What we did last week

As I’ve mentioned before, we have to report to the board of education, once a year. We have to show that Miss 5 has made advances in the previous 12 months. As part of this report we have to provide a record of what we do, including dated examples of her work and photos. I have a display folder and a few work books for her to keep examples of her work, and this blog – hopefully – will be enough to cover the rest. So every week I hope to briefly describe what we have done in the previous 7 days.
I keep our weekly plan fairly vague, with lots of room for Miss 5 to pick and choose where we go next, as well as lots of flexibility to swap and change things around if we come across something better, or more interesting. We have decided that we are going to have one “home economics” day a week (which is really just me saying I still have a house, a husband, two other children and a never ending pile of laundry that needs to be seen to!), during the course of this day we clean the house – Miss 5 helps with the chores, or helps by cleaning her room or tidying up the playroom with her sister, we do any gardening that is required, and we have a shopping/cooking lesson. All the chores are age appropriate and I don’t force her, but most of the time she’s happy to chip in and do her bit. Last week we planted a whole bunch of veggies. We planted spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum and peas. Miss 5 goes out every day and checks the growth of the seedlings and makes sure there are no weeds or snails. She had a ball digging in the dirt and watering the seeds and seedlings. She also found a grasshopper and chased a little lizard 🙂
Miss 5, like her mother, is a bit of a fan of Jamie Oliver. So on our Home Ec days, we go through Jamie Oliver’s 30 or 15 Minute meal cook book. We read the recipes and she picks one that she likes the look of. Then we write out the shopping list, go to Coles and she finds the items on the list and checks them off. When we go through the checkout, she pays. When dinner time rolls around, she – with my help, and the “help” of Miss 2.5 – follows the recipe, and cooks dinner for the family. Last week she picked Falafel Wraps. She did a really, really good job. THe next morning we talked about not being able to find certain ingredients in the store and how we substituted. We also talked about Miss 2.5 accidentally tipping too much water into the falafel mix, making it too runny. We talked about what we did to fix the problem, and what we might do differently next time.
The other structured activities we did this week were worksheets and reading. We made a stop at the local library and stocked up on books. There were books for entertainment and books about Ancient Egypt. I also set her up with some yarn and some sticks that we found in the backyard, and we practiced some weaving. Surprisingly she found this quite difficult, and even more surprisingly she did not cope well with finding something that she couldn’t quite figure out. It took a fair bit of coaxing on my part to convince her to keep trying. I think the fine motor skills are something that we will have to work on a little bit more in the future. She did make me laugh, however, when she decided the weaving project looked like a guitar 🙂
The rest of the weeks learning was led by Miss 5. One of the things that is amazing me most about her and the process of natural learning, is the amount of creativity and thought and ingenuity that she shows in her ideas, when she’s been given the space and freedom to explore them. This week she decided that she wanted to grow some crystals with her little crystal chemistry kit. She also decided that she wanted to make a sculpture. She took the bowl of coral and shells that she has been collecting from our travels up north, and glued them together. When the coral proved to be too heavy for the glue she was using, she got some blu tac and held it together with that, until the glue dried. She also organised a music concert with her instruments and her sisters. They played music together for over an hour! We finished reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and she painted a picture of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, her favourite characters in the story. We finished our story stones – the stones have pictures painted on them, you put them into a bag and take turns pulling out a stone and telling a story involving the item in the picture. And, I taught Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 how to play Uno!
All in all I was fairly happy with the week. There are, as always, some things that we will tweak, and try differently this week, but I think we did well. I have a vision of how I would like to manage our Home Education, eventually, I just need to work, with Miss 5, towards finding that groove that I can see in my mind.
We managed to tick off reading and writing everyday, we did science and practical life skills with the cleaning and the gardening. Science, maths, health and reading with the shopping and cooking. Plenty of art, story telling, music, playing and being outside.
I spoke to Miss 5 again, about school and whether she was sure she still wants to be at home, doing what we do. Her answer was “I definitely want to be at home and doing all of this cool stuff, with you mummy.” So it’s full steam ahead, into another week 🙂

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