Home Education- a “hotbed of tropic intensity”…or a Monday in the life.

Back in the olden days when I was at school we actually read the books we were studying and so I read The Mayor of Casterbridge cover to cover. Later I read other Hardy books (man could have benefitted from a dose of Prozac but he could write well) including Far From the Madding Crowd. I think I may have studied it because I remember the line describing Boldwood where beneath his quiet demeanour  the man was “a hotbed of tropic intensity.” For some strange, psychologically questionable reason that phrase lodged in my brain and has never been removed.

I think it can describe our home education quite well, at times. It all looks quiet enough as children eat breakfast and play in their pjs while I’m cleaning the kitchen and getting the washing on the go. But then after morning prayer and making sure a good steaming cup of Lady Grey is at hand, the educational endeavours get under way.

I let the children choose what they want to do to out of their learning box piles and then there are joint lessons.

Meanwhile my ‘flowers in the attic’, Alex and Iona,  are working away at that graphic novel and Iona has some other writing projects on the go. She’s just finished her Open University course in human nutrition and we are awaiting the results before signing up for the next one. Josh is also studying with the OU at the moment to build up some good cred for his application to do paramedic training.

Occasionally a big person emerges from educational toil to make a cuppa or buy milk, but Monday’s are head down study days over all.

So resources today:

Avila age 5 Kindergarten/year 1

Math U See Alpha  (she’s working above grade on this one) and Mathematical Reasoning level A. Then there was Language of God A and Starfall booklet work followed by Hands On Thinking Skills which I think is important for Avila’s visual and motor skills development. Then she read to me from her Oxford Reading Tree Book The Lost Key (stage 7). She took some time out to work on her picture of St Anne from Great Saints in World History.

She then had her Faith and Life lesson from Our Heavenly Father with a worksheet from the Activity book. I received two full sets of these books from the kindness of Catholics United For the Faith and have passed one set on to another family. I am sure more people will use the books as time goes on.

Ronan age 7 Grade 2/year 3

Math U See Beta and Mathematical Reasoning C. He also likes to do a page of Building Thinking Skills thought it’s working below grade. I don’t have a problem with this as enjoyment is part of learning. He also does a couple of pages of Building Thinking Skills level 1 which is to grade.

After his Faith and Life Our Life With Jesus (above grade for this) he did his copywork for handwriting practice.

He read to me from Tomie de Paola’s I’m Still Scared which he’s nearly finished.

Then he worked on English 1 for Young Catholics– this is below grade but it’s a good kick up for the next book, so I thought it was worth him doing. He’s getting through it all fairly quickly; but he still has to stop and think sometimes. I’m going to start Avila on it after Christmas I think.

Heleyna age 3 pre-pre-k

Beginning Mathematical Reasoning. There’s a lot of point and say pages in this which works really well.  More Starfall – songs and early reading and lots more. Heleyna loves this site and is proud of what she is learning.  I wish there was a Brit version of this.

We didn’t do any Progressive Phonics but she does love the Dod the dog stoies.

Joint lessons:

Kids Greek lessons This is a great little free resource. Sign up and the lessons are all there. You will need Firefox and to download the Greek lexicon to see the lessons properly- but we have done that and it works perfectly. I hope to move the children on to more formal Greek lessons later, but this is a brilliant intro.

Kinderbach: This is a music and piano course aimed at 2 to 7 year olds. Ronan is just about too old for it, but it is working well with all three of the little ones and they are playing simple tunes on the piano. A year’s membership is now nearly $100 but to be honest I still think that’s pretty reasonable as you can move through the lessons as fast or slow as you like and repeat lessons for children who want that. There are times when I find it irritating, but the children love it and appear to be genuinely learning- so what do I know?

Poem today: I decided to go for a poem from our incredibly old copy of When We Were Very Young by A A Milne. So we read “Puppy and I”. Ronan thought saying “Where are you going to Man?” was a rude way to ask a question. Indeed. 

Read alouds: I read to them from Marigold Hunt’s The First Christians. Then a chapter from Pagoo from Clancy Holling Holling.

They requested some Youtube Bible stories and Roy G Biv about the rainbow. Heleyna’s request and she danced to it (of course).

Iona emerged from the attic with a cunning plan to make a batch of tomato soup for feezing for future lunches.

I then asked Heleyna what I should do for tea and she replied “Tuna pasta bake.” At this point I remembered never to ask Heleyna what she wants for tea because her answer is always “pasta” or “tuna pasta bake.”

She put her little rabbit apron on and with the kitchen chair to stand on, she helped me cook tea. She is quite a good little helper these days.

Meanwhile Ronan was ready for Beavers, had persuaded Alex to take him and was having some computer time before he went.

Before you know it, the boy is back from Beavers, tea is eaten and it’s bedtime, complete with story, prayer and a goodnight kiss.


12 responses to “Home Education- a “hotbed of tropic intensity”…or a Monday in the life.

  1. love the way you do your home education with your children your blog on home education has given us hope that we are doing the right thing! you have given us plenty of ideas and most inportant to spend time as a family together love the picture of Heleyna mixing something in bowl.We used to do that with Peter never thought of it as home education but of course it was! Peter used to make a real mess but much fun was had by all!

    • LOL . Heleyna is just about getting over the “real mess” side of cooking with me.
      Learning as a family is important, not just for education, but for living life. (imho)

  2. Steve P in Madison, Wis.

    A bit of a tangent (or what psychiatrists would call a “loose association”), but my seminary was on Saint Ronan Street. Hm…

    • There was more than one St Ronan. Our Ronan is named for St Ronan of Iona. The ruins of a chapel with his name are on the island. Although one of the celtic monks, he sided with St Winifred over the dating of Easter which makes me think he must have travelled a lot and seen the Benedictines way of life.

  3. Incidentally Phil lived in St Ronan’s Road….
    Lovely post. I love being in the Zone with the kids:-) Thinking skills sound great.

    • Thanks Kate – St Ronan gets around it seems.
      Thinking Skills is great and the children love the excercises. The books are a bit expensive but they allow in family photocopying which is good.

  4. That sounds like a fantastic day. Thanks for all the links. Kinderbach sounds really interesting- I’m trying to work out what to do with them music wise. Have looked into Suzuki but is a total trek and I think prob quite expensive.

    • It’s cheap compared with lessons. As they get through the course they get to play more and more little tunes.
      I would like to see a more advanced set of lessons; they do appear to be working on that. We’ll see.

  5. “I then asked Heleyna what I should do for tea and she replied “Tuna pasta bake.” At this point I remembered never to ask Heleyna what she wants for tea because her answer is always “pasta” or “tuna pasta bake.””

    I approve of this child!

  6. Heleyna’s apron is fantastic.
    I get a Miffy colouring book and calendar every year off one of my sisters, I’m just wondering if they do those aprons in “big sizes”…I may be requesting one from my little sis this Christmas.

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