Today is the second day of 2012. I am again looking at how I will change the way things are done. Last year around this time and into February, I looked at my curriculum/syllabus and decided what we were going to do for the period of September 2011 to July 2012. Everything then went in its own direction, so now I am not planning a year in advance, I have discovered that to be a big waste of my time and an even bigger waste of money in some cases because I bought books to use which we aren't even using now. I will keep them because we might use them at another time.
L studies independently and does her own thing for the most part. She is teaching herself Japanese, learning the periodic table, and studying about Tsunamis and Earthquakes. She also goes to a book group and has discussions about books that are actually beyond the level of what her schooled peers are doing. The only thing I can see that is missing is writing, both penmanship and creative writing, so I will encourage her along those lines. For history, we are revising what her schooled peers would be doing at the Key Stage 3 level and GCSE level (she has already done the entire British Time Line last year with a group). She can also look into whatever period is interesting to her. For Geography, she is interested in Japan, so she has a project that she will do on that country. We are also reading Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? which is an Uncle Eric book. He explains economics in very simple terms and it is very interesting. The author has written a few other books which we will read as well.
M has started back to lessons already, actually she started back yesterday and we are really working mostly on her handwriting practice and we finished off a unit study on Christmas. Her last task was to follow written directions on how to colour a snowman and then the next activity was drawing a snowman again following written instructions like draw three circles (small, medium and large etc). I found a really good site with some materials on it for her age (kindergarten) and ability and obviously some of the tasks were written tasks and she really needs the practice with writing. We will be working through those tasks, along with reading stories. Today I read to M a story about Paddle-to-the-Sea. This is the story of a boy who whittled a little canoe with an 'Indian' (sorry not the correct word the correct term is either 'First Nations Person' or 'Aboriginal Canadian') sitting/kneeling in it holding a paddle. The boy places the canoe on a hilltop and waits for the sun to melt the snow and the canoe sets off on a journey from Nipigon to the Big Salt Water (travelling through the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River). There are 27 chapters (actually mini chapters as they are two pages - one for story and one for the illustration). Obviously this book is to teach a bit of Canadian Geography. The book was written by Holling Clancy Holling and it is a great book! We are also doing mental arithmetic. We did a lot today while everyone else was off doing their own things. We also have a world map and she loves to look at the map and read the country names.
I do a lot of 'theme' work or unit studies with her and the best thing for this is lapbooks because she is able to read all of the information in her lapbook, she finds writing too much at the moment. She is still learning and we have something tangible that she can look back on when she's older.
We are going to be doing lapbooks on the various systems and organs in the body and she already knows the names of the internal organs in two languages (English and German). L will probably join in on these little projects but probably to help her sister assemble the lapbooks. This teaches M about teamwork.
L and M have weekly activities that they go to, such as drama, brigade, dancing and music lessons and then I host a small playgroup for M and a couple of her friends twice a week because most of the activities are L's activities and M goes along for the ride.
Happy New Year and here's hoping I actually blog on a weekly or fortnightly basis :-)