing.

She produced this:

Once cleaned up, Sebastian was happy to get on with his own 'work'.

After the picture was complete, Francesca was keen to finish decorating the ballerina figure that Aunty Ida had given her for her birthday. I was pleased with the logical way in which she did the colouring in first and then decided to stick the jewels on afterwards. Although the colouring was a tad rushed at the end because the jewels were an exciting prospect.

Sebastian was, once again, happy to busy himself with his own chores. Shopping, this time.

 Elizabeth decided to do the rest of the Peppa Pig jigsaws that we hadn't managed to do in 'special time'. 

Don't leave your post, Elizabeth! Someone else would like a go.

Sebastian enjoyed posting the jigsaw pieces back into the box. Then he decided to do this:

 We tidied up and opted to have break time in the back yard.

 Someone enjoyed his snack: 

Then it was maths. I had bought Francesca a new maths workbook called "Collins Easy Learning Maths" for 5-6 year olds. She did find it easy, but then again, she got a lot of satisfaction from getting it right. I think that's important for Francesca. She is easily defeated and quick to give up if things seem 'too hard' so I was happy that she was keen to work through the book.

One of the tasks was a game where you each had to throw a dice and pick out that number of pasta-pieces from a bowl. After five turns, you had to see who had the most.

Francesca carefully noted how many turns we'd each had. At the end, we counted up the pasta and (luckily) Francesca had the most. She considered herself to have 'won'.

We made a graph of the results, using stickers, on a separate sheet of paper. It wasn't part of the workbook but it seemed like a good idea and both Francesca and Elizabeth were interested.

Then is was lunchtime. I'd managed to rustle up some bread buns, which we ate with cheese, ham and salad. A far cry from boring packed lunches and far less stressful for me(!)

Sebastian went down for his nap.

Then on to 'literacy'.

Elizabeth did her 'fast words' book and Francesca wrote some Thank You cards from her birthday.

Then Elizabeth wrote some names with her fuzzy letters and board.

Then Elizabeth decided that she wanted to write cards too. We found her a card to write to Granny Helen and she wrote Helen. Sort of.

Then we got onto black and white finger painting (this via adding rabbit tails to our thank you cards - all will be revealed in due course)

Somewhere along the way, by this point, I had also been persuaded to decorate Francesca as a rabbit and Elizabeth as a frog.

It soon degenerated developed into whole hand painting for some (Elizabeth!)

And then to printing with sponge shapes:

 After which I called 'time' on art and sent them out to play.

Francesca chose to stay in and do dot-to-dots.

And then she drew a farm.

After all that being indoors, I decided I wanted some fresh air and exercise. Plus I needed groceries so we went to Ian on the High Street for some fruit and veg.

There was some sort of Olympic-related shenanigans in the park so we stopped for a go on various activities. 

A particular favourite being the car.

Then home to cook dinner. Francesca decided she was going to blow bubbles 'for Sebastian' but I think we all know how much she loves bubbles too.

I feel really pleased with our first day. I knew I would, I suppose. The question is whether I can sustain my enthusiasm for the whole month, and beyond.

Most of the activities were suggested by the children. Francesca grumbled about doing her thank-yous but she got on with it nicely. Elizabeth was very keen to do her 'work' - which was ALL at her own request - and Sebastian has been happily occupied (in a companionable sort of way) all day. I loved it!

PS This post has taken ridiculously ages to put together with the images jumping all over the place and refusing to go where I want them. This higgledy-piggledy arrangement is as good as it gets tonight folks.

Greetings and a short explanation

Hello from Team Pattisson.

This is Day 1 of our home-school trial.

Francesca is 5 and has already completed her Reception year at school. She totally loved it and she made loads of academic progress but...  I miss her.

For lots of reasons, that I'll probably go into later, I'm rekindling my long-held desire to home educate.

I'm scared though. I don't want to be too hasty in puling her out of school, loosing her school place in the process, only to discover that home educating really isn't for us.

I wish I could ask her opinion. I do ask her opinion, in fact, and she's very enthusiastic about the idea,  but I'm all too aware that neither she nor I really know what we're enthusing about.

Hence the trial.

It's the school holidays, so we have plenty of time to test out our home education process.

Francesca has had one week off school already, doing 'normal' holiday things (and resting - school left her pretty exhausted).

Now we're going to take the next three to four weeks and act as if we were really home schooling.

I have lots of concerns - mainly how I am going to cope with the little siblings, keeping all three children happily occupied whilst also ensuring that Francesca gets enough academic challenge. Later, of course, I'll have to make sure that all three get the right level of challenge and enough attention to sustain their education.

I'm quite prepared to dedicate my time to this but, on the other hand, I have my own projects to work on - my Freshly Baked bread website, not to mention my housework. I need to know whether the novelty will wear off and I'll wish I could just send them all out to school and have my time to myself.

This blog is to record what we do each day and how it works out.

It's for my husband, so that he can help me to evaluate the success of the trial and conclude whether or not to abandon real school in September.

It's for my parents who are enthusiastic supporters of all my trials and tribulations.

And it's for my curious friends who think I'm mad, but are never the less curious to discover what on Earth I'm up to.

So, home schooling, day by day. This is what we did...

PS I'm not going to have much time for editing posts and polishing prose so please excuse the hurried style. It's a log of events, not an essay.