Friday, 30 December 2016

Our Home Education Curriculum

Our home education curriculum is designed for the easy going family that we are.

Most of what we do is child led, Olivia is very much the creative type and Oliver is very much the academic type.

Olivia loves to make and create while Oliver loves to read and is always questioning.

Our basic structure consists of Maths and English. For maths we use Khan Academy which we also use for English Grammar, this is a free program but as the twins are both visual learners it is the best program we have found that works for them, they love khan academy and actually ask and look forwards to using it. 

We also use MEP for maths, this consists of downloads so we get to do some writing practice, the kids also enjoy doing those maths challenges and it gives them some backup learning from what they learn on Khan Academy.

We used to use DISTAR when they embarked on their learning to read, backed up with reading eggs and Maths seeds, which they both still enjoy using but more for the games than anything else.

Using DISTAR taught me a lot about how to be patient and how to encourage them in their learning, I would recommend that method to anyone, it has worked for us.

Reading lots of books both fiction and none fiction has made a huge impact on the twins and how they learn, they enjoy and have enthusiasm for most topics that they come across, as they know the book will have a film or a play or some kind of website to go along with it, and it sparks their imagination to learn in different ways and see things from different angles.

History is a particular interest of the twins, this has rubbed off on them from me, they love to learn about different periods and have so far enjoyed 1600's in Britain more than any other, Olivia is a keen royalist and the stories of the royals throughout history from many different cultures sparks her interest.

They both love learning African history as it is part of their fabric and family background, lots of books, films, documentaries, you tube videos, day trips and conversations and web surfing is carried out for the history learning, and we have a book which we use as a guide of where to go next called 'a history of the world', which is religion based but as we are quite a scientific family this is great, as they get to see other perspectives on history, and have a fundamental understanding that history is a perspective and we very much like to view other perspectives when looking at history. 

I also manage to come up with themes, like, how the way people lived in the past has changed, which encompasses all sorts from food to technology and science etc. But I find it easier to work with themes to focus on as it gives us a base to start from, despite deviating quite often which is common with child led learning.

We also cover Geography and science and technology and home economics, it seems easy to say this stuff but in reality it is just daily life so there is very little structure.

I am very in tune with the kids and were they are at with their learning, and I often pick up clues from what they are saying or doing that guides me to steer them in the direction for learning what they are querying.

I often worry about were they are at academically and if there are any gaps in their learning, but you can ask the same question to any home ed parent and they will tell you of the same concerns.. Are they at the right level of learning, in say maths or English?.. but it doesn't matter what level they are on, what matters is that they are learning at their own pace, and really learning and not just remembering or regurgitating facts, but understanding those facts and enjoying them too. 

As home educators we do not have to learn for the sake of passing a test, we are learning to enrich life with a life long skill for learning, life is fascinating and even the best educated child will have gaps in their learning, school is only designed to provide the basics, the rest is up to that individual child and what interests them in life and will help them and enable them to have an enriched life.

Olivia asked if she could have the Muzzy Language program for Xmas, which I did buy her, so we will be embarking on learning one of the languages on the course, she very much enjoyed the French club that we used to go to which sadly stopped due to the teacher leaving for brighter horizons and she is fascinated with different languages, so it will be fun to do together as a family thing. You never know it may end up with a trip to France to test out our French language skills that is something else to aim for.

I wrote in a couple of earlier posts about languages and how we had embarked on a language lapbook, you can find that post here and here.

They also go to Hockey club held by the Oldham Women's hockey team, they both love playing hockey and it brings out their competitive side as they can take part in tournaments, along with St John's ambulance Badgers they get plenty of mixing with other school kids in addition to regular meet ups with their home educated friends. 

They do sorely miss going to stagecoach and I can see that in their eyes and I feel so sad and slightly guilty that I can no longer afford to send them there due to a very tight budget, but I have found an alternative that they can attend at Oldham Theatre Workshop and it is far more affordable for us. My eldest lad went there and he loved it and got to perform at the Oldham Coliseum back in 2004, you can read the reviews here. He remembers well the friends he made from going there and talks about it fondly still to this day, so I think the twins will love it too.

There are so many other things that they do, Olivia enjoys playing the violin and guitar and keyboard and she also loves to sing, singing is her real passion when it comes to music, particularly Opera, although she seems to be developing a style of her own which is a cross between opera and the pop scene, she did ask for singing lessons but from the enquiries I made they are reluctant to teach someone so young as apparently it can damage their voice.

I am quite positive that I have missed things out as they do so much it is hard to keep track of and I am not very good at keeping up with this blog, so I forget a lot of stuff that they do, but for the most part we do not use pre made curriculums, we tend to just follow our own and make it work for us.

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