Since I have spent ages thinking about SB’s HE this year, discussing books with her, subjects, plans etc, I guess I should also think about BB. the temptation is just to cut and paste the one for SB at this age! However, allthough the basic principles of our ethos are the same, the 2 children are v different in personality, styles and needs. Whereas SB was a keen people pleaser who wanted to learn, and was happy to learn however it was presented, and it has gradually taken time to find what suits her well, BB is really far more individualistic and internally motivated – ie as a translation is not going to do it because i ask! Also, I think we are more relaxed as a family this second time round. We understand the value of dead ends, false starts and rethinking, so there is less pressure to ‘get it right’ and more belief ‘in the process’.
anyway, here goes – normal disclaimers still apply!
Taking us to sept 2014 – ie BB 9 [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 we want to start and hope to 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. There are things i would like to keep moving forward with – reading, a bit of maths, encouraging french , and things that i know we will do a fair bit of – joint looking at books, art and crafts, and things in the inbetween’ and will be child interest led. I think we most closely could be labelled as automous. 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. BB has a clear idea of what she finds interesting at the moment, and so it seems entirely reasonable to look at these and follow the spark of her interest over the years. I have no prioritised information, or educational heirachy to worry about, so following her self led discovery seems as good a pointer as any. Also, with having a home educated older sibling, she can’t help but have some overspill from that input.
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. For BB, who sometimes struggles to work out what other people might be thinking, play is a very important rehearsing tool
the Nitty Gritty
we will be increasing the emphasis here for at least the beginning of the next 2 years. BB in the last 2 years has got to grips with learning to read and made progress. She loves books, reading to herself etc. SHe is not so enthusiastic about reading aloud, as this shows where she struggles and has glitches. Obviously though this is how to progress. I think it is vital she progresses as quickly as possible. She clearly has a need to be able to read better, it would assuage her boredom, it might distract her from her current obsession with roblox… She has liked the songbird series which we used up to level6 [just seen amazon doing the 6 levels at an abs fab price!], but can’t find a 7, and we are currently on 7 of ORT magic key series [which we have used in parallel – she will only read a book once, so best to have more to practice with, and also reading usborne short chapter books. Might try the ORT snapdragons or give our magic tree house chapter books a try… Hoping by the next update she is a fully fledged independent reader, and that we will be starting or ready to start on Galore Park junior english! In the next year we will also start perhaps on the collins spelling series.
We are also encouraging a love of reading by separating the architecture of reading into the explode the code, so the books aren’t so tedious from the language lessons! and continuing to read aloud a wide and varied story matter that pleases BB and is chosen by her. We do use reading eggs and starfull websites as well. She is enjoying writing short stories in unique spellings, and also practicing handwriting with getty and dubay. we are encouraging a little reading or writing every day if possible.
singapore maths we are on the 2a, having had quite a hiatus getting the concept of HTU – for which we bought base 10 blocks, did a lot of spending money etc. She is not naturally keen on doing maths, and this makes me realise how pro-active we were with SB, and worrying that should be trying harder with BB! Also incorporating lots of time just fiddling with manipulatives, and bring maths into the every day. We also have some cuisinaire books and the pattern blocks to play with. I am hoping we will do approximately 1 level per year though.
Mostly we will be doing this with SB, so story of the world 3 [poss 4] carrying on from the 1 and 2 with associated crafts we have done, looking though our various [amny] lovely books – i wonder why’s, usborne books, the through time series etc. Going to interested historical places and museums. This year we have reenacted tudor years at Kentwell which bb enjoyed more than i had hoped, and we will do again. we also have our island story on cd which they enjoy, and clearly BB is perfect age for horrible histories! [argh!].
Actually we do regular science experiments, and BB enjoys these. We have again lots of early science readers i read to SB at this age. She also joins in with the scienc we do alt weds, which has taken us through real science for kids chemistry and physics which she has enjoyed, and we are currently using our microscopes. She has enthusiasm for astronomy currently as well, getting a telescope last christmas and learning a few of the simple constellations to spot. She says she wants to do galore park junior science books. we will see! [but not quite yet]
will be predominantly history and holiday based
We should give languages a good crack
SB is doing french, and so sensible to do with BB, we tend to read the story books altogether, and listen to the CD’s – serge is a favourite! I have the first skoldo as a work book, and just bought the tatou books to see how that works [she is v happy to have her own books, but think they aren't intuitive!] . i just want us to pootle in a forwards direction!
BB currently appears to have perfect pitch, so i encourage lots of singing and note mimicry. she is leanring the recorder, and i would quite like her to consider another instrument. Currently she is resistant, so i am not pushing, but we try a huge variety of instruments.
currently swimming, judo and gym lessons and cycling. she is very fit and active, and seems a sturdy runner.
well!! whatever really, posion rouge, zoombinis cd, webland to be getting on with.
Arts and crafts:
obviously a huge component of our days! BB seems to have quite a flair for art and crafts. SHe can find t very difficult when it doesn’t come out as se plans it to, and so can be very frustrated. however, often I am amazed by her execution, and so encourage practice of different styles, techniques and she joins BB at arts award lessons. We have quite a few arts resources books as well
BB is v keen on hands on building and technical things, particularly lego, but also woodworking with DH, and taking apart old electrical items and exploring what is in them. An engineer in the making?
Domestic Science!!: slight rofl at title, but a fair bit of baking and cooking, gardening, and some sewing , but mostly eating the baking
Socialising: regular attendance at not quite local groups, local clubs , national camps and making sure we have a steady stream of houseguests.
hmm, reading this I realise how different our approach has been to BB over SB. SB was child led, BB is totally autonomous. having looked at the mission statement above, i am not sure whether we will be considering a change from autonomous to child led at all. however, i would like to give BB a small try on the different structure to see whether she enjoys it or not. I can’t make my mind up!
I would like to try and read one or 2 of theinteresting ‘fact books’ with BB a week. i would like th encourage the french alongside SB, some regular maths and reading of some nature and recorder practice [plus other instrument if she fancies it]. i would also like to make available various iT resources for her to play with as well.
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