Reflecting on our Term

This has been a great term!  Having spent last year and the beginning of this year trying our hand at different things such as project based learning and unschooling, we have settled somewhat into a lovely groove of unit studies and project work.

We currently school for five weeks before taking a break.  Each five weeks has a theme and we focus on that for the whole five weeks.  This past term has been all about the Elizabethan times.  It has been full on learning and we have had a blast!  Five weeks seems to be the perfect time scale to maintaining interest, as well as it being the perfect time for me to take a break.  It seems to have got rid of the constant tiredness I was experiencing at the beginning of the year and as such has reignited my enthusiasm for all things homeschool.

Maths

Maths is going brilliantly for all of them as they slowly work their way through Conquer maths.  The incremental method seems to be a perfect fit.  C12 has become somewhat of a perfectionist and requires 100% from herself in every test, refusing to move on until she has achieved that.

L12 has surprised us all, but no one more than herself, by finding herself enjoying maths more and more.  She needs to achieve 85% or above to move on (I set it at that), but often achieves over 90%.  Both girls are working at their age level with L maybe slightly ahead.

T13 finished key stage three in his maths recently and has begun working towards his Maths IGCSE.  He still finds algebra difficult but always gets there in the end.

A6 has joined them on Conquer maths and completed reception year in a couple of months and will have finished year one this summer.  This means she will go into Year two at Year Two level maths.  She is enjoying the curriculum and it, also, seems a very good fit, with her regularly scoring 100%

B4 has not begun Conquer maths yet but has worked her way through almost all of the reception level Heinmann maths books.  She enters Reception year in September and I will probably start her on Reception level Conquer maths then.

All in all, I am very happy with their maths.  They are all where they should be and are enjoying it.  I couldn’t ask for more.  Thanks Conquer Maths!

English

My nemesis.  My Achilles heal.  The one area I am certain I have let down some of my children in.  I shall start with the youngest up wards.

B3 is beginning to learn her alphabet.  She is interested and enjoying the learning but has little or no retention.  I am not concerned.  She is only four.

A6 is Granny’s success story.  She now reads fluently and is able to sit for over an hour concentrating and enjoying being read aloud to.  Her writing is coming along nicely, albeit slowly.  Thanks Mum!

C12’s writing continues to stun me.  She writes with ease and enjoyment.  She has finished her murder mystery novella (which I shall be sharing) and has begun book 2.  Even her non fiction writing is improving (she does not enjoy non fiction) and she actually handed me a piece about Sir Francis Drake which was near perfect.  This is a real step in the right direction for her because she kind of forgets the English language has grammar on occasion!

L12’s writing has probably shown the most improvement.  Hers has always been the highest quality in terms of spelling and grammar but it has matured in content also.  Given they have had no formal grammar or spelling, I am fairly happy with the quality of both my older girls’ work.

Writing and everything linked with writing is still incredibly hard for T13.  He is due to take a physics IGCSE in January, the content of which he understands well.  Expressing his understanding clearly enough to show the examiner he understands is still a struggle for him.  We are in discussions about how to improve this but I feel out of my depth, wondering if I was an actual teacher would I know better how to help him?  The problem is multifaceted.  He finds the physicality of writing hard.  His writing is difficult to read.  He finds ordering his thoughts hard enough, without needing to order them and keep them in his head long enough to write them down.

My heart breaks when I see him berating himself for not achieving what he knows he could, if not for the writing issue.  We had a deep heart to heart last night and I have assured him that Gary, Granny and I will do all we can to help, but I also made it clear the hard graft had to come from him.  I think it frustrates him that whilst understanding comes quite easily, he needs to work much harder to achieve anything writing wise.  I shared with him how I had not had the instant understanding that he has, and at school it was understanding my work which took the most time and effort.  He just has a different problem, but I am sure with hard work and a positive attitude he will achieve his goals.  And I am certain it will be character building at the same time.  I’ll be sharing soon what we will be doing to help him, with particular reference to his upcoming IGCSE.

History/Geography

This has been hugely successful for the three older children and really there is nothing we would change.  They loved their projects which give them a welcome change to study completely independently.  It is now the third day of their holidays and the girls are already asking when school can begin again 🙂

Science

Science hasn’t happened this term.  And that’s alright.

The Little Ones

This term we have been finishing off the Arctic Unit study.  It has been hard to find the time and I know that somehow in the future I need to prioritise their school work, or at the very least make it as important as the older ones.  I’m not quite there yet juggling everyone’s needs, but with each passing week I can see an improvement.  Mum is being a huge help having just recently got the home schooling bug herself.  I am so grateful for her help because, to be honest, I sometime feel like I am being split into many different pieces whilst trying to meet everyone’s needs.

I will be posting soon what we shall all be doing during our next five week term.  I hope you are all having  a wonderful summer holidays.

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