Spontaneous schooling and shaking off old habits.

Spontaneous schooling and shaking off old habits.

Three weeks ago we decided to have a break from formal schooling. The reason, we haven’t had one since we started home educating over a year ago! We have had odd days and some time over Christmas, half days and outings but not time to switch our brains off. More importantly not enough time for me to be just mum for a while!

The first week was a holiday spent with my mum where we had days out to Alton towers, Warwick castle and saw family. Though during this time Luke also got some work experience too!

Last week we did some sorting and finally took down the wall between the boys tiny room and the big cupboard next door. So now we are slowly sorting the stuff from the cupboard that has spilled it’s from across the landing and into our bedroom!

But we have continued to do our reading together when ever possible. Today we began the next book in the chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We only read one chapter but from that sprung a spontaneous Literacy lesson and some art.

In the first chapter Eustace is teasing Lucy and Edmund saying

10306486_10153415383224525_8646371780790394193_n“Some kids who played games about Narnia. Got gradually balmier and balmier.”

In response Lucy says Narnia and Balmier don’t rhyme. But Eustace replies that it is an assonance. So together we found out what an assonance was and made some of our own. (Please excuse my untidy scrawl, I was writing quickly at a funny angle with a wriggly toddler by my side!)

Then we thought about what type of painting we would like to be pulled into like the children find happening with the picture of the Narnian boat in Lucy’s room. They then went off and drew their pictures. If you know the boys you’ll know that all their pictures contained cars!

I’m beginning to think that autonomous learning or at least spontaneous schooling suits us best. Today we have had a good productive but unplanned, unstructured day. Annie Rose and I made cakes, we all did a few chores like putting away washing clearing the draining board and washing up. Then we read our book, did our assonance writing and drew pictures. I even got time to do a little (little!) painting craft work. We saw grandparents and they told us about their holiday. The boys did their bible studies, sorted out a box of bits left from sorting out their room and are now playing darts in the newly hung darts board (great for practising subtraction or addition too!).

The difficulty is I am trained in childcare. I have worked for years in nurseries, reception, year 1 and year 4. I can’t get schoolish thinking out my head and routine!

So this term we are changing our approach slightly we will continue to do maths and literacy on an online program we have subscribed to but the rest of the time is going to be sharing literature, maybe with some spontaneous lessons like today, and practical life skills like gardening, cooking and home maintenance. I have to plan for September’s learning but will be trying to shake old habits that didn’t work for the boys whilst in school yet i find it so hard to drop!


C S Lewis inspired

C S Lewis inspired

Having read The Magicians Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe together; today we began on a biography of C S Lewis. The book is from the Christian Heroes then and now series written by Janet and Geoff Benge and published by YWAM publishing. We’ve only read chapter 1 but the amount of discussion it provoked on history, religion and politics was great. I’m excited to see the boys engaged with it all!

I got the idea about using this book from a friend who also home educates. She also got the book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer from the same authors and publisher. Some one growing up in Germany at the same time Lewis was growing up in Britain. Both lived during the two world wars. I’m sure the two books will spark much more discussion and research into the history of the era and most probably economics, geography, faith, conflict etc etc! So thanks goes to her for the ideas … they’ve really sparked our interest.

We are doing a lapbook for each book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Which are really helping us think about what we are reading. It’s a great exercise in reading comprehension without it feeling like it!Image

I found lots of free online printables for making the lapbooks many referring to the bible to show the parallels Lewis draws.

These biographies read like a story, a living book as Charlotte mason would call it. Which is great! No lists of dry facts instead an insight into what life was like at that time in that place.

I’m excited about these new books we are reading and the possibilities that may spring from them for our education. I say our not the boys because I’m enjoying learning along with them!

Tonight we will be watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to compare the film to the book. So popcorn at the ready for a snuggle in front of the screen all in the name of education.

about time we got arty again!

about time we got arty again!

I’m so busy planning activities for the core subjects sometimes the arts get lost! So yesterday on a whim we did art. The boys are always drawing but I wanted the to have some appreciation of the different styles art can incompass. At the moment we are reading our way through The Chronicles of Narnia. So we have also made a lapbook about C S Lewis. We are going to read a book about him too to find out about the history and some geography of when and where he lived. So we looked up an artist of the same time period. We settled on Edward Wadsworth.

Here is what we achieved unplanned in one afternoon! Our Art appreciation board

The boys found out some facts about him like when and where he lived. What influenced his art and what mediums he used. They then did their own picture copying his style. I printed out the letters ART stuck them on a large piece of card and pinned it up. We printed small pictures of the artist pictures they were using and tacked it all to make a neat little display!

We are looking forward to exploring another artist soon and making our own art copying their style. I’m hoping we’ll choose Monet next!