Three Weeks In …
So, we are in our third week of home education, and we are still alive. And we still have our sanity (well, what we had of it when we started anyway). The first week was a struggle. Keen to take the advice we were given, and give Bean time to “unschool”, there was no structure to our week at all, and it didn’t work for us. Bean was bored, but unwilling to do any of the activities or projects suggested. Of course, he was also getting used to the idea of not being in school with his friends.
It was a hard week for all of us and at the end of it, he told me that he didn’t enjoy being home educated. We had a chat about it, made a plan and set off anew in the second week. More structure. Maths every morning. Guitar every day. Reading. Something from our project list. And it worked! Well, it worked in that we saw our happy boy again, and he enjoyed what he did. We didn’t always do something from our project list. He didn’t read every day (but some days he read for hours). He did maths and guitar every day though.
I’d intended for him to do 20-30 minutes of maths each day, but at Bean’s request, this quickly increased to 60-90 minutes, depending on how challenging that day’s maths was. He loves maths, it’s his favourite subject and he is excited by what he’s seen he can do. One weekend when he was in year 1, he asked me how to add two big numbers together. We sat down and I showed him how to do it, starting with two digit numbers. He quickly understood the process and asked for a page of sums to do. Before long he was applying the process to 3 digit, 4 digit and even 6 digit numbers. He was so proud of himself that he took his work to school the next day to show his teacher. Her response was “that’s year 2 work, you don’t need to know that yet”. End of conversation. I was so cross that this was how she responded to enthusiasm.
So, we’ve spent our maths time so far exploring lots of different areas of maths, so we can see what Bean is capable of, what he likes, what he finds more challenging. It’s been interesting – he’s managed to do all the different bits we’ve looked at, some with ease, some with perseverance, and he’s loved it. We’ve found that he really enjoys word problems, pictographs, plotting and reading graphs, measuring angles. We also looked at number lines, long multiplication, negative numbers, decimals (on number lines, adding and subtracting), radius, diameter and circumference, fractions, conditional statements, deductive reasoning, area and perimeter. Phew! The plan from now is to focus on one area at a time to make sure he understands the process so he can return to it in future. It certainly helps that he loves maths.
His guitar is coming on to. He’s been reluctant to practice over the last year, but now he instigates the practice every day. We originally agreed 10 minutes a day, but he’s stretched this to half an hour most days, as he sees himself making improvements. He has declared that guitar has overtaken history to become his second favourite subject.
So it seems to me that what Bean needs is a bit of a structured framework in which he has some freedom to choose what he does. I think that’s something we can all work with, and it’s working for us so far.
Big smiles all round 🙂