I have implemented a new routine with the boys over the last few days, and it is working really well. It enables me to read with one whilst the other is independently engaged. The mornings include some maths, literature and history readings with opportunity for narration, and poetry and writing practise. The boys like routine, so they have responded very well and happily look at their 'chart' to see what they should be doing next. I think they also like the one-to-one focus from me. We are finished by half twelve / one o'clock so after lunch, there is plenty of time for other pursuits, which I am hoping will include art, music, outings, crafts and hobbies and time with grandparents. I still think giving children plenty of time in which to amuse themselves and to play freely is really important, as is getting outside (especially with three boys!)
Today we joined a group of home educating families at a farm which offers itself as 'a learning hub'. Here we have been given a room where we can meet as often as we wish (the group thought fortnightly?) and have the run of the place for our own learning activities. What a great way to learn about farming, the countryside and conservation! I am looking forward to the range of activities which might emerge form this. We thought of pond dipping, hedgerow and woodland surveys, designing a maize maze, cultivating an allotment, tree planting, studying bees and animals, learning about soils and crops, river surveys .... And it was lovely to see (for those who worry about the socialisation of home educated children) a group of boys and girls aged 5-13 chatting and getting along together, and helping one another with their activities. We started some map work today, and hope next time to get the children to put together an interactive map of the farm. My eldest son was so enthusiastic about this, which was great to see. The boys also loved the emus, horses and goat resident in one of the farmer's fields with whom they had a close encounter! And riding behind the bumpy tractor in the 28 seater wagon was the highlight for my youngest son - even though it was a bit cold!