Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Autumn half term: the Highs and the Challenges

We've just reached the end of the first half term of the year. As usual, there have been highs and lows. As time goes on, I do think that it is important to take into account our individual slants on things. I'm a pessimist and tend to second guess everything. Tiredness exacerbates this trait so it is useful to look at the substantial highs of this autumn as well as areas which need attention.

The Highs

  • Morning Time is a regular part of our day. It means that we start the day with the most important things: God's Word and prayer. We have been using this time to learn the children's Sunday School memory work as well as to read from The Child's Story Bible. We read from the Bible itself at different times of day. We learn hymns that we typically sing in church.
    Added to this is a cycle of art appreciation, music appreciation, maths games and a science book.
  • Poetry tea.
  • Cycling each day.
  • Regular meetings with our friends in the home education group where we are learning about geography: Europe, this term.
  • Trips out: recycling unit, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Fire, Fire exhibition at the Museum of London and a special birthday trip for ,Younger Daughter, to Paris.
The Challenges
  • The increasing around care for my husband's frail mother. Yes, this is part of life and part of learning but balancing this with the children hasn't been easy. As far as possible, I try to arrange meetings/conversations so that they avoid timings when I am working with the children but medical equipment deliveries don't respect our working hours and I can't dictate times to the district nurses.
  • Fine tuning curriculum. This is an on-going process. So far, this term, I have had to alter spelling and Latin plans. Just using Nessy for spelling wasn't sufficient so, in addition, we are using All about Spelling. This is something that I have used before with Younger Daughter but dropped to make extra space for reading practice. All about Spelling is new to Youngest Son. Nessy is still being used as it is useful and fun for extra practice.
  • Latin. It become obvious that it would be best to use the primary Latin curriculum, Minimus, before going onto Galore Park Latin. This change has worked well.
  • Maths hasn't really been a challenge before but this term has seen maths become hard work and it has felt as through progress has been slow. About a week ago,I realised what might be the root of the problem. We have been starting with morning time and then English. The children have been starting to tire, every day, when we reach maths. After half term, I'm hoping to alternate starting with English and maths.
Any thoughts about high points or how you would tackle these challenges?

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