Friday, 19 July 2019

Siblings In July & Our Home Ed End Of Year "Report"

If it feels like it's only been 5 minutes since my last Siblings update...well, that's because it has!

But now that I'm back to sharing them regularly on here again, I want to make sure I get back to something of a regular mid-month posting schedule with them - so it may have only been 2 weeks since I wrote June's update, but here is July's right on time anyway!

I've really been enjoying taking my "big camera" out with me again lately, after what feels like a year or so of not really bothering with it.

And although the boys have to be persuaded bribed to stand still for a photograph, Noah is the exact opposite and ADORES any opportunity to strike a pose in front of a camera!

The summer days have meant we've been out and about a lot, and that's given me plenty of opportunity to indulge in impromptu photo sessions which has been nice.

Who knows, maybe this year I'll finally get around to taking a photography course and getting to grips with the DSLR a bit more! I've had it for 5 years now, so probably about time I learned how to use it properly!

As I wrote our last Siblings post so recently, I thought I'd do something a bit different with this one and sum up our Home Ed academic year.

July is the time when the schools break up and my Facebook timeline is always flooded with end of year school reports, and declarations of achievements from all of the proud parents - and that's lovely, of course. But because home educated children aren't rewarded with Star of The Week certificates or given appraisals from teachers in the same way, it can sometimes feel like there isn't the same opportunity to declare pride for all to see - so I like to write our own little report.

It's also a really nice opportunity to look back on our year, and take stock of how far we've come.

If I had to summarise my feelings around Tyne's educational journey this year in one short phrase, it would be "at ease".

I feel completely at ease with how far he's come, where we're at and the road ahead - which is a pretty nice feeling, as I haven't always felt like this. Infact I've been prone to a fair bit of worry about how his education compares to school children and where he is in comparison to them.

But he has truly come on in leaps and bounds over the last 6 months or so. My sister works in a primary school with children the same age as Tyne, and she often brings over reading books which are banded according to the schools reading system - it seems that Tyne is reading on the same level as other children in his age group according to these books and the opinion of my sister, which was reassuring (although of course all children are different and there is absolutely no right or wrong on was simply something I felt unsure about. Many home educators take the approach of not formally teaching reading at all until a child is over 7 or shows interest on their own, and this has been proven to be a very successful method).

He's also shown much more interest in writing, and seems to have a natural knack for spelling. He does still struggle a little with getting some letters and numbers (mostly d, b and 7) back to front when writing, but I'm happy that this is normal for his age.

He is very skilled at typing and does much prefer this to writing by hand, and he has a very extensive vocabulary for his age.

His passion for history remains strong, and when he chooses his monthly topic of interest it is always guaranteed to be history related!

He does reading practice, English and Maths every week day and he does topic-related work once per week.  He also uses some educational programmes online such as Reading Eggs, Mathseeds and Doodlmaths.

He goes to a weekly class at a place called Tubers where he learns about camera work, video editing and coding (as well as having some free play time for gaming and socialising!), and he attends a weekly forest school class too.

For next year, I'm thinking about buying a set curriculum to make my planning a little easier and we're also going to be adding drama classes and Beavers to his list of extra-curricular activities too.

Noah would have been due to start reception in September, but as we've now decided to stick with home education full time - she won't be going and will instead be starting to do some more regular home ed related activities at home.

Noah likes to be involved in everything, and so she often asks if she can do "some home ed work" when she sees Tyne sitting down at the table to do his - I did buy her some Nursery level work books which she likes to do, they are very basic and pretty much limited to mark making as I don't really believe in introducing much else this early but starting from September we'll start to do some reading practise and learn some letter formation too.

Noah does use the Teach My Monster To Read app which I think has really helped a lot with her letter recognition, and she'll start using Reading Eggs and Mathseeds regularly from September onwards too.

As for socialising, Noah has been attending all of the home ed meets that we take Tyne to for a couple of years now and so she already has some friends within the home ed community which is great but I do plan on making more of an effort on regular playdates just for her and also trying to encourage her to start a class too. She's interested in ballet and gymnastics, but is really not keen on the idea of joining any groups for some reason!

As for Sailor, we are considering the possibility of trying him in a play school setting for a couple of mornings each week from September onwards just to give him the opportunity to mingle with more children his own age.

He spends a lot of time around older children and he seems to be really comfortable engaging with them, but I think he could do with a bit more time with his own age group too - so we'll see if we manage to find somewhere suitable.

As of right now, Sailor's learning is all done completely through play and this will be the case until next September when he would be of school age.

All in all, we've had a really successful home ed year with lots of friends made, lots of progress made, and lots of fun had.

We've had some great days out including a home ed theatre trip to see Horrible Histories Live, and some great educational holidays too including a mini cruise where we visited Holland and Belgium, and trips to Cornwall and Bluestone where we had some great educational days out.

Although we don't tend to stop home ed work completely in July and August as the children have a lot of holidays throughout the year so working through the summer sort of "makes up" for the time we spend away, I do still see it as the end of the academic year and look to September as a bit of a fresh start so I'm looking forward to planning for the year ahead.

The beauty of home ed though is that work is done and dusted within a couple of hours, and the rest of the day is theirs to enjoy - which stills allows plenty of time for adventures!

Happy Summer!

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