Reflections: 2012-2013 Academic Year – Littles

As we are drawing to a close on our academic year (just 5 full weeks left to go), I find myself in my usual reflective mood.  What did we do well?  What was a failure?  And what do we change to make next year our best ever?

What worked well?

  • Including B2 in school
  • Having the 1 1/2 hours alone with the littles whilst the older ones did some independent study
  • A concentrated art time and science time each week
  • Nap or quiet time each day
  • BFIAR book activities – both girls loved these

What didn’t work so well?

  • Sibling time with one older and both littles; if we continue with this it needs to be 1-2-1
  • There have been pockets of time where the littles have been disruptive.
  • Surprisingly a time based schedule.  These have always worked well for us in the past but now I have five, one of whom is still a little tricky at times, I am finding I am clock watching too much.  I still want to keep to a similar routine but not have anything attached to a particular time
  • A4 needs more substance to her school and to her day.  We backed off after Christmas as her phonics was frustrating her too much.  Jolly Phonics has not worked for her at all.  She is sight-reading fine but finds sounding out words really hard.
  • A4’s concentration is poor, so I intend to work on building this up over the next few months.  She has the gift of the gab and is very skilled at talking her way out of anything she doesn’t want to do.

What we intend to do differently

  • Routine not schedule for the little ones at this time (this is a huge revelation to me!)
  • We are keeping the 1 1/2 hours in the morning as our preschool time.  During this time we will snuggle up and read whatever BFIAR book we are currently on, and then do activities based on these books.  This year we have focused on fun, next year I am focusing on building all sorts of skills.  I’ll post my plans over the summer.  For more on how we use five in a row curriculum see here
  • We are going to start A4 on All About Reading level 1 and B2 on their pre-reading program.
  • I want to encourage the growing relationship between A4 and B2 by organising a 1/2 hour play time, just the two of them.
  • In order to increase A4’s attention span, I intend to read aloud far more than I am, limit her dvd time to 1/2 half an hour per day(we don’t have broadcast telly) and I intend to be much firmer with her concerning things she does not wish to do.  I am in charge (I’m going to repeat this 100 times a day until I believe it!!).
  • And just in case I need reminding – Claire, DO MORE READ ALOUD!!

No huge changes, but definitely putting an emphasis on A4’s needs next year, as I think she has kind of got lost in all B2’s tears this year!


  1. your posts always look like you have it all figured out with the kids and school, too be honest it is nice to know you struggle in some areas too, makes you more human;).

    1. I smiled when I read your comment. I didn’t realise I came across like that! I know I’m very enthusiastic and I really do enjoy all that home school has to offer but, sadly, no, I don’t have it all figured out. And frankly I doubt I ever will. For me the excitement comes in learning more about how our family works and trying to improve upon the year before.
      I’d find life a bit boring if everything was rosy all the time!! Believe me I am very, very human!

  2. I am totally in awe that you have managed to coach them so well. I don’t think I would have the patience to coach all 3 of my kids at home myself, you are doing so well!

  3. You’re going to love All About Reading, I only wish they’d released it sooner, so I could have started it sooner with my kids. I think the boys would be much further in their reading if I’d had this sooner.

    1. Thank you so much for writing that Ticia, I’m so pleased. I feel I made a bad choice in regards to Jolly Phonics, so it’s great to hear that I’m making a good choice this time round!

  4. Sounds like you’ve had a great year – lots of learning by everyone, and lots of good ideas for going forward. It’s a nice time of year for looking ahead, isn’t it? I love routines but with only two children I don’t have nearly so much to juggle as you! And I too have a firm resolution to read aloud more. It’s so much fun, even with older ones.

    1. I remember reading aloud so so much with my older ones. At 4 I was reading Swiss Family Robinson and they loved it, there’s no way A4 would be interested in that. I do read lots to them but not like I did the older ones. I am determined that they have a similar upbringing, and this means more read aloud. Now I just have to train them to listen!!

  5. Jolly Phonics didn’t work too well for us either. I used it as a supplement to the Montessori phonics that we were already doing back then. I think it’s difficult to have it all together with little ones because they are bound to demand more attention than the older children. It’s good to reflect upon what has gone well or not. I have just started the process for this year.

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