Recording Example: A Homeschooling Week from Our Diary
© Beverley Paine
The following excerpts were taken from our homeschool diary during the period July 29 - August 5 and are presented as an example of evaluative and reflective commentary on what and how the children are learning.
Ice skating was interesting. The rink was almost empty, and the children took advantage of the space. This time 'rules' were not enforced, unlike last time where hundreds of school children occupied the rinks, and made strict adherence to rules essential.
The boys enjoyed themselves, inventing games. One of the children found a broken hockey stick and broke off a lump of ice. He then did circuits, keeping the ice block on the move. Later the boys found coins in an area near the ice, and used their skates like hockey sticks to invent a game of ice hockey.
Their lack of confidence in skating was replaced by a confidence in their own bodies as they moved quickly, and attempted to tackle each other to possess the coin and kick it away. All of them improved their skating ability, unconsciously, as they played.
Later that day the children played the marble game Thomas and I had made the week before. The boys then played soccer on the deck (a fast and furious game) and with their friend's new Competition Lego.
Earlier in the week Thomas had ordered Diablo, a computer game, over the phone. It arrived on Monday, and he was kept busy with extra turns. Because he can only access the computer for 45 minutes each day he spent the considerable time copying out the logo 'Diablo', and designing a full alphabet font to match. The boys spent most of an afternoon drawing and copying words and pictures.
Thomas finished reading 'Toad and Frog', and read aloud some other picture books too. He 'guesses' at many words, often before looking at the picture. He is guaging what word 'fits' in with the context of the story or sentence. He tries to read with as much expression as possible, and is engaging in self correction of words towards the end of each sentence. He is comfortable asking for help on words. These range from simple phonetic words he has 'met' before, to complex words. He reads to me first thing in the morning. We have found this is the best time. Other times in the day seem to get lost and just never happen.
We have learnt a lot of new dice and card games, include some simple gambling games. Most of them involve scoring, with and without paper. I think this is the easiest way to reinforce number practice. Thomas enjoyed playing multiplication bingo and asked for it.
Both boys spent a lot of time over the weekend making 'home pages' on the computer using MS Publisher. This involved using many aspects of the program; really exploring its potential. Problems and hiccups were pondered over and sorted out - showing patience, determination and problem solving skills. Thomas also used the Internet to look for web sites related to Diablo and downloaded several pages.
Thomas put the postcards on the wall by the map and then he and Roger looked in the Atlas to locate some of the towns. Roger commented that he had trouble as he had forgotten lattitude and longitude were measured as time, in minutes and degrees.
Beverley Paine is a mother of three young adults and a prolific writer of homeschooling articles. More articles and essays can be found in her books, available from the Always Learning Books online bookstore.
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Since 1989 Beverley Paine has steadfastly promoted and supported home education as an educational choice for Australia families. Her books and websites aim to demystify education, gently deschooling families so that they may meet their children's individual and unique educational and developmental needs. Her honesty, insights and wealth of experience continues to bring hope, reassurance and confidence to families. Beverley publishes her recent articles, tips and links to resources in her quarterly magazine, Homeschool Unschool