Ohana Home Education Yahoo Group

When I started home educating, the internet was fairly new, and so at the time (1999) the main source of networking between home educators was ‘e-groups’ which eventually got taken over by Yahoo groups.

I know that almost everybody now has migrated over to Facebook, but although I am obviously there (and Ohana Home Education has a presence there), I’m not a big fan and don’t particularly like entrusting photos or files to them, and so while lots of yahoo groups now stand empty or quiet, I have decided to revive one of my groups as a handy place to store files and links that may be of use to home educators.

ohana

The group is, surprisingly enough, is called Ohana Home Education and you can find it here: https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OhanaHE/info

There are already lots of files and links there. Mainly they are related to lapbooking, unit studies, home economics and some religious topics (mainly relating to Messianic Judaism, celebrating the festivals, cooking etc.), but I hope in future to add resources and worksheets on all other topics, and anybody is free to contribute.

It is not particularly meant to be a discussion/ support group, although if it does get used that way it would also be OK. But there are of course lots of other places online (especially, inevitably, on Facebook) for that sort of thing. One of these days I will get round to making a list of the most helpful groups.

So please do go on over and take a look, and if you would like to join to contribute/ make use of what is there, please do make sure to confirm when you apply that you are a home educator. Feel free to suggest as well the topics that you would like to see there.

I know that, when I was first home educating, I very much appreciated the resources that other home educators had made available for free, so it is all good to make sure that there are free resources still available for a new generation of home educators.

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Stuff we’re using

1teddyrow

October isn’t over but since I never know when I will have enough energy to get on the laptop, I thought I would write an update now.

There are lots of things we’re struggling with at the moment, lots of things we would like to do but haven’t been able. So instead of dwelling on the negative, I’ll let you know what we have done, and what we are currently enjoying.

In English, we’re currently going through Galore Park’s “So You Want to Learn Junior English” Book 2. We don’t bother with writing as it slows the boys down, we just go through it orally. Sometimes, when there’s a point of grammar that they need to see, I’ll write it up on the whiteboard. We’re also using Jolly Grammar books 1 and 2 for spelling (the grammar worksheets are variable. I like that they’re photocopiable, but we only bother copying the good ones.)

For literature, we’ve been listening to The Railway Children by E. Nesbit and read by Virginia Leishman, which we downloaded from Audible. I decided to join as a member and pay monthly as it works out quite a good deal. This particular book would have cost quite a bit more as an individual purchase.

For History, we have been enjoying the Librivox reading of Our Island Story. I have already read this book twice to the children over the years, and it is a family favourite. Having somebody else read it aloud is obviously really helpful in our situation. We finished the Middle Ages with another film, just for fun: “Les Visiteurs” which is a French comedy about a noble and his servant who are mistakenly thrown forwards in time by a wizard. Very silly but lots of fun. At the moment we’re going through the reign of Elizabeth I.

For Geography, all we are managing at the moment is a daily page from “You Too Can Change the World”  by Spragget and Johnstone which is a children’s version of Operation World (there is also another version for older children, Window on the World). Each page gives a basic introduction to a country or ethnic group and lists points for prayer. One country that has captured the children’s imagination is North Korea, so we may look more deeply at some point. I do also have an old KS3 Geography series by Collins educational consisting of 3 books (United Kingdom, Europe and The World) but haven’t started that yet. When we do, I’ll let you know if it’s any good.

We went out once with the new HE Teens group to the cinema to see the Martian. I’m not sure to what extent that can be counted as educational! (Again, when I’m more well we might follow it up with some real science!) But everyone enjoyed it and I’m hoping that eventually the group will become a bit more active. Being so isolated makes it difficult to connect with other teens.

We have dabbled a bit with Shakespeare over the last year – usually I read the story in one of the story books for younger children, then again in something more complex like Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and then rather than struggling through the text, we find a good film version before going any more deeply, and then only if it’s enjoyable – the last thing I want to do is put them off. So this term we are looking at Henry V and we watched Kenneth Brannagh’s version with a star-studded cast including a very young Christian Bale!

For Science, we’re still going through Apologia’s Botany, minus most of the experiments. We may go through the experiments another time when I’m more well, as a fun way of revision.

That’s pretty much it. Field trips at the moment are reduced to one trip to the library every week plus their evening activities which, at the moment, consist of Drama, Scouts, Bellringing and Local Radio.

Over to You:

What are you doing this month? How do you manage illness and disability with home education?

Ruins

We went earlier this week to see the ruins of a Penhallam, a Cornish manor house.

I expected the remains of walls at least, but instead there were grassed over mounds where the walls were. It was a beautiful location, but it was a long walk with a disappointing conclusion.

It was a lovely walk though, through woods and by a stream, which ended in a moat around the grounds of the manor house, giving an idea of how magnificent it must once have been.

Since there was not a great deal left to look at, the site was dotted with information plaques. Amusingly, ‘English’ had been scratched out from all mentions of ‘English Heritage’. Quite right too. 🙂

Reading the plaques, it was quite eye-opening to realise that the manor, which at one time had been a great estate, had been given to a Norman noble who only used it as a country house to visit occasionally, actually living elsewhere, and when in the 1300s there was no male heir, the house was eventually abandoned and was allowed to go to ruin.

Today we were watching the BBC series ‘Tudor House Monastery’ and it was interesting to compare the rooms from the Cornish Manor House’s siteplan with the way the rooms were used in the Tudor Monastery Farm.

But I have to confess to a little bit of disappointment not to be transported, Time Team style, back to the early Middle Ages when the house would have been at the height of its use. 🙂

P.s. I have more photos, but I can’t get them to load 😦

Review of the Week

Just a quick review of the week, because we still haven’t quite got in a new routine in our new house in this new year yet!

We’ve been to the library a couple of times, and taken out more books than we can carry. Ds12 said half-jokingly that he though we already have more books than our tiny local library, and if we had another house next to our house, we could open our own library! 😀

Library book topics this week include: birds and insects, and Denmark. (I know, odd collection!) This weekend we’ll take part in the RSPB Big Garden Watch Survey, counting the birds in our garden, and I’m aiming on starting regular Nature Walks again.

We’ve visited with some other home educating families, and played with their chickens and rabbits and the children have started back at their weekly after-school and evening activities (at the moment, we’ve got climbing, swimming, dancing, drama, choir, scouts and a little church group between the 4 children) and we’ve been to beach a couple of times.

We haven’t done a whole lot of academic work yet. A bit of reading (me to them and them to me) – literature, a bit of science etc. but no formal lessons yet.

Our book of the week is “The Avion My Uncle Flew” which is a lovely story of an American boy who ends up living in France with his Oncle and the clever way in which he learns to speak French. By the end of the book there is a section entirely in French. We’re not quite halfway through yet, so we’ll carry on with this one next week too.

Then to finish the week, we’re watching “War Horse” to kick off this year’s centenary of the First World War. I’ll be gathering resources over the next little while to do a study project – recommendations would be welcome.

Ancient Greeks Project

Take a look at this lovely Ancient Greeks project by Helen – brings back memories of doing arty-crafty history projects with my older two, and wondering if the younger two would enjoy it again.

http://www.helenforhisglory.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/ancient-greeks-project.html?m=1

Introducing the Little Bears – history part 1

“Little Bears” was originally going to be “Little Bears Family Dayhome” (1) – a childminding service, way back in 1998 when we were first home from living in Sweden. We had decided to move back to the UK because we were a little homesick, and thought that we should get Dragon-tamer’s name down for a primary school back home.

As it happened, we didn’t even get as far as researching primary schools. Instead, we tried out a couple of pre-schools, as Dragon-tamer was aged 3 at the time. The first pre-school we tried was a shock-to-the-system in comparison with our Dagis (1) in Sweden. The Swedish philosophy of preschool education is a gentle home-from-home which encourages learning through play, and recognises the essential reality of attachment in child development. When Dragon-tamer started at Dagis, we went through a two week long process of inskolning (2), slow and gentle acclimatisation to the new setting while the parent gradually removes his or her presence, only when the child is ready to be left.

Back in the UK, this acclimatisation process was unheard of, and when we requested it anyway as we felt it necessary (especially given all the changes Dragon-tamer was having to get used to in one go – new country, new home and now new preschool), we were told that sitting in on more than one session was impossible. Instead, we made a compromise – I was allowed to sit outside the room where I could watch and listen to the proceedings in order that I could feel reassured. But no such reassurance was permitted to the child. I hope that understanding of child development has improved in the last 15 years.

What I heard and saw in that pre-school (unattended children crying for example) convinced me that it was not professional enough or appropriate for our child, and so we tried a second pre-school. The second setting presented almost the other extreme: this was instead a very rigid academic preschool which insisted on numeracy and literacy sessions for 3-year-olds. When I voiced my concerns and asked if we could arrange our attendance to avoid the academic sessions, we were told again that this was impossible. This time there was no room for compromise. The pre-school leader told me confidentially that she agreed with my concerns, but the setting was run by a parent-governor board which believed in the better-sooner-rather-than-later principle. Again, I hope that understanding of child development has improved in the last 15 years.

Well that’s enough for now! I haven’t blogged in a while, but I will try to post more regularly, and history part 2 will tell what we did after preschool, and how we discovered home education quite by accident.

Some notes on Swedish words:

(1) Dagis – short for daghem, dayhome, also known as forskola, preschool, and barntradgarden, kindergarten. A childminder’s would be a Familjedaghem, or Family Dayhome.

(2) Inskolning – acclimatisation process

(if somebody could let me know how to get Swedish characters, please let me know!!) 🙂

Romans in Britain @ the Northampton Shoe Museum

We were part of an educational party visit yesterday to the Northampton Shoe Museum, with a hands-on activity on the theme of the Romans in Britain.

The Northampton Shoe Museum is more properly named the Northampton Museum & Gallery – there is more in it than shoes; however, I must confess to having expected the hands-on activity to have at least featured shoes! But, no – a Roman soldier’s armour was available to dress up in, but it didn’t include the sandals! There was lots of pottery, and tesserae from mosaics – it was all very stimulating, but no shoes!

One of the things we have discovered over the years of home educating is that large group visits are not necessarily terribly conducive to learning. They have their place, of course, and can often be a chance for some positive social interaction, but if it is learning you’re after, small or family groups are definitely preferable. This one is a place we will plan to visit again on our own another time.

History is Horrible, get me?

We’ve been in stitches this morning, going through the BBC Horrible Histories Channel on YouTube. Brilliantly funny sketches! This one is probably my favourite:

We’ve enjoyed the magazines and books for years (they turned out to be a good investment – especially the magazines, as they’ve proved again and again to be a great jump-start to reading), but we also discovered the website this morning, and we will definitely be trying to catch the BBC series 2 which will be starting in May 2010.