The Scottish academic year ended this week, along with it, (A)’s second year of Home Education. If he were in mainstream school, he would have completed Primary 2. I started looking at this past year with a flash back to this time last year when we were at the end of our first official year HE-ing. It was a fun wee trip down memory lane as well as encouraging to see how far we have both come.
We don’t have to follow any curriculum or prescribed list of arbitrary targets set by anyone, official or otherwise; I very much follow (A)’s interests and encourage him to do the best he can. I do, however, like to have something to work towards so that we are not just aimlessly pinballing about, achieving nothing. So I put together a small list of goals I thought were sensible and “age appropriate” life skills. The main focus of learning was very much still through playing and seeing his friends. The list was deliberately left vague in terms of detailed outcomes, ie level of maths reached or what “improved handwritting” should look like, and I didn’t detail HOW these goals were going to be achieved. But achieved they were – even if 2 of them were only confirmed with a tick, last week!
This year has taken us in many directions and discovering new interests and reviving old ones, such as dinosaurs which fell from favour last year, being replaced by Pokemon, to coming back again as the Pokemon interest has waned. Thank goodness! I’m done trying to catch ’em all! Although Pokemon Go was a fabulous tool for helping in good old fashioned mental arithmetic, and we also learned that Pokemon is actually Japanese for Pocket Monster; English words are often shortened and conjoined to make a new “Japanese” words.
Projects started this year were about the Ice Age and the Vikings, both of which allowed for opportunities to improve writing and researching, making and crafting. Death unfortunately was a recurring theme this year, but he took it all in his stride, asking questions and trying to understand, as well as holding 2 animal funerals with his friends – one for a seal they found washed up on the beach (called Leo) and the other for a charred frog found in the fire pit at the woods (called Toast). Science experiments, cooking and baking have been enthusiastically trialled – with varying degrees of success. He created his own recipe for Frozen Berry Bread, which, despite my skepticism upon seeing the sludge before it went in the oven, was delicious.
The biggest growth I have seen in (A) has been in his belief in justice and in own convictions. His debate game is strong!!! If he is not a politician or journalist it will not be through lack of skill! This is particularly evident with sticking up for or defending his friends if he feels they have been wronged.
Moving in to “Primary 3” after the summer holidays, I am feeling that we need to start introducing a little more structure into our days with more focus on the topics being studied. We have started discussing what that will look like and (A) is keen to get cracking. So in following his enthusiasm, it’s back to Khan Academy we go, and more maths.