Monday, 5 January 2015

Structure - It's All in the Preparation...

It was our first day 'back-to-not-school' today.  Home Education in its fullest sense doesn't really work in "terms" as children are growing and learning all the time - but my involvement when it comes to planning definitely does work in terms, and today my most structured plan to date kicked in.  I'm still a bit nervous about it as I don't want to impose heavy demands and put the boys off, but we had fun this morning at least.

We started off with a little Bible time - we're reading a Psalm a day (though the longer psalms may be read over several days), and then had breakfast before the boys got on to MathsWhizz.  Youngest did some of a maths workbook instead as he hit a wall in his online curriculum last month and is still finding the exercises too difficult.  I know from experience that he just needs a break while his brain catches up with the new demands, so we've switched to a different method for now, just consolidating what he already knows.

After maths it was time to introduce or new topic: Vikings!  Obviously I wanted a topic that would interest and inspire the boys, and they are all keen on the 'How to Train your Dragon' series, which gave me the idea.  Also, the Vikings are not too much later that the Romans (studied last year) in British history, so it all seems to fit nicely.  Certainly this morning's picture book, "How to be a Viking" was very well received.  We looked particularly at the ship in the book, and then produced some painted-paper collages of Viking ships, inspired by this activity, found on Pinterest.  It was quite a long project, so we made the painted paper first, then had a break to read the book while the paper dried - and then finished with all the drawing outlines, cutting and sticking (not to forget spraying white paint using old toothbrushes - which always goes down well!).  Lovely results, we all agreed...

by Youngest

by Eldest

by Middle

After that it was time for lunch - and as Mummy still gets to choose the first TV programme of the day, we watched the first part of "Snow wolf Family and Me" while we munched.  Wildlife documentaries are a family favourite, so it was no surprise that we all loved it!

They are all playing elsewhere now while I write up my blog - and I have to say, that was a pretty easy, relaxed but full day!  I did spend a few intense days over the holidays preparing and researching for ideas and resources, but once it was all turned into a half-termly plan, it is now really easy to follow.  And that was the idea really: to do as much of the work as possible in advance, so that once the term started I could just follow the route I had set out for us and be able to just enjoy it with the boys.  Reverting to teacher-mode I may be, at least in terms of planning, but it's worked well for day one at least.  Long may it continue!

PS this is our plan for the week...

I do also have a 6-weekly plan for my own reference, from which I move the planned activities - adjusting them where necessary - onto a weekly one to stick onto the fridge so the boys can see it if they want to (they rarely do).  By the way, and for those interested: WAA stands for Wildlife Action Awards, which is an initiative from the RSPB to encourage young children to be interested in wildlife and the environment.

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