Cocooning and Planning

Far more cocooning than planning going on actually.  Seems odd to be making plans to get us out and about when all we seem to want to do is close the door on the outside world.  With both boys at home we’re happy in our own little bubble.  I’m trying to make the effort to post one group ‘we’re going here’ post every week to stop us completely shutting ourselves away.

It will come to an end though Jack will go back to school (happily really although he will grumble) and Sam and I will embrace the HE social scene again (again with a feeling of dragging ourselves out).

Planning the social is where I start our HE planning every year as this is the one that is hardest to get right and I’m least able to control.  Last year we found a lovely hall and set up some good activities and have so many more in mind.  It has just been a case of spending a bit of time this week trying to sell it to more group members so we keep up attendance and they remain feasible.

Again, as I’ve explained so often, Sam he needs variety.  Weekly stuff is a struggle to do.  Even code club – his hobby, with his best friends became too much (I think the dodgy computers really didn’t help).  I have been trying to put my finger on what it is and think I have it.  He is my child and like me while he enjoys socialising I think it is mentally taxing to him.  So when we leave a group or activity tired there is a tendency for him to pick up on one small (tiny, minute) thing that wasn’t right – a voice too loud even.  A week isn’t long enough to forget (I think often it becomes a far bigger deal in his head over the following days – overthinking is a family bad habit) and focus on the fact that he enjoyed everything else.  A fortnight or ideally a month lets him forget completely and he’ll be enthusiastic again.  Going somewhere or doing something different is okay.

Therefore what works for us is a routine with a lot of variety.  The big discussion from holiday is we want more time at home and making most of what is on our doorstep – sea, skatepark, Alver Valley, Action Stations.

Routine for the coming year will hopefully look a bit like this;

Monday – Start the day with something out and about – skatepark, bodyboarding, a walk at the country park (or another nice local space).  When we’re feeling a bit more social and fallen into routines more will probably post plans to the local group if organised enough to make plans. I think once we’ve emerged from the cocoon we’ll enjoy it more with company.  I will wait and see how early it is we find ourselves going out though, suspect that will decide whether it is even worth asking others!  Will make the rest of the day a cosy, crafty, reading sort of day.

Tues – PJ day.  This is going to be our sacred ‘day at home’.

Weds – Our big social day.  We’ve two monthly home ed groups planned that will work to fall that we have a group fortnightly.  Workshops and days out, sometimes alone but mostly with others will take care of the rest.

Thurs – a morning at home and then an afternoon with Grandad and plans to attend group trampolining fortnightly and hopefully swimming on the other weeks.

Fri – still a work in progress.  I have a monthly HE group for younger ones.  Now Pete is off on Fri may leave Sam at home as per original plan, will depend on what Pete is up to.  Have the library tables reserved for 4 Fridays too, have offered a book/board game group as they weren’t be used for drop in with your own stuff sessions but no take up and it something we are happy to drop.  Will offer once more as posts get lost over the summer before cancelling.  Goes against the grain to give up free space even if we don’t need them.

Most planning energy has gone in to group stuff although have managed to sort out craft cupboards, order some new resources and plan maths and English in detail.

Maths

The learning packs from Mathletics definitely met the criteria last year of including online stuff, teaching worksheets, lots of variety and hands on activities, all within an easy to stick to frame work.
This year is definitely a case of it isn’t broken don’t fix it.
It isn’t a programme for children to get on with themselves.  Lots of two player games and activities.  Works well for us though as Sam likes me about and likes doing different things.
We’ve upgraded from spreadsheets to online planners though, to give Sam more control as he can allocate jobs to days now.

I’ve allocated the 10 topics to weeks over the year.  For each topic I’ve given him a list of online games (from Mathletics) to go with the pen and paper stuff.  Where appropriate I’ve fitted in some of their enrichment tasks.

I have learnt my lesson about not printing the assessment stuff because of course we never looked at that.

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English

Still our hardest area but starting to come together.  Spelling, grammar and handwriting are reasonable.  Creative writing is still not happening.  I had planned to give it up as a bad job and focus on building up basic report style stuff starting to get ideas out of his head and recorded.  We do so much verbally.  We’re a long way off exams but feel we need to move more towards recording information, baby steps. Sam specifically stated creative side was something he wants to develop though – just need to make it fun.

Plans are to keep working on comprehension through narration.  Mostly through Writing With Ease 3 but perhaps using a bit of narration on our read alouds.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar – will read through Usborne’s Improve your English and do some of the activities (verbally mostly).
To help with structuring writing we’re going to work through Collin’s Aiming For Level 3 Writing and hopefully start Level 4.  These are old versions so don’t follow current NC but I prefer that.  What I like about them (and think Sam will too) is that they are written for older children who need support and as such aren’t fluffy and cartoony like a lot of junior age resources.
Story telling, the aim is to just have fun.  I bought this Show Me a Story book years ago and love it.  It is one of those that you browse time and time again thinking oh I’d love to do that but it never seems the right moment.  I think it is probably a now or never agewise.  We’ll use the hands on activities in the book to make and use story prompts and will do it verbally.  I might transcribe the odd one for him to embellish and improve but we will see.
Not sure if we’ll do regular handwriting practice yet it will be see how things go timewise and if we feel it is a benefit.  If so we’ll stick to Getty Dubay as they have served well (and I have the next book ready).

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