The Christmas decorations have been packed away for another year and our home ed box has been dragged back out into the light again. As we don't have the luxury of a dedicated storage area, each week's work is stuffed into the box for easy retrieval, complete with pens, pencils, coloured felt tips, rulers and rubbers.
As always, I have succumbed to the temptation to explore new resources. The Civitas 'What Your Child Needs to Know' books were recommended on a home educators' forum and look promising. This week, Charlie and I have been dipping into What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know to learn about Roman myths and history.
Another investment I have made for the New Year is to subscribe to Twinkl, a website which provides access to hundreds of primary teaching resources. I have already bookmarked dozens of documents for use at a later date.
We started our first week with a timetable, as Charlie prefers to know what we're going to be doing each day. The timetable provides a useful reminder for both of us, but it is not set in stone and Charlie can spend longer on things that interest him or speed through those that don't. He is not keen on the routine, repetitive learning that I insist he does most mornings, but I remain firm about these. Yes, it's boring to practise handwriting and Times Tables, but these are both useful skills that, once learnt, will never be forgotten.
One subject that I haven't concentrated much on before is spelling, as this comes easily to Charlie and he always used to get good marks in his school spelling tests without doing any revision first. However, Charlie asked me if we could do spelling this term and I realised I had perhaps become too complacent about this. Luckily, I already had Usborne's Tricky Words to Spell card pack, featuring wipe-clean cards, so Charlie has been using that to practise unusual or difficult words. We will also be going through the word lists on the National Curriculum.
This week, we began learning about the human skeleton, which Charlie had asked to study. The Twinkl resources came in useful here.
|Labelling the human skeleton|
Charlie also had the opportunity to open his latest pack from Little Passports.
|The Little Passport suitcase provides storage for all their materials|
This month's package focused on Japan. Charlie was easily able to find it on his world map and stick his pin sticker on Tokyo.
He enjoyed all the activities provided, but especially the origami pack. My one criticism is that the instructions in the pack were not clear enough, but this was easily solved by searching on YouTube for visual instructions, which were much easier to follow.
Charlie was very pleased when he managed to create a boat that floated and a frog that jumped.
Whilst exploring an online map of Japan, complete with photographs, Charlie discovered the volcanic Mount Fuji. By chance, I had borrowed a book from the library called The World's Most Amazing Volcanoes, so we were then able to read more about it.
This term, we will be looking at volcanoes, both from a geographical viewpoint and from an historical one (as we will be learning about Pompeii).
We are continuing with our topic on the Romans and spent this week learning about Roman myths and the Roman way of life. Charlie was intrigued to discover that the planet names he is already so familiar with are actually the names of Greek and Roman gods.
Charlie is also taking part in a home educator's free trial subscription to First News. First News is a weekly children's newspaper. Our trial subscription provides us with access to the weekly teachers' resources provided for schools: in-depth reading comprehension; discussion questions; article analysis; puzzles; and crosswords. Charlie has already read last week's edition of the paper, but we have only just received our link to the teacher resources, so we won't be starting to use them till next week.
Here are the main resources we will be using this term (subject to review - flexibility being one of the advantages of home ed):
Maths ConquerMaths; games (eg. City of Zombies, Cup Cake Dice, Times Table Snap ), practice worksheets from Twinkl .
English Junior English (Galore Park)
Handwriting Handwriting Practice 2 (Schofield & Sims)
Science Junior Science (Galore Park)
Whole curriculum What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know
Charlie's daily cycling will be replaced by regular swimming. We will continue to go on lots of long walks in local parks and across the South Downs. We also have lots of trips planned, including a trip to the National Theatre in February to see Treasure Island and a trip to the SeaLife Centre in Brighton.
He will also continue to see his friends regularly.