Review 16/17

Struggling to write this one as another very successful year so not a huge amount to say.

Did we stick to all I’d planned? No of course not but managed the majority.  I think the only thing that changed from the plan was dropping the computer science/programming and the art award for most of the year. Although we did pick both up again towards the end of the year when we finished off other stuff. 

One of the big goals for the year was to work on writing. Not so much creatively (although had lots of fun with that) but more working towards being able to answer essay questions. I started off by pushing it as a blogging/typing exercise thinking that would make it easier but it ended up falling by the wayside as felt a bit forced. We talked about answers to questions in books also it became obvious from English writing course that he has got the basic skills there to neatly handwrite and begin to structure answers. We’re not ready for essay level stuff yet but question and answer style paper is not as far off as I thought before this year. Having looked through a couple of GCSE papers this year for minor subjects (General Studies/Classical Civilization) I don’t think either would have been a mammoth ask of him now.

The other big goal was working on control and ‘ownership’. Breaking the work down into jobs he can move about on the planner was definitely a smart move, really helped with him being able to visualise what needed to be done.

We continue to rely heavily on a Charlotte Mason style of education for subjects, lots of reading and documentary watching and discussion. Spent an awful lot of time reading aloud this year which has been nice.

In terms of general knowledge he is thriving, continues to have an insatiable thirst for history of all types. The surprise hit of the year was a visit to a Russian Revolution exhibition at the British Library (we’d actually tried to find a day we could go without kids and failed so he was a tag along really), normally he quietly absorbs things and looks like he’s taken nothing from trips and then out it flows 6 months or so later, this one though has been a big topic of conversation. A year long Victorian project has convinced us both that Prince Albert was amazing in what he achieved for this country. I think the project and particularly our look at the slums and factory working conditions and many conversations about Chartism have fired a political animal in him.

Geography, he has a brilliant knowledge of where places are and flags (I’d love to take credit but suspect his love of military conquest strategy games is real reason). He’s loved looking at Asian culture this year, India and China didn’t excite him too much but Japan and Korea really did. 

Science we’ve had fun with a lot of handson learning how much of that translated to in depth understanding I am a little sceptical on but hopefully it will have sunk in a little.

The most positive thing though that comes from the year is that we’re both still really enjoying home ed. At the crossroads where many home ed kids talk about and consider school Sam is sure it isn’t for him. I have noticed him switch in conversation when discussing this from focusing on perceived negatives of school to actively stressing the good points of HE and that is rather gratifying.  I am happy to admit I’ve found the juggling it all hard over the last 8 months. Work has been pretty full on and I’ve gone from a small number of hours to work around to being able to work as much as I want. Sounds ideal but comes with a load of guilt.  I love my job and am relishing the opportunities to do stuff that time hasn’t allowed but HE is a big commitment and huge drain on time to do well, it is a full time job easily. I know though that I am lucky to love what I do so it’s worth the ridiculously early mornings (5.30am is a lie in!) and late nights and grey hair 🙂


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