A wife of noble character who can find?...She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10, 26 & 28

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nearly School Holidays

It's amazing how you feel after a few nights of decent sleep. I've actually been in the frame of mind to sort out the kids homeschooling curriculum for next term and even next year. I've been going through all of the workbooks we already have and seeing if they're suitable for passing down. The kids have been flying through some Spelling and Vocab workbooks that I was hoping would last until the end of the year so I've found some Spelling and Punctuation ones that were barely touched when we first started out and the kids can finish them next term. Kahlia can start on Writing Strands next year. It should be good for her as she loves writing. It wasn't good for Elijah, though, he's a reluctant writer and isn't very good at spelling. I've just found out about a Young Writers Program called NaNoWriMo, it's about writing a novel in a month and I'm signing the kids up to do that. They have a workbook that you can print up to go with it so we'll be doing that next term. They have an adult section so I'll sign up and do it with them.

I want to take on more of a mentoring role so I'm thinking of organising a playgroup out this way for mums who have decided to homeschool their preschoolers. This also gives my preschoolers the opportunity to play with other little kids. They're really bored at the moment and Rose is getting into so much mischief lately.

Elijah wants to be a chef and because he's a reluctant writer I'm getting him a special folder for him to write his recipes in. He'll be able to write his favourite recipes and also the one's he's made up. I'll also put in something that'll let him write how well they turn out.

Daniel is obsessed with xbox games and wants to be a game writer so I'll be focusing on what he needs to do that as well as giving everything a gaming spin. For example his writing activities will be ideas for games, his art and craft can be graphics for his games.

Kahlia does all the work I set for her and more but she's very creative. She'll love the curriculum I write up for teaching Christian his colours and will probably help me implement it. I have a classical art curriculum in the draw that I haven't had time for. Hopefully we'll be able to get into it soon, if we can't get into it as a family I'll get Kahlia to study it on her own.

I haven't really got anything planned to do over the holidays. We might go into Melbourne a few times, maybe to the museum and the aquarium. The kids have been going a little stir crazy because of the illness that's been going around our family. I haven't wanted to go out and pass it on. But we seem to have gotten rid of it at last so I think we might try to get a bit more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Homeschooling Update

I realise that I haven't written anything about our schooling for a while. I must admit I've been remiss in almost every area since before Emily was born, I'm only now feeling like I'm getting my life back together after her birth and she's 7 months old. I think I'm just getting used to the lack of sleep.

Over the last 12 months or so I've really struggled to get the kids to do any of their school work without me on their backs but with our tax return we bought a new printer so I was able to print up planner pages. My favourite planner pages are from the Joyful Steward Combo from Notebooking Nook, you can get these from Currclick. This time I made books out of them, one for each school kid, as before I would just blutak the pages to the wall and then I'd have them just hanging around after I took them down, they would never make it into my folder. This seems to be working as the kids know exactly what they need to do for the day and can get on with it on their own, they just ask for help when they need it. I've also implemented a new rule. As they aren't allowed on the xbox until after 1:30pm the first one finished their school work is the first one to have a turn on the xbox. After implementing this rule Daniel, my most reluctant student, started getting up in the morning, before me, and getting his work done before breakfast.

Christian is going to turn 5 this Christmas and he still doesn't know his number, letters or colours. I'm not too worried as he's not getting any further behind and doesn't seem to be showing most of those Aspergers type signs that we worried about when he was a lot younger. I think he may just stay about 18 months behind. Tim and I were talking about that and we wondered what the difference would be. When Josiah was 15 he acted like a 13 year old and we never worried about that. But we do need to focus on some things so I've signed up for an online reading program called Reading Eggs. He loves it and asks to do it every day and now he's starting to point out the familiar letters in everything. I've bought some 'educational' placemats from Aldi to help reinforce what he's learning. I'm also putting together an intense, hands on, program for teaching him his colours, which I'll post when I get it finished. Most children pick these things up through the course of their everyday lives but with Christian we really need to spend time helping him to 'get' it.

I've also made new job charts for floors and the kitchen. Josiah has changed some of his classes at TAFE and so some of our previous jobs weren't applicable to him. I've changed the charts to accommodate his days home and to make it fair on all of the children, I like them to have roughly the same amount of jobs each, but try to make the jobs suited to their ability. They can't have morning tea or lunch until their morning jobs are done and can't play the xbox until their floor jobs and lunch jobs are done. Elijah gets a special reward for vacuuming the tiles after dinner without us reminding him but I've had to tell him that it needs to be started within 1/2 an hour after dinner or I will remind him because he was leaving it until almost bed time. Emily is already crawling so we need to stay on top of the floors.

We were having a 'student of the week' award but that wasn't really working. Daniel never deserved it and I felt sorry for him and he felt like it wasn't an achievable goal. Other times it was too hard to pick between Kahlia and Elijah. They also didn't really take it seriously and still cruised along so quite often we couldn't honestly give it to anyone. So I've change that to the 'over and above' award. Whoever does over and above the set work I've given them for the week gets a special reward, normally a chocolate bar, if they just do the set work they get a smaller reward but they all get rewarded. This seems to be working well. They are all motivated and feel that it's achievable. As I said earlier Daniel has been getting up before me to get his work done, he's also been doing more of the work than I've been setting for him.

Daniel has still been talking about going to school. I really don't think it'll be good for him. He has a coloured view of school because the only year he went was Prep and they don't do much except play and learn the basics. He mainly wants to go because he wants friends, while there's nothing wrong with the homeschoolers we meet up with we haven't met any boys his age, or that he can relate to. We've signed up for an XBox Live gold membership and he's having a lot of fun talking to the kids he's playing with online so I'm hoping that that fills his need for friends for the time being. We're also starting to get a bit more involved in the local homeschooling community. I'll be setting up a get together at a local play place in the next week, if we're all well that is.