Tag Archives: Curriculum

Telly and Viruses

Not a great day.  We were supposed to be meeting friends at Bocketts Farm but D woke me up very early to tell me she she had a bad feeling in her tummy.  I thought she was talking about an emotion until she started to retch…

She was seemingly fine for the rest of the day although I cancelled our meet up in case it did re-occur, and in case it was catching.  We didn’t have breakfast until 9am and then the girls played with M’s Baby Annabell for ages.  I eventually got the girls doing a bit of writing for their Xmas lists and then D played on Numberjacks Mission to Learn.

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We spent the afternoon snuggled on the sofa in our pyjamas watching lots of films (and no Tinkerbell in sight!).

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Bizarrely, M has now got an itchy lumpy rash across her face!  So it seems there is some sort of weird virus in our midst.  Both girls have been overly tired the past few days so maybe they have been building up to it.

Sunday was a tad more eventful: first of all, J took the girls to a Remembrance Sunday service near Wimbledon common.  He was asked lots of difficult questions about why wars start.

While he was out I cracked on with putting a few ideas together for a weather project we’re about to start.  I also found a list of 300-400 frequently used words and got M to read through them.  I feel she needs to get into the practise and habit of reading and writing again as I’m sure she isn’t as skilled as she used to be!  I’ve purposely backed off from asking M to read because she had to read a book every day after school which I can honestly say she never enjoyed.  I would so love both the girls to love reading as much as I do so I will take it very gently and hopefully get M reading some books that she really loves (Frances Hodgson Burnett seems to be a winner at the moment).  Anyhoo, out of that long list of words she only struggled with 8!  She is very skilled at so many things is M, but getting her to enjoy them is another matter.

On the writing front: we’ve hardly been doing any writing at all because we talk so much about stuff instead.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in writing down the things we talk about as we don’t have to show written work to anyone in order to show proof of work as schools do.  However, I have been thinking that M could do with practising sentence construction and grammar.  My friend sent through M’s old school’s curriculum for this half term and the only subject (apart from French, which we’re not doing anyway) that we’re not up-to-date on is English.  Which means that we’re pretty much 1 term ahead of her peers already, even though it doesn’t really seem like we’ve done a lot yet!!

We’ve got a Paul Klee exhibition booked at Tate Modern tomorrow so fingers crossed both girls are well enough to go or we’ll be having another TV pyjama day!

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Curriculums and Who Should Know What?

When we had first decided to home educate I thought it would be useful to follow a curriculum.  I wasn’t sure that I would know what to do, what they should be learning, what level I should be aiming for etc.

I felt we needed a curriculum but I didn’t want to buy one and feel tied to it.  One of the reasons we took M out of school was because she didn’t find anything interesting so I knew I would need to find subjects and projects to re-engage her.  However, I also wanted to make sure she was keeping up with her peers, particularly as she would be competing against them in the 11+ exam (more on that later).

I had a look at a few curriculums online and found one that I could download for free from Core Knowledge.  They seemed to be a well respected and serious bunch of people and the content of the curriculum would make you an excellent contestant on QI.  However, I did spend a lot of time taking parts out that I was sure neither of my two would be interested in (Mesopotamia for 6 year olds?  Really?).  I’ve since found out that Gove will be basing his new national curriculum on Core Knowledge: horror.

I did wonder about the relevance of a lot of the history content in particular. Whether this is normal for a 6 year old I don’t know but M doesn’t have any concept of history or time.  She commented fairly recently that she knew I didn’t have TV or electricity when I was growing up because she saw it when Peppa Pig visited the museum.  Ahem.

I used the word ‘relevance’ earlier but I’m not entirely sure a subject has to be ‘relevant’ for it to have value.  After all, D adores learning about space but I can’t see that it has any relevance to her life at all (she’s 4).  But then again, I remember learning about the civil war at school and not understanding the point of it at all: why do I need to know this when it has no bearing on my life?  It’s only now that I’ve learnt more about history as an adult that I can see the bigger picture.

So I am going to wait a while until her brain is ready and she can see the bigger picture before tackling subjects such as Mesopotamia.  I think that rather than using a curriculum we will just be dipping in and using what we fancy, rather than rigidly sticking to it.  I can see now that if the sausages aren’t interested in what we’re learning then they’re not taking it in, so then it seems like its a time wasting exercise for all of us.

That’s not to say that we’re going to ditch everything they say no to.  I think some things are very important, like learning a language, and maths.  So far though, I’ve managed to link these activities to their lives to peak their interest (like learning the word ice-cream in Chinese!).  So we’re going to start by making little inroads into history  and see how we do – we’ve got a little project on Guy Fawkes coming up.  We’ve also started a historical time-line going up the stairs so hopefully M will start to get some perspective on time.  How wonderful that I can tailor the girls’ education to suit their needs!

Which leads me on to the afore-mentioned 11+.  I am starting to have serious doubts that there would be any value in the girls returning to school.  The more I read about home education the more I believe its an enormous privilege to be educating the sausages.  I don’t want to hand this privilege over to Gove.  Every time I see him in the headlines my heart sinks and then I think ‘phew, he doesn’t affect us anymore’.

P.S. Core Knowledge also publish a book called ‘What Every Year [2] Child Should Know’.  The ‘should’ part gets to me: who says who ‘should’ know what?  But I have to admit that there is a little bit of fear that M’s peers WILL know what they SHOULD know and she’ll be left behind.  I hope this fear will disappear as my confidence in HE grows.  Watch this space.