Friday 8 July 2016

High Points of the Year

We are slowly coming to the end of our academic year. I'm working on lists and ideas for next year as well as evaluating what has and hasn't worked. You will be spared the latter but here is a list of some of the highlights.

Poetry Tea
Tuesday afternoon is Poetry Tea Time and a popular time of the week!
We have all become familiar with more poetry. Sometimes the poetry has sparked wide ranging conversations. We have mainly had poetry tea at home but we have pulled our books out at Bateman's , home of Rudyard Kipling and in a coffee shop while waiting for Middle Son to take an exam.

Poetry Tea has sometimes included friends who have even written poetry for the occasion. We have also started a family anthology which includes poetry that we have selected and poems that the children have written.

Plans? I would love to have some themed teatimes and ideally, would like us to eat fruit  rather than less healthy delights!

Morning Time
I have written about our future plans for Morning Time recently so won't elaborate except to say that this has proved a happy and useful part of the day.

Nature Study
We have had a weekly nature walk using Lynn Seddon's Exploring Nature with Children  as a guide. Going outside and observing more has been a plus and amazingly, I have enjoyed my nature notebook.
We also took part in a nature swap with a Scottish family which was fun even if we realised that London lichen is rather tiny compared with the Scottish variety! The swap plus some of our London finds are displayed on our rather full nature table. 

Read Alouds
Many of our read alouds have been around either history or related to the book club. It is sometimes challenging to find books which appeal to both of my younger children. Recent favourite books have been Swallows and Amazons (Younger Son) and the Grandma's Attic books. The latter have appealed to both children although chiefly to Youngest Daughter. We have almost finished our second book in this series and there have already been requests to download the rest.

Pencil Holder
I'm embarrassed to stay this but providing a pencil holder with a plentiful supply has saved us so much time, this year, Previously, I had assumed that each child would need a pencil with a couple in reserve. This may work in other families, and I know that I'm not the tidiest person on the planet, but we wasted so much time looking for lost pencils. At the end of the year, our supply is dwindling and I will need to buy more over the summer. I don't intend to start in September without a large number of pencils ready to be used.

Nessy is new to us, this term and has been a great boon. I have written before about second line reading programmes. One of these, in particular, has proven valuable and has given major measurable results but has been painful to use. We really needed a change and to something that was fun. I found out about Nessy on a reading website; we used the free trial and signed up. We are still fairly new to Nessy but the children love the programme and are very happy to work on it. One child needed a complete break from their reading scheme so has just been using Nessy while the other has used Nessy plus a scheme. 
Nessy is designed for children with dyslexia or who are behind in reading for some reason. It has three branches: reading and spelling, numbers and dyslexia assessment. We have only used the reading and spelling. There is an initial assessment for placement and the teaching is via videos and games. The children earn nuggets to spend in Monkey Town to make their monkey look cool or unlock various buildings. 
Nessy costs £60 per year plus VAT for one student and £70 per year plus VAT for two students. There is a home education discount which was about the same amount as the VAT. So far, this seems to be money well spent!

Do post about what has really added to your year. I would love to make improvements for next year and ideas are the fodder of progress!

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1 comment:

  1. I'm newish to your blog, but I really enjoy reading your posts. It's always neat to see what other families are doing and how they are doing it. I hope to write down some of my thoughts on this recent year as well.