Hello and welcome to our blog. We are a family of 4 and have been home educating since our eldest son would have started school in 2012. Dh and I share the H.E duties between us. We're going to try blogging partly to encourage us to reflect on what we're doing and partly to share what we're up to with anybody who may be interested. As a family we are all really enjoying home ed. so if we help in any way to support others or to help spread the word then that would be wonderful.

English (Language Arts)

English (or Language Arts) splits up into lots of little bits:

Grammar: we use First Language Lessons/Advanced Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. Lots of repetition of basic grammar facts for a solid grounding. It's mostly done orally, too, so you get a lot of learning done in very little time. This suits us as I like school to be rigorous but we all like it to be short!

Writing: we have started with Writing with Ease (by the same authors.) Good, solid comprehension based on extracts of good literature, copywork/dictation and poetry memorisation. Aly has now moved on to Writing and Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press. We both love this program. It's teaching him the nuts and bolts of how to structure his writing. For handwriting we have used the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting series. Dry as dust but does the job. Again, we do very little each day.

Spelling:  we are following Marie Rippel's 'All About Spelling'. We've found it systematic and thorough. Each stage introduces a new spelling rule (ck is only used after a short vowel, c says sssss before e,i and y). These rules are then reviewed and reviewed until they become second nature. When learning a new rule we begin by working with magnetic letter tiles on a whiteboard. This feels rather slow and clunky. The tiles show clearly how words are constructed from their constituent parts but it is time consuming and I find having a cup of tea close at hand is essential at this point! We then move on to spelling the same and other related words on paper.

Reading: When teaching the boys to read, we started off with Biff, Chip and Kipper and loved them all (especially Floppy.) We used online lending service www.readingchest.co.uk , who I recommend really highly. You pay a monthly subscription and they post books out to you. The books were always in great condition and came quickly. It was lovely to see the boys excitement when the envelopes arrived. We then moved on to the lovely and ancient (first published 1836!) McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. They are collections of short stories and poems. The language in them is beautiful and rather archaic. This slowed them down and encouraged them to take more care in their reading as well as enriching their vocabulary. There is also often a moral to them which prompted discussions we may not otherwise have had.

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