Home Education diary: November 1997

We got going with 'homeschooling' in the first week of November after our half-term break while we relaxed and recovered from our flights. The boys were getting a bit bored, stuck in a flat all day, with nowhere much to go, now that Richard is working full-time. So we got out the various workbooks I'd brought with us, and borrowed a few extra text-books from a small library connected to Richard's work.

 I also started working with Tim through the Scott Foresman maths book which we had borrowed from the local English-speaking private school. We were pretty horrified to find out that it was nearly all drill: arithmetic based entirely.  There was nothing about geometry, or function machines, or graphs.... and even though arithmetic isn't Tim's strong point, it was all very basic. We managed to get through the entire book in the first  week, which is a bit worrying if it's meant to take an entire year in school!

I talked Daniel through some of a Key Stage 3 maths text book I had bought - however he seems to know most of it already. I thought Key Stage 3 was for secondary schools, but I gather they started some of it at his primary school in Birmingham. I can't imagine how the material in that book could take three years in school - I should think it would have to be dragged out to take a term!

In addition to the maths, we read a bit about the history and geography of Cyprus from one of the borrowed books, and we tried to learn the Greek letters. Fortunately my A-level in ancient Greek is coming back to me somewhat, but according to the modern Cypriot Greek text-book we've borrowed, pronunciation is nothing like we were told back at my school.  So I'll have to re-learn that.  But at least I can work out some words. The boys are seeing it as 'de-coding' at present and finding it all rather fun. I wonder if we'll learn much or whether (as it seems) so many people in Cyprus speak English that there won't be any need to learn Greek properly.

In addition to the academic work, the boys did a lot of building with Daniel's new K'nex dinosaur set, which we brought with us - they assured me that was 'technology'! The Lego will be coming in the sea freight, which we hope will be here before too long. We played some games on Richard's laptop computer as well; the boys miss their computer but at least we do have this one, small though it is.

Not that I need to worry about their IT skills, as their teachers had assured me! I was also told not to worry about their English skills, so I didn't do any formal English with them. They both had books to read, although Tim is running out already, and Daniel has decided he's going to write a novel. We bought a nice big exercise book and he's written several pages.

Nevertheless, despite all this education, we're feeling a bit frustrated - a mixture of homesickness, missing their school, missing family and friends, not sure of the new place - and of course being in a small flat with nowhere much to go and not much to do.

Next: December 1997