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The Lee Academy

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Month

March 2016

Bugs and Princesses

This week was a very interesting week.

We had 35 degrees (Celsius) one day, and 18 degrees the next. One day it was so hot, the ground was burning, then another day, so wet and cold that indoor activities were in order (although my children did dance in the rain whilst sick.)

We had coughing, blocked noses, rashes, throwing up, fevers, and a 23-month-old doing about 10 poos a day due to sickness. What. A. Week.

But the amazing thing was that it didn’t seem to stop their enthusiasm for learning, absorbing and their sheer curiosity of life. You have to love homeschooling when minor sicknesses don’t seem to stop the flow of learning, because they are absolutely loving what they are learning.

My son is currently into bugs. It was crocodiles last week. But this week, it’s all about bugs. We borrowed a book from the library, and we have read it 10 times a day for the last three days. He has started to draw them, copy them from the book, draw them from memory, and now wants to know what distinguishes them. The number of legs, wings or no wings, what they do, why we need them; all these facts that make life so interesting for him right now. We have been studying this book and our garden for about 5-7 hours a day for the last 3 days. (To be honest, I’m quite creeped out at the feel of worms, but I love my son).  Different insects come out when it’s raining/cold than when it’s dry/hot.

My daughter has always been into princesses. As much as I am trying to get her to focus on things that are not related to princesses, I have to say that her motivation for princesses has allowed her to focus on mathematics and letter recognition for 5 hours today. 5 hours. With no break. She is 3. I wanted her to take a break, but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. She kept going. Sitting there.

We had a book of stickers (2000 stickers) of princesses, and I asked her to count them out from 1 to 10. So number 1 would be Mulan, then 2 of Aurora, 3 Belle and so on. We got to 25. She looked for the stickers (out of 2000). She found them (attention to detail). She took the stickers out of the book (fine motor skills), and she counted them herself (math). She put the stickers in a row together as she counted them out (find motor skills). She did this for 5 hours (patience and concentration span).

My 23 month old son joined in all of our songs and games, but as the other two were busy in their “work”, I played with him, tickled him and entertained him… for about 5 hours.

So even though they were sick, it was a very pleasant week.

We have also started reading the Bible together in the morning. We use “Step into the Bible” by Ruth Graham. It’s an excellent resource and we use this either at Breakfast time or Dinner time, when the family is together. In a busy family, sometimes we find this is the only time we get together to do any Bible reading. So this resource has really helped us.

That’s our week!

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Copy Work – Foundation Year

My son doesn’t like copy work so much. He is fantastic at maths and sciences, but doesn’t quite appreciate the beauty of a beautifully written letter or prose put together well.  So his copy work will be extremely simple. A letter a day, a number a day (or 10 numbers a day when he has a handle of things).

So I’ve developed this for him. Hope you find it useful.

Here’s a free copy of some Copy Work for a 5 to 6 year old. Click here to download.
Copy Work Foundation Year

This Copy Work is for every letter in the Alphabet, numbers from 1 to 100, and is developed using the Manuscript style for Victorian Fonts.

It has lines to guide the children, and as the children are young, I have left shadowing and arrows on all the print work, rather than letting the child write it out themselves. The reasoning is to allow the child to perfect the hand written work for each letter.

If there are any issues, please feel free to contact me or leave a message in the comments.

A 5-year-old’s question…

This is why I am choosing to homeschool my children.

Today, my son asked me about a zillion questions on every single topic that interests him. Trucks. Bridges. Crocodiles. Mountains. Planets.

But what really struck me was this question.

“Mummy, who created God?”

My answer: “Oh, well, what I believe is that God always existed. And one day, he decided to create the universe.”

“How?”

Me: “The world has been debating that for as long as it has existed. Some say the Bible is as it says, 6 days. Some say it took millions of years.”

Then, this is the question that stopped me in my tracks.

“Mummy, did God create man or man create God?”

And this was my reply, “Son, I love you. You have the wisest and most intelligent mind. I love your thinking. It honestly impresses me.  You really make me smile. I cannot believe how amazing your are.

To answer your question, I believe that God created man. And that those men who were touched by God wrote about him in a book called the Bible.

But you are amazingly wise, my son.”

Having the freedom to be, think and express, has allowed him to think like this.

He is special to me, but to the world, he isn’t anyone exceptional. He isn’t an extrovert. He isn’t a talker. He is frightened of crowds and too much stimulation. Some people say he’s slow. He can’t read very well. But his writing and maths are exceptional.

But at least he knows today, that I think the world of him. And he learnt today, that he is wise.

The homeless

Today, our family went out to the city for a lovely outing. The weather was lovely and cool, and the city itself was not overcrowded. This usually means that if and when our youngest two run off in the crowd, we can still generally see them at a distance and not go through a blind panic trying to find them.

But as usual when we visit the city, we notice a lot of people sitting on the sides. These people are disheveled, unkept and sometimes holding up a cardboard sign asking for money. Some draw on cards and try to sell them. Some have a pet. But most are ignored.

Today, I brought my 5 year old son and my 3 year old daughter to meet and greet some of the homeless. We chatted to a lovely man who had a dog named Bella. We saw a man drawing intricate drawings on small cards. We wanted to find a regular homeless man named Graham Pierce. Graham has cerebral palsy.

The saddest thing to see is seeing people walking by these people, like they are invisible. My heart hurts for them, because in the end, they are in fact, people, just like we are. Somehow, life got the better of them and this is their only option. Whether it is in their minds through mental illness, domestic violence or they were given no choice, they are in this place.

The loveliest thing to witness was seeing my children speaking to these people, like they were friends; with respect, smiles and the pure non-judgemental innocence of a child. It was simply beautiful.

If a child can just speak to these people and make their worlds a little more bearable, I wonder what we can do as adults. Sometimes the teaching is not just from parent to child, but the other way around.

The Best Private School

Passerby: So which school did you enrol your son into?

Me: Oh, the best school. These teachers see their students as their own. They focus on them 100% and allow them to follow their own interests, but also give them a firm foundation of which to make their choices. There is no set schedule however, so the children aren’t rushed out the door first thing in the morning. The school begins when they are ready. They can start the day slowly and take their time.

Passerby: That sounds like an unusual school. How could they possibly not have a schedule? Which school is this?

Me: The best private school. It costs so much but it’s worth it. They begin their day by waking up slowly and taking their time. Then their environment is set with classical music, as they enter a comfortable homely room to sit, meditate and reflect. After this, they can draw, play lego, whatever takes their fancy until breakfast is ready.

After breakfast, there is a quiet and leisurely walk to the park, where the kids are allowed to run (some want to run as fast as they can, some want to jog), learn to catch a ball and hit it, and have fun with the dogs that they see from their neighbours. There is a nice little play in the park, as they enjoy time with each other.

As they walk leisurely back to school, the teacher dedicates time to their reading, writing and general learning, but the teacher has also altered the curriculum to fit in any personal interests the children have. And it is tailored to each student. So if one student wants to learn about planets, and another wants to learn about ballet, both are catered for individually.

Passerby: Wow. How does the teacher get time to do that? Isn’t that difficult to do?

Me: Most definitely. Most teachers care for their students, but this particular teacher cannot stop dedicating time, effort and love to her students. Mind you, this school is so exclusive, this teacher only has three students to concentrate on.

Passerby: Wow. The school fees must be extensive then.

Me: Yes they are. Where was I? After the learning element, the children are allowed to indulge in free play… for about 4 hours. If they are interested in any particular sport or music activity, then the teacher takes them to individual classes. Two days a week is purely for socialisation. These days, no official teaching takes place, and the children get to play and socialise freely with their friends. Their friends are not just friends of their age, but all across the ages.

Passerby: This sounds so unusual. How about testing? Are the children tested?

Me: Not unless it is a topic that they want to excel in. If one of the children is interested in excelling in dance or piano, then exams are necessary, however, not if the testing takes away from the joy of learning that topic. The main aim of this school is to ensure the children have a heart for the community and enjoy learning.

Passerby: Heart for the community? How?

Me: Well, the children are taken to see the homeless, the elderly in nursing homes, at least once a week for the entire  year. Several mission trips to overseas third world countries are scheduled to open the eyes of the children to the world-wide community.

Passerby: How much does this cost?

Me: It costs an entire career. It costs the salary of one full time working career. It costs all the spare time you have. It costs you free time.

Passerby: … I don’t understand. Why would it cost you that?

Me: Because this exclusive school can sometimes be looked down upon, when you call it homeschool. But in fact, it is an exclusive private school, so exclusive that only my three children can be a part of it.

See your homeschool as more than “just” a homeschool.
It is an elite, personalised, private school that only allows very few children to enter.

Keep going…

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