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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Break Time

WoW, we’ve just come to the end of our first batch of 5 weeks school and are looking forward to a  1 week break. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.2012_0116_083313

Every day I realize more and more how much the “system” has failed me during my school years even though I had fairly good grades, thanks to my ability to learn “like a parrot”. Teaching to the test is failing on so many levels since noting remains long after the tests are done. I' am basically re-learning everything with the boys and am finding all this  learning quite tiring so I can just imagine how the kids must feel after a full term of sitting in class for an average of 5-6 hours a day. Thankfully we don’t need to adhere to such a rigorous schedule and can change our schedule to suit the family’s needs. I really have to guard against bringing the “system” into our home and causing more frustrations, but so far this year it seems we’re coping much better than last.

So here’s how we start most our days… The boys wake up around 8am and since none of us are early birds, they come sit on me whilst we watch How it’s Made and Mythbusters for some overall science general knowledge. I’m amazed at how much they generally remember from what they see. The Samsung Galaxy Tab that I received for Christmas seems to been one of the best investments we’ve made so far. I have added the Kindle reader and now we read The Story of The World whilst Misha colours the relative pictures from the activity book. We do the review questions orally. Of course we play lots of Monopoly for Maths and the World Safari game for Geography.

After about 18 months of home educating I seem to have finally found something that has Misha excited about learning to read. He spent the first 3 days full time on the program and finished about 20 lessons moving himself up from Level 2 to a a Level 3 reader.  Not too shabby for a kid who could hardly read a handful of words in Grade 2. Although his his estimated reading age is only 6 according to the Reading Eggs progress report, I have no doubt that if he keeps up this pace, he will be able to catch up to his peers within the next year or two. I would highly recommend this for struggling & reluctant readers and what's best is that it caters for kids up to 13 years of age.

I have also signed him up on a trial at Ooka Island so he can rotate between the two for now. Then there's also Read, Write & Type so between these 3 I hope we'll eventually conquer the reading struggles. At least he's finally showing some interest in reading, so that already helps a lot.

I recently discovered the Magic Tree House Series of historical story books by Mary Pope Osborne for Kindle. They are fairly inexpensive and I have been reading them to the boys lately. Both of them seem to enjoy listening to these stories and I subsequently discovered the Magic Tree House Game Site to accompany the reading. There is also a UK version of this site available, however Misha and I find the American version more appealing. Now we are able to addres History as well as reading, so I’m quite happy since it saves us the frustration of sitting with history text books. So far we’ve read the first 4 books in this series.

Visit Books Should be Free for a wide variety of audio books to download and listen to.

is another cool site to visit. Into the Book is a reading comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers. It focuses on eight research-based strategies: Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and Synthesizing. Try the online interactive activities, or click below to find out how to get our engaging 15-minute video programs.

I have decided to focus mainly on Misha’s reading development this year in order to get him onto grade level. I’m finding it is useless and frustrating to have him work through numerous other subject workbooks with his reading not at grade level because still struggles to understand what he’s reading. So for now it’s reading and Maths and all the other subjects we’ll continue through living books, games and videos. For handwriting practise we use the blackboard in the classroom & I’ll be investing in a whiteboard additionally to make him more mobile so he can practise writing & drawing whenever he feels like it.

Jesse’s doing the Learn & Master Guitar on his own now, since Misha’s not all that interested yet. The boys are continuing their technology and art lessons. I’m seeing good progress and am happy to see how much they’re enjoying it. Jesse’s washing line project is nearing completion and Misha’s starting to show interest in drawing at home as well. All in all I'm glad for small mercies and happy to see the sparks of interest which I hope in due time will rekindle a love for learning.