W (DS1) went back to school today, which means that J & I have started trying to get back into the swing of learning at home. It's been a very low key day, we just did a very little "work" as I don't think I had reminded him enough that we would be starting again! He now knows that next week though, we'll be starting properly. We're going to continue with our flexible approach - although it's leaning more towards unschooling than structured learning, it doesn't really fit that description either, as there is rather of lot of "steering" by me towards activities that I think will engage him. I have a few, vague plans of things I would like us to cover, so thought I'd do a little outline of them here, just in case anyone is interested. (Probably only my mum, but you never know...)
English/literacy: J is a good reader and enjoys reading, so I have no real worries there. We visit the library or buy books, so we will just carry on with that. He still loves me to read to him, and I'm going to ask him to read to me a couple of times a week. I have longs lists of different books to try out on him, to try and expose him to different styles/authors etc. Writing and spelling, on the other hand, are still a struggle, so we will just continue to keep it low key - I give him a page of spelling words or other essential things (like his address etc) to copy out and hope that it will eventually sink in. There is no point me trying to push on this, as he will just refuse completely. He does occasionally write things for his own purpose (captions on drawings he's done, for example) so I think it will come eventually, but until he decides he's ready, we'll just bide our time and keep it simple.
Maths/numeracy: We have just started using IXL online maths program, which is great because you have access to all the different year levels and can hop between them as you like. So we can do year 3 addition, but year 5 geometry for example. He's not super keen on it, but he will tolerate 10-15 mins of it at a time, so we are working through it steadily. And I would really like him to learn to tell the time this year too, we've made a start last term already, so will just continue to work on that.
Science: J loves science, so this is always an easy subject! He's pretty much covered all the KS2 stuff already, so this term I have an idea to focus on the Elements and the Periodic Table, which will also cover atoms and molecules etc. We've got a few good books on the subject and I've found some good online activites and ideas for crafts or experiments. I'll post more details about that as we do it. Obviously, if he shows an interest in anything else we'll see where it takes us.
Geography: We've not done much in the way of geography so far, so I thought I'd try and do some work on maps with him this term, from world maps (different countries, flags, longitude and lattitude etc) to local maps (following directions, coordinates) and there is obviously a huge potential for art and craft too, making treasure maps, fantasy maps, maps of his bedroom etc.
Art: As I think I've mentioned before, I'd like to get J doing more creative activities, so we will use our many art/craft books, or things I've spotted on pinterest etc to give us inspiration. I'd like to introduce him to the work of some famous artists, and hopefully visit some galleries too.
PE: After the success of his crash course this summer, I've managed to secure some weekly 1-2-1 swimming lessons for J, with the same teacher. He did lessons with her before, but stopped just as we started home-ed, as he wasn't really cooperating any more so we both felt he needed a break. Now though, he's pretty keen to start again, so even if it only lasts a term, I'm sure he will make some good progress as well as some exercise!
Music: J has a weekly music lesson with a wonderful teacher - it's "meant" to be a guitar lesson, but more often than not they end up playing with some of the many other instruments his teacher has. It's a very free-flowing sort of session, but I'm happy with that. I also want to introduce J to some famous composers/pieces of music this term, so will be using Spotify for a bit of music appreciation! My knowledge of classical music is woeful really, I know at his age I had no interest in it at all, but he seems to like it so we'll have a go.
That's it for the moment. Obviously, other subjects/topics crop up all the time, but these are just the things that I have specifically thought of. I'll let you know how things go. Some great news though, is that I have finally got my own little car! So we are mobile! This will make a huge difference for us and enable us to get to many more organised activities.
By the way, back to DS1, I know it's not really the done thing to brag about your kids, but he took 2 GCSEs this year (a year early) and got an A and a B! We are so, so proud of him, and so happy that he is one of the lucky ones for whom school has turned out to be a perfect fit.