Sunday, 31 August 2014

It's that time of year...

... that feels like endings and new beginnings all rolled into one. Summer feels definitely over, what with all the rain we've been having, the drop in temperature and the darkness falling that bit earlier each evening. I've been looking at my woodpile and thinking that I really must ring the coalman. Autumn feels like it's here already even though the leaves are still green on the trees and the sun is shining intermittently today. My neighbour has just cut his immaculate allotment grass and I can smell the smell of fresh grass clippings coming through the open front door. Lovely :)

I can feel my annual urge to start knitting creeping up on me, as well as the need to bake and make jam. I reckon it's all part of some ancient ancestral memory type thing - preparing for the winter ahead and the times when food should be scarce, except it isn't anymore because we shop rather than hunter-gather.

There's an element of this holing-up-for-winter going on in our Home Ed life too. This time of year lots of people are posting about their plans for their children in the upcoming academic year which is calling me to assess our achievements and think about what we need to do here in the coming non-school year. Mainly though I am fighting a really strong urge to go out and buy stationery, pencils, pens and pencil cases. We really don't need them but they all look so shiny and tempting in the shops, so fresh and clean and unused. Maths sets in tins and notebooks with fancy covers are oh, so tempting :)

Anyway, plans for my children. In some ways, I don't really have any. Or at least, not any new ones particularly, or rather, not any set-in-stone-and-can't-be-changed ones. I don't follow school term-times so there is no real sense of new books and new stuff that goes with starting a new school year. They'll get new text books and exercise books when they finish the old ones, which is just as likely to be in February as in September.

There are lots of out-of-home activities on our calendar that they will continue with. They both do tap and ballet, drama, ninjitsu, Sunday school and scouting. Individually, The Girl does singing, piano and rounders, which will stop for the winter; Boykin does parkour and cricket, the latter will also stop for the winter.

Any book learning has to fit in around those activities whilst allowing plenty of time to play (so essential) and also fit around the monthly Home Ed groups that we attend - book group, themed session, rollerblading, board games group, craft group and history club trips. Even though they are 13 and 9, I still try to keep their learning fun and as playful as possible. Maths is probably the most serious subject that they do - mainly because it is the one thing that I insist on rather than them requesting it - except on Fridays when it's fun maths and we play games or use Ginn Extension Mathematics: Investigations, Games and Puzzles Level 5 .

So these are resources I intend on using with them this year and some ideas of things they think they would like to do at this point in time. Everything (apart from MEP maths and Picture Book Explorers) may be changed at any time and with no prior warning if it doesn't suit, or if they develop a passion for something new :)

The Girl
MEP Maths Secondary
So you really want to learn English Book 1
So You Really Want to Learn French Book 1: A Textbook for Key Stage 2 and Common Entrance
Edexcel International GCSE Human Biology Student Book
Music Theory book - don't know which one yet, will have to see what her music teacher suggests
Certain sections of Picture Book Explorers

She also wants to do more cooking; finish building her garden to her own design; redecorate her bedroom and continue her sewing projects with her Nana.

MEP Maths Primary
Understanding English: Spelling (Series of 7): KS2, Years 3 - 6
Understanding English: Grammar (Series of 7): KS2, Years 3 - 6
Understanding English: Punctuation (Series of 7): KS2, Years 3 - 6
Handwriting Practice 2 (of 2): KS1/KS2, Years 1 - 6
So You Really Want to Learn Science Book 1: A Textbook for Key Stage 2 and Common Entrance Picture Book Explorers 

He wants to practise his throwing and catching skills for the next cricket season; go swimming more often; do more cub badges; do more cycling; practise his magic tricks and play out more.

The Story of the World: Middle Ages - From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance v. 2
Schofield & Sims Verbal Reasoning Tests
Schofield & Sims Non-verbal Reasoning Tests
Schofield & Sims Essential English Skills
Da Vinci: His Life and his legacy Unit Study
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra schools music resources
ETA: Lego Storystarter kit
         James Dyson Foundation STEM challenge cards

They have also both asked for a new series of Picture Book Explorers and some Chapter Book Explorers too, so watch this space :)


  1. You have some really interesting resources listed here. We have just got the S&S reasoning books as well - they look like fun and the Dyson cards too!
    I'll be following you with much interest this year:)
    Thanks for linking up!

    1. Thanks for commenting and thanks for organising the link-up. It's really interesting reading all the other blogs too :)

  2. You're using many interesting resources, some of which I haven't come across before. Thanks for sharing your list. I'll be looking out to see how the year unfolds for you. Looks like it promises to be a year full of interesting learning!

    1. Thank you for commenting :) The list is just a starting point really. There will be lots of other things used over time too :)

  3. Thank you for the link to the Dyson cards-I've just ordered some. I know what you mean about the new stationery-I have just bought some although since we seem to have a chronic shortage of pencils it probably was necessary. I'm sure they are hidden somewhere!

    1. I always seem to have plenty of pencils, but can never find any pens :/ But then, the pencils don't often have points and I can't find the pencil sharpener. It's scissors though that really disappear in our house. No idea where they go :/ Thanks for commenting :)

  4. Ha ha ,yes I know about resisting the urge to buy stationery. I was unsuccessful. We have a lot of new pencils in the house, and some coloured rulers which I'm sure we didn't need!

    1. I'm doing ok so far. Although Boykin has just about filled his notebook that we use for Picture Book Explorers, so I might just have to give in and go shopping ;)