This year has been a very successful one for Eldest. He’s been working very hard and is making great progress. He’s hoping to take his first GCSE – maths – next summer. He’s also become much more mature and responsible.
Eldest got up before me, ate breakfast and finished his Physics and Maths with a bit of help from my husband.
When I got there, it was just in time to help him finish off his English – reading the implications of estate agent adverts.
School work over, for the day, Eldest headed out to the garden to varnish some batons for the caravan.
He came inside and read his library books. We had chocolate biscuits.
The post brought a letter which led to a bit of impromptu life story work before lunch. I think that being together all day is very helpful with things like this. It gives the boys plenty of chances to talk things through as they occur to them.
After lunch, we went climbing with a group of home ed friends. Eldest enjoyed chatting to his friends, eating snacks, and climbing.
He put another coat of varnish on the batons, when we got home. He read his library book for a while, then played on his laptop.
Youngest dropped a toy squirrel in a water butt, so Eldest helped me free it. He has much longer arms than I do! He is also rather indulgent of Youngest, and usually willing to help with his minor dramas.
Eldest and my husband got on with putting the felt on the roof of the caravan. They worked until dark, but they got it done.
I had a hospital appointment first thing, so my husband looked after the boys. Eldest got all his school work done.
I came back in time for lunch, then took Eldest to the library. He’s been volunteering all summer, helping out with the reading scheme. He’s enjoyed himself a lot, chatting to the children, handing out stickers, helping with library events and with tidying up the back room.
He returned in the early evening and put a load of laundry on, then played Minecraft on the Xbox until tea time.
A neighbour came over first thing to tell us that Eldest’s rabbit was in their garden. So Eldest began his day by helping return the escaped rabbit.
He had breakfast and made a start on his Maths (drawing sine and cosine graphs).
We went out for a trip to a wetlands centre. We had a lovely walk, Eldest joined in with pond dipping and owl pellet dissection.
He also carried the snacks so we could stop for biscuits and a drink halfway through our walk.
We came home for a late lunch. Eldest finished off his Maths. Eldest’s not keen on listening to explanations. So, when he got stuck trying to figure out the amplitude and frequency of the waves, I directed him to the Usbourne Illustrated Dictionary of Science. This is a fantastic book with lovely, clear explanations to loads of common STEM questions, ideal for the boys to find out answers by themselves.
Once he’d sorted out his Maths, Eldest moved on to Chemistry. He needed a little bit of help, but it went smoothly.
He finished off with his English.
We had a snack, then Eldest settled down to read ‘Never Let Me Go’.
He mixed some dough to make bread rolls, and helped me to make fishcakes and chips for tea.
Eldest played with his rabbit first thing. Then he had breakfast and started on his maths. He needed a few hints with his trigonometry this morning. He’s finding it trickier to work out unknown angles than he found unknown lengths.
After he finished, I got all the boys together for the next session of our Jekyll and Hyde project (we began two weeks ago). We rarely do lessons all together, since we have quite a big age and ability range, but this has been going well so far. We read chapter three, taking a few paragraphs each, and talked about the book. Then the older boys completed a page of their CGP workbooks and Youngest filled out a page of his tailor-made workbook.
Eldest did his History next – a couple of pages about canal building. Then he got on with his Geography.
Nana arrived for a visit. Eldest made cups of tea, and Nana brought biscuits.
Eldest finished his Geography and made lunch, using the rolls he made yesterday.
After lunch we showed off our caravan and collected some apples. Eldest played Scrabble with Nana.
We all went to a garden centre café for cake.
Back home, Eldest played with his rabbit again. Then he read for a while. We chatted a bit about the GCSE reading list. Nana used to teach English in a Secondary School, so she was interested in how the options have changed. Eldest talked about his opinions of the books he’s read so far. He’s happy with a range of nineteenth century books (he said he liked ‘Silas Marner’, ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, ‘The War of the Worlds’; but would rather not study ‘Jane Eyre’ because it’s “too miserable”), but he’s struggling to enjoy the more modern texts, currently he likes ‘Animal Farm’ most.
After Nana left, we watched TV together until tea time.
Having finished ‘Never Let Me Go’, Eldest took ‘The Sign of the Four’ up with him to read in bed.
After breakfast (stewed apples with sugar and raisins, that he made in the microwave), Eldest made a start on his Maths. In preparation for next year, Eldest has been doing an extra Maths lesson on Fridays. Surprisingly, this was his idea.
We went out to meet friends at a fossil museum.
After a tour, we had a snack in the cafe and Eldest chatted to his friend. Then we came home for lunch.
Eldest finished his Maths and read First News. Then he went upstairs to get ‘The Sign of the Four’ to carry on with that.
When I did Youngest’s History lesson, Eldest joined in. We read a chapter about Caesar together, looked at some maps, then the boys made felt flags. I use the Story of the World reading and activity book for Youngest’s History lessons. Most weeks, Eldest joins in.
After History, Eldest played draughts with Middly.
They played a few games, then Eldest read some Sherlock Holmes. Having finished ‘The Sign of the Four’, he’s moving his way through the rest of the series.
He went outside to feed and play with his rabbit. He tidied up and hoovered the living room, then played Minecraft on the Xbox with Middly.
After breakfast, Eldest went to the shops with my husband and Youngest, to pick up a newspaper and some masking tape.
Then he built the steps for the gypsy caravan. Rain intervened, and sent him back inside to heckle Middly & my husband’s game of Scrabble, and to read a bit more Sherlock Holmes. He also put a load of laundry on.
The rain had cleared by the time we’d finished lunch, so Eldest returned to his step building.
He got the steps finished and gave the outside another coat of varnish. He fed his rabbit. Then he came inside and played on the Xbox.
After breakfast we went to church. Eldest’s not a big fan of the singing, but he likes the biscuits and chatting with his friends. He took a tennis ball out to the grass behind church and played catch with friends, after the service.
Back home, he played chess with Middly. Then, after lunch, he played chess with my husband. He went outside to play with his rabbit. He read for a while, he’s still enjoying the Sherlock Holmes collection, he’s on ‘The Hound of the Baskevilles’ now.
After a while, he went into the garden to play with Youngest.
When Youngest came inside to do some drawing, Eldest went to the garage and made a snapping crocodile out of wood. Then he brought it into the kitchen to paint.
Eldest and Middly played draughts before tea.
These are the books that Eldest’s using at the moment. He’s moved on since last year He’s on track for his age group with most things, slightly ahead with Chemistry and Maths. Now he’s approaching the age for taking GCSEs, we’re beginning to make some choices. Exams can be rather pricey for home educators, so we’re going to limit him to six GCSEs and three A-levels, which would be sufficient for the degree course that he has his eye on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his science preference, he’s aiming for Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Language and English Literature at GCSE. He probably won’t take exams in Geography or History, but I think we’ll keep them going for the sake of a rounded education.
This week has been slightly less sporty than usual for Eldest. Swimming and Multisports clubs start up next week after the summer break. His after-school clubs start next week as well.
Eldest has become much more helpful over the last year. He’s a really useful guy to have around, which I appreciate hugely. He doesn’t always enjoy his school work, but he gets it done, and is starting to get a sense of his own progress, which is encouraging to him. He feels proud of how far he’s come, and that seems to keep him going, even though the subjects that he finds uninspiring.
Building the caravan has been a great experience for Eldest. He’s been a huge help and had enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing his work add up to something solid. Volunteering at the library has been great for him, too. It’s been really encouraging for him to feel useful in the community. We’re very proud of the young man that Eldest is growing into. I’m optimistic about the year ahead for him.