Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Year - A Look At Our Homeschool


I must say I'm much more relaxed about my third child officially beginning homeschooling than I was with the others. I've observed in my other kids an amazing ability to learn through play and in the freedom of exploration that homeschooling offers. Therefore, I trust that he will continue to learn in the same way so no need for a formal curriculum just yet.


Reading

DS5 showed readiness to read when he was 3 when he learnt the alphabet while we were doing an alphabet puzzle together and knew all his letters from that day forward! I then set him up with a reading eggs account and purchased some simple readers and we were off. I advocate watching for signs of children's readiness to read before introducing reading. I was in no rush to teach my children to read but found that my firstborn actually taught himself to read with very little prompting - I just provided some books and alphabet games! It made me realise that some kids WANT to learn to read when they are young and we are wise to follow the signs.

He will continue to read books from the library, readers we have and I will continue to do lots of reading with him while cuddling on the couch!


Writing



I have the first book of the handwriting without tears series which we will introduce at some stage during the year. DS5 can't hold a pencil correctly so I might need to seek some help with that.



Maths



When my other children were this age we used lots of maths manipulatives and simple fun games to learn about addition and subtraction, sequencing, grouping etc. DS5 seems to like maths and is confident with simple addition and subtraction so we will look at continuing to progress. He will continue with studyladder for reinforcement - which he loves.



Music



I may regret that for Christmas this boy received his first set of drums. He has been super keen and although given his age I'm not ready for drum lessons I will set him up with some YouTube videos to learn some basic drum skills.

He will also continue learning piano at the Yamaha school of music. 


Sport

This is my 5 year olds strength. He has excellent hand/eye co-ordination and shows a good range of skills in most sports so we will continue tennis coaching and may look at district basketball and Auskick for later in the year. As this is something he is clearly gifted at we will look at how we can best nurture this. 

As this is his first 'official' homeschooling year then I will include 1:1 time in our flexible schedule and he will continue to join his brothers for devotions, science and Australian history. 

Most of all I will ENJOY this stage of learning and teaching this precious boy!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Year 2 - A Look At Our Homeschool



DS7 will be in year 2 this year. He has always been advanced so this may not look like your average year 2 curriculum. This is why homeschooling is awesome for him as he gets to work at his own pace and no one teases him because he can do freaky things with numbers in his head!

When homeschooling gifted children they become less defined by academic ability and more by character which is so important. We knew the day he got offered a scholarship to a prestigious school  that if he grew up in that environment that he would learn to define himself by his academic ability not who he was as a person. We chose homeschooling because we want more for our kids than just academic achievement - we want them to grow up to be people of integrity, compassion and empathy for others and with a strong sense of who they are and why they are here on this planet!

Literacy


DS7's reading list.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series 
  • Zac Power series
  • Abeka books
  • Pilgrims progress
  • The chronicles of Narnia

+ anything else that peaks his interest during the year.


We will use Writing with ease for writing as DS7 LOVES copywork. 

First language lessons also works well with this boy so we will continue.

Printing Power

We will continue with handwriting without tears for handwriting and also we will introduce keyboard power touch typing too.

All About Spelling Level 3


We will continue with All about Spelling  2 and 3 this year.


Maths



I use the same Singapore maths level for both boys so this year we will aim to complete 4A and 4B with some reinforcement on Skwirk and studyladder.

The Arts

DS7 wil continue weekly piano lessons which are one hour group lessons at the Yamaha school of his music. This year, I will also give him a 'private lessons' and help him to prepare to sit his first AMEB exam. We will also work on music theory and music appreciation. 

Science



We plan to spend lots of time at the zoo this year as we explore this science text! We will also do some hands on science experiments and explore any interests that arise during the year.

Geography



We are going on a 4 week Northern Territory adventure mid year! What better way to learn all about Australia!

We will visit Uluru, remote aboriginal communities, Alice Springs, Kakadu national park and finish up in Darwin. We will be travelling with friends who are experts in Australia history and Aboriginal culture so they will be able to help us along the way!

Australian History

In light of our travels we will also take another look at Australian history. A while ago I shared about my passion for teaching kids the truth about our Australian history with posts about "Telling our own stories to honour theirs" and "Teaching small children about Aboriginal history". 

Now, my children are older we are going to learn more!

We will use the DVD series: First Australians and First Footprints

These series contain adult content so best to watch them yourselves to decide whether you feel they are appropriate or not for younger viewers. I would also suggest watching it with them to answer any questions. 

Physical Education



DS7 will continue with Aussie hoops (intro to basketball) and auskick this year. He will also continue with weekly tennis lessons and we may consider trying cricket for the first time at the end of the year.

My parents have a swimming pool which we use a lot during the year too.

So...this is the snapshot of what "year 2" will look like for DS7. It is an absolute joy homeschooling this child who is just so persistent and diligent when it comes to learning.

I will inevitably follow his interests this year to add more exciting learning opportunities for him in 2015. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year 4 - A Look At Our Homeschool


Because I like a sticky beak into what other homeschoolers are doing with kids who are a similar age to my own, I thought I'd do this post for any other sticky beaks out there!

My nearly 9 year old will be in year 4 in 2015. His strong-willed, independent and highly innovative nature means he isn't the 'sit compliantly and complete your worksheet' kinda kid. This is exactly why homeschooling is such a great fit for him. He still has tasks to complete and persistence to develop but has plenty of time to explore his own interests and express his creativity. 


Literacy


DS9 is an avid reader. At the end of last year he decided he wanted to read The Hobbit. We managed to find a copy in two parts to make it less of an ordeal. As a follow on he wants to read the Lord of the rings trilogy. Certainly not my cup of tea but if he can read it and comprehend it, then hats off to him! 




In 2014 we read the chronicles of Narnia as a family read-aloud. We LOVED it. I want to continue this year with an in depth look into the Christian allegory.



ScholasticNarnia.jpg

We use DS9's reading interests to spark creative writing and grammar lessons in an organic way. He is keen to enter writing competitions so we will encourage that as we find some through the year. In fact, this is one way to get him motivated to correct his grammar! 

We will also continue to use sequential spelling. 

We will also start a keyboard touch typing course and possibly cursive through HWT


The Arts


DS9 will continue his weekly piano lessons where has an hour group lesson and half hour private lesson at Yamaha school of music. He will be preparing to sit his first AMEB exam mid year!

I will continue to teach him trumpet and music theory and appreciation.




Maths



We will aim to get through level 4A and 4B of Singapore maths this year! 

Science


We will supplement this exploring creation zoology course with lots of trips to the zoo!


Geography





We are going on a 4 week Northern Territory adventure mid year! What better way to learn all about Australia!

We will be visiting Uluru, remote aboriginal communities, Kakadu national park and finish up our adventure in Darwin. We will be travelling with friends who are experts in Australian history and Aboriginal culture so they will be able to help us along the way! 


History

In light of our travels we will also take a look at Australian history. A while ago I shared about my passion for teaching kids the truth about our Australian history with posts about "telling our own stories to honor theirs." and "teaching small children about Aboriginal history". 

Now, my children are older we are going to learn more.

We will use these DVD series: First Australians series and First footprints .

 These come with a warning that they contain adult content so best to watch them yourselves alone to decide if you feel they are appropriate or not. I would also suggest watching it with them to talk through some of the difficult questions.


Physical Education


DS9 will continue playing district basketball which includes training once a week. He will also continue weekly tennis coaching and play his first season of competitive tennis at the end of the year. 

We will continue to use Skwirk and Studyladder online for reinforcement across all curriculum areas.

So.............

this is a snapshot of what our year will look like with plenty of excursions, group activities, holidays and events thrown in along the way! There is also the amazing flexibility of homeschooling to follow my kids interests....so who knows what else we will explore and discover in 2015!