Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Christian Emergency Home Schooling UK

Two Christian home educators, Christina and Joanne, who have about fifty years of home education experience between them, have put together a blog , Covid Emergency Home Schooling UK, aimed at parents who have been thrown into teaching their children at home. 

They make suggestions for a plan for each day which includes a Bible time, maths and English followed by a lesson plan for each day.The lesson plans have a clear Christian worldview.  Topics have included The First Round World Bicycle trip, the Trojan Horse, World Health Day, Samuel Morse and much more. The lesson plans include activities, extension work and things to think about. Christina and Joanne have tended to take something that happened on that day in history as the basis for that day's work. The work is geared for primary aged children. 

It seems that work provided by schools varies from a whole day online to very little. These lesson plans provide an ideal opportunity to have something ready prepared to teach children either when there is little provided by school or to profitably use extra time. 

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Saturday, 11 April 2020

Home Educating during Lockdown

At first sight, it might seem that home educating during lockdown is the same as home educating at any other time, except for the knowledge that we are now in the majority. But, this isn't what home educating is usually like. Usually, we have either classes, a group or meetings with friends every day. My children are used to doing their work at home but not exclusively staying at home. 

Hearing people whose children usually go to school talk about the transition to school at home has made me reflect about the changes for us and think that these might impact even more on previously schooled children. 

  • There is an overwhelming mass of free material. At first, I thought that we would take advantage of this but actually, we all felt that it was better to continue with what we were used to doing. We have only really taken advantage of one offer and that was for a programme which we had used before, Veritas self paced history.

  • We have continued with the basics through the holiday. We don't usually work in school holidays as there are friends to see and groups stop but at present, we want to keep a bit of structure-something remotely resembling normal.

  • Morning time has carried on. We have added a daily reading of Psalm 46, God is our refuge  and strength, A very present help in trouble, which seems appropriate, to our learning of Isaiah 53 verses 1-6. Our current read aloud is something completely different, King of the Cannibals: The Story of John G Paton by Jim Cromarty. This is an engaging read. We read it years ago when our older children were little and it lead to some games of cannibals! Having older children now has meant that it hasn't elicited this response. As usual, we sing a hymn, pray and also have a history read aloud. This has been Story of the Middle Ages by Christine Miller since September. We are currently on chapter 120 out of 148 so the end is in sight. Apart from its length, it has been a successful addition to our study of the Middle Ages covering events in mainland Europe better than any other book, I know, for this age group. 

  • We have carried on with the Veritas self paced for our youngest. Our other home educated child has managed to finish a long running programme, as well as make head way with several subjects.

  • Online meet ups have taken the place of actual meet ups in my diary. Our established home education group has just gone online along with some classes. Running a book club or biology class online has become the new normal. 

  • Of course, cooking has continued along with some letter writing, knitting and loads of swingball.

Reminding the children that the Lord still reigns and trying to provide a stable structure to life is more important than doing every exciting new programme at this point in time.

 How have you found having children learning at home over the last few weeks?

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Monday, 16 March 2020

When you unexpectedly have children learning at home

In this pandemic, some countries have already closed schools and others are likely to close very soon. These are just a few ideas which may make learning at home easier.

First, though, please don't think that this is like usual home education. Usually, home educators go out, see friends and go to groups and classes. This is something that we will miss too. In many ways this situation is a caricature of usual home schooling.

Despite this, we are at an advantage in that we have a pattern to our day and resources at home. I know that most schools will be sending work home and teaching remotely so it won't be necessary to set up a curriculum, however, there will be much, much more time to fill with no journeys to school, no after school clubs and no playdates.

These are some ideas which help shape our days plus some extra resources.

  • Morning Time. We always start with Morning Time. We include prayer, read alouds, Bible memory work and sing a hymn, Our read alouds include a missionary biography and a chapter from a history book. This is an ideal time to read those books aloud that you have always intended to read. We have just finished making a homophone sheet where we added a homophone and illustration each day.
  • A set order. We always have English time then a break, followed by maths. The afternoon is a bit more varied. There isn't anything special about our order except that it means that we all know what is happening next and there is less argument about unpopular subjects. 
  • Reading time. 30 minutes after lunch for everyone's sanity!
  • Usually, we always go outside.
    I don't know how much this will have to alter but even a few minutes in a small garden will help. Swingball or a chalked hopscotch can be done in a small area.
  • Something fun. This depends on the age of children. Ideas are a board game, poetry tea,
     a film and educational treasure hunt. The prize for the treasure hunt only needs to be small. The clues don't have to be complicated.  We have used treasure hunts for learning tables with choices for answers. The right answer goes to the next clue!
Just a few ideas for resources. These are all free
Please do add other ideas. We all need to encourage each other in these challenging times.

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Thursday, 12 March 2020

Living in a Pandemic

It is no secret that we are in a pandemic. None of us know whether we will be unwell/have to self isolate and whether, soon, we will be able to leave our homes. Obviously, in our family, this has been a matter of a fair amount of discussion as well as making sure that the children know the official guidance and that practically, hand washing takes place often, carefully and for at least the time that it takes to sing Happy birthday twice.

One of the most important things that we want to remember is that God knows and cares about us, even at this time. We have been singing Sovereign Ruler of the Skies in our Morning Time. 

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise!
All my times are in Thy hand, 
All events at Thy command.

He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.

Times of sickness, times of health;
Times of poverty and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief;
Times of triumph and relief:

Times the Tempter's power to prove;
Times to taste a Saviour's love:
All must come, and last, and end
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.

O Thou gracious, wise and just,
In Thy hands my life I trust:
Thee, at all times, will I bless:
Having Thee, I all possess.

John Ryland

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Wulfgar and the Vikings

This year, we have been learning about the Middle Ages in History so I was delighted to be asked to review Christina Eastwood's new book Wulfgar and the Vikings.

Christina is a Christian author who home educated her children. I have reviewed her book, Not without Tears previously and enjoyed her novel set in Italy, Switzerland and Ireland, Trasna na Dtonnta.  When my children were younger, we used some of the home education resources which Christina collected together as a Mother's Companion.

Wulfgar and the Vikings is the first in a children's trilogy called Wulfgar the Saxon. Wulfgar is a fictional boy living in the village of  Leofham, in the Kingdom of Wessex during the days of King Alfred the Great. The story is around the dangers from the Vikings and the arrival of a stranger, Morcant from Wales. Morcant is a skilled medicine man who also teaches the villagers to read and has a teaching which is different from that of the monks who came round to collect rents and the church dues. 

The theme of wanting a written copy of the Bible in English is throughout much of the book and of course, the threat of the Viking raiders. 

This living book is ideal for reading whilst learning about King Alfred. There has been much care around historical details such as the illness of the King, the relevant battles and the Celtic church. It did send me to  do some research to find out more about this period in history.

Wulfgar the Viking is a short read and would be ideal for children aged 8 plus. The book is complete in itself despite being the first of a trilogy. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Recommended!

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Wulfgar and the Vikings. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are my own.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Catch up!

I have been AWOL for about a year!

The beginning of 2019 was dominated by my husband's Mum's declining health. She died, very peacefully, in April. Soon after her funeral, my husband had major surgery. Happily, the summer was busy with meeting our first grandchild. None of this was conducive to writing and, to be honest, I was really quite tired and felt rather directionless which again, doesn't lead to blogging.

Anyway, this is a new year and decade so time for a post!

These are some useful resources, with a rather chemistry and geography theme, which we have been enjoying recently.

Seterra periodic table

Ellen McHenry Periodic Table games Thank you to @Spreadingthefeast for telling me about this.

Blog about Britain

Oaka books On the map

I hope to be back again soon with a book review.

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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Primary Maths Resources

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last year. I have a draft post waiting with a bit of explanation!

Anyway, my friend Emma has started a new website, Home Educating the Early Days. Emma's site designed is to give reviews on all things related to home education and is particularly designed to help families with young children who are either starting out on home education or have an interest and aren't sure where to start. Do pop over and have a browse round Emma's site.

Today, I have a guest post on Home Educating the Early Days about Primary Maths Resources.

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