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Help please: curriculum and daily life

(5 Posts)
mumster79 Fri 28-Nov-14 03:04:12

Hi,

We're taking our three children our of school at Christmas. We're relocating and they could be out of full time school for 2 years, or more if it suits everyone. Our three are 7, 6 and 5 years old. The 7 year old is G&T and the other two are just right!

May I ask if you all follow / recommend any online curriculum/learning? For instance IXL, MathsFactor etc. I've bought many books, Kumon et al, but are there any others you'd recommend.

Also, I'm afraid I like to be organised, so I like the idea of a weekly timetable. Is this what you do too?

Grateful for all your opinions and experiences.

Many thanks,

ToffeeWhirl Fri 28-Nov-14 06:00:17

Hi mumster. I home ed my nine-year-old son and previously home educated his older brother. I use timetables when I'm feeling overwhelmed and find it helpful at those times. I usually start each term with a new timetable (we still follow terms, although there is no requirement to do so), determined to be up and out of the door by 9 (we start most days with cycling at the moment as DS2 has just learnt to ride his bike), then settle back into a more comfortable lifestyle of no timetable and am lucky to be out by 10 blush. But flexibility is one of the advantages of home ed.

I try to have a bit of structured learning every morning, but tend to follow my son's interests for the rest of the time. At the moment, all he wants to do is cook, so I'm letting him cook his way through the Usborne First Cookbook. I have become more aware, over time, of how much he learns through stuff that doesn't look like learning to those of us used to school-based education, eg. cooking is teaching him to: plan recipes; follow instructions carefully and accurately; concentrate on a task and see it through to the end; develop organisational skills; be safe and clean in the kitchen; use maths to work out quantities; be creative with food; and be more adventurous in his eating habits.

DS2 uses ConquerMaths daily to keep up with his Maths. This is the best online Maths programme I've found. DS finds the online videos really easy to understand and enjoys earning certificates as he makes progress. I get weekly progress reports. We also play a lot of Maths games. Cup Cake Dice is our favourite at the moment. I have also just ordered City of Zombies, which gets rave reviews. Your children get to battle (cartoon) zombies whilst practising Maths. I won't even mention the Maths aspect to DS - it'll just be a new fun game for us to play.

We use the junior Galore Park textbooks for English and Science, but they are too old for your DC (aged 8 up). And we do lots of topics, usually things DS wants to explore (our last two were 'Titanic' and 'The Solar System').

My son reads loads and I subscribe to Aquila children's magazine, which I suspect your older son would enjoy. It was originally set up by educational specialists working with gifted children and is recommended by the National Association for Gifted Children. My son loves reading it.

We also go out a lot. I have been to more museums and art galleries in the past eight months than I have in the past eight years grin. Remember to ask about home-ed discounts, as lots of places do them (this also applies to online subscriptions).

Your children are so young that you could just enjoy doing lots of fun stuff together and they will learn through play and being with you. You don't have to do anything structured with them at all. Like so many home educators, I started out planning to be really structured, but have gradually become 'semi-structured' and can easily see how we could end up being entirely autonomous. I see my son learning all the time, whether I'm 'teaching' him or not. I keep goals in mind (eg learn his Times Tables), but other than that I just want him to enjoy learning and regain the confidence that he lost at school.

I see that you are relocating, so I would suggest that you forget all about any formal learning (if that's the route you choose) until you've settled into your new home. You will have enough to think about, by the sound of it. Your children will need time to get used to being out of school and being in a new house and environment anyway. Maybe think of it as a holiday for them.

Oh, and it might be an idea to contact the local home-ed group of your new town (assuming it's in the UK?), so you can meet other home educators, find friends for your DC and have access to local home-ed events.

I wish you all the best.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 28-Nov-14 06:04:06

PS: there's a 40% discount available to home educators on the ConquerMaths subscription - just type in HOMEED in the discount code box when you sign up.

smile

mumster79 Sat 29-Nov-14 00:45:53

Toffee Whirl - your advice is MUCH appreciated. Thank you so much for the links too.

Yes, I'm conscious that if we 'set' a timetable and then a subject / line of inquiry sends us on off on a tangent then the timetable is pointless.

Most grateful for your input.

ToffeeWhirl Sat 29-Nov-14 18:41:29

Happy to help, mumster. It can all feel a bit daunting at first.

Good luck with your move. I hope you all settle into your new home and lifestyle very soon.

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