Saturday, 19 October 2013

Homeschooling - the story so far....

WARNING!!!!  This post contains lots of links.  It also contains lots of educational type stuff!
But I hope you find it interesting.....

Ok, so you know the story....

After Seb got turned down by the Montessori school Isaac attends on the basis he was not ready, we decided to do something about it.

We began quite well, particularly when Oliver was still off school.  We are now about 2 months down the line, so thought I would post up a progress report.

It's hard!!!! We gave up quite quickly on the days, date, month etc.  Seb isn't bothered.  If he had his way, he would watch Tv all morning.  What I am trying to do is an hour of activities, an hour of TV, then some time out somewhere. I have made and purchased a whole load of items to assist.  This is just an example of some of them.  I am trying to keep to the Montessori method of child led learning as much as possible, but as i said, if Seb led the way we would be Nickelodeon led....

I have had varying degrees of success with the above items.  

The laminated sheets were done for both Seb and Isaac.  They both did them once, practicing tracing their names etc.  These have since fallen well out of favor.  I also scanned and laminated one of Isaacs first reading books in the hope that him tracing the words as we read them together would get him more interested in reading.  It didn't, and I am a little worried about his apparent lack of interest in reading, though he seems to know lots of words by sight, but that is for a different post. 

It is difficult to see things in detail in this photo.  The tree I made, with magnetic tape on the back, the leaves were purchased from the Dollar Tree.  Again, no interest shown.  Same with the pumpkins.  

Funnily enough, anything with number is quite popular.  Seb likes the foam blocks, again Dollar Tree, and the Duplo towers, in which he can built towers up to five, all of the same colours.  Money is also popular, as are animals.  

He likes the Brown Bear matching halves cards, but not the size sequencing cards.  

We also have flash cards with words that begin with the same letter, I got this idea here ( a blog I follow).  These are good, and would make great talking points, if he talked.  But he doesn't.  

And that is what I am finding the hardest.  I know that when it all starts coming out, he will get so much from these activities.  

I tend to get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest, and more recently Facebook.  I have started 'liking' a few preschool/toddler/Montessori pages on there, and this has lead on to more blogs being found.  These are written by people like me, attempting to either educate their preschooler before school, or going the whole hog, and homeschooling all their kids. I take my hats off to these people, I could not do half the things they do, and find the time to blog about it!

Now I have yabbered, I will show some photos of what we all get up to during our activity time.  Below is Oliver and Isaac, before they went back to school. They are doing an experiment with milk, food dye and washing up liquid.  Basically, a plate of mile with food dye dropped in it.  You touch a bit of washing up liquid on a cotton bud/Q-tip, and the colour separates out.  Bot sure of the science (see why I am no good at chemistry), but I got it from Steve Spangler Science.  This site is awesome, and I have since subscribed to their emails.  Lots of good ideas

This is more recent.  The boys decorated their pumpkins for fall/Halloween.  They had great fun.  once the pumpkins were done, they moved on to Lego printing as they had loads of paint left.

Isaac loves doing activities after school.  Here he is using the play doh we made to create areas for the animal to live.  Isaac is also very easily distracted by the Tv.  For about the first month after all the boys were back at school, in the afternoons while Seb slept we did not have it on.  He tends to prefer playing with the Lego though, particularly as it is kept in the Learning room.

Below is another activity he loves, baking soda and coloured vinegar.  In fact, we did this again this afternoon.  He can normally do it for a good half hour. 

Below is a picture of the book shelf Paul made for the reading corner.  Pretty cool.  Trying to get the younger kids interested in taking care of their belongs and learning about the world has certainly brought out a more creative side to Paul and myself.


Now, on to what Seb does all day.

Here we are with his favourite things, the cars.  I am trying to get him to line up the correct amount of cars for the number.  He kinda got it..... Needs work.

Posting letters into the coffee tin.  He has gone off this a bit, think he is a bit below him.  I possibly need to get him to try and sort them into colour piles first.  Every time I do this at the moment, he insists on messing up the piles, then loses interest. 

This is him with the laminated sheets I mentioned earlier, and some colouring sheets concerning the letter 'm'.  He liked these, I think because he likes the animals.

Below are the foam blocks I mentioned earlier.  These were $1 for 50.  I wrote the number on them.  Although Seb is not interested in the numbers (yet, don't think he has noticed them to be honest), it will come.  It occurred to me after I made these that the only kind of blocks we have had in the house since leaving the UK are the kind that stick together, i.e., Lego/Duplo.  We had loads of wooden blocks before we lived here, but they were always removed quite quickly after being got out, due to them being thrown by the older 2. So Seb had very little knowledge of anything like this (bad mummy alert).  Seb likes stacking these.

Notice the pancakes in the background, this was done before school time, before 7.15am
I purchased some alphabet stamps, mainly for the older 2.  Seb gets them out occasionally, but he is not overly keen on stamping.

Before it started getting too cool in the mornings, we would often go outside to do something.  I think Seb benefits a lot from sensory type play.  One morning I filled up a bowl with shaving foam, then stuck some of his cars in it.  I then stuck loads of construction paper together hoping the shaving foam would leave tracks.  It didn't.  All it did was make a big mess (some of which is still on my patio....)

 I also froze some of the plastic insects we had in a bowl.  Seb tried using different salts and liquids to get the insects out.  In the end time did the trick.  Didn't stop Seb from tipping all the salt and liquid all over them first though.  This was a little beyond him, but will be perfect for Isaac soon

Seb seems to have two favourite areas: scooping and messy/water play.  one of the first things I set up was this bean tray.  Again all from Dollar Tree.  It probably cost $7 to make, we already had all the utensils, and he loves it.  It gets played with at least once a day.  He scoops, tongs, fills up cups, plates, bowls.  He can be known to sit for half hour completely undisturbed, and you always know where he is due to the sound.  I think he finds it therapeutic. 

 I recently introduced rice into a different container, with an ice cream scoop.  He seemed to love this just as much.  We have since had cross contamination with the beans, as there just wasn't enough rice.  I want to make coloured rice, with Seb's help, eventually.

Below is Seb painting with cars.  He did enjoy this.  In fact he does like painting, but can lose interest quickly.  I am never sure how much he wants me to be involved....

 Seb's favourite thing by far is water play.  After watching him the other morning tip his juice into Isaacs cup, and back again a few times, I though we needed to do something.  I didn't really want to stick him in the bath, so set up the washing up bowl with towels on the kitchen floor.  I gave him a few cups and some pool toys.  He only played with the cups.  So I gave him a measuring jug.  He was away.  He played for 30 minutes completely undisturbed.  Ok, I had to put an extra towel down, and there was hardly any water left in the bowl, but he loved it.  Completely in his element.

So thats it, so far.  I am trying to keep him interested, but the biggest issue I have is the lack of communication.  I know in time this will come. But I am very impatient.

I may try and do one of these types of posts more often.  Let me know what you think


Seeing other peoples homeschool blogs on Pinterest and google+, I know how important linking back is to the original contributors.  Most of what I have done can be found on my Pinterest boards.

Here is the link to things I deem suitable for Seb (age 2)

Here is the link for things suitable for Isaac (age 4)

If you find this blog and find things you have originally done, please let me know so I can give you proper credit. (email:, or comment below)

I mentioned earlier, pages I have recently liked on Facebook.  Interesting stories now appear in my news feed, and I urge you to take a look.  I have included the links to their actual websites. 

I find this a particularly good source of info about kids taking things at their own pace, and how to deal with it 

This is good Montessori education for all ages 

These guys are awesome, I have seen some of my friends who are early years providers in the UK linking this source to Facebook 

This lady lives in Oz, and has been recently talking about toy rotation.  Something I am thinking of doing myself after having a good sort through recently 

I first found Toddler Approved on Pinterest, and have followed them ever since 

The Imagination Tree is great on arts and crafts.  not always things my boys would like, but good for inspiration. 

As I stated above, please let me know if I owe you any credit.  I find the blogosphere a wonderful source of information these days!  

Also please find my page on Facebook, and give it a like , and if you have got this far, you may as well find me on twitter @HGmTravel

1 comment:

  1. This is great Clare! Now I wish I had pulled out something more interesting this morning!