I Can’t Think of a Title

I intended to write a long post about home-educating when you feel low and anxious but mood has picked up during the day and time is running low. 

It was definitely a day for taking it easy.  Sam spent ages on Mathletics playing the problem solving games.  He then decided to start creating a Latin dictionary for himself.  He’s been doing French as well as Spanish on DuoLingo for the last few days. There was more microbit programming.  Sketch Tuesday was an aquarium theme so men getting eaten by giant sharks.  We watched 1900 House and Robot Wars, then chatted while Sam played Roblox and I stitched. 

A Schooly Looking Day

I was exhausted today.  Hands on fun stuff was beyond me so it was a catch up on quieter stuff.  Nice to have balance but a low photo post and not an exciting one, more a list of what we did.

So we did;

a dictation exercise from Writing With Ease 3 about Laura Ingalls Wilder
a writing exercise from his Collins book encouraging use of personal details to bring authenticity
a review and activities verbally on quotations mark
a lesson on finding percentages of numbers
a couple of Mathletics games
Spanish practice
Latin verbs
reading and a worksheet on children’s work in Victorian times
read some of a My Story book on a Sweep’s Boy
watched last episode on Victorian Slum
a couple of comprehension style exercises about natural resources in Asia
drawing for Sketch Tuesday

Languages 15/16


Decided this summer that the Spanish group we’ve been doing for a few years is no longer working for us.  One of the children has moved, the tutor’s situation has changed and she was finding it hard to give me a time plus the book they’d moved onto was a bit writing heavy.  So we’re going to go it alone for now.

I’ve lots of ‘fun’ materials and games but not sure these will work for us.  Little and often is how we work with languages.  I’d rather do 5-10 mins a day and most resources take nearly that to set up.  So for now we’ll stick to just Duolingo.  Perhaps with reading the odd story book in Spanish and seeing how well we can translate.  The advantage of this approach is we both have our own accounts and are learning alongside one another (he’s got the motivation of staying one step ahead of me).

Must admit I’ve been greatly reassured by seeing the chaotic, hodgepodge approach to teaching languages that goes on in Jack’s school, where they can sit a GCSE in a language they start in yr 9.  Not sure we’ll ever do GCSE anyway, languages are hard to arrange so it’s for personal use really.


This is another one where little, regular and really unexciting works for us.  I keep looking at the Minimus book on my shelf but it’s just not for us I feel.  On we plod with Latin’s Not So Tough.  It’s made up of very short lessons with one new word at a time and lots of practice.  All a bit random really it seems but the idea of studying Latin is to be able to spot links and word origins and conversation shows it’s working, he’s recognising links to both English and Spanish.

The United States of Smiley Faces

20150428_2By the end of last week it was evident that Sam was ready to return to a bit more structure.  It is hard to explain it but without it he gets a bit out of sorts, mood is quicker to rise to temper or tears and although he’s doing exactly what he wants most of the time he is less happy than when I’m there getting him involved in other stuff.

So we were back to our core work.  English was handwriting, Writing With Ease and grammar.

Latin, he’s building up his word base.  I found Minimus as part of our big tidy up, may give that another go soon for a change.  Found out they publish some books like Asterix and Cat in the Hat in Latin so building a wishlist.

Spanish, as we’ve not done Duolingo for a month strength bars had faded so it was back to basics (for me too).

Maths we are not following a curriculum this term and focusing on times tables as a confidence boost.  He did some Timez Attack, I upgraded it to the paid account over Easter after months of pestering and he loves it as a game rather than work.  They do 20% HE discount if you email and ask.  We then played Dude Dice and some of the bump games from here which were great fun, particularly as my Dad happened to be here so we had a third player which probably added to the ‘bumping’ and the fun.

The weather is supposed to be iffy this week so we took our opportunity mid morning when the sun was out for a trip to the park.  We’ve 3 nice parks all in easy walk of the house and all with something a bit different to offer.  Very lucky!

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We also started investigating this book.

20150428_3Bought as a bit of a punt as a potentially fun way to look a bit at politics in the run up to the election.  Generally not fans of anything too gimicky or that tries to read too chatty (HATE the ‘for dummies’ books and SotW for these reasons). This though is good, so good Pete wanted to join in.

So far he’s claimed his land (our living room), named his country ‘United States of Smiley Faces’ and designed a flag.


Filling in the Gaps

I have a habit, probably like most bloggers, of focusing on groups, trips and projects but so much more goes on. So here’s a brief summary of what else we managed this last week.


Mainly Mathletics, focusing on column addition and subtraction and some multiplication.  Supplemented with Timez Attack.


Handwriting was practised.  We use Getty Dubay.  Working on book C so starting to learn cursive.  Grammar was focusing on prefixes, in particular dis and un and how they change the word to mean the opposite.  We started Writing With Ease level 2 and he’s managing the leap up and dictation well.  Spellings never troubled him.


3 days of Duolingo practice and weekly Spanish tutorial with a native speaker.


Using “Latin’s Not So Tough” we started an level 1 which was far too easy, on level 2 now and introducing vocabulary.  Isn’t particularly inspiring but only takes a couple of minutes and the simplicity of it appeals to Sam.  Won’t turn him into a fluent Latin speaker/reader but we’ll keep plodding through as long as he’s happy as like the idea of a bit of basic Latin to support English and Spanish.  He is already spotting similarities.


We read through our science book on Monday to take us up to where we needed to be for Tuesday’s Science club.  It turns out I don’t really understand Electricity so well.  I’ve bought a dreaded lapbook that we’ll hopefully work through this week and next to help both of our understanding.  One of the big questions about home ed is what happens when you don’t know something – well this – you find out.  I identified my understanding was lacking so researched and found a resource that I think will give us both a better grasp of it.

At group we looked at electrolysis and circuit diagrams.  Made different circuits and investigated the effects on a bulbs brightness from different numbers of batteries and bulbs.  We also made our own switches.

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Friends round for Science and a play on Tues, off to another friend’s for the afternoon and then Cubs.  Weds was a group trip.  Thurs had friends for Spanish.  Friday was a play in the park with other home ed families while we failed to see the eclipse.  Love watching how good he is with younger kids and then he got to make a new friend as an old friend’s brother has joined the local home ed ranks.


Languages 14/15

Another one that you get asked how you teach a lot.  For us the answer is finding decent resources and/or a tutor/native speaker.


We have a weekly, term time Spanish class.  By coming together with a small group 3/4 children they get the experience of being taught together, plus the motivation and enjoyment of working together.  But the group is small enough that they get a lot of individual attention and it is shaped to fit them.  As parents we get to split the cost!

Deciding that we needed some extra practice I spent lots of time last year dabbling with various online games/courses some free, some paid to supplement.  In the end I think Duolingo is the best one for us.  So we will get in as much practice there as we can.


This is one we are just playing with really.  I think a bit of basic knowledge of Latin helps with the understanding of English.  Plus we spend a lot of time looking at Ancient times…

We have been working on Latin’s Not So Tough.  It is a bit (actually a lot) slow and plodding but that suits us.  We’ll carry on plodding through for another year I think before we give Minimus another shot.