Early Days

Until now I haven’t kept a journal of what we’ve been doing as we’ve all been finding our way but over the last few months (deregestered 7th June) we’ve achieved a lot. They have a healthy folder of work, both maths and English based and have now starting on the science aspect. Harry and Lillian are now using the Letts ks2 age related work books while Joey is almost at the end of ks1 and should be on ks2 by the end of October. They have also Started at Team Katalyst in Rotherham on the Parkour mornings where they are taught the skills used in free running. This develops their physical and coordination skills as well as being a good work out to expend some energy and serves as a way for all of us to socialise with other likeminded parents and children. Lillian also attends the evening session of tumbling and acro which is an extension of her gymnastics and dance classes, which will teach her the tumbling tricks. They also enjoy the Word Of The Day activity where I give them a large-ish word which they look up in the dictionary and then write the meaning of and a sentence using the word in the correct context. Other activities have included baking, which involved maths for quantities and temperature conversion; English by following a recipe and writing up the process. They have also done some basic science experiments and completed evaluation sheets to support them. It is intended to keep to this formula as they progress

There have been numerous trips out to various places such as,
Sherwood Pines where they did the Go Ape thing through the trees, returning the following weekend to visit the Viking re enactment village, learning how they lived, worked, ate, made clothes and weapons to hunt with. All told a very informative day. They followed this up by doing a project on Vikings.

Other trips have included:

Southwell Victorian Workhouse.
Brodsworth Hall.
Conisborough Castle.
Newark Air Museum. Covering the world wars and the Cold War.
The National Tramway Museum at Crich, which was also hosting a 40’s weekend focusing on the war years.
The National Railway Museum at York.

We have also joined the National Trust and English Heritage so have access to a host of free activities throughout the year whilst also looking into the history of individual properties. We are also members of the RSPB where they like to go regularly because they see different species of migrating birds and other wild life, they particularly enjoy the pond dipping. They have done several projects on birds, insects and small aquatic creatures.

Individually it has been an eye opener as to their levels of ability and understanding which I have no qualms in saying are generally below the indicated level in the school reports received at the end of the last school year. This is not surprising when one of the children has had 19 different teachers from Jan to June. There have been, however, a few surprises as well. Harry, in particular, who the school says is “on track” with his reading ability when, the truth is, he is far in front for an 8 year old. He is using expression and emotion in his reading and understands what he has read, I would estimate he is actually a year in front. His writing on the other hand is a year behind, numeracy is also one of his strong points. Joey on the other hand is a battle every day. His report said on track for just about everything, when in reality he is way behind in every aspect. His reading is slow and he still has a habit of sounding out even simple words. His writing is passable but he struggles to put sentences together. In numeracy however he is starting to get to grips but still guesses at a lot of his answers for even very basic addition and he would now be in a KS2 class. Lilly is the only one that might be near to where she should be, although there are a lot of small gaps, her writing is not very neat and spelling is only adequate. This is now being addressed and there is daily improvement in her writing abilities. I think the Word Of The Day, which she enjoys, is prompting her to look up her spellings in the dictionary, I’m not an advocate of using a computer and predictive text as a substitute for learning how to spell. Reading promotes spelling. Maths his her strong point but she is a little behind where she should be with notable gaps such as fractions. She also particularly likes science experiments which she and the other two find fun.
All in all there are no particular worries as there are enough of us to get them all on track. Their Granny takes care of the days out as she enjoys that as well and enjoys going into detail with them and gets them to at least bullet point aspects of their day out for writing up at a later date.
Their Mum does the hands on experiments where they fill in evaluation sheets for each one. She also does the arts n crafts bit through model making, drawing, painting with mixed media etc, she also has started a project of “Under The Sea” where they look at all aquatic animals then draw them and write a little about each one.
I myself take care of the Maths, English, Science and the core learning whilst underpinning all the other activities as well as being the taxi driver to the various clubs and activities as their Mum doesn’t drive……… YET.

Between us I think we are well placed to deliver the learning and assess their abilities and outcomes, Granny has a Cert Ed and assessors and verifiers awards. Grumpy grandad has 7307 teaching cert and assessors awards along with internal verifier, I also have key skills teaching and assessment Certs all gained during my time at Doncaster college where among other things I delivered key skills to students ranging from 14 up and up to level 4. Mum has level 2 child care and is also currently working as a play coordinator.

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