Home School - The First Week

Our first week of home schooling has flown by.....and I have to get on here and tell you all about it because it's so jolly fantastic that I feel like I'm going to burst if I don't get it out and tell you!

This year, instead of doing DE (Distance Education), we are registering with the HEU (Home Education Unit) and I am writing our learning program. I have had an absolute blast writing the children's learning plans for this year. It hasn't been easy - no way! I've had to work hard and concentrate and give up sleep. But overall, I feel very satisfied with what I've put together.

A week in, it appears to be working!

So when thinking about writing the plan, I thought about life and the priorities in life for our family. In my head, I compiled a list of things, in order or priority:

1. Knowing Jesus Christ, God and the Bible. Prayer and Christian life.
2. Living out those principles - fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), etc.
3. English and Mathematics
4. Music
6. The Arts, HASS, technology, etc
7. Sport

I began to plan our usual day starting with the most important thing: God and Jesus and the Bible. Husband noticed that the children really enjoyed watching the Lumo Project narration of the Bible with acted-out scenes. We purchased the full set of the Gospels and are working our way through the chapters on the DVD each morning. Each chapter takes about 3 minutes and then the children choose a verse they liked or felt was important and write it out on proper handwriting paper. We all have our Bibles with us to follow along as the narrator reads the chapters. The DVD returns to the main menu after each chapter if you ask it to and so it's fantastic for the children. No jumping up to stop the DVD - it stops automatically! Husband reminded me to ask if anyone has any questions about the what we watch before moving onto handwriting.

(source: christiantoday.com)

The next thing about living out our fruits of the spirit, I think, is more of a whole-day teaching concept. Behaving like Jesus would is something that needs to be taught every minute, not in chunks!

My next priority was English and Mathematics. Language is so vitally important and we need to make sure our children can read, write, spell and use grammar effectively. Thank God (no, seriously - I am SO thankful) that I came across a set of books written by Libby Hathorn called Good to Read. She has designed books that children can learn grammar and spelling as well as writing in just 12 questions per page. I decided that we'd do one page per week, which is roughly 2-3 questions per day for my children to answer. The excerpts Libby Hathorn has used to base her questions on are quality novels like Paddington, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lord of the Rings as well as Australian and Indigenous pieces.

At the start of my home school journey, I had heard a lot about Math-U-See, which I found the title of very annoying, using the American word 'math' in the place of 'maths'. But small things, I know! The program has a very good reputation and rightly so, because it includes a DVD lesson and great manipulatives that help children understand foundational concepts in Mathematics. I looked around a bit at other maths programs, but when I really investigated M-U-S, I liked what I saw. A home school mum who was finished with her set sold it to me and shipped it up from Hobart.......it was a happy day when my M-U-S parcel arrived.

English and Mathematics are what we do every school day in the mornings. Some of it's before morning tea, some of it is after.....who does what when just depends on how the morning is going. Don't read that sentence back, you'll get a headache!

Everything else in the plan revolves around those foundation times: Bible time, English and Maths. I decided that I was sick of skipping through topics that my children had a) no time to really investigate for themselves, it was more of 'finish this worksheet to hand it in' and b) didn't really enjoy.

So I've decided that twice a term, we're going to give English and Maths a break and focus on HASS (SOSE/HSIE/Social Studies/Social Science depending on your era) and science for an entire week. The units of work are project based, so the children can work through them with the aim of presenting their findings on the Friday or Saturday.

Music lessons are once a week. Mr Man has decided to continue clarinet and is now going to show good band etiquette and actually practice between band meetings! He's also going to have a lesson with husband or I once a week to keep track of how he's going. Sparkles is a violinist and she loves playing her violin! It's a very difficult instrument to learn, I've now realised - but she has gained so much confidence by tackling something difficult. The gentle encouragement from her violin teacher at Strings Atttached has been great. Jumping Jack is a drummer and he is fantastic at it. He can't sit still much, so the drums are perfect for him. Sam at In-Sync Studios has helped develop Jumping Jack's performing skills with his aim to get each student to record their own music video clip drumming to a song they enjoy. It's gold. My gentle Nature Girl has started piano lessons and I'm pretty proud of her. I played the piano when I was young and I'm so glad I had the chance to learn an instrument.

So far, it's working brilliantly well. We have time to make mistakes and chat a bit. We're so relaxed and are having fun! Our afternoons are spent playing tennis, reading and gardening.

I am enjoying my children and enjoying life with them......it's a beautiful thing!

Our garden now has butterflies that flutter!

Little Leader (5) enjoyed our family tennis bash........and yes, it was a bash-fest. We're working on technique! :)

It's not perfect, of course. I lost my temper a little yesterday when The Hurricane broke into the stamp drawer and stamped our address stamp all the way up the hall walls! There have been spills and dramas and fights still.

It's just that now I have the mental space and time to deal with whatever happens during the day.

For our family, home education has changed our lives so much more for the better.


  1. all over Christmas break, we (with the cousins) have been repeating bits of comedy gigs that have stuck with us. This one came to mind while reading your post:
    "I haven't really done the math"
    "I think you mean maths"
    "what's the difference?'
    Hope you chuckle. Glad your first week back has been a success. xx


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