Monday, 29 October 2012

At Least I Can Cook

One of the challenges with home education is working through my own weaknesses in order to give my children a well rounded education.

There are many ways of doing this, I can either send them to school where they will have teacher who specialised in the subject, I can hire a private tutor to come to our home, or I can try and do the Marge Simpson approach which is to be one lesson ahead of them.

It is when I come to my weak points that I realise how difficult education is. Obviously for M it is quite easy because she is the little sponge and the subject matter for her is quite easy, she is after all only six years old. At her level my own weaknesses are not barriers to her learning.

When I get to L's level that's when my weaknesses come to light and I really think that she should probably go to school because I might be ruining her chances in life for further and higher education. Then something wonderful happens, I like to call it Divine Providence. Someone is put in my path who can help me over that hump and can contribute to our education experience. There is really only one subject that she is taking an exam in that I absolutely cannot do, but I have a solution for that, someone else will teach her.

Today was a highly frustrating day for me. I spent three hours trying to figure out how to use my sewing machine. I've had it for over two years but have only used it once and L used it more than I did. It has been in its box now for just over two years. To cut a long story short, two broken needles and a lot of frustration later the sewing machine went back into its box while I decide whether to give it away, sell it or keep it. The item I wanted to mend is still in need of mending. A friend of mine will come and do the sewing for me.

I was forced to take sewing in school when I was 12. We had to make a garment to wear in the school fashion show. Everyone who took sewing that school year had to participate. Sewing was mandatory for girls in the seventh grade and so I had to take it. I also had to take cooking that year. I would go each lesson to the sewing room and didn't make much progress on my item. That is probably because I chose to make knickerbockers which are not really easy to make; I should have made a skirt!

Needless to say I did not finish it during class time. The fashion show was looming and I was really panicked. I took the sewing project home and I honestly thought I was going to get help. Instead it was so hopeless trying to help me, my parents finished my sewing project for me! Dad helped Mom work out how to put the zipper in them. I wore them in the fashion show and learned a very valuable lesson, sewing machines and I are not friends. That lesson is one I keep forgetting but then each time I try and use a sewing machine I am very soon reminded of it.

The next year I did not have to take sewing and so I didn't. I took woodworking instead. I find the machinery in woodworking a lot less dangerous than sewing machines and much easier to use, or at least that's how I remember it with my rose coloured glasses.

At least I can cook...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Back in the Swing of Things

Today we got back into the swing of things and our extended break is over. Last week we eased back into some structure by taking advantage of the National Schools Film Week and we saw three films. This was thanks to H who is another home educator in our town. She and her daughter invited us to come along to the films.

Today we got up and M did a whole lot of Maths she did a worksheet and some pages in a workbook. We will start back with the Ray's Arithmetic or Jones Brothers Arithmetic soon enough, but it's a bit of fun to use the worksheets as a nice change. She uses an abacus to figure out her answers. Today she had to figure out if the answer given was correct or incorrect and mark it accordingly.

L continued to work on her Cold War unit study and did some work in her English textbook.

While the girls were doing their work, we were also doing composer study and listening to Debussy who is our composer we are listening to this term.

We have our teamwork tasks to do and that is our day finished!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

National Schools Film Week and Dyson

This week the girls and I have been going to our local Cineworld to see some free films that were arranged by a charity called Film Education and here is a link to their site: National Schools Film Week. It is a fantastic opportunity for children who are educated at school or at home to see a film in the cinema.

We went to three different screenings this week, we saw Brave, A Monster in Paris, and Hugo. L really wanted to see Hugo and she got to see the whole film. M made it through about 30 minutes of it and she and I left. What I saw of it, I really enjoyed and I actually want to watch the whole thing.

On the website, Film Education has some resources to use for films and so we are going to do Brave and A Monster in Paris. I notice that they have resources for many of M's favourite films so I think we will be doing a lot of film studies. They have ideas for many curriculum subjects which I think is nice because it means that we can look at the different topics and subjects that are presented.

I made a request in passing to a staff member about turning down the volume and they honoured my request. She could only promise that they would try and could not make any guarantees but it was a much more pleasant volume. I have sent a thank you in writing to them so that they know I appreciated it.

Last week I applied to James Dyson Foundation for a physical loan of their engineering box which contains a vacuum cleaner that students have the opportunity to build. It sounds like fun and I have taken vacuum cleaners apart before so I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do as an extra activity. I got an email today from them telling me that we will be getting our box in January 2013. I think the girls' Dad will be very impressed. When I mentioned to him that Dyson does this he thought it was a fantastic opportunity.

I have a lot to look forward to, I think!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Apples and Films and Museums Oh My!

We have been carrying on with our studies and decided to take a couple of weeks off for a bit of a break. We started while the summer holidays were still on and so felt that after eight weeks back to the grindstone, we earned a well deserved rest.

Last week we went on a day trip to London because some friends of mine were visiting the UK and we had not seen each other in 14 years! We took the train down and wandered around the Museum of London with them and then came back home again.

Last week was a busy week for me even though the girls had a break from their studies. This week we are taking advantage of the National Schools Film Week and are going to see some films with another local home educating family. They invited us along for the films.

I can't remember which films I agreed to go and see but I think that makes it more interesting, it's a surprise all around; they are aimed at primary school children, I remember that much. If M doesn't like it, I will take her out of the cinema and wait.

Today L finished up a unit study she was doing on the Cold War and M did a lapbook on apples. Did you know the study of the growth of apples is called pomology? I am sure you will sleep better just for knowing that!

L will start working from the IGCSE textbooks on the Cold War, I thought that the unit study was great to give an overview of it as it is for high school level. We have another one that we will do on the Great Depression and then we need to probably make our own up on the Roaring Twenties and Race Relations in America. I find it interesting that she has chosen all the American topics to work on where she had the the choice out of 12 different topics. The Cold War is compulsory and covers four topics of the seven in the exam.

In home ed drama L is working on a Shakespeare play for the end of the term. M is enjoying her usual social activities which are basically play dates and tends to prefer one to one with other children.

I still need to take our visiting flat traveller to the Hat Museum and then I can send him back to Cornwall. He went with us to London and met my friends and went around Museum of London with us. A museum in London that L really wants to go to is the British History Museum and one of these days I will get us there but next time by slow bus just for something different. We will see more of the country travelling for five hours on a bus.