ok,MS 2010

This is the next mission statement for SB, to last jan 2010 to 2012 [oh my goodness!!] when she will be just short of 11th birthday. But an initial immediate disclaimer!


I guess, this is going to be a slight change in pace for our mission statement. We are moving out of our first period of home ed, and into the second, consolidating and expanding phase. This is where we hopefully make sure she has a solid ground start, and then gradually work on accelerating the learning/doing pace vs the fiddle faddle space for when secondary school age. We absolutely reserve the right though to change this mission statement dependent on SB’s preferences as this 2 year period passes.

we have, I think, delivered more or less on our basic mission statement for SB. She has, i believe, gained a basic warp and weft tapestry of knowledge that now we should start to embroider with extension of the things that she loves. Not that we have tested her knowledge in anyway, and it is possible that she retains no knowledge of anything. She reads fluently, enjoys and progresses with maths, has a wide enjoyment of learning, including history, science and biographies. We have started out the path to music, with some hitches along the way, and SB is developing a clear idea of music styles she enjoys, including jazz. We have also started out with languages. We have had a lot of fun, done a lot of playing, visiting, messing about and forming bonds with other home educators who have become her friends and peers.

We need to encourage her to see the need to strengthen the areas of weakness, so that learning is not prone to unravel unexpectedly in the future. Since this is is something she doesn’t enjoy so much, we need to find and agree levels that will incrementally lead to improvement, but don’t make it an unbearable chore, scaffolding and encouraging. this is most noticeable in the area of english language, grammar and spelling. At present we don’t write or record many of the things we do, because of the dislike and difficulty writing. I think that we gradually should start to encourage a record, be it lap book, mostly drawings or photos and a few words of some of the experiments/trips out and about, and ‘topics’ should we do them. This isn’t something that will come naturally, so we will consider how this might work for us – perhaps a learning journal?

In progressing forward, we hope that SB will more and more choose what to concentrate on, and what are the resources she likes to use and how. We hope that she will now begin determine the shape that the fabric of her education will take. Certainly, when we find the right resource for her – like currently the dk project books – she is capable of prolonged focused study and discussion. This is a period of emotional growth and change as well, and our home ed will aim to support personal development too.

One of the problems of home educating and blogging is seeing the best of other peoples home ed, and contrasting it with your areas of weakness or vacillation. we have more structured friends, whose children appear to be romping ahead in all areas very happily, we have more autonomous friends whose children appear to be having more fun, creating a very individual identity, we have friends who extrovertly educate, going to lots of workshops, events and just knocking my socks off with the wow factor, and those that lapbook and project and those whose children are driven by special interests… We can’t be all these different people, but will try and use their expertise and influence to perhaps balance our home ed, being a check to whether we can do anything better than we are.

So we will remain child led rather than completely autonomous. I see it continuing that there are activities we try and accomplish on a regular basis, be this daily, weekly, fortnightly or what seems reasonable . The actual minutiae will not be programmed, and will be child interest led. Although I have rough idea of what we may get through as such in the next 2 years, it isn’t ‘must do or else’, and often I will stillskip bits : more a guide to where i see us being. SB has a wide ranging thirst at the moment, and so it seems unreasonable to fix her attention on something she truly deems boring when there are many other things to catch her spark. but i think we will gradually be encouraging some structure – for her to find her own best patterns within it, but that she develops a balance that suits between pure play, enjoyed, enriching learning and the targeted ‘hard slog’ learning. Currently, she has been experimenting with a ‘pick ‘n mix’ timetable, where there are 50 or so ‘somethings’ and she tries to work for 20-30 of them, each prob with an average time of 15 mins, but with possibility to do much more.

I think the other key issue, which runs as a theme throughout, is that as parents we need to be tidier, keeping resources tidy and accessible – we can be helped and enabled by SB.

As before, i will do a nitty gritty consideration of curriculum , and am putting in links to some of the resources. Again, i reiterate that this is a rough draft planning of possible goals, but i do not tie myself or SB down to achieving them, and we may change our minds completely over course. it is a rough working for us to see what might be. It is unlikely to submitted to the LA

the Nitty Gritty


to read herself a wide a varied amount of literature, encouraging her to try new genres and authors, and to stretch her imagination. to still read aloud to her a variety of stories, again across different genres and writing styles.

to start to discuss the mechanics of style and writing in the books, stories, poetry etc we come across. not much to start with -don’t want to impede the reading explosion! but to start thinking about why she liked bits, what the story is about, what interests are sparked from it, and perhaps the use of language. This might be aided by a book club or group? She was quite interested by friends doing nanowrimo in the short childs version this year, so we will try it next year.

SB is also doing a small amount regularly of the galore park english, being on book 1 at the moment, and we would perhaps like to have finished this and be moving through book 2 perhaps if all goes well. this is one of her areas of struggle though, so just doing a tiny bit regularly is the aim. If we find something she prefers to do to this, we will swap!


SB has stated an interest in writing more legibly, and was gradually working through getty and dubay. this has stopped for a while, but we have discussed it and plan to carry on with this. i hope to add some story writing or copywork activitities if she fancies it.to start her on the path to writing her own stories – encouraging the use of grammer and spelling! Writing could perhaps also be encouraged in keeping a journal for experiments or for trips out and about. We will perhaps see if lapbooking will interest her?


we don’t do any drama at the moment, which i think is a bit of a shame. I am hopeful that we can look at some opportunities in the next 2 years. i would also like to start visiting the theatre more again, now BB is older.


singapore maths we are halfway through 3b at the moment, and hoping to move through a year of singapore with each calendar year, so perhaps getting towards the end of 5b. it just depends really! SB loves this series, has no interest, she says, in trying anything else.

To add a bit of sparkle and interest, we will try and do some maths experimentation from our DK book.

we have quite a few maths story books that we all enjoy.

A friend is contemplating primary maths challenge, and SB is keen currently to do it next year.


we haven’t completed the second story of the world as a reader, although we had planned too. We are still enjoying it, however, and will finish that and commence the third. We will hope to do more of the activities as well – perhaps a bit of parental pre-planning! alongside this we have lots of great usborne books, other good books and good piccies in DK eyewitness

I would like us to consider pulling out a few things to do larger topic work on, as we did the vikings, mixing crafts, history, visiting, dvd’s etc. SB is currently really enjoying a DK mediaeval project book, which suggests this might be a place to start. certainly we are near enough a few castles!

Also readers set in different time periods, and myths and legends seem to go down well. we can use this to spark interest and discuss as and when she fancies
we may start to introduce timelines, and see where this gets us .

Historical re-enactments and visits should add some external WOW to learning, and we will try and make the most of opportunities.

critical thinking:

We are working our way through the bond verbal and non verbal reasoning books, which SB enjoys – particularly the non verbal, where she is working on the 9-10 book, as opposed to the 8-9 for verbal. the problems with spelling and grammar hinder the verbal reasoning. ALthough this may sound dull and dry, she really enjoys them, like her mum there!

We play lots of board games as well.


this is a multipronged pronged event. We read a fair number of easy access science books – such as those by jaquie bailey and meredith hooper. the magic school bus chapter books and programmes are a hit, and contain solid wodges of info in easily accessible formats. i think as she loves them, this is definitely something to encourage. Science is a no brainer subject for us, she loves it, we love it and great enjoyment had fiddling and learning! may have to kit out a lab one day!

SB is also doing a small amount regularly of the galore park science book, being on book 1 at the moment, and we would perhaps like to have finished this and be nearing the end of book 2 if not on book 3, depending on whether she continues to like this series. At the moment she is also racing through schofield and simms science workbooks for key stage 2 after picking one up casually!

We are aiming to do regular experiments at home, and have a number of kits and resources. i am hoping to encourage at least a small write up in a learning journal. We are also part of a fortnightly meeting where we do more science experiments with a bit of a theme.

We try to go to a number of RI events in the year, as well as the local science festival to add some external WOW to this area.

We have joined the astronomy group, but need to go more regularly and hopefully hiring one of their telescopes again, as we all learned a lot last time and really enjoyed it.


will still be predominantly history and holiday based, but perhaps something such as geocaching may take SB’s interest if we do it more regularly, and also working out cycling routes? it also gets covered alot as part of other things.

Actually, since writing that, we have started postcrossing, and all the excitement of writing and sending, then receiving postcards and plotting them on our map is proving quite thrilling at the mo.


we have good resources for french, and we are trying to regularly use french for a small conversation, and also to read some toddler french books and base words around this. we have enjoyed doing this, and some words are retained. I am not sure this is the most efficient or best way of learning french, but we are are least learning some and enjoying it. i think we might try out rosetta stone. it is expensive, but i think it may be the time to give it a go with a trial before buying.

I am trying to supplement this with dvd/video/cd’s and may, hopefully, have some french sessions with a friend on perhaps a fortnightly basis,

we have for the last 2 years had a short camping holiday in france, and plan to continue this. i am not sure about sending SB on an en famille camp, but may host.

We perhaps need to work a bit more regularly at latin. this is done on a fortnightly basis, but possibly a look in between times would be useful!

music :-

piano is probably SB’s favourite, and we will encourage regular practice
recorder is also practiced, and am hoping SB can attend a local venue regularly enough for Gina to continue teaching. SB is hoping to do grade 1 clarinet, recorder and music theory and piano, and perhaps a grade 2 on 1 or 2 of these instruments in this 2 year period [eek!]

i have some first duet books to add a bit of a difference with our playing, and hope to regularly write group music for SB and friends to a level they are comfortable with.

we will also do lots of singing, and listen to a wide range of music – i don’t think we have enough background music on in the house, and since we have so much…

At some point, we may possibly add a bit of composer study, should SB show inclination or interest, but not necessarily.

for the out and about WOW factor, SB has really enjoyed holiday orchestra, doing singing, musical games and recorder, and is v keen to do again. there are a number of events nearly locally that she can participate in.

i also want us to start going out to more concerts. BB is def not interested, and i think for sb too they would still have to be short, but she did enjoy the LSO


is covered well at the moment, and we will continue to encourage a core sports practice and trying out all sorts of new ideas.

current activities are ballet, gym, swimming and judo on a weekly basis
She also goes to a variety of HE group sports as and when they happen.

she has a present of some golf lessons, so we can see if she enjoys it.

more ad hoc are yoga and dance videos [which i should do too!!], wii fit, and perhaps finding someone to get her started with in line skating. half term and holiday leisure centre taster events also popular


surprisingly, this is an area which we are not using much at the moment. SB prefers reading and playing to IT. our computers did break, which was prob v unhelpful, and we have not got back into using them. perhaps a few new and interesting cdroms will kickstart.

Arts and crafts:

we do a fair amount of art and crafting, using fimo and hama beads, kits and paints in a freestyle way

I would like to add in some art appreciation, look at different artists and styles, and ‘have a go’ now SB is getting more confident in painting

SB periodically is interested in tuesday sketch, so I might encourage this as well

Domestic Science!!:

slight rofl at title, but a fair bit of baking and cooking [which she is already skilled at], gardening, some tidying and laying the table. SHe is interested in sewing and knitting too, so it is just about making sure the basics are available and accessible for her to do when the mood strikes, or re-introducing if there has been a gap.

personal development

we will think about supporting her through the hormones and body changes to come, taking advice from people that have been there before! getting good books, and hopefully building on the groundwork of loving family and good friends to give her confidence in who she is.


regular attendance at not quite local groups, local clubs [ie rainbows], national camps and making sure we have a steady stream of houseguests.

family is also very important, and maintaining close family ties and bonds. this is likely to be an emotionally fragile era, due to both hormonal changes and external sad events.

trips and outings:

i think we should be a bit more proactive now BB more amenable to going out and about to places for experiential learning opportunities. this would add a bit of sparkle and pizazz to the whole thing, add external excitement for looking at some things, and generally be fun for all.


we have lots of resources and opportunities, i think in the next 2 years we parents have to hone our presentation skills, storage solutions etc, so that they are all readily accessible for SB to find . i think we need a ruthless look at groups that work or not for SB, and keep an eye on the opportunities to play and socialise.

If we actually did achieve what i have listed above, i would be a very happy bunny! The devil is in the implementation! life gets in the way etc etc, but i think we really must try.

obviously we do a lot of ed by conversation and seeing where that goes – sometimes quite tricky, so the other thing is to make sure that we are available , enthusiastic partners in the educational process.

it is harder to really look at this in any more detail, as SB really will become more and more the driving force for her education, depending on her interest. I think for me, it is enough to know that i think we have resources and information and enthusiasm to back her up, but also to at this stage continue to encourage and lead and offer where necessary. i would hope that for the most part she will be autonomous and enthused about continuing to learn and find out. That we will have facilitated her spending ages on minutiae, and whipping through huge subjects in nano seconds where less interesting to her, and that she will start to be setting the agenda and goals for us to provide for.

4 responses to “ok,MS 2010

  1. Oh yes, DK project books! I *knew* there was something I had in mind for Ernest! Off to browse …

  2. giggle, my amazon affiliate thing has been dormant for yonks, so if this springboards it back to life i won’t cry!! but i do love the dk project books for SB, as does she. bitesize, lots of reading, searching for the answers, negligible writing…

  3. This has made some very interesting reading – I love seeing what other folks use and do! I haven’t put anything like this together for ages ~ it gets too complicated with 7!

    Just a thought about your art… have you looked at ‘Artistic Pursuits’? We use it and I love it. I am NOT arty – at all – but I love the way it has of introducing art history and appreciation and then using that as a springboard for pieces of art and art projects. It is not stifling or prescriptive at all and always encourages the children to ‘daydream’ and draw/produce what they love. It also teaches how to use different mediums (very useful to me) and when. It’s not the cheapest – but it IS brilliant! We finished the K-3 Bk1 last term and even Jake (now 12) was joining in still! I’ve skipped a few (as I don’t have them) and we are starting G4-6 Bk2 this term. It would probably be better to do them in order, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much as each has it’s own theme. Take a look – http://www.artisticpursuits.com.
    I know there is a UK supplier, but I’d have to check out who that is as I can’t remember! :D
    Have Fun in the year ahead with your girls :D

  4. thanks caroline, will go and have a look! the dk books are on special offer with the book ppl currently…

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