And Then There Were Two – Home Educating Plum
We’ve been home educating since November – eight months already! Time flies! In November, we had Bean who was 7, Plum who was 2 and PK who was 11 months, so really, the only one being educated was Bean – the little two needed nothing more than plenty of opportunities to explore, play and have fun.
Towards the end of November though, Plum expressed a desire to learn to read. She was certainly ready for it, and she’s made great progress. We’ve only worked on it when she has wanted to, but she really enjoys the Reading Eggs programme we use, so she asks for it almost every day.
Over the last few weeks, she has expressed a desire to write – this has consisted of giving her an exercise book of her own, and some felt tips and letting her do what she feels like. Often she just wants to draw pictures, experiment with shapes. Sometimes she asks how to write a letter – but I always wait for this to come from her. About a week ago, I asked her if she would like to practice her letters more and learn to write and she was very excited about that! So that’s part of our plan for the summer. I don’t expect we’ll do more than a few minutes at a time and only a couple of times a week, but she’s only three, so there is no rush.
It was Stonelaughter’s birthday last week, and she was desperate to give him a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” card. Bean wasn’t impressed and wanted a different card – so we got both and Plum asked if she could write her card herself. I had though I would be doing the writing and she would write her name and some kisses, but she was insistent that I could not do any of it. This is what she did.
I think that’s pretty good for a first attempt!
Now, for the last 8 months, Bean has been using a website called Khan Academy for his Maths. Plum has always wanted to get in on the act. Recently, they added lots of new material, which included “Early Maths” and when I had a look at it, I realised that she could manage some of it. I asked her if she would like her own account so we could do some maths together. She jumped at that too.
So yesterday, she did her first bit of Khan Academy maths and promptly earned herself a “Geek of the Week” badge for practising five different skills. We did things like comparing sizes, counting, counting and comparing (for instance, counting 9 whales and eight sharks and saying whether there are more sharks or more whales) and “counting in scenes”. The only bit that gave her any trouble was deciding which number was larger after she’s counted the items. She knows her numbers well, but they’ve always been pretty abstract until now I suppose and so I ordered 100 Snap Cubes for her, like the ones I used to use at school thirty or so years ago. With these, I think it will be easier for her to understand relative size of numbers.
I really like the “counting in scenes” puzzles we did. It used paintings of famous artists and asked her to count something in particular – buttons on a jacket, wheels on a car etc
And so it would appear that I am now actively home educating two of my three children. I hadn’t anticipated it happening quite so soon – after all, Plum wouldn’t have been due to start school until September 2015 at the earliest. She’s made it quite clear that she’s ready for more of a challenge though, so we’ll follow her lead and see where it takes us. Wish us luck!