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  • Mrs Chakotay 3:09 pm on January 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homeschool, , ,   

    2015 in review 

    Thank-you to all my readers and followers for staying with us in 2015. I know I haven’t been terribly consistent, and it probably doesn’t look very professional because I rarely manage to include photos, but in my defence, we have had a very disrupted year and, really, this blog has never been some kind of business project – there are no affiliate links or whatever (although we do have an Amazon A-Store, which I will try and update with useful books and resources).

    What this blog is about really is just a bit of fun to keep a record of what we do for our own enjoyment, and hopefully to help other home educators find their own paths along the way.

    Depending on how this year goes for us, I have lots of plans and ideas to include here – more book reviews, more field trip/ outing reports, and lots more. (If there’s anything you would particularly like to see here, just sing out!)

    So I wish you all a happy, healthy and productive new year 2016 and look forward to reading your blogs and interacting with the home education community both the UK and further afield.

    WordPress prepared a report, which I thought I would share, as it is pretty!

    Click here to see the complete report.

    Have a great year!

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  • Mrs Chakotay 6:06 am on December 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dagis, , homeschool, , ,   

    Barnkammarboken 

    barnkammarboken

    When Stora Pojken was little, we were given a beautiful book called “Blå Barnkammarboken” which roughly translates the Blue bed-time book.

    When we went to lessons at the Swedish school, one of the teachers was using another, Silver bed-time book of songs which included a CD, and a few weeks ago when I was looking for resources for learning Swedish, I discovered there is now a whole range of books in the series, ranging from anthologies for very young children right through to ghost stories for older children.

    When we got our copy of Blå barnkammarboken, they didn’t include CDs, but I have found a place online where you can listen to samples and buy MP3s here. [note, that’s not the link that was in the original post, but that’s lost, can’t find it again.]

    Track 3 is a little song called “Små grodorna”, and it goes like this:

    “Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
    Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
    ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar havar de,
    ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar havar de,
    ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack,
    ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!
    Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
    Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se”

    And the translation:

    “The little frogs, the little frogs are funnny to see,
    The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to see!
    No ears, no ears, no tails have they,
    No ears, no ears, no tails have they!
    (And then they sing the Swedish equivalent of ‘rebbit’ or ‘croak’ or whatever it is that English frongs say – ku-ack-ack-ack!
    The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to see!”

    It’s an absolute must-learn traditional Swedish Dagis nursery rhyme, and you’re really not culturally literate in Sweden without knowing it!

    Roligt, va!

    Over to you:

    Which language(s) are you learning / teaching in your homeschool?

    If you or your children are learning an obscure language, how and where are you finding resources and community to help you learn?

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 3:12 pm on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , homeschool   

    Crafts and Topics for 2016 

    I have been thinking about what to do with this blog over the next year, and I think that, in addition to specifically Messianic/ Jewish topics, I will try to post on subjects covered in the TODKAH home economics curriculum, in no particular order:

    todkah

    • sewing
    • knitting
    • crochet
    • embroidery
    • gardening
    • cooking
    • baking
    • flower arranging
    • basketry
    • budgeting
    • child development
    • child training
    • home management
    • making a house a home
    • quilting
    • cross stitch
    • hospitality
    • caring

    (caring for the elderly, sick and injured, comforting the mourning)

    • rug braiding
    • women’s health
    • pregnancy
    • infant care and breastfeeding
    • child bearing
    • candlemaking
    • soapmaking
    • raising small animals
    • home business

    If you’re looking for a home economics curriculum, it really is unequalled – it is a 7 year programme for home educated teens (not to mention useful for their mothers!), and as you can see it covers far more than what is usually covered in school. (Certainly today, but even 30 or 40 years ago.)

    I know that the uber-traditional title of the curriculum puts more moderate Christians off using the curriculum, but I think that is a pity. It’s not necessary to agree with Mrs Ann Ward’s very conservative views to make use of her expertise and knowledge in the areas of crafts and home management.

    If you are interested in exploring the curriculum, take a look at the website, and join the yahoo group and/ or the facebook group/ page to discuss any of the crafts or topics covered.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 11:24 pm on December 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homeschool, , radicalisation   

    New Start for 2016 #homeed 

    1teddyrow

    I’m still pondering and planning the specific details of what our home education will look like for the new term and the new year. But I think now is a good time for a re-think, so I’m starting with a new look and I’ve moved the virtual ‘furniture’ around a bit. (what do you think?!)

    I don’t often post many links or photos because I am generally posting from my phone (it’s not impossible but it’s fiddly) – my health issues make laptop use too taxing. So I know plain text can be boring, but bear with me!

    The last five years have been really hard for us as a family and disruptive to any idea of neat or formal, smoothly run education at home. We have moved 4 times officially (6 times if you count the three months when we were temporarily re-housed after flooding) amongst other things.

    The situation now is that we’re squeezed into a smaller house with no garage or garden, and not allowed to use the loft space because we are renting, so a lot of our stuff including most of our books, is still in storage. We will either have to move again or do without the books indefinitely.

    Whereas I thought we would be sorted and settled by now, we’re far from it and can expect more disruption to come. So I think that we can’t expect to have a normal, formal, ‘school at home’ experience any time soon, and perhaps that’s not what we need anyway. More on that next time.

    ~

    Our hard times have coincided with a relative lull in hostilities between the government and the home education community, thankfully, because we are battle-weary and I know we are not the only family to feel that way.

    But now the government has made their intentions clear, with Nicky Morgan announcing that a new review into home education may be necessary to ensure that we aren’t ‘radicalising’ our children by pretending to home educate while using illegal schools «sigh» so we are (not) looking forward to dealing with that next year.

    Since the last skirmish, battle-weary as we have been, we have kept our heads down. I avoided posting home education links to my facebook, not wanting to offend (or bore) people. I even created a separate twitter account for home education.

    However, now I think the time has come to raise our heads again and stand up proudly to say that as home educators, we are doing a respectable and honourable (though still unusual) thing, and despite the government’s continued attempts to unjustly slander us one way or the other, we are doing nothing worthy of government interference. We’re not invisible, and the government already has plenty of powers to deal with illegal schools as well as home educators that might happen to break the law in any way, without curtailing the liberty of the rest of us.

    For any who are in doubt, Home education is a legal option; indeed it is the legal default option, and it always has been, since even parents who use schools retain the responsibility for educating their children, and the government’s attempts to shut us down by conflating us with illegal schools, just like all their other spurious claims, is completely unjustified.

    Over to you:

    Do you have any questions about home education?

    I will attempt to post more often with details of what we do as part of our home education lifestyle, connections to the wider community (both locally and nationally), books and resources we use, interests we pursue, places we go and activities we engage in.

    If you are a home educator, what are your plans for raising the positive profile of home education in 2016?

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 1:29 pm on December 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Delaware, Finnish, homeschool, , , , , Wilmington   

    Homeschooling in New Sweden 

    newsweden

    I discovered recently that my home town is twinned with – amongst other towns – Wilmington, Delaware in the USA. My immediate thought was to wonder whether it would be possible to get into contact with homeschoolers there (everybody homeschools in America, right?)

    Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered this week that the town of Wilmington was founded by Swedish pilgrims! The town is so deeply influenced by its Scandinavian foundations (its architecture, for instance, is recognizably ‘Nordisk’, known particularly as well for a Finnish style of building) that it really is known as ‘New Sweden’. I was astounded to learn that over a million Swedes emigrated, suggesting that there are probably more descendants of Swedes in Wilmington than in the whole of Sweden itself!

    My attempts to contact homeschoolers in Wilmington has fallen flat on its face so far, but I was so thrilled to discover the connection that I thought it would be worthwhile to try and encourage some interest in our twin towns (or ‘sister cities’ as they are apparently known in the US).

    If you would like to know more about Wilmington, and Swedish migration to the US, take a look at these links:

    http://colonialswedes.net/History/History.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sweden

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington%2C_Delaware

    When I was doing my year abroad in Stockholm as part of my Scandinavian Studies degree, I met lots of American students, but never thought to enquire where they originated.

    For anybody who might be interested, here is 2015’s list of the best universities / colleges offering Scandinavian Studies degrees. http://colleges.startclass.com/d/o/Scandinavian-Studies

    Hopefully more on this to follow!
    Hej, Hej!

    Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog on blog.co.uk

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 5:12 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homeschool   

    How Did We Get Here? 

    I don’t know what happened to November! The last few months seem to have been a blur – less of frenetic activity, and more of illness and confusion. As often happens in a big family, we all take it in turns to get sick, so we can have back-to-back colds and bugs for weeks on end.

    Dragon-tamer and Pony-rider dropped out of their course, as it didn’t seem to be leading anywhere and it was eating up their whole week with no obvious benefit. That seemed to be the right decision, but neither of them have any ideas or plans about what to do next.

    Meanwhile, Motor-biker and Baba-zonee have started joining in with our local home ed sports group, and may join in with more if they carry on home educating, but we have been talking and wondering about the possibility – in view of their severe dyslexia – of either going in to school, or flexi-schooling. I feel as though I am out of my depth and can’t help them much further.

    We haven’t been on many outings otherwise because I haven’t been well enough to drive, but we do seem to have been out to endless hospital appointments (with Daddy driving), doing a tour of hospitals around Barnstaple, Holsworthy, Exeter and Truro lately! Not really my idea of fun, and not really terribly educational!

    Although we have been plodding along in our various curriculum books, we don’t seem to have made much progress, or felt like we have learned much. The most educational thing we have enjoyed during the Autumn term is Stephen Fry’s documentary series Planet Word on language.

    We have three weeks left now before Christmas, and I think we will just gently plod on, but then we’ll take a break to think about what we want to do next year.

    We have inherited a couple of old black and white border collie sheepdogs from my mother-in-law, so our next adventure is to get used to having dogs again. Hopefully we will be able to take them onto the beaches and out in the countryside which will be educational in itself.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 10:50 am on October 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , homeschool, , , , type one diabetes   

    Stuff we’re using 

    1teddyrow

    October isn’t over but since I never know when I will have enough energy to get on the laptop, I thought I would write an update now.

    There are lots of things we’re struggling with at the moment, lots of things we would like to do but haven’t been able. So instead of dwelling on the negative, I’ll let you know what we have done, and what we are currently enjoying.

    In English, we’re currently going through Galore Park’s “So You Want to Learn Junior English” Book 2. We don’t bother with writing as it slows the boys down, we just go through it orally. Sometimes, when there’s a point of grammar that they need to see, I’ll write it up on the whiteboard. We’re also using Jolly Grammar books 1 and 2 for spelling (the grammar worksheets are variable. I like that they’re photocopiable, but we only bother copying the good ones.)

    For literature, we’ve been listening to The Railway Children by E. Nesbit and read by Virginia Leishman, which we downloaded from Audible. I decided to join as a member and pay monthly as it works out quite a good deal. This particular book would have cost quite a bit more as an individual purchase.

    For History, we have been enjoying the Librivox reading of Our Island Story. I have already read this book twice to the children over the years, and it is a family favourite. Having somebody else read it aloud is obviously really helpful in our situation. We finished the Middle Ages with another film, just for fun: “Les Visiteurs” which is a French comedy about a noble and his servant who are mistakenly thrown forwards in time by a wizard. Very silly but lots of fun. At the moment we’re going through the reign of Elizabeth I.

    For Geography, all we are managing at the moment is a daily page from “You Too Can Change the World”  by Spragget and Johnstone which is a children’s version of Operation World (there is also another version for older children, Window on the World). Each page gives a basic introduction to a country or ethnic group and lists points for prayer. One country that has captured the children’s imagination is North Korea, so we may look more deeply at some point. I do also have an old KS3 Geography series by Collins educational consisting of 3 books (United Kingdom, Europe and The World) but haven’t started that yet. When we do, I’ll let you know if it’s any good.

    We went out once with the new HE Teens group to the cinema to see the Martian. I’m not sure to what extent that can be counted as educational! (Again, when I’m more well we might follow it up with some real science!) But everyone enjoyed it and I’m hoping that eventually the group will become a bit more active. Being so isolated makes it difficult to connect with other teens.

    We have dabbled a bit with Shakespeare over the last year – usually I read the story in one of the story books for younger children, then again in something more complex like Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and then rather than struggling through the text, we find a good film version before going any more deeply, and then only if it’s enjoyable – the last thing I want to do is put them off. So this term we are looking at Henry V and we watched Kenneth Brannagh’s version with a star-studded cast including a very young Christian Bale!

    For Science, we’re still going through Apologia’s Botany, minus most of the experiments. We may go through the experiments another time when I’m more well, as a fun way of revision.

    That’s pretty much it. Field trips at the moment are reduced to one trip to the library every week plus their evening activities which, at the moment, consist of Drama, Scouts, Bellringing and Local Radio.

    Over to You:

    What are you doing this month? How do you manage illness and disability with home education?

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 12:46 pm on October 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , homeschool, , , type1 Diabetes   

    Home Ed & Fibro 

    I imagined when we started the new year that I would somehow manage to find the time to post regular weekly updates. Of course that hasn’t happened. I would like to be able to say that it’s due to being far too busy to blog! But in fact it has been more to do with ill health.

    I wonder how common it is for families with both parents and children with chronic diseases to home educate.

    It has been on my mind to organise some pages with links, books and resources for both parents and children with chronic illness. I will get round to it. But right now I am struggling due to my ME and Fibro pain – struggling with the most basic activities such as housework and cooking, staying awake for any length of time after showering, driving, walking. I’m not quite bedbound but I have been very much more limited than usual.

    We have been managing short spurts of homeschooling. Of course, it isn’t necessary to do anything formal at all – we have tried to cultivate a way of life that incorporates constant learning. But we have become more formal recently and I like to feel that we have achieved something quantifiable every day.

    We have reached a little bit of an impasse with regards dyslexia, and we have abandoned the attempt to learn joined up writing – I had read that it is recommended by some experts as something that helps the brain make connections, but I think that when the dyslexia is severe, it only serves to confuse further. I’m looking now into software to help them work on the computer instead. When I have something in place I will let you know.

    We did manage a couple of field trips and activities in September: a medieval castle ruin in Launceston, the first meeting of the new Home Ed Teens group and surprisingly regular trips to the library, but there were lots of things I had to say no to.

    The two eldest have started their courses with the local adult education centre. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge but they offer some quite nice opportunities for free. At the moment they’re doing some photography which they’re enjoying.

    The two youngest are part of a drama group and we organised a new sports group (or rather, I should say, I got the ball rolling and somebody else has kindly taken over the organising as it is not my forté!) which starts in October.

    I’m having to re-learn to pace myself after a long spell of not needing to worry too much, but I hope to be able to manage my energy well enough to get some more fun things done in October. And I’ll try and post more often.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 4:32 pm on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , homeschool, , , ,   

    Autumn Plans 2015 

    Just a quick update and a moan!

    Our summer has flown by and been filled with a week at Creation Fest (which involved lots of music, skating, and eating doughnuts!) A week with my mum and brother, showing them round north Cornwall, and finally a week in Watford with a few trips and get togethers with friends and looking after my sister-in-law’s pets while she was away.

    This is the last week of our summer holiday, and we’re planning to start back with lessons next week, but I am very frustrated right now! I had planned to start Sonlight levels D and 100 but most of our books are still in storage after moving at this point, and realistically I may not have access to them until later on in the year, so it’s back to the drawing board for now.

    I do have Heart of Dakota’s World Geography level for Pony-rider, so we can start that (I had originally intended to intersperse that reading with her other studies rather than as a stand-alone programme), and for the boys? Not sure yet. I don’t think we can do any kind of organised study but we can read the books we do have, and maybe do some projects relating to their interests until the Sonlight books are available.

    Pony-rider and Dragon-tamer, additionally, are both planning to do vocational courses this year with the local college, but I don’t know the details of those yet.

    My goals for September are these:

    • More regular exercise, and get out more – every day, if only for 5 minutes or in the garden if possible.
    • Make an effort to get some appropriate social interaction, whether that be with the local group, the new Cornwall Teens group or other activities. (I don’t like driving far, I’m a bit of a homebody, but unfortunately that is just a reality of home ed in a rural area.)
    • Earlier to bed, earlier to rise, and
    • More regular meal times together, if possible, together with healthier eating choices. I think this will help with monitoring Motor-Biker’s blood sugar levels as well.
    • Make more use of our annual season tickets to Eden Project!

    Specifically academic goals:

    • Concentrate on improving the boys’ handwriting which has degenerated recently
    • Explore options for handicrafts and activities which don’t require reading and writing. (A photography club has been mentioned as a possible option.)
    • Aim to read 4+ literature books together this month.
    • Carry on with current course books for History / Geography and Science. (Science has definitely got neglected this last term, so I need to make sure that doesn’t happen.)
    • Start new resources for Maths, with more emphasis on discussion and understanding than written work.
    • They’re all wanting to do different languages now, so I’m not sure how that will work as they’re not very independent learners and like a lot of hand-holding. We have plenty of resources, they’d just need to do the work.
    • And finally, for me – I need to get more organised with stationery and record-keeping – most of the last couple of years’ work has just got lost in amongst the house-moving chaos.

    What are your plans for the new school year?

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 11:59 am on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: giveaway, , , homeschool, planner,   

    Planner Giveaway #homeed (UK only) 

    I mentioned a while ago that I have a couple of spare planners this year, and so now I would like to share the planner love!

    The winner may choose between:

    chalk

    The lovely Chalk It Up! Lesson Plan Book from Creative Teaching Press,

    holysimplicity

    or the Holy Simplicity Catholic Homeschool Planner. (Please note that the Holy Simplicity planner is an ebook which we have printed and bound at home using a plastic comb binding, it does not have a coil binding as shown in the picture.)

    I would really like to pass a planner to a brand new home educator, so if you are a newbie in need of a planner, or if you have somebody in mind to pass it on to, this is what you can do to be in with a chance to win (UK only):

    1. Like and share this post on Facebook, and / or Twitter, or your own blog, and

    2. Like our page on Facebook

    3. Follow us on Twitter @HE_Curriculum

    4. Follow this blog (if you have a WordPress account) or subscribe to this blog’s posts by email or in your reader.

    5. Comment below to say where you’ve shared it, liked and followed etc. Obviously, the more you’ve liked and shared and followed, the more of a chance you’ll have to win.

    Deadline: 31st July, 2015

    Winner will be picked and notified by 15th August 2015.

    Good luck!

     
    • Sarah 1:43 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve followed on Facebook – Sarah Keery
      Followed on Twitter – @seriouslykooky
      Shared on Facebook
      Retweeted on Facebook

      Like

    • sarah 8:51 am on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      liked and shared on facebook
      Also shared on my blog livin life lovin life

      Like

    • Janet 9:12 am on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Liked and shared on facebook 😉

      Like

    • Dr Kat Patrick 10:41 am on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I have done 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, because I REALLY like the look of your planner and would love a free copy of it! In the meantime, would appreciate your liking/following me back! @dreamingspiresHL on Twitter, and https://www.facebook.com/dreamingspireshomelearning on FB. I know from our crossing paths over the year that we have similar interests and vision for our children.

      Like

    • homesprouts 12:15 pm on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m following you! 🙂

      Like

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