Friday, February 5, 2010

Our 5th Year Begins.

We are now half way through term one of our fifth year of home education. We have had a flying start! I feel like I am really beginning to settle into who I am as a home educating mum. The first few years I was overtaken by my new found passion. There was so very much to learn, and I loved every minute. Now, however, I feel more relaxed and I know where we are headed. I no longer feel the need to read everything I can get my hands one about home education.

In preparation for this year, I did not spend hours planning our curriculum and timetable. Past years have seen me attempt to fill our days with many wonderful plans, many of which were shelved after a week or two when I realised that we just would not have the time to do them justice. So this year we are simply covering religion, maths, english and spelling and Sonlight 5. We have kept Wednesdays light. We will cover spelling, science, religion lapbooks and hopefully art appreciation. On Friday afternoons we will have tea-time with home made treats and we will listen to to Classics for Kids.

I am learning the value of listening to the voice of reason within. For example, in Sonlight 5 there is a geography section called Eastern Hemisphere Explorer. It's basically a fill in the blanks type activity along with several fun projects to be completed. Rather than rush in headlong I listened to that part of me which was whispering that it would be stressful and somewhat pointless. That we would be stressed trying to complete it all. So I listened. We will simply gather a few books from the library and learn about each country in a very relaxed manner whilst snuggling on the lounge. I am also planning to complete Sonlight 5 in 18 months to 2 years, rather than the recommended 1 year. I want to enjoy all the wonderful books that are in the curriculum, not stress over a timetable!

I am also loving the new maths curriculum that I have chosen for Bilby. We had been using Maths-U-See, which I still think is a fantastic programme. However, we hit a bit of a wall in Delta. I had always planned to swap to Teaching Textbooks for the high school years, but decided to switch now as the grade 6 text was available. I love that Bilby doesn't need me to sit with him to complete the lesson. He loves the fact that he can do maths on the computer. It has certainly made our day easier. Bilby can complete maths independently, which I love! Koala is keen to switch too, but we will wait until he has completed MUS Gamma, which he is half way through.

This year has seen Roo begin school. The school he is attending is for children with an autistic spectrum disorder who will go onto a mainstream school, but who need a little extra support before they move on to regular school. At the moment there are only 5 other children in Roo's group. This will change as the year progresses, but the maximum number of children will be 12 or 13. The children's day is highly structured, everything they do has visual support and the children's sensory needs are catered for. Naturally all the staff have a fantastic understanding of autism, so we don't need to worry about educating his teachers about what ASD means for Roo. We feel very fortunate that Roo has the opportunity to attend this school, as there are so many families who do not have this option due to a lack of places and schools.

Since starting school, Roo, has begun writing words independently. His teacher showed me a sheet he has completed where he had written the word tree on his own in a scaffold box! I was so excited by this as Roo hadn't shown the least inclination for writing or drawing. Now he often asks me to write his brothers' names so he can trace them. He even had a go at writing his own name in a scaffold box which I drew.

Roo will of course eventually be home educated, but for the moment this is the best setting for him.

Hopefully the rest of our year will be as successful as our first 5 weeks!