Home education diary, Sept-Oct 1999

So, after a week of 'work experience' in a friend's office, doing database work and sorting through photos, we got started again with some structured home education in the second week of September, the same time as the local schools went back after the summer. 

We continued with the approximate (and infinitely flexible) timetable we had agreed together during August.  In that week, we did a bit of online Greek, had a lengthy discussion about transport, shops and pollution based on a chapter in Tim's geography book, wrote some limericks and thought about ideas in the 'Young Writer' magazine, read the story of Joseph from the Bible and looked at the background in a textbook about patriarchs; read a couple of chapters in a biology text book, wrote some stories, and did some maths from a text book.  On the Friday they worked on email and programming without any help from me.  

In the third week of September, we spent Monday on the Greek online lesson 9, and some experiments with chromatography which were fun. It's about the only thing I can remember doing in chemistry at school.  We talked about it, and then the boys did some writing based on their English text books.

On the Tuesday, we did lesson 9 Greek again, then the boys spent some time using their World War II CD-Rom, which someone gave us. After that they did maths:  Tim worked through Cambridge maths 7.2, Daniel did a chapter in his Key Stage 3 book about circles and pi.

On the Wednesday, we did the Greek online lesson 10, a couple of chapters on biology related to the digestive system, and then looked at digestion on the Dorling Kindersley 'How the Body works' CD-Rom.  Then Dan did some programming while Tim read for a while, and before lunch Dan wrote a short story while Tim wrote a letter to his Grandma.

On Thursday we did the online Greek lesson 11, then we re-read the story of Joseph, Genesis 42-44, and looked at more background, and of course chatted about it for a while.  Dan then did a review section of his maths, about circles, and Tim did a timed arithmetic sheet - his request.

On Friday we did Greek lesson 12, then talked about riverbanks based on a geography text-book, and the boys both did some related writing.

The last week of September was similar, with a break on Tim's birthday when they did some programming, reading and recording - their choices.   

It's strange - writing it all down, it looks as if we did quite a lot of structured work.  Yet it doesn't feel as if we do much at all.  We don't usually start until at least 10am, often later. Now Daniel's nearly 13, and Tim is 11 they're waking up later - as teenagers do - and I enjoy having time to myself first thing in the morning!  

We never do anything formal after lunch, although of course they have their music lessons, and do a bit of practise.  They have their friends over one afternoon per week when they play extensively outside.. and the rest of the days go past. I'm trying to make the most of them, as I know they'll rush by all too quickly. 

The first three weeks of October were very similar again. We pushed through the online Greek course, as far as lesson 18, and although we don't all understand all of it (the boys are finding the grammar rather confusing, not having come across declinable verbs before) I think we're grasping some of the basic vocabulary.  We also did maths from their text-books, more biology, some RE, geography discussions, programming, and of course reading and writing.

In the last week of October some friends from the UK came out, so we declared a half-term break. One of the friends is a geologist, so there was extensive discussion of the geology of Cyprus, and explanations about the various rocks we saw at the beaches we visited. We went to Kurium too, and talked about ancient Greek history and culture.  More and more I'm realising that education is so much more than workbooks and structured learning.

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