Monday, 8 September 2014

A shift in purpose

The original purpose of this blog was to document the ups and downs of seeking a diagnosis for the boys, when we set off down that road I struggled to find any real information and had very little idea of what to expect.

Now we have that diagnosis I'm going to divert to another project for a while . . .

Earlier this year I became aware of the idea of "100 days of home ed,"  the basic premise is to document 100 days of life in a home edding family.  There is a Facebook group collating blogs, and it is really interesting seeing the broad spectrum of home ed recorded there.

The posts can serve as raw data for those thinking about home ed and not knowing what they are jumping into, or as inspiration for those wobbling, or just as a way to build a sense of "we are not alone."

The days recorded range in style from formal to unschooling - scheduled days to free-form living.

So, I'm going to give it a try - I'm not really great at blogging regularly, but what can go wrong . . .

Today - Monday - day One!

We don't follow school terms as such, I often get a bit surprised when school holidays sneak up on me and there are actual *children* in the parks during the day, so whilst most of the children around us went back to school at some point over the last week, we waited for this week.  Mostly because all of the kids clubs restart this week, so we had to get organised and moving.

M, J and A started the day with a home ed sports meet - they played quick cricket with a fairly large group. The younger three all enjoy their Monday morning sports, but L dropped out as soon as he could.  He is not really into sport at all and at 15 1/2 towers over most of the other children there.

Whilst the younglings were out L and I hit the books for some Math and English work.  We've not done English as a discrete subject for a long time, L's dyslexia made reading comprehension very difficult, so we've worked on the skills in a sideways manner - reading for other subjects, spelling in other contexts.  We're aiming at a GCSE in the near future, possibly this year, more likely next, so we're beginning to formalise how we approach the subject.  I was pleasantly surprised when L aced the first two thirds of the reading comp exercise - an enormous improvement, and confirmation that we've built skills and confidence along the way - he was less sure of the essay type question, so we looked at that together, discussing technique far more than the actually answering the question (which he was able to cover himself once he understood how.)  The Maths was a breeze, but at this stage we're revising stuff he's already done to try and improve his grade (he took Maths IGCSE last summer, passed well enough but feels he could do better.  I'd happily leave it as the grade stands, but if he thinks he can do better then I guess I have to help him.)  After that we had a random conversation, and then L disappeared up to his room.

After a rest M was ready to do some work, so we looked at standard form in Maths, common and abstract nouns in English, materials and their uses in Science, and he read to me.  M is very driven by external rewards, and still (at 12) enjoys books that provide stickers for encouragement.  That surprised me a bit, but I'm happy to go with what works :)

A came down next, and slowly started to drive me mad.  She loves workbooks, I had to limit her to four pages of maths, which is a huge difference to the boys.  With them I seem to wind up encouraging them to just finish the exercise, with her it's more "that's enough lets move on to something else!"  so we looked at tens and units (again!) in various forms, and did some multiplication.  She worked through some grapheme exercises (looking at strings of letters that make the same sounds), did a spelling ladder (change on letter each time to make a new word from the clues,)  looked at life processes, and plants, read a book, drew some pictures about the book . . .

At that point I felt as though I'd been stuck in the dining room all day, although it was really only lunch time.  So the hungry hordes descended and ravaged the kitchen.

J stayed down after lunch, we did some handwriting practise - he still struggles with stamina in his hands, and has poor fine motor skills.  Slowly we're getting there, but it still hampers him a lot.  Then we worked on nouns in English, positive and negative numbers, place order, and words to numbers, numbers to words.  He found a science book and wanted to work through that, so we did life processes and parts of a flower, then he read a life of Fred book for a while.

Later the boys went for a bike ride, A went out to play with local friends, and L is currently at a weekly games night.

In between there has been cooking, Mine craft, and random drawings.

So that's our day one. The rest of the week looks manic!

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