There has been a lot of goodness in this year. I feel like we have found our rhythm as Charlotte’s health has improved enough that she did not need me so much. Lillie started her degree and she suddenly turned into a social butterfly which meant we hardly saw her! And Thomas has moved out, was working full time at a church and had joined the reserve army. So again…busy. All these factors gave me little bits of time back, which collectively added up to quite a lot.
So what does a homeschool mum do when she has some extra time on her hands? Well, she goes back to school, of course.
This means I was homeschooling and completing a master’s degree at the same time.
The truth is, I am always more productive when I am just a little bit too busy. The blurb on the degree says it takes about 16 hours a week. Yes, well, that was not even nearly accurate. I worked every single second I could squeeze in and then some. But it was well worth it. My first year amounts to a post-graduate certificate and I achieved….drum roll please…a distinction! Yay me! In fact, for my continuous assessments (five over the year) I managed to average an 81% and for my final assessment I got 93%!! I’m sorry, you what now?! I’ve never received these kind of marks ever, in the whole of my life. I was astounded, a really rather pleased with myself 😇
Okay, onto the students who really matter…my two daughters.
At sometime between 830 and 9 (depending on when chores are finished) we join together for our morning meeting. It is, and always has been, our favourite time of the day. The older ones loved it just as much and it gives us a really lovely slow, relaxed start to the day.
Lasting for about an hour, this year we have completed Bible study in the form of Apologia’s ‘Who is God?’, learnt all about ancient History with book 1 of Mystery of History and read about how our body works with Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology.
Together, over the month of July, we studied the Ancient Romans together and created Ancient Roman Dress up, jewellery, ancient Roman signs, built a Roman Villa and the Colosseum. We read The Ancient Romans, Spend a Day in Ancient Rome, City, A Roman Villa, The Romans History Detectives, The Buried City of Pompeii, Cleopatra, Galen, An Aqueduct Adventure, The Colosseum and In Search of a Homeland. And the girls kept a papyrus diary written with a reed ink pen.
Fiction-wise we have completed the following books:
- A Pocketful of Pinecones
- Peter Pan
- Famous Men of Greece
- Black Ships Before Dawn
- Aesop’s Fables
- Flo of the Somme
- Peace Lily
- Soldier Dog
- A selection of Roman Mystery books
- A Vacation Under the Volcano
- Escape from Pompeii
- Romulus and Remus
- A Shot in the Dark and the Taming of Venus
- Burning of the Books and the Guardian Geese
- Twice Freed
- Icarus Falls
- Brave Cloelia
Abigail (Year Eight, Age 13)
Abigail has done really well and worked really hard this year. She LOVES to learn…literally anything.
Let’s start with the essentials. Abigail uses Conquer Maths for her maths and is working at grade level. She has completed 104 lessons out of 238 lessons within Key Stage 3. Hopefully by the time she goes back to school in September she will have completed another 17 lessons, which takes her to exactly the half way mark (which is just where she needs to be). Abs doesn’t find maths easy, although I think she does very well. Her course average is 90% this year, although on concepts she struggles with we have seen low scores of 38%. She has to achieve 80% on each lesson to pass so even a 38% lesson eventually becomes an over 80% score once she understands. Abs is a science student through and through and always has been. This means that she needs to understand maths, and absolutely needs to do well in maths to be able to study any science at university. She doesn’t love maths but she plugs away at it, and has really come into her own this year.
Abigail studied English with Wolsey Hall this year. I wasn’t really sure how she was doing, as it has always been a little bit of a struggle for her. Thing is, she’s super bright and has an incredible memory, but sometimes her basic skills need a bit of work. I was amazed to watch how well she did. Her grades averaged between 80% and 100%, and she thoroughly enjoyed the work. However, there is a caveat with that statement. Because she finds writing so frustrating she got permission to type her work. I suspect the grades may not have been quite so high had she needed to write rather than type. This year I will be focusing on teaching her one skill at a time and get her used to hand writing more. She has hand written all her other work. Abs also completed a presentation about renewable energy, and a report on discrimination, both of which she received 100% for from her tutor
Abs has worked her way through half of the syllabus of her Environmental GCSE. It may be enough that she’ll be able to take her exam next year. But we’ll see how it goes. No pressure here 😁. She does all the work herself and has enjoyed every moment of it. Along side this course she has also worked her way through ‘Explore Your World’ The Water Cycle and Rocks, both of which contain 25 science experiments, all of which Abigail attempted.
Science-wise, Abs completed Book 1 of Key Stage 3 science course Activate, which includes all three sciences. She only decided to do this course at Christmas and did manage to finish it, which was great. She has two more books to complete before moving onto her science GCSEs. She finds the work fairly easy, so we think she’ll probably be able to finish up both books by this time next year.
Abigail has also finished Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology this year (we did this together with Becca) and she is about a third the way through Apologia’s Chemistry and Physics (she’s doing this independently). The goal is that she will finish Chemistry and Physics next year and be GCSE ready.
When ever she has time, Abs completes one of the experiments out of her MEL Chemistry subscription. She easily does one a month, sometimes more.
As an aside, Abigail has taught herself how to do an Indian massage and earns a little bit of money massaging both me and my mum.
There are two things Abs hasn’t done so well on. The first is the Geography GCSE which she just found boring in the end, and the second was her Spanish course, which she simply didn’t enjoy. Abs has chosen not to continue with either of these.
All in all, Abigail has done brilliantly this year. My main goal over the next year is to get her ready to begin the GCSE courses she wants to take. As things stand, her GCSE choices at the moment are: English, Maths, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biology and Physics.
Abigail belongs to the church youth group with whom she went away for a weekend; she sings in a children’s choir and belongs to an acting group. She has acted in two plays this year, one in which she had a primary role. Abs meets up with different friends twice a week.
Rebecca (Year Six, Age 11)
Rebecca has done well this year, although I would like her productivity to increase a little. I’m not sure if this is down to me, because she needs more support, or whether it is something I need to work on with her. A lot of her work is independent and none of my other children were working independently at her age (she is only 11).
Becs LOVES maths. She does Conquer Maths, like her sister. Most of this year, I have sat next to her and she has checked every single answer with me before typing it in. Just over the last month or so, she has been happy to do most of the work herself and has felt comfortable and confident enough to enter her answers without checking with me. Becs has completed 86 out of the 94 year six lessons and has received an average grade of 95%. Her goal is to complete those final 8 lessons over the next month, before moving on to Key Stage 3.
This year we discovered the English program called Night Zookeepers. This has definitely encouraged a love of writing but her spelling is atrocious. We’re wondering if she has dyslexia because she also finds reading hard – she reads well but it is hard for her and because of that she doesn’t enjoy it. I’m going to give it one more year whilst I focus specifically on improving this with her. If she still struggles after this time, I think Gary and I will need to look into getting her tested for dyslexia. Becs has definitely improved over the year, but I feel like I possibly need to do some intensive work with her. I am currently looking at spelling and writing programs to find one which will be a good fit.
Aside from English and Maths Becca also studies for a level 1 diploma in Textiles and a level two diploma in Mixed Media. Her textile course has led her to go through the design process for a Christmas decoration, as well as a range of five textile cards. She had to create and carry out a presentation for the cards. Using Cath Kidson as inspiration, Becs also created her own patterns and learnt to block print material (making a beautiful mushroom pillow case) and tie dye (making a lovely skirt). The mixed media qualification is taking much longer than textiles, probably because it is level 2 not level 1. Becs spent hours trying to understand and perfect pencil drawings and values. She’s learnt about mark making in both drawings and on clay and has begun creating her own Mandrake person, which has included lots of drawings and paintings of mandrakes, parsnips and carrots.
A lover of all things creative, Becs has completed an artist study on Picasso, Manet, Cezanne, Cath Kidston and Roots.
Becs has also completed a book of calligraphy this year and uses her new-found skills as much as possible. She has also been using her camera, gifted to her by Lillie. And lastly, each month she receives a subscription to an art club called Scrawler. So far this year she has learnt to use art crayons to create watercolour paintings, cartoons using some really lovely coloured markers, working with patterns using gold and silver pens and watercolour painting using a paintbrush which she had to add water to
Becca is a member of the church youth group, regularly meets up with friends twice a week and sings in the children’s choir. She and I had a special mummy daughter day out in London and visited the National Gallery and went to watch the musical Wicked.