Plans for Next Five Weeks: Olders



The older ones will be continuing with Conquer Maths.  T13 has only got four more topics until he will be studying for his IGCSE maths.  The girls are also working at their level, finding some topics harder than others.  I am, nonetheless, very happy with the progress they are all making.


We are continuing to work our way through Apologia’s Who is God?


We seem to cover about one lesson each five-week term and will be starting lesson 5 this week.  I know it’s slow but it’s creating lots of great discussions so I’m pretty happy.

Read Aloud

I do our read aloud during our morning meeting.  This term’s major topics are the Elizabethan times in England, pirates and reproduction (!) and the read alouds reflect that.

Our main text for the term is an Elizabeth I treasure:


I love the books in this series, which seem to be pitched perfectly at the tweenie age group and are just right for reading out loud.  I plan to have it finished within the five-week time frame and we will be doing lots of activities in and around the book’s subject.

Our main fiction is a swashbuckling pirate book called Captain Blood written in the 1920’s by Raphael Sabatini:


I’ll let you know how it goes but it has had fabulous reviews on Amazon.

I will also be reading a lesson from Mystery of History III.  We don’t do any of the activities which go with it, but I find it useful to give the children a look at the bigger picture of all that was going on around the world during the time period we are currently studying:



The older ones will continue with Cover Story:


They are currently on lesson 28 and hopefully they will cover another 15 lessons or so over the five-week term.  They all agree that this is the best writing curriculum ever.

For me though, the best thing I have done to improve their writing has been to have them write (under exam like conditions) for half an hour four days a week.

On a Monday they write about something that interests them.  This is the day I focus 100% on grammar and spellings.  Each child is starts with ten points and for each grammar or spelling mistake a point is knocked off.  If any of them end up with over 8 points Gary and I will buy them a 99p App of their choice.  The first time we did this no-one earnt anything (in fact to date no-one has earnt anything) but C12 was in negative numbers.  C was the reason I do this once a week.  Her writing is a pleasure to read, or at least it would be if there were not so many mistakes.  She is my highly creative twin and her writing reflects that.  I know she knows grammar rules and how to spell but she writes so quickly that she makes lots of careless errors.  This exercise (which she loves, by the way) has improved her writing no end.

On a Tuesday I set them a creative writing exercise, sometimes from an IGCSE paper, sometimes linked to something they are currently learning in school and sometimes something nonsensical.

On a Wednesday I set them a Biology IGCSE question based on the parts of the syllabus we have covered.

On Thursday I set another IGCSE question, possibly geography or history – whatever I can find which fits in with any recent home school we have done.

Their work is improving all the time and they are getting a flavour of the exams which maybe in their future.  Its win/win!


The children have already read the books I had bought them pertaining to the Tudor rule.  This meant I needed to buy in a few extra books to keep them going.  To this end I went with any books related to the reformation I could possibly find:



As well as a couple of books focusing on Elizabeth I:


History/ Geography

I have planned all sorts of activities linked to the Elizabethan period, which we will slowly work our way through each week.


We will be covering flower and human reproduction as per Edexcell IGCSE specification.  As usual I will be mainly demonstrating it with hands on activities, rather than requiring lots of written work.  We will be making lots of models.  The resulting blog posts will form the children’s revision.  The children will complete one IGCSE past paper question each week to check on their understanding.

Project Based Learning

The children have always enjoyed doing their own projects so I’ve set them one on Pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy:

  • T13’s project

T has decided to focus his project on making a board game which will be some sort of chase to try to capture the Sea Dogs (British Pirates).  He hasn’t finalised his plans yet but is very enthusiastic about the potential of this!

  • L12’s project

L is going research pirates and make a treasure chest of items reminiscent of the Golden Age of Piracy.  It will be a bit like the children’s war memorabilia pack you can purchase from Amazon.  This suits the creative hands on person she is.

  • C12’s project

I am really, really excited about the project C has chosen to do.  Each week she will write a short play with five or less players.  These will types out and a copy given to Gary, L, T and me.  C will be narrator and we will do an impromptu reading of the play putting as much imagination as possible into the acting.  It will be a little like the reader’s theater we did with our Antarctic studies but this time C will write each play.  We are all quite creative and outgoing, and not at all shy in front of our family so I imagine the whole process will lead to much hilarity!

It will be good to see the children immersed in their own study again and I am hoping it will free up a bit more time for me to spend a bit more time with the little ones.


    1. Thanks Phyllis. I think it will be a good term. I feel a bit more organised than normal, although I’m not entirely sure how I have managed that!

    1. I’ll let you know how the books are. Apart from the language the large pirate novel is incredibly well written so far and we are all enjoying it.

  1. Love the way you’ve turned one of your writing focus times into a game to be beaten 🙂 Looks like a great way to motivate them!

  2. This was really interesting and I really like your idea of setting the children exam-type questions based on the relevant IGCSE- I think this would work well with our son. Also, thank you for mentioning the reformation era books. We have just done lapbooks about Martin Luther, so I will be having a look at them.

    1. The reformation books are starting all sorts of discussions over what type of Christians we are (!) and what they agree with in the book and what they disagree with. I have some incredibly opinionated children (can’t think where they get that trait from 🙂 )

    1. Exam conditions: quiet, not allowed to ask for help, not allowed to have access to resources, any work done from memory with only a pen for company!
      It has been a really helpful thing to do and has improved the children’s writing.

  3. Wow, it’s all go over at yours! I’m really pleased for you that the maths and writing programmes are working so well with the older children. They’re certainly working at a very good pace in preparation for the IGCSEs!

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