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Dealing with Tension: Sometimes All That’s Needed is a Hug...

We were having one of those mornings, you know the ones: where everything takes twice as long, where your clock seems to have entered into some weird quantum physical universe where time goes faster, and where no one is listening- this was a morning Noah took 40 minutes to get dressed, 30 of which were spent prancing around in his birthday suit (what is it with boys and being naked!). By the time we had started work we were all a bit frazzled. By the time Noah was reading to me he (and I) were rather grumpy. Reading didn’t go well, and I found myself getting-at-him for the umpteenth time that morning. I saw his shoulders drop and and head drop. I took a deep breath and held him close. I overcame my annoyance,and my own bad attitude to see that this little boy needed a bit of love more than “discipline”. We hugged for a couple of minutes. I felt the tension slip away from his shoulders, and he melted into me. When we resumed reading, all our problems were “fixed”. As I held him close I thought of the days I have, where I feel overwhelmed and like I want the world to stop, the days I want a hug. If I, a 34 year old adult, have days like this, of course my 8 year old boy will have them too. So often the tensions of getting-everything-done can be fixed with taking a few minutes out and having a hug. Working out of a place of love and feeling emotionally secure is good for everyone. In our homeschool I have learnt that when we start from the place of relationship we all have a better day, and better learning happens too. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

How to Go About Homeschool Nature Study

Since I was at school myself I have marked the end of summer with the seeding of the Rosebay Willow Herb. As the pretty pink flowers faded, and were replaced by the floating white seeds I would know autumn was on it’s way and soon the sound of the geese migrating would be heard over head. Nature study is in it’s most basic form is being in nature and observing. For the younger child it is looking for signs of changing seasons, searching under rocks and bits of trees for mini beasts. This year we are planning to formalise nature study a little more… as the children become older. We will look at: 3 birds per term 3 plants per term (this includes wild flowers, and trees) 3 animals per terms This term, which will take up from now until Christmas we will look at, and try to find: Birds Pink Footed Goose- this migrates to winter in the UK Buzzard- bird of prey easily spottable throughout Scotland Wood Pigeon Plants Rosebay Willow Herb Horse-Chestnut Tree Yew Tree Animals Seals- Scotland has an abundance of seals, and autumn is the season they give birth! Squirrels- grey and red, although it is highly unlikely we will be able to see any red, sadly. Hedgehogs- again it would be lovely to see them, but may not be possible. But autumn is the time of year that they prepare for hibernation. To study nature we will have a journal, which we write and draw our observations in. As we go in search of each thing we will prepare before hand by doing a little research into habitat, behaviours, etc this will hopefully maximise our chance of seeing the animals we are looking to study. They choice of animals, birds and plants for this term has been help by the places I know we will be going, for example our homeschool group is planning a trip of watch seals in November, this means studying seals is an obvious choice. Other equipment, books that can be useful are field guides, a camera and binoculars. Field guides are available from the local library, there are also many excellent websites with information on wildlife. My hope is not only to educate my children as to their rich natural heritage, but that they will grow to love, appreciate and value what is on their door step. So one day they will mark out their year by the changing signs of nature through the seasons. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Preparing For a New School Year

The long summer holiday is great to prepare for the school year ahead. You have the space to think and plan, to replenish supplies, as well as vision and energy. First the practical stuff you need for school. Keep it simple! Although my children all have their own pencil case, this is unnecessary, and I’m trying to phase it out! Best is to have a stationary box, where all the basics are centralised. Basics are: 1. Good quality HB pencils, like most things cheap ones are a false economy! 2. New rubbers! We always seem to lose them, so one each is a wise idea. 3. Make sure the sharpener is not lost, and a spare is to hand (the same goes for rulers!) 4. New colouring pens and pencils. Through the year ours run dry, pencils end up with never-ending broken leads. So a supply or new fresh ones is good. 5. Check paint and glue supplies. 6. New jotters, enough for your needs. I don’t go for anything fancy. You can cover them with lining paper, or old wall paper if you want to make a cheap notebook more durable. 7. I have a folder for each child, to keep loose pieces of work neatly together. Make sure you have all your curriculum up to date. As someone who loosly follows Charlotte Mason, this year I want to introduce some new elements: ART: Begin to look at an artist in more depth, using the study to teach some new techniques, and inspire art projects. NATURE STUDY: We already spend a lot of time in nature, but Charlotte Mason encouraged the study of 6 plants and 6 animals per term. This I will customise to our region. We are looking into changing our maths curriculum to Math U See, from Singapore Maths. I am drawn by the emphasis is teaching the principals of maths in a more meaningful way. Although the rigour of Singapore Math has been beneficial to The Girl’s mental arithmetic this year; but I do not think it will suit the boys in the long term. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Studying Parliament at Homeschool

This year we have been doing a bit of an overview of British History. Using a charming History book, Our Island’s Story by H.E. Marshall. We look at a chapter a week. This week we reached the Union of Scotland and England under the reign of Queen Anne. The Act of Union led naturally onto a study of parliament, where I discovered a great resource: Parliament’s educational website. We watched the videos, discussed them, them played the games- the Jedi Boy was rather worried The Girl would not have parliament ready in time for the Queen to come and deliver the Queen’s Speech! Great Resources: Parliament UK Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

5 Ideas to do with Preschoolers

When homeschooling multiple ages it is easy to forget about the preschooler- after all those older kids have real work to do like long division, learning the planets of the solar system, mastering past perfect tenses, etc etc… However, there is a wealth of studies highlighting the importance of preschool education. But regardless of the educational and developmental benefits of investing in preschool/nursery activities, ensuring your little learners are catered for will make the homeschool day go more smoothly. So here are 5 simple ideas you can do- one each day! 1. Playdough It’s simple, but young kids love it. The tactile nature of playdough has been shown to help relax young children, and the use of tools helps strengthen muscles in the hand for writing later. It also develops fine motor neurone skills. Receipe: 2 cups flour 1 cup salt 1 tablespoon cooking oil ½- 1 cup water Mix the flour and salt, then add the water and oil. Only add a little water at a time, so the mixture isn’t too wet. Knead the dough until smooth. Add food colourings of your choice. 2. Painting Painting is very versatile. We use poster paint, it is think and easy to apply for young children. You can paint with a brush, you can use sponges to print, it can be watered down and blown with straws. 3. Cutting Again young children love to cut up pieces of paper. You can give them lines to cut along, old magazines to cut out. This also strengthen the muscles of the hand, and improves fine motor neurone skills… all essential for preparation for writing. 4. Gluing Creating from bits of junk fires the imagination. We have a large box with bits and bobs that can be used for gluing. We keep toilet roll tubes, old cardboard boxes, chocolate wrappers. I also have a small box with shiny paper, foil, scraps of material etc basically little interesting things. These I use for small gluing activities, like gluing on a paper plate- better if you want less mess to clear up! 5. Baking Baking brings in a lot of skills: for example listening to instructions, measuring… It is also tactile and again strengthens little hands. Baking activities that involve the child rubbing the ingredients, rolling, kneading, mixing are perfect for a little baker… and you get to eat the end product! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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