Precious Moments – Reflections

Well, we made it!  The end of an excellent six week term.  For me this term was all about encouraging the older children to almost complete autonomy and stepping up with my younger two.  And to some extent this has been fairly successful.

Each Friday I conference with each of my teens one to one.  Usually my goal is to check in, make sure they are in line with achieving the goals they set themselves at the beginning of the term, confirming their expectations for themselves for the coming week and ironing out any issues they may have had during the past week.

I used this Friday’s conferencing time to reflect over the past term, seeing if there was anything which needed to be changed to improve the coming term and to tentatively set further goals.

Thomas was first, mug of steaming hot chocolate and marshmallows in hand, he plonked himself down on the bed (we use our bedroom as it is the only room not being used by someone else, and one in which we might achieve a modicum of peace to talk).

On the whole he was very happy with how things were going.  He had thoroughly enjoyed his school work this term and has found we are finally getting the right balance between school work, chores and screen time (we have all worked really hard on this).  However, he has big struggles between juggling his ever expanding social life and his school work.  He ‘reassured’ me that he would be perfectly willing to give up school work in order to have more social time.  Ahem.  On a more serious note, Thomas does so much that he feels permanently tired.  He is a people person through and through.  The two of us have compromised, discussed and compromised on expectations, with me standing firm on the fact that chores are not an option and him insisting neither is his social life!  He works really hard on his school work each day and he never has any extra to do in the evenings.  We are definitely a stay at home home schooling family so Thomas primarily socialises in the late afternoon/evening.  Unfortunately he has a propensity for his mother’s active mind and struggles to switch off at night, so is not getting to sleep as early as we would like.  He has no electronics in his room and has an hour built into his schedule to read and relax but he still finds it hard.  Over our break we will be discussing some ways to help this (do feel free to leave any handy hints you think might be useful).

His actual school work is going very well.  He is enjoying algebra and finding it much easier than he thought he would.  He finds the chemistry hard work but easy to understand and apply and has been getting back some great results in his marked pieces of work (we have paid for a course and within that he is able to get each piece of work marked by someone else).  As always the separate writing/English work he does each afternoon he finds laborious and very very hard.  He thinks he might possibly be over doing it a bit, questioning whether it might be a good idea if he dropped some of it 🙂

Thomas has enjoyed the re-addition of a quiet time after lunch and has been working his way through the Cherub series, but is finding as the main character gets older the content of the books is aimed at an older audience.  He has decided not to read any more of them and is looking for a new series to try.  Anyone out there with teens boys who know of any great book series?

Collage is going well.  He has made a couple of friends and is enjoying the course content, although it is with a caveat – you’ll never guess?  Yup, too much writing!  His day is divided up into three sessions.  The first is on the engineering world, the second is investigating an engineered product (the mobile phone) and the third is the engineering workshop.

All in all a very happy, albeit tired young man.

Next up was Lillie.  Once again she said this was her best term yet.  And said she had nothing to complain about 🙂   That said, tiredness is a problem with her also but for a different reason to Thomas.  Lillie, sleepwise, is more like Gary.  She needs her sleep and lots of it.  Unlike her brother and twin she has no wish to stay up any later than necessary.  She always tucks down at nine and is asleep within minutes.  She is up at seven, which gives her ten hours, but I think she feels she could do with more.

Lillie mentioned that she finds her IGCSE maths much harder than key stage three and whilst she is muddling through, she doesn’t enjoy it as much as she did before.

She loves her project based learning, which is all about the impressionist artists.  She feels she is learning lots which she can apply to her own art.  She likes that she has clearly set goals each week and finds them much easier to reach now she has got into the routine of her day.  She can not wait to learn about Saurat and try her hand at pointillism.

Lillie is also very much enjoying her interest led learning, which up until Christmas is her mixed media art.  She has five more pieces to do with Spring Time Splendor  and nine for her I Am a Masterpiece course.  She really enjoys getting together with Grace on a Tuesday to do art.

On the subject of art, she has been accepted onto an art course the local art university runs.  It is the university she hopes to go to.  The course runs for a year, every Saturday for about five hours.  She starts in November and is so incredibly excited 🙂

The one thing she hasn’t liked is quiet time when they traditionally read.  Of my older children she reads the least, preferring to be doing something with her hands instead.  She has requested that she be allowed to make jewellery instead.

And last but not least Charlotte.  For me, this term had been least successful for Charlotte and I was looking forward to finding out why, and whether she, in fact, agreed with my summation.  She did.

Maths wise she is simply plodding on.  She is no fan of numbers, never has been.  But she reluctantly does an hour each day.  Piano and singing are going well as is English IGCSE, which she is thoroughly enjoying.  She has loved getting her quiet time back and has enjoyed using that time to make a dent in her Victorian literature finishing Tess of the D’ubervilles and Wuthering Heights.

It has been the interest led learning which she has found so dis-satisfactory, but it was hard for both of us to figure out why.  Charlotte had figured out that she really does not like deadlines, preferring to work at her own speed, yet conversely she has felt like she has not accomplished very much this term.  She said she felt like she didn’t have enough to do.  This requires a bit of thinking.  I don’t think we’ve quite got to the bottom of this yet.

On a happier note, she is very much enjoying her project on a Victorian Christmas, so much so she is thinking about incorporating it into her blog.

A8 and B5 have been working hard and I am looking forward to taking them through history just like I have the older children.  I hope next term will be focusing even more on the younger set as my older ones become even more independent.  I am currently planning out their first history unit on the Stone Age.  This is new territory to me as I never did the Stone Age with the older ones, so I am quite excited.

Next week I will be posting all our plans for the up and coming term.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend.