Middly’s been having a slightly tricky time recently. I try not to share anything that I think might embarrass him. But, I think that the reality of home educating adolescents can be tense at times. This week is probably a fair representation of how things are going at the moment.
Middly is of secondary school age. We’re taking his school work quite seriously now, and he’s making good progress. I still try to leave a lot of free time every day, however.
These are his current workbooks. He is still slightly further ahead in Maths and Science than he is in the essay subjects. He’s making steady progress since last year in all his subjects, so we’re pretty happy with how things are going.
Oma and Opa were visiting this weekend and stayed on Monday.
Middly got up, made himself breakfast and made a start on the work laid out for him.
He enjoyed his maths, which was rearranging formulae and proudly showed his Opa what he’d been doing.
I checked his work and he moved on to English.
Geography was a bit more of a struggle. He misunderstood a graph in his textbook and was upset when I tried to explain. Things became a little heated, so we took a break. He went upstairs to calm down.
After twenty minutes, he felt calmer and we talked through the Geography together. He completed the exercise. Then we headed out into the garden to help with the gypsy caravan project.
Middly loved hammering in floorboards!
It’s quite a big project and we began to get a bit tired. We left lunch rather late, which wasn’t very smart. I have been getting a bit dizzy and faint during my pregnancy. About two, I started feeling rather unwell and decided to stop DIY. Middly came into the house with me and made me a snack.
Then he harvested some courgettes from the garden and we made pasta and sauce for lunch.
After lunch, Middly had a go at joining in with the caravan building, but he lost interest and got a bit silly.
Oma took him up to the club house. They cleaned up the club house together and played table tennis.
Eldest took cake up to them as a snack.
When we started putting the caravan walls up, Middly helped a bit more.
Then, he and Oma went out to get fish and chips for tea.
Middly got up and read for a while. Since Oma and Opa were planning on leaving today, I thought a light school work day would be a good idea.
Middly needed a bit of help with his maths (Cumulative Frequency Graphs), but it went smoothly.
He found his Biology pretty easy. His History was about Bloody Mary, so I got out our copy of ‘Foxes Book of Martyrs’ for him to look at. Opa chatted to him for a bit about that period in history.
Oma played Flower Happy Families with Eldest and Middly. Then it was time for Oma and Opa to leave. We waved them off and Middly ran after them with Oma’s forgotten sweater.
We grabbed our picnic and set off to s home ed meetup at a roller skating rink.
Middly skated with his friends, played Bulldog and Dodgeball and ate sweets.
A few families went on to the park after skating. We ate our picnic, chatted and Middly played on the park with his friends.
When we came home, he played in the clubhouse for a while, then read a library book.
Middly made chocolate milk for himself and his brothers.
Then Middly and Eldest played chess together.
After their game, Middly played with his rats for a while.
We had a chat about reading books. Since Eldest is due to start his English GCSEs next year, I’ve printed off s list of potential texts to study and stuck it to the fridge. The plan is for Eldest to read all the books on the list this year, then make an informed choice of texts for GCSE. Middly has decided to have a go at reading through the list too. We chatted about which books he was interested in and he decided to start reading ‘A Christmas Carol’. He read till tea time, then took it with him when he went to bed.
Middly followed my husband downstairs this morning, which was a bit of a pain as he wanted to leave early to see a client and the rest of the house (well, mainly me) didn’t really fancy getting up early.
Middly was unimpressed that my husband was heading straight out to work. Having woken the rest of us up, he went back up to his room again.
I made a couple of attempts to engage Middly in the morning, but he wasn’t ready. He joined the rest of us for lunch, then went back upstairs.
When it was time for Youngest’s history lesson, I invited Middly to join in. The older boys often join in with Youngest’s history lesson. We’ve been working through ‘The Story of the World’. Today we read about Julius Caesar. The boys answered a few questions, coloured in some maps, played a battleship-style game, then made mosaics. We used a kit that I bought from Baker Ross a few years ago. It’s been a while since we used the kit, and all three boys enjoyed it.
We had another go at Middly’s chemistry. But, it went a bit wrong. I left him to calm down in his room for a while.
I had planned on going out this afternoon, but at this point, I decided it wasn’t going to work. Fortunately, we keep most of our trips low key and easy to cancel.
We had a Biscuit Reset (what’s a Biscuit Reset?) and tried again.
This time, we finished the chemistry (hurrah for the posh biscuits that Oma bought me!) and Middly got started on his English with enthusiasm. His lesson today is designing a game. We had a chat about what he might use to make the game. I found some clay for making the counters.
I helped him to laminate the board of his game. Then he did his maths. It was about drawing plans of shapes from different angles, which he really enjoyed.
Middly helped put away toys in preparation for guests coming over this evening. Then he and Youngest had a go at playing the game Middly made. Then they played the game that Youngest had made in imitation of his big brother.
The mosaics were dry and ready for grouting. We did that together.
Middly struggled a bit and I suggested he went upstairs to cool off.
A group of friends from church arrived. We were hoping to get the roof of the caravan put up, but it poured with rain. So we ate a meal together, chatted, and the children played board games.
Today began really well. Middly came downstairs a bit later than usual, in a good mood. He made himself some breakfast and got his handwriting done. He made a real effort to firm his ‘f’s correctly, which I was very pleased by.
Then he got on with his physics. He needed a bit of help, but grasped the idea once we talked it through.
Middly noticed that we’d forgotten to put the bins out this morning, so he did that, fortunately he noticed before they were collected.
After washing his hands, he did maths, which was simultaneous equations. I worked through an example with him, then he was able to solve several independently.
The boys ate cake for a morning snack. Then Middly played with the marble run for a bit.
We all went to the library to drop Eldest off for his volunteering shift. Middly picked up a reserved book by Arthur Ransome, read a book about Karate for a while, then asked me to help him look for something by Edward De Bono. We managed to find The Happiness Purpose, so he took that out.
Back home, Middly heated up some baked beans and jacket potatoes, and served them with a side salad for a late lunch.
He’s finished reading ‘A Christmas Carol’, so he marked that off on our chart.
He read for a while, played on the trampoline in the garden, then came back in for a snack.
After eating an apple, Middly played Lego Dimensions on the X box with Youngest.
We all went out to pick up Eldest. Middly played Pokémon Go in the car.
Back home, Middly played Minecraft Xbox with Eldest, until tea time.
We use Fridays to catch up on school work that didn’t get finished during the week. Unusually, this week there’s no catch up work to do.
Once he’d had breakfast, Middly read library books for a bit. He asked me what Marxism was and why De Bono refers to it as a religion. So we chatted a bit about socialism and about the similarities between religious and political beliefs.
We tackled the second chapter of our Jekyll and Hyde project, which we began last week. Middly’s reading is very clear and expressive. He found a cartoon strip at the back of his workbook, which gave us all a laugh. Middly is especially fond of the light-hearted tone of CGP workbooks.
The post arrived while we were working. As soon as he was done with Stevenson, Middly sat down to read First News (we’ve been getting this children’s newspaper for a few years now, and the boys still enjoy it).
We ate cake. Eldest had a shift at the library. Middly looked at some books with Youngest whilst we were dropping Eldest off. He played Pokémon Go on the way home.
Middly made us mushrooms on toast for lunch. Then we did an earthworm survey in the back garden.
After we’d washed our hands, Middly hoovered the stairs and the kitchen. I try to get a bit of housework done on Friday afternoons. Middly’s a very thorough hooverer.
He played with his rats for a while. Then he started reading ‘Pigeon English’ (another one of the potential GCSE texts).
We went out to collect Eldest. Middly fiddled with the radio during the car journey. Once we returned, he started making bread rolls, but it went a bit wrong. So, I finished the rolls and Middly took a break in his room.
He came down for tea, and we watched TV together until bedtime.
Middly ate breakfast and read library books. He went to the shops with my husband to pick up a newspaper.
The weather is much more promising today, so we pressed on with the caravan project. Middly did some varnishing.
He lost interest after a while, and went to the clubhouse to play table tennis against the wall. I love having that space for the boys to retreat to. During these tricky adolescent years, it seems important for them to have bolt holes away from the rest of the family.
Middly played on his roller skates.
After lunch, he alternated between helping Eldest and my husband with the caravan, and playing on the trampoline.
Though he played a lot, Middly got quite a bit done on the caravan as well, which was a satisfying way to end the day.
This morning was a bit of a rush. We grabbed breakfast and headed out to a farm park where we met up some family.
Middly enjoyed playing with the younger children, chatting with the adults, and eating a lot.
Middly is progressing well with all his lessons, and usually finds his work pretty easy once he settles down and does it. He’s having some trouble focusing at the moment and is rather irritable. Though, I don’t think he sees it this way, I suspect that a lot of this trouble is more related to the struggles of growing up than it is to the immediate environment. It’s hard for all children to develop their independence and I expect that being home educated exacerbates this struggle. I am very pleased that he is keeping on track despite his feelings and I hope that he’ll be pleased too.
Arguably, this hasn’t been a typical week, since we’re not usually building a gypsy caravan in the garden. But, I think most weeks have something going on, whether it’s a birthday, a DIY project, an illnesses etc. There’s never a week where nothing unusual happens, so I think it makes sense to look at how we got home education around the vagaries of life.