reviewing our first mission statement! [2005-7]

OK, doing this slightly early, but november hits me like that! It was written Jan 2006 when SB approaching 5th birthday

Taking us to feb 2008 – ie SB 7 [2 years]

I think full formal education starts too soon. this first period is about learning learning skills, and getting the information – so reading is something we will build on! making the world an exciting and interesting place to live in and imparting the knowledge without being overly concerned to the most part on how long it is retained! Some skills are built on – namely literacy, language, numeracy and practical things such as art, music and sports. Others will come and go.The key thing is to view the tapestry, not count the stitches. The basic warp and weft will be forming.In this, we are likely to be child led rather than completely autonomous. I see it panning out 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 skip 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.
Play activities are equally vital if not more so at this stage – as when else in the future are you given the chance to have free play without some pangs of guilt? Lets get rid of the guilt, so that is something that is part of the balance. many of the toys can be seen to have all sorts of possible educational benefits, as I think there is very little ‘play’ that doesn’t have some learning potential – from rehearsing life scenarios, honing imagination, fine motor control, etc etc.

OK,OK, I still agree with that as a mission statement, and think that we followed it!

the Nitty Gritty

literacy: and that is that we will be leading up to increased stuff in the next 2 years, hopefully running through the explode the codes – possibly 2 rather than 3 a year! Find as many early readers that fire the imagination without being too awful, and ebay the rest! Encouraging a love of reading from the books – sepearte perhaps the architecture of reading into the explode the code, so the books aren’t so tedious from the language lessons! Continue to read aloud a wide and varied story matter that pleases SB and is chosen by her. On the language arts front perhaps try the first language lessons from susan wise bauer

well, we got to explode the code 4, at which point it achieved what we wanted, and she read and read and read. we have no schemes particularly now [well, magic tree house I guess, because she likes it!] . hmm to first language lessons. we have tried it and it is tedious. might just do grammar when she is interested enough to start writing things. We still read aloud lots of books and stories, and she loves reading. so yes, def happy there.

maths: singapore maths 1a, 1b and starting 2a . Using our miquon if we start to get on with it better [or ebay it] and the ‘exeter’ maths for different perspectives. Also incorporating lots of time just fiddling with manipulatives, and bring maths into the every day. may purchase some cuisinaire books and the pattern blocks to play with.

yep, ticking over here, just starting singapore 2B, miquon has never made it in our family, and waiting for some CIMT books [which exeter maths has become] we do lots of fiddling with maths on an every day basis anyway that isn’t book related. Cuisinaire books at pattern blocks both purchased and used.

History: we have commenced the first story of the world as a reader, and perhaps aim for midway into the second 2 story of the worlds, just seeing how it goes. alongside this we have lots of great usborne books and good piccies in DK eyewitness [the text is too rich at the moment] Also readers set in different time periods, and myths and legends seem to go down well. As I’ve said, we will not be testing recall. In fact, I have decided we probably won’t do timelines etc as yet unless SB develops the idea from elsewhere, and leave them till later on. The story of the world does basic chronology, but we won’t be bound by this on a daily basis, rather following the spark of interest. The Muddlepuddle curriculum will sit nicely in both this and the literacy categories, and we aim to be semi following it.

we have finished the first SOTW. I think halfway through the second was a bit optimistic for us – though highly acheivable for the more focussed! I am glad I decided not to worry about recall, as I imagine there is very little! But you know, there are the threads there, that with interest and future interest and readings will flare into patterns. we have read lots of other books, looked at pictures, enjoyed stories and not worried about timelines.

writing: SB is not so keen on writing any large amounts at the moment, but does like to write small notes and cards to people. At the moment we are not planning any additional writing, but as she gets more confident and keen, we have the getty and dubay series to hone things.

we have started with writing now as SB has requested to learn. in this we are following her pace. She is not a natural pen holder! But, now she has started, I am hoping that one day her writing might be nicer than both parents – you never know! very much work in progress. we are using getty and dubay B at the moment.

critical thinking: I would like to do some critical thinking. May buy a sonlight book!

have bought a book – might even use it one day!

science: I would like to join the young scientists club, and use those and our usborne pocket series. crystal kits, dig it out kits, and general messing about – lovely! our gears and hopefully a brainbox kit will sit nicely here too.

hmm, we go through in and out phases of science. I don’t think we experiment enough really, but she loves reading the books and fiddling about with experiments when we do them. this is a parents could do better category really. Her interest is certainly there.

Geography: will be predominantly history and holiday based, but perhaps something such as geocaching may take SB’s interest?

Actually, we have done more of this than I had thought. a fair bit of map reading and looking, interested in where things are.We have looked at habitats, and since she is very keen on reading about animals and habitats, a lot just comes in with this. still think geocaching would be a good idea.

We should give languages a good crack – german as we have resources and ? Spanish as some of those too. We have the latin is easy [or whatever!] but have not done this in any organised way, and wont unless SB very keen until a bit older.

ermm – ducks and runs. possibly the bit of our educational provision I am most negative about. We will do better!

music :- piano has been requested, and we will do violin as some fun. lots of singing, and listen to a wide range of music methinks.

yep, learning violin and piano, and she is certainly enthusiastic [and has enthused others] . we do far less practice than I would like, but I think we will gradually build up a better and better routine there.

PE: well, she has requested swimming and ballet, we have Katy’s yoga DVD, and I’m sure cycling and walking will occur. She loved gym in Leeds, so if our busy timetable allows it…

gym still awaited, but swimming, ballet, cycling and walking all frequent!

IT: well!! whatever really, would like to get hold of a zoombinis cd, but think it might yet be a bit difficult. we have the internet, a variety of cd’s and webland to be getting on with.

thanks to kirsty for zoombinis – much enjoyed. education city still debatable. on balance probably not, but luckilly we got 2 years in the end for price of one, so doesn’t feel so bad! She still enjoys webland – now the older edition. Also a lot of mileage from jump ahead

Arts and crafts: obviously a huge component of our days! we are a bit low on feathers and glittery bits…

no probs here!!!

Domestic Science!!: slight rofl at title, but a fair bit of baking and cooking, gardening, some tidying and laying the table. May start some sewing and later on she would like to learn to knit [from Nana!]

knitting might have to wait a bit, but we still bake and make!

Socialising: regular attendance at not quite local groups, local clubs [ie rainbows], national camps and making sure we have a steady stream of houseguests. Thanks Heather for the tip of selected holiday clubs. Pestering anyone vaguely local!

success on a plate with rainbows and a village friend that she plays with most weeks. with local HE families and groups, as well as meeting with the muddlepuddle groups we are fine – not excessive numbers, but enough! Rainbows friend has settled my mind though, as a walkable distance friend is very valuable!

What after 7 – well, i have to say I might consider sonlight core 2! I like the look of so many books that it becomes as near as dammit to buy the core and ebay the biblical stuff. Not entirely sure whether we would follow the timetable though, but if we had it, could always give it a whirl. Not commiting myself to that far in the future though.

hmm, much future pondering here! think sonlight less likely. 7 suddenly seems like an important age, where we should be starting to feel in control of our destiny type thing. am aware of a disatisfaction with the process of HE at the moment – needs a bit of sparkle. not sure we are doing the best we can for SB. At her request, we are experimenting with a timetable – which feels weird, and seeing if that encourages the filling in of gaps! No doubt thought will eventually turn into our next mission statement. Not sure what Chris is thinking about this…

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