I went to a needle museum, with Mummy and Jude. All the children had to dress-up as people, from the Victorian times. And we went into a place called The Scouring Mill and there we had to clean the needles. You couldn’t be rich and go to the scouring mill, you had to be very poor .There was also a lady called Mrs Boldon, she was very important. Her real name was Debbie, because she was just acting, we were doing a sort of play. First we put all the needles into the evening tray, there would be about 500 needles and the evening tray would only be around two twelve inches wide and twenty inches long! We shake the tray so that all the needles have their points to the ground and the flat parts nearly at the at top .My favourite part was when we did the second set because it had a thing called putty powder and there was olive oil ,and I put olive oil in my hair! The girls wore white hats with lace at the end that went round the whole hat. The boys wore brown or grey caps.
In the afternoon we went to a ruined Abbey. And we wore hard hats, police men jackets, rucksacks and in them we had a cumpas, a tape measure, magnifying glass. My favourite part was, well I liked all of it because, I felt like a real explorer. I had to find a mark in stone and it was a cross, mosaic tiles and the night stairs, the night stairs are called the night stairs because that’s where the monks went to their bedrooms.
One of the most rewarding things about homeschooling is watching your child begin to express themselves in writing, just for the fun of it. I noticed that Jude was becoming more confident with his writing as I started finding notes around the house like this…
The other day he wrote me a letter all about his nightmare – “To Mummy this is my bad dream it is about Gruffalo child. The mouse was running from the fox and I was in it and the fox thought I really wanted the mouse and the fox thought that I was the mouse. Love Jude.”
Then one just telling me he loves me with a ring of the hug bell in the middle (As I always complain my husband doesn’t hug me enough he bought me a bell to ring whenever I wanted one for Valentines day. The children use it regularly.) “I love you mummmy ring ring, Oh time for a hug and why are you scared of dogs? Love Jude”
When he writes independently his spelling and his handwriting are not as good as they are in a structured activity, but that’s very normal for young children. The important thing is that he is writing, and all by himself! Yesterday I stooped to pick up what I thought was litter on the living room floor, a scrap of cardboard. When I turned it over it was in fact a story that Jude had written for his cousin! It’s a little hard to follow as he had no lines but he is quite clear about what he has written… “Once upon a time there was a tiny fairy it woke up it went to Tinkerbell but it got lost but Tinkerbell found her and she took her back to Pixie Hollow and they lived happily every after but a fairy knocked on the door and Tinkerbell opened the door. The End of Part 1.”
One proud mummy!
Sky is a nice dog, she sometimes lickes me and she sits when she sees I have a treat in my hand . we got sky from the rspca and we saw her on the computer and me and Jude liked her first and we asked Mummy and Daddy if we could get her. Mummy wanted a husky and Daddy wanted a German-Sheperd but when they saw what breed she was she was a Husky and a German – Sheperd so we got her.
Now, after a bit I was allowed to hold the lead and one day when we didn’t know she pulled on our road she just started to pull and Mummy started to have to be a bit stern . So , me and Mummy had to both be a bit stern on her , and we had to do it ever since. Now , one Wednesday I was holding the lead and she was hardly pulling at all!!
When we took Sky to the vet the vet had to feel on her tummy and I thought he was going to lift her up by her back legs! And Mummy had to hold Sky s mouth shut while the vet opened the side of her lips to look at her teeth. I felt happy that we have a new dog!
I like teaching handwriting, I may have mentioned this before – mainly because it is so easy to teach. So I thought I’d do a quick post about Jude’s handwriting improvements over the last seven months.
Before I start I’d like to say, by way of disclaimer, that a large part of the reason I homeschool is so that we can give our children a life that is relatively stress free. Of course I’m proud of what they achieve but it’s the quality of our days together that are important. We spend less than two hours per day on academic work, for Jude, who would only be in Reception, it is more like an hour. Less if he gets on and doesn’t waste time. I don’t want anyone to think I work them really hard or anything as it’s quite to the contrary, they would have much less free time if they were in school.
So, stree free handwriting teaching. Rule number one: start young. I start to teach formal handwriting as soon as they can write all the letters of the alphabet, with Jude this was just before he was five. Schools in the UK often don’t start until later and by that time they have formed lots of bad habits. And handwriting usually only happens once a week in school so they forget what they’ve learnt during the week. Well, here is a piece of independent writing that Jude did in October 2012:
It says, Buzz says “Ola” Buzz Lightyear he says “To infinity and beyond” in case you were wondering.
Around this time, Jude began to practise his handwriting every day. Rule number two: little and often. He would spend fifteen minutes maximum on this job but we did it every day. First he had to write all the letters of the alphabet independently. I would then mark them with him and he repeated any letters he had formed or placed incorrectly. Then he did his handwriting sentence. I wrote each word above and he would copy on the line underneath. This is a piece of work from November 2012.
After a week or so of doing this he could spell some of the words by himself so would write those words independently then ask me to write the harder ones. I would mark his work after each word, a word at a time. It’s intensive but this makes it very short because you can keep the momentum up and they don’t lose concentration too much.
By the end of November, only two months after the Buzz Lightyear writing at the start of the post, Jude could write his handwriting sentence independently and no longer needed me to sit by him all the time.
And that’s all we do. Every day, fifteen minutes of handwriting. It has to be his best work because he’s free to write how he wants the rest of the time. By March this year, I would tell him to draw his own lines and he would go over to the table and work totally independently.
This is the handwriting Jude did today. He asked to write a different sentence so we started doing some Michael Jackson lyrics because he loves this song so much. I gave him the three hard spellings at the top and he did the rest by himself with just a little chivvying from me. Of course, he’s a five year old boy so he has the concentration span of a gnat. He kept getting up and doing Michael Jackson moves but because he can write so much faster it still wasn’t much longer than fifteen minutes.
My aim is to stop teaching handwriting by the time the children are seven and Jude’s sister who is nearly seven no longer needs any lessons and hasn’t for some time. Her handwriting is sorted. You may wonder what Jude’s writing looks like when he isn’t having a formal handwriting lesson, well, because he’s a boy he still isn’t especially keen on writing. While his sister was writing her own book this afternoon (yes really, it’s called ‘The Orange Pear’ for some reason and she’s on the third chapter) Jude preferred to colour in Spiderman pictures and practise his Michael Jackson moves. But he decided to write a quick note to his ten year old cousin because he wants to send him his Spiderman PS3 game to play until he gets to the Black Spiderman level and then give it back. You may wish to look back at this point to how Jude was writing last October…because this is how he writes now:
To Aunty Sarah and Uncle Martin, thank you for my draws and my pencils and my spiecel pen. I like my draws because I can keep bits and bobs in them, and me and mummy have bilt it all ready.Thank you so much. Lots of love Cana.xxx
To Aunty Sarah, Uncle Martin and Baby Belle, I love my tea-trolley so much that I am currently sitting on top of it eating a pretend lemon. It is suprisingly sturdy! You were very clever to guess how much I like making cups of tea for people. Thank you very much. Love Mae xxx