Category Archives: Pokemon

100 Ways to Home Educate – Doing it our way

Over the last week the 100 ways to home educate blog hop has celebrated home education and has already shown how no two families are the same. We’ve seen autonomous, unschooling and structured home education and read about how these styles work for each family, and yesterday Katie from At Home with the Grays talked us through her semi-structured approach. Today is my turn…

Our style of home education is, well autonomous I guess. But our days will be nothing like the previous family’s. And that is what I love. Our days are ours to do with as we please. If we are feeling really keen we might sit down and do some work at the table. Most of the time screen based learning works best though and so we use Reading Eggs and Khan Academy on the computer and occasionally Apps too. We usually have a semi-project type thing on the go, but the learning around this can be anything from project folders of colouring, writing, craft, worksheets etc, to solely verbal discussion based learning. We have two large display boards in our living area and I always have one based on our current topic/project. At the moment this is Africa as we have friends who spent Christmas in South Africa with family and the kids spent a lot of time looking on a map to see where they were and asking questions about it. This is how I/we usually choose what the next topic will be .. someone will show an interest in something and we go from there! Some of the things we’ve done in the past include the Stone Age, the human body, life cycles, energy, WWII and the Great Fire of London.

We have several group/planned activities throughout the week. Some of these are paid for termly activities that I am slightly more insistent that we attend such as swimming and Forest School, some are paid for but I am more relaxed about (Brownies/Cubs/Beavers) and some are pay-as-you-go ones such as our HE group and HE ice skating. While we do usually go to all of these every week, if something else comes up we will amend our week to fit. We normally also have a couple of social get togethers/playdates with friends throughout the week too, both indoor and outdoor, but these are very much ad-hoc and are arranged on a weekly (sometimes on the day!) basis.

One thing both Gordon and I are quite keen on is limited screen time and more outdoor time. While the kids do have access to computers, TV, adapted iPhones (no SIM so more like an iPod) and we do own a PS4 and Nintendo DS we limit the time the kids can spend on any device and don’t really let them play many screen-based games. And, to the great annoyance of all 3 kids, we have a blanket ban on Minecraft because it seriously affects their behaviour. Jasmine’s personality in particular means that she struggles to switch off from the game, she gets very cross when she can’t do whatever she wants with a game, and she frequently ends up crying because of a game. This is no fun for anyone, including her (although she doesn’t always see it like that!). TV is limited less than “devices” but I know how lucky I am that the kids all love watching documentaries (especially Planet Earth/wildlife type ones), Horrible Histories, wildlife based kids programmes (Deadly 60, Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature) as well as the usual stuff like Pokemon and CBBC. We also all play Pokemon Go every day and the kids have an account between them. I am fully aware that the reason I let them do this is because I want to play and that makes me a hypocrite of huge proportions! I justify it to myself by saying that we are at least outdoors, and we do have rules around it such as if they look down at the screen when there in nothing going on and they are just fiddling with the game, then the phone gets taken away for a while.

And then while we probably have more screen time in the winter, when the weather warms up we can usually be found in the garden, in a local park or woodland, or exploring the beautiful countryside we are so lucky to live close to. And we can go days in the summer with no screen time at all, including no TV (the kids that is… I admit that Gordon and I do struggle when we can’t at least check our emails and Facebook!)

So, autonomous for us means no “typical” day as such. We can spend a few weeks at a time doing similar activities but then the season will change, our mood will change or an interest will change, and with it our “typical” day will change.

You can see what this week has looked like so far here, here and here. Thursday included french homework, a quick Pokemon Go walk, HE group (including a french lesson for Jasmine and Thomas, a Trivial Pursuit team quiz that J&Ts team won, and a group Happy Birthday to Ben!), Beavers for Ben and Cubs for Thomas, Harry Potter aloud and quiet reading before bed for Jasmine and Thomas. Today is more relaxed and so far we’ve had super quick breakfast eating and getting dressed so all the kids can get on and finish building Ben’s birthday Lego model. Now their friend has arrived and they’ve finished the model they are all upstairs playing Lego Nexo Knights and I imagine that’s where they’ll stay until it is time to go ice skating this afternoon! (EDIT: I was wrong, they’ve had an argument and now come down to watch TV!)

Ice skating will take up the majority of the afternoon.. it includes a 20 minute lesson and probably one and a half hours play and skate with a group of their friends. After that, well I don’t know.. probably more Lego, maybe some TV, definitely more Harry Potter, chores, maybe a walk out for Pokemon gyms or Chansey catching if it stops raining!

And that’s us. That’s our way of doing it and at the moment it works. Next Monday, head on over to Paper and String to find out about how she facilitates learning with her two girls.

 

Waves of Learning

Day 2 of the #100daysofhomeed challenge, and day 2 of me blogging again 🙂 I actually started writing this blog five hours ago but didn’t finish in time and then got caught up in dinner, chores, Brownies drop of and collection and general evening shenanigans! But the kids are in bed, lights off now so I can finally sit down and write.

This morning started with me filling in our weekly planner and then Thomas helping me get today’s dinner in the slow cooker. The kids have chores to do every day – I put out a selection and they choose what they want to do – and Thomas really loves helping me with meals. Tonight was Bean Stew so he peeled the carrots, opened all the tins and drained the beans and then added them to the slow cooker and got the spices out of the cupboard. He never wants to add the spices in case he adds too much!!

Once we’d done that Ben completed a lesson on Reading Eggs while I tried to get logged in to Khan Academy on the new PC. I totally failed as I couldn’t remember any passwords or figure out how to reset them, so Thomas had to wait for Ben to finish and then he did Khan Academy on my laptop where the passwords are saved. We haven’t used Khan Academy for months… it goes in waves like that in our house .. we’ll use something every day for a while and the nothing for months. But that definitely doesn’t mean the kids aren’t learning. In fact today Thomas was doing the section on multiplication in 10s, 100s, 1000s etc and was flying through. Most of the questions had been multiples of 2, 3, 4 and 5 and he knows those times tables. He came to the question “90×90=?”. We have talked about the 9 times table and I have shown them how to do it using fingers, but they’ve had no “formal” teaching/learning. We do also have a times table poster up in the house. So, back to the 90×90 question.. before I’d even had time to suggest I help him he said “Oh that’s easy, its 8,100”. I was gobsmacked!!!

EDIT: Since I wrote this i have discovered that it *may* in fact have been a total fluke as, while chatting to Granny (who is staying with us for a couple of days) when I mentioned 9×9 being 81 Thomas interrupted and said No, 9 add 9 is 18! So it is entirely plausible that he got the sum wrong, mixed the number order up and therefore fluked the answer!!! Either way, he got the right answer and I am still impressed 😉

So, back to today, after Thomas had done 20 minutes on Khan Academy Jasmine also wanted a go so she was next. She worked on strategies for addition and subtraction and understood it really quickly. She also did a few larger addition sums (100s without carrying) and then because I needed to make lunch and she won’t do it without me, she turned Khan Academy off and asked me to write some sums for her on paper! And she worked through them all really happily and confidently 🙂

After lunch we went to Morden Hall Park to meet up with friends, Pokemon and play. We had a lovely walk round before our friends arrived, listening and identifying bird song, trying to spot the Heron nests and of course, catching Pokemon. When our friends got there we met them in the playground and once everyone had had several turns on the zip wire we walked along the new boardwalk.

Back at home and it was general play, dinner, Brownies for Jasmine, Pokemon TCG online for Thomas, drawing for Ben, TV, Harry Potter aloud, quiet reading for J&T and bed.

 

Welcome to 2017 & #100DaysofHomeEd

I’ve been wondering for a while now how to get back in to blogging. I told myself I’d do it in January .. well obviously that didn’t happen! And now its February. February! I was starting to think I’d never manage to reach the end of the day (or even the middle of the day!) and feel inspired enough to write again. But then something happened in the HE world last week – I’m not going to rattle on about it and I’m not going to point it out if you’ve missed it – that has meant I want to blog again. I want to join in with #100daysofhomeed and #100waystohomeed and I want to help show that there is no right or wrong way to home educate your children.. there is simply the way that works for your family in the here and now and that could (and probably will) change over time.

So I am going to (try to!) blog, maybe not daily, but at least a few times a week with a round up of our home education life. It won’t all be exciting, it will probably feature quite a lot of Pokemon and there may well be days when I’d much rather spend half an hour watching television and so just about manage a sentence and a couple of photos! But it will go some way to show that there are many different ways to learn, learning does not have to happen in a classroom, at a table or from a book, and if its good for nothing else, Pokemon Go is an awesome way to teach the 3 and 4 times tables to children (you’ll probably have to play the game to understand that!)

And so on to today. The start of our week is much quieter than the end.. Monday and Tuesday are relaxed and we only have our Recorder lesson on a Monday morning and Brownies for Jasmine on a Tuesday evening. Other than that we fill our time differently each week. This week I had planned to go to our Recorder lesson via a local NT park and enjoy the 15 minute walk through the grounds from the car park to our friends house on the other side, but Thomas didn’t get dressed in time and then I couldn’t find my car keys so we left the house with just enough time to park outside her house instead. After the lesson we came straight home and the kids went upstairs to play. Mid-morning Ben’s birthday present from my mum arrived from Amazon so he got straight on building that (it was a Lego Nexo Knights model) with a little help from Thomas, while Jasmine did some colouring.

After lunch we went for a Pokemon Go walk around town. We are big gym battlers and today we managed 5km and 5 gyms. Once we’d done the 5th we had just over a minute until we could collect our coins and the kids phone battery was down to just 6%. We spent an agonising 1m16s counting down the seconds while hoping the battery lasted! Thankfully it did!

Along the way on our walk the boys had started talking about Runes and that led to talking about hieroglyphics, which then led on to the history of writing, how long ago Ancient Egypt was, Romans and how long ago that was, reading and writing historically being a privilege of the rich and the Church, why reading and writing is so important and how reading and writing can teach us things! So much covered from one starting point!

Back at home again Thomas played Pokemon TCG online, and Ben and Jasmine did some drawing and colouring while I made bread and sorted laundry. The kids then all moved on to some imaginative play while I made soup, then after dinner we watched Horrible Histories, I read some Harry Potter (Book 6) out loud and then Thomas and Jasmine did half an hour of reading themselves before bed.