Andy is sitting hunched over his computer. He has been there on and off for the past fortnight. Only one more week until the official start to the new school year and Andy is busy writing lesson plans for his primary school class. I don’t envy him. Homeschooling is so much easier. I don’t have to spend weeks planning work for my students. I don’t even have to spend a day. Perhaps I can do it in half an hour.
The girls have been on holiday now for nearly two months and I am sure they’ve learnt a lot in that time. I could let them continue doing things their own way. But… it wouldn’t hurt to gather a few things to strew in their pathway. It might result in the girls finding some things they’ll enjoy but have never considered learning. Surely it can’t hurt to enrich their environment a little?
So how quickly can I do this? Here’s the plan. I am going to start with a walk around the house and see what I can gather that looks interesting. Is your home bursting with all kinds of wonderful resources that get bought and never get used? Ours is. Perhaps it’s time to pull a few things off the shelves and put them in a more prominent spot where the girls might stumble over them and be tempted to use them.
So I am walking and looking… and soon I have a big pile of books and DVDs. I also grab a bit of paper and scrawl a list of website resources the girls might enjoy… I have ‘planned’ the first term of the new school year.
So what’s in my pile and on my list?
Playing Shakespeare: “A series of master classes with the greatest Shakespearean actors of their age.”
The Shakespeare play Hamlet which we can read aloud.
We can watch Hamlet starring Mel Gibson and
the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant
We’ve been reading Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.
We could watch the BBC mini-series which the girls got for Christmas.
They’d love to explore the blog David Perdue’s Charles Dickens’ Page.
And The Enchanted Serenity of Period Movies blog.
Some books for reading: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
and we could watch the movie Heidi.
I could suggest some blog writing and editing of the girls’ NaNoWriMo novels.
Poetry? We could finish reading Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Princess. This poem was the basis for Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Princess Ida.
I am sure everyone will want to choose another Gilbert and Sullivan operetta from our DVD boxed set…
Some history? Would the girls enjoy the Reformation novels of Robert Hugh Benson: Come Rack! Come Rope! The King’s Achievement and By What Authority? I have already downloaded these from ManyBooks.
The younger girls might like Fr John O’Neill’s Nor Life Nor Death and Cappy. I bought these historical novels from Cardinal Newman Faith Resources. They certainly enjoyed Benjamin by the same author.
Science? The Science of Superheroes by Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg.
What Einstein Told His Cook and
The Science Chef… Science plus some cooking.
Then there’s the very entertaining website, The Periodic Table of Videos for some chemistry.
Human Society and its Environment? The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World book and DVD. That might fit in well with Charles Dickens.
Creative and Practical Arts? Photography using new Christmas cameras. Photo editing using Picnik and BeFunky. Use the photos in blog posts? Some comic generating using Strip Generator and Toodoos. Doodling?
We could make sock creatures using Charlotte’s Christmas book: Stray Sock Sewing Too by Daniel.
Charlotte discovered some interesting art videos on the Kahn Academy website.
We could browse the book What Great Paintings Say.
We’ll continue to read the Bible Alive meditations every morning together.
Would the girls like to return to the Teen Guide to the Bible by Alfred McBride?
They’ll certainly want to continue reading The Creed in Slow Motion by Ronald Knox.
And I saw some videos on Youtube called The Mass in Slow Motion.
A Saints book? In God’s Garden by Steedman.
Just maths to go… The girls will enjoy playing the games on the MangaHigh Maths site. I found a site with some fascinating maths doodles: Vi Hart: Maths DoodlingThen there’s the usual singing and piano lessons, practices and performances, St John Ambulance, swimming lessons and lap swimming, running…
Yes, it took me about half an hour to gather my pile of books and DVDs and a make the list of websites.What shall I do with these resources? Pop them in a basket? Strew them on the coffee table? Write a list on the white board where anyone looking for inspiration can see them?
And what if no one likes my learning suggestions? What if the girls aren’t at all interested in the books and DVDs and websites I am strewing in front of them? No problem! I won’t have wasted much time, and perhaps if they don’t like what I found, I might delve into them myself.And what will the girls do instead? I am sure they’ll find something equally interesting to keep themselves occupied and learning. Because when you love learning, it’s amazing the adventures you can have even without anyone planning anything for you to do.
I’m all finished but Andy is still working away. He is a very dedicated teacher. His class is going to learn some fascinating things next term. It’s just a pity he can’t do things the unschooling way. But we can. Aren’t we so very fortunate?