So after a summer of trying different routines out for our children, my wife and I decided we needed a bit more structure to the home education of our children. Our children thrive on structure and have really got to grips with independent learning activities. They now each have their own laptop and have use of our iPads so as well as finding interesting activities/worksheets for them to tackle, we have been looking at online resources.
- Daydream Education Interactive Resource pack – this has lots of great interactive posters and quizzes for the kids to investigate. It covers lots of subject areas and if we give them free learning time this is one of their ‘go to’ apps. (www.daydreameducation.co.uk)
- Khan Academy – this had been recommended when we first began Home Ed but I only recently signed up to it. The kids spent hours on it doing some fractions work on their first use but the potential is immense. Disney Pixar have also teamed up with KA and produced some courses on the science/maths/programming behind the films. (www.khanacademy.org)
- Times Table Rockstars – I had been meaning to sign up for this for a while, even while the kids were at school but after chatting with creator Bruno Reddy at mathsconf8 a few weeks ago and some of my other maths teacher friends commenting on how much their classes enjoy it, Bruno convinced me to get signed up that day. My kids LOVE it! They have already improved massively with their times tables and I know this will have a huge impact on some of the future topics I plan to teach them.(ttrockstars.com)
These and many other things form part of our daily structure. It’s not all just about Maths and English. Any opportunity to do more creative subjects are jumped on. We now have a halloween (play)House of Horror after a messy week of craft.
Another thing we have insisted on is that they both join some clubs. Brownies and Beavers didn’t work out so we needed to branch out and search for some for something different.
One of the first I managed to get them to was an under 12’s basketball club run by Southend Swifts coach Steve Pearl (www.swiftsbasketball.co.uk). They learning ball handling skills, mixing with a lot of children of different ages and Steve has a great view that it doesn’t matter how good they are – it’s just about having fun. Every week they get a little better and if he feels they might like to have a go in a match he’ll invite them to a training session with the other members of the team. His attitude is great and all of the children that go to the club show a huge amount of respect for him and each other.
We’ll now have a noisier house since they both joined the Essex Marching Corps (www.essexmarchingcorps.co.uk). This was introduced to us by another Home Ed family and on our first introductory evening I automatically saw the benefits they could get. The instructors, helpers and children all seemed welcoming and is exactly the kind of family community I would like my kids to be part of. It will promote dedication and perseverance as well as teach them a huge amount of skills. They will work through music theory and learn a range of instruments.
Now its half term I’ll get to join in the fun at home as well as spend some time teaching them. We have been working our way up to area of shapes so I’ll be breaking out the manipulatives and dotty paper. May also get a chance to read some spooky stories in the (play)House of Horror!