While walking through Lassington Woods, near Gloucester, we came across some tree stumps, slowly being consumed by moss and covered with the remains of autumn leaves.
Claire has had a great idea of using pegs and cards to match up letters and words to try and teach the boys more about reading.
We had 10 minutes earlier where I encouraged the boys to try out the peg word game. They both joined in and we managed to go through various words and letters, talk about how each sounds, how the name of each can be different to the sound they make and what other words are within the larger words.
The main one was LEGO where you can make LEG, EGO and GO, just by using the letters in the same order.
The other morning, I came downstairs and the first thing Jamie said to me was…
J: ‘Rabbits and Giraffes can’t climb trees bur rabbits can dig holes and giraffes can get leaves with their long necks.
Me: ‘How did you learn that then?’
J: ‘Because i’m good!’
He’s a cute kid and it’s amazing seeing him developing in so many ways. Jac is also developing but sometimes it’s easy to not see this as much as Jamie, because Jamie is always breaking new ground. The thing is, Jac is also breaking new ground every day as everything he is doing is original and unique.
The boys have been watching the Tom & Jerry DVD which their Granddad got them. It has 12 original cartoons on a double sided disc (first one i’ve come across) and it seems like a perfect type of comedy for them right now, with plenty of slapstick action.
What I didn’t think would happen was for the cartoons to inspire a morning of home ed ideas!
The first thing was smashing bottles against ships to Christian them, which appeared in one of the episodes. This was obviously a bit of a strange concept for them, so this led to a lot of talking about why people do this and ways to do it. I found a number of videos on You Tube which showed this, but there were no really good ones of big champagne bottles being smashed against big ships, but I did find one of Michelle Obama Christening one with a bottle!
I did find a number of videos of ships being launched, which really piqued their interest! Some amazing images and the scale of the ships was impressive.
The other idea came from an episode where Jerry goes on a journey to New York, via Grand Central Station. We were talking about all the landmark buildings and places where he went and I got quite excited when he turned up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, by the Rockefeller Centre! I saw that in 2000 and was so impressed with it. That, the Guggenheim and the Flat Iron building are the most striking building in the city.
The cartoon also showed the statue of the Greek god Atlas, holding up the globe, which is opposite the cathedral. We talked about the cathedral and what it looked like and why Atlas was holding the globe. I actually checked this on Wikipedia and the story is not exactly easy to tell, with many confusions and misinterpretations over the years.
Anyway, a good example of turning something not obviously educational into something home ed!
In the spirit of finding out ‘what the other half’ are doing in Reception class (or probably 99% of children!), I had a brief look into what the requirements are for children at the first couple of stages of school. It was a bit strange seeing the parents for the Reception class sitting waiting for their kids to come out, while I was with the boys at their active tots group.
Reception & Year 1 level reading word list example: y1_curr_leaflet_aut08
So, 45 words expected to be read by the end of Reception year. This gives us something to aim at and to try and to follow as a guide, so that if Jamie does decide somewhere down the line that he does want to try school out, he won’t be too far behind. It’s also a good guide for Jac who hasn’t yet been through the ‘will he, won’t he’ process of schooling!
So far Jamie can recognise various letters by sound, name and association (eg ‘P’ for police car).
Another very useful website is the UK IXL site for the various maths requirements at each stage of school. In terms of Reception level, Jamie is probably already at stage E and the next stage is counting with money. He’s generally been very good with numbers and it’s something the teachers at his old playgroup commented on.
Jac’s also been copying his ‘what does that say’ line and does this a lot now. I can see Jac developing faster than Jamie as he’s over 2 years younger and therefore has the benefit of our own learning with Jamie. I might even learn a few things along the way.
Adults and children all over Gloucestershire are right now stressing out, looking for socks, books, bags and trying to get ready to go back to school!
We’re not though. Today is the first day of Jamie’s official home education!
I’m sitting here watching the parents and kids go past our bay window, in their various uniforms, some riding bikes, some walking in little groups, some with parents. It’s an amazing sunny day and full of energy.
Jamie would be starting Reception class today, but we’ve decided to not jump into the school system until either he wants to or we feel the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. We’ve spent the last couple of years considering this and feel it’s the best choice for our family.
So far today, I got up with the boys and checked my email. A message from SKP was there with a bouldering video (my latest life pursuit!). Jamie was telling me about climbing and how using both your feet will help to climb higher and that children need special climbing walls. He was saying you can use special stones and wood on the walls to hold onto. I was telling him about the soft crash mats on the floor and he asked about the slight blister I got the last time I went bouldering. He’s very switched on about connections. He’s already made two different Lego models this morning and wants to build more!