Home education diary, September 1998

Being in the UK during July was wonderful, and the boys loved being at their old school again. We arrived at my parents' home late on a Sunday evening, and I didn't expect the boys to be up early on the Monday, but to our amazement they were up, dressed in uniform, and raring to go by 8am. We bought bus passes for the month but they didn't seem to mind the half hour travelling each way, every day. 

I helped out in school some days, and went shopping or to see friends on other days. I bought several Key Stage 3 text-books, and spent plenty of time browsing to see what was available for future online orders. We were reassured to find that the boys didn't seem 'behind' in any way back at school, although as it was near the end of term there wasn't too much formal work being done. Daniel loved taking part in the various musical activities, and although the end of term was nearly as traumatic as leaving in the first place, it did feel like the right thing to have done.

Despite enjoying it so much, neither of the boys at all regretted the decision to have another year of home education. The both said that while they loved St Francis School, they didn't think any other would begin to match up, and that home education was definitely the next best option! Tim says he does want to go to secondary school in two years' time, but Daniel doesn't think he ever does. We'll see.. I should think he'll get frustrated with my lack of science ability, and the general lack of a lab. But I'll enjoy the home education while it lasts.

So after much discussion towards the end of August, we came up with this provisional plan for September:

Daniel to work through Key Stage 3 Letts 'classbook'
Tim to work through Collins Steps 5(1) and 5(2)

Daniel to finish Heinemann English Year 7 and then use Oxford English book
Tim to do Heinemann PLP unit 16, and Hadyn Richards English book 4
Both to do weekly letters, and continue with various stories

Continue using Linguaphone together

Use various beginner CD-Roms, plus books, both boys starting together

Read together Letts Key Stage 3 classbook, also work on Dr Wylie biology course we've ordered from the USA, after both boys liked the look of it online

Read together through History of the World book, doing further research and building up a timeline, and a folder including each major event

Geography in Action book (Year 7) - read and discuss, and do activities

Reading through the Bible together and discussing as relevant

Read together through KS3 technology book, do activities and projects together

Continue piano lessons and practice, Daniel's clarinet lessons and practice, recorder playing whenever possible for both boys. Investigate swimming and tennis clubs, do more cycling and roller blading. More BASIC programming for both, plus LOGO when relevant; electronics with kit given by a friend. See if any art class or club available locally. Tim to continue with Cubs, Daniel to join youth group.

Did we do this?!

Yes, to start with! We tried beginning each day with French or Greek (alternately) for about half an hour, then doing maths or English for about an hour, having a break; then one other subject to finish with for an hour or two. 

We decided not to schedule anything in afternoons other than the music lessons they had already. And for two weeks this schedule seemed just about ideal, with flexibility in time, and enough variety that it wasn't boring. 

Then we took a day off for Tim's 10th birthday - when we played Monopoly all morning, at his request! - and a further 10 days off for my brother visiting, when we enjoyed going for walks, going out to the beach, and generally reading and relaxing.

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