2014-2015 School Year: 11-13 year olds – The Three R’s

Before Christmas: End of 2014

This side of Christmas we will be finishing off our study of the Ojibwe Nation.  So far we are enjoying the very comfortable route of typical Angelicscalliwags Homeschool.  We all really love how we naturally school: DSC_0326dollsclothes The main problem is that I don’t have the same amount of time to school plan since I started to sleep better.  I have needed to look at how I home school and choose some curricula to help me along, and hopefully reduce the amount of school planning I am required to do.

After Christmas: 2015

I put a great deal of thought and time into choosing curriculum which will help us meet our academic needs as well as decrease the planning time required for me.  The thing is I still want to remain a huge part of the older ones school work.  After much discussion with them and with Gary I think we have found something which meets all our needs and requirements.  And I really am quite excited (yes, I know – not much change there!).  So without further ado, here are my plans for each child each morning.

Session One: 9-930am

T 12 will be doing his maths.  He will be working through the last few chapters of Galore Park Book Two and beginning Book Three.  We had taken him back a book to cover some algebra that his Saxon maths hadn’t covered.  He really likes this curriculum and being British I know he is on the right track for his exams.  Once he has finished Book Three we will begin him on a GCSE curriculum.

L 11 will be spending the first session with A6 in the kitchen making a (hopefully healthy) snack for our morning meeting.  It will either be a Letter of the Week snack or a Cat in the Hat themed snack.  L will allow her to be as independent as possible and they will both tidy up after themselves.  L11 will be planning, writing a shopping list, costing and shopping for the snack herself during her free time.

C11 will be doing her maths.  The two girls are working their way very slowly through Galore Park Book One.  They both find maths hard but now understand there is no pressure.  Taking off any pressure has stopped maths being this huge thing.  It is now a small thing, just for half an hour each day and they will both plough away until they are ready to take their GCSE.

Session Two: 930-10 am

T12 will continue with his maths.  He is hoping to take his maths GCSE a little early and so has chosen to do one hour of maths each day.

L11 will now do her half hour of maths using the same book as her sister.

C11 has asked to be allowed to spend half an hour teaching her youngest sibling.  She is very interested in child care.  She will plan and teach the lesson, which will be chosen from Letter of the Week curriculum.  One day per week she will venture into the kitchen with B3 and make the same Cat in the Hat snack L11 and A6 made just before them.

Session Three: 10-11 am

This will be the time for our morning meeting.  We usually have tea and toast, but this year L11 and A6 will be making some delicious easy peasy snacks.  We’ll probably all still have a cup of steaming tea though! I will be reading aloud a fiction and non fiction book based on our current studies.  I will have the children narrate back to me what I have read and we will discuss whatever needs to be discussed as it comes up. I will also be reading through the Who is God? Curriculum and the children will be filling in their own note books which I bought from the same company: DSC_0066mm

Session Four: 11-12 noon

I think this is the session both the children and I are looking forward to the most – writing.  I bet that surprised you, didn’t it?  Yes, even T with his aversion for all things which require a pencil, is quite excited about this.  And what has caused this transformation?  Well, take a look: DSC_0378olderoneschool Our new curriculum.  For those of you who have never heard of Cover Story, it is the prelude to the One Year Adventure Novel, where the student writes an adventure novel in one year.  Cover story takes the students through the process of writing all the articles required to write a magazine.  It is video taught, with a gorgeous journal AND a student notebook, all included.  It comes with a grammar program attached. The children will work through three lessons a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and we will be studying Shakespeare on a Thursday.

Each lesson takes a varying amount of time so if the children have any time left during this session, they will be using it to begin All About Spelling.  I am a bit late coming to this curriculum but I decided it is probably time to give the children a more solid grounding in spelling rules.  They will start from Level One and hopefully work their way quickly through each level.  In general they are good spellers but T is missing one or two rules so always spells certain words incorrectly.  I am hoping following a systematic program from the start will be helpful.

Lunch Time/ Chores and Quiet Time: 12-1 pm

The children eat lunch, do a quick kitchen tidy and then have quiet time.  I will be writing a post about the books they are reading, but basically this is a time for some bible based learning, although primarily through devotional books, sometimes fiction, sometimes general teaching books or autobiographical books and other times more question and answer books.  It has been a good opportunity to learn more about our faith in a relaxed, alone time.  T in particular enjoys having this time for mulling over what he has read and will often reread a book until he is certain he understands its message.

Afternoon school

This will be changing each day and I will be doing a separate post on our history plans, the children’s electives and our nature study plans.

Extracurricular Activities

T12 goes to  morning Sunday school and is on the rota to serve at church in the evening services by setting up and running the AV system.  He usually goes to the gym three times a week, swims every day, twice on a Wednesday, plays badminton with friends on a Wednesday and fences later on Wednesday evening.  He also walks the dog each morning.  This excessive activity is done with the purpose of balancing out his hormones.   He knows if he exercises heaps he sleeps better, feels calmer and generally able to face the world with a huge smile rather than a huge frown! He also sings with a youth choir on a Tuesday evening, after which he does a couple of hours of Physics GCSE with a friend and her rather wonderful dad.  Physics also features for a couple of hours Saturday morning and he then goes with the rest of the family (bar me) to the fun inflatables at the swimming pool.

L11 goes to morning Sunday school and serves in the evening service by making sure the band are well served with teas and coffees.  Gary usually leads and he is particularly grateful for being looked after.  She also goes to the gym a couple of times a week, swims most mornings and does an hour and a half of gymnastics on a Wednesday.  She sings in the youth choir and goes to the fun inflatable time with the rest of the family on a Saturday.

C11 goes to morning Sunday school and serves in the evening service by looking after a disabled lady who is wheel chair bound.  She serves her in any which way she can.  She also sings in the youth choir and in addition has singing lessons in musical theatre and basic singing.  She loves to sing and can’t wait to be invited up to join her Daddy in the band at church.  C11 plays badminton with friends on a Wednesday, swims every morning and twice on a Wednesday, goes to the gym a couple of times a week as well as joining the rest of the family in the pool on Saturday for fun inflatable time.

On Wednesday evening the girls have a friend and her mummy round for bible study.  This seems a misnomer at the moment because since the summer they have been playing more than studying the bible, but we will get back to our bible study which in the past has included art journaling our way through Proverbs 31: DSC_0379olderonesschool The children, in addition to daily chores, are responsible for cleaning out the rabbits each week (L11), the hens each week (C11) and cleaning the car each week (T12).  This happens on a Saturday.  Saturday evenings tend to be family film night along with a treat to eat, and this year we will also have a family games night on a Thursday (we have tried this before but it has never been done with any regularity- maybe this is our year?).  The purpose of this is to give the older ones some undisturbed time with Gary and myself without the littles around, thereby giving them opportunities to discuss things that we or they may not want little ears to hear.


  1. I can’t wait to hear your elective and history plans…and I agree that cover story looks like such a neat curriculum!! (I also find it amazingly freeing to use a little more curriculum approach with the littles than the big kids will tolerate. It allows more time for us all to just enjoy each other.)

  2. I’ve been eyeing the “Cover Story” curriculum for a while now, so am very interested to hear your views on it once you’ve used it for a while. Did you have to order it direct from the US? I don’t think anyone is selling it in the UK.

    1. I’ll let you know how it goes. I bought mine from US at great expense due to shipping and import tax. If it wasn’t for the fact that writing is something I really want my children to love and I had heard such good things about this course, I probably wouldn’t have invested in it. Now I have it, although the children haven’t used it yet, I am very impressed by the quality of it all. The children can’t wait to use it!

  3. I like your idea for bible study. Your page is very nice. I can’t wait to hear about your older kids electives as well.

  4. Wow, you guys are busy! I’m excited to see your history plans too. I hope everything works well for you all. I’m interested to see how the writing goes too. It’s something that Amber likes to do, but I’ve had trouble finding the perfect fit.

    1. Writing is the bane of our home school in so far as I’m never sure if we need a curriculum or whether they will get enough just by simply reading and writing. I hate the traditional workbook type curriculum because it feels like busy work. Cover story seems to fall in the middle of the two extremes. I hope it’s a good fit because it will be an expensive mistake if it’s not!

  5. There are so many things to say about this post. I really like you saying that the girls are taking Maths slowly – taking off the pressure. I think that is wise. I know with Evan, I had to back up, stop, start, stop, back up many times. Sometimes it just takes awhile to really get it, and pushing them on without the basics is a mistake. You have made a wise decision. T12 sounds like he is moving right along in math. Doing extra each day – wow! C11 has impressed me with her willingness to work with the younger girls. What great training and blessings she is getting. I have seen your Bible curriculum and it does look good. It is so important to train them in Bible; I think the most important “subject” of all. Cover Story looks interesting. I look forward to seeing what you all are doing there. We love Shakespeare. I remember you made a comment that Shakespeare was really meant to be watched (something like that) and that is so true. We have read Lamb’s Shakespeare before attempting anything else and it has definitely helped them to understand better. I think your quiet time after lunch is brilliant. We could all use some of that! The children are certainly busy with extracurricular activities. It doesn’t surprise me that C11 looks after a disabled lady. That is so kind of her – ministering to others. It is exciting to hear how active they all are at church. Fantastic. I see you are doing a Proverbs 31 study. The girls did one with the girls in their youth group at church a couple of years ago. We are currently using the Bright Lights study. And lastly, (my comment may be longer than your post) the family game time and chore time-so important. I am thinking that a weekly car cleaning may be added to someone’s list!

    As always, you are A M A Z I N G! ! !

  6. My 12yr old daughter is really enjoying Cover Story so far. She is on wk 3. I am interested to hear how others like it

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