• Karen

Maths and coding week

This week we mostly studied maths and coding. Probably our family's favourite subjects.

Each morning we did the formal stuff like fractions and times tables from a variety of workbooks and printed sheets while our brains were still working. Then during the afternoon brain slump we moved on to "fun" maths, like shapes, patterns and geometry.

This schedule is working quite well for us now. Instead of trying to rein them in after lunch, when they start to get fed up and demand snacks more frequently, I changed it up and put the practical, self-led learning into the afternoons. On days when I get fed up too, I can give them a screen to work on and take myself a breather.

For the geometry, I found a page called Artful Maths with lots of free templates and downloadable slideshows connecting maths and art. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about each of these topics. Here are our patterns using patchwork shapes:

They currently use Tynker for coding. There's a host of different tutorials from Barbie and Candy Store to Hot Wheels and Minecraft. The small one has been creating a news report and the big one is calculating how to navigate a car around a track. The subscription is a little pricey but the site has a wide selection, with a family account option, and there's currently a discount for homeschoolers.

We've started using TimesTables Rockstars, which only cost £7.20 for a year's subscription and has encouraged quite a bit of household competition. They'd been using it in school previously. It's a series of short timed tests which assess your level and then awards coins. There are world-wide leaderboards and challenges. I'm a bit addicted already.

On a Friday we like using Education Quizzes as we can pick the topic we've been studying during the week and check what we've learned. The children enjoy the challenge element where they each try to reach the top of the week's leaderboard for their age group.

For English, Night Zookeeper or Literacy Planet are both still a draw - it's great that they're still interested in these. After all that's the idea, right? Keep them interested. Then if they stop being interested, change it. As adults we try out different things and move on when we've had enough. We're all still growing, we all change our minds. It's ok to let the kids do that too. For me, one of the great things about home schooling is exactly that, let them study what interests them. If they get bored of something, give them something else. Let them find their own path.

What I'm still liking about homeschooling is reassuring them that there's no marking or bad marks for getting it wrong. If there's something they're struggling with, it's just something to put on our learning list, to come back to when they're ready.

What they tell me they're still liking about home education is being able to have their questions answered quickly rather than having to wait until it's their "turn".

Also this week, as well as piano and karate lessons, we studied Japan with Creation Station and learned how to do Shakespearean stage fighting, insults and death scenes from Hamlet with the Handlebards. "How now, a rat?"

Honestly, right now I'm exhausted because I'm working every afternoon and teaching the children too, as well as all the usual household stuff. We no longer have a cleaner either so that's on my growing to-do list too.

When I started all this I never planned to still be home schooling from our house by now. I'd expected to be in another country, learning all sorts of new things there. But here we are. Everything's changed for all of us and actually, I'm loving it. I love watching them learn. I'm enjoying researching new topics and I'm learning so much myself too.

I do regularly question this whole thing. Am I teaching them enough? Am I doing the right thing? Am I giving them enough variety? But these I think are actually all the questions I should be asking. They help me refine and improve.

At the moment I just try to look at each day individually. With lock-down there's nowhere to go and little to look forward to, but it won't do well to dwell. We might be mostly stuck indoors but we have the world at the end of a WiFi signal.

I know I'm already doing all I can to keep us all safe and healthy. So I'll just keep going. One day at a time.

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