If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a big fan of outdoor, nature based learning 🙂 However, especially during winter, this needs to mixed up with some indoor activities as well. Plus, although I’m not a big fan of workbooks, I do use them for the Maths and English, to guide me along more than anything. Since Christmas, with so much exploring and other activities to do (sewing, microscopes, geocaching…all teaching valuable skills as well), it was clear that our home ed plans needed a little overhaul. Add into that we are all trying to learn a new language as well 🙂 I wanted to step up the twins number and letter work a little, and make it a bit more interactive, so I have been beavering away on my Pintrest research and dedicated 2 specific boards on my page (Mamma’s School) to number learning, and letter and reading learning.
It was has become clear to me I am trying to stuff too much into each day as well. Each week, I want to follow the weeks nature curriculum, do a proper hike to explore (and do either geocaching, practising compass reading, minibeast hunting, use our spotter books etc.), some formal workbook work, learn Swedish, teach some tap dancing, try and keep the little lady’s piano going at home (not having lessons now), as well as some more fun number and letter activities…..plus the craft they all love! My problem is I don’t take this slowly and was trying to achieve this all everyday, and when it’s mixed with a half day of school for the little lady, it becomes more of a headache for me and a task list, rather than something to look forward too! So, now the plan is not to achieve everything everyday, but a bit of everything over the course of the week.
The non formal workbook methods for our mini men needed an overhaul too. Using Pintrest I have found a lot of ideas. Today we implemented a few, and when I write home based home education blogs in the future, you will see some other ideas (or check out the Pintrest page 😉 !!!).
We used some pipe cleaners and beads to do our sums. I threaded 10 beads onto the pipe cleaner. The mini men then slid the beads up and down according to the numbers in the sum. This simple thing got their attention for a lot longer. They were able to fiddle and jiggle to work out the sum, and then were happier putting pen to paper, as less bored working it all out. For number recognition, we have some cards I made with numbers on and we lay them out. I shout a number, and as fast as they can they have to grab that number. In the dryer weather we like jumping onto chalk numbers drawn outside. We did a simple sorting task, making a car park graph out of cars, which they had to sort into the colour noted at the start of the car lane. My mini men are both struggling with recognising that each letter comes in two forms. So, to help with this, I have drawn out 2 sets of alphabet cards (small and capital), and we can play matching pairs memory game (my letter recognition is good, but my memory rubbish, so we are about even on this game!). They have both recently really got into asking me to write a sentence so they can copy, so I have taken this on board, to help them have a little bit more writing practice. So they are now copying a simple sentence under one I have written. The we do our reading together. We finished off with a game of I spy to help some more with their word and letter recognition. They both worked for a lot longer today than usual as it was generally more interactive and enjoyable.
Our little lady continues happily with her workbooks (based on a wild nature theme) in Maths and English, but her revamp comes into the Swedish learning with the boys. I am not a big fan of apps and TV (works for some fine, but our little lady gets a “spinny head” from screen time, and mini man no.2 can’t take it or leave it once he’s had it in the day, so it’s a lot easier to just not have it!). We are generally too involved with either being outside or having unstructured play as well. However, having taught them some basic Swedish words, it was clear I needed help with this (I am learning too, so we need something to copy the pronunciation from). Our little lady is doing some great workbooks at school, but having had a little weep over Christmas about her inability to communicate (she’s a bit of a babbler, so the fact she can’t talk at 100mph is probably getting her down), I feel I needed to step up the learning game at home. I have found an app for my phone and downloaded it, and we are starting off with flashcards from certain categories. So, the first one we have done is animals. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of material out there, but I will keep plodding through. Then I am using you tube to find short programmes such as the alphabet, or numbers, or other categories, and sometimes just a Swedish kids TV programme (today they did nursery rhymes in Swedish which they can understand from knowing the English version). So, fingers crossed that with our learning, we will gradually incorporate more words into our daily living as well, thus making it all come a little bit more naturally….eventually!
As I introduce more ideas to my mini men to work through their Maths and English, I will post about them, so keep an eye if you think you’d like to use them 🙂