Recording Example: Detailed Day from Our Homeschooling Diary
© Beverley Paine
The following excerpts were taken from our homeschool diary July 28th 1998 and is presented as an example of evaluative and reflective commentary on what and how the children are learning. Although lengthy, this type of anecdotal recording reveals a great deal about the children's overall development. I did not record in this much detail every day but took what I called 'snapshots' every few weeks, or if something noteworthy, such as a milestone or insight, had occured.
Thomas came up with a good solution to a problem the boys found whilst studying their personal computer upgrade and repair course. The problem related to clients losing documentation that comes with the computer, and/or components. Thomas suggested that such documents could be stored, in plastic sleeves, taped to the inside of the computer case.
Last night Thomas invented a game using marbles and the carpet. The inspiration to do this came from glancing through "The Way To Play - Illustrated Encyclopedia of the games of the World", borrowed from the library. Using Paintbrush on the computer he drew a schematic diagram of the game, with the intention of including it in a set of rules. This morning he decided to make the game with my help, and to include a set of rules and making instructions using MS Publisher.
We decided to use some unbleached calico as a base, but it needed to be cut and sewn together in two pieces to make a perfect square. Thomas helped determine how to do this, and did the measuring and calculating. A square was chosen as the game required a number of circles to be drawn. Whilst making up the 'board', Thomas became familiar with the sewing machine, sewing one hemline. He learned what the terms 'seam' and 'hem' mean. We discussed the advantages of ironing the material to press the seam and to make the 'board' flat.
Next came drawing a set of circles on the calico with indelible markers. Thomas suggested using the ruler, making with a pencil a set distance out from the centre in a circular pattern, and then overdrawing with the texta. Circles alternated in green and brown, and resembled a target, with inner circles having small diameters to make the game harder. On each corner a we drew a different coloured square to represent the home base. Thomas labelled each circle with the point value, correcting errors using white out.
After making the 'board' Thomas started the computer and I typed the instructions and rules as dictated by him, discussing how to word them as we went. Several corrections and alterations were made. Thomas then incorporated a revised diagram from Paintbrush and a border.
We then played the game with four players, trying out the board and the new set of rules. Omissions were noted, and included in the revision. The game took all morning to make and involved introduction and practice of a variety of skills.
Searching for a particular computer game Thomas wants to buy, he 'scanned' the whole 'Computer Market' magazine, selecting out the word 'Diablo' in the text and marking the pages. He then asked me to read the surrounding text, and we talked about the merits of the various ways he can purchase the game. I read aloud from the Morris Gleitzman 'Worry Warts', finishing the book, and Thomas began reading the first chapter of 'Frog and Toad All Year' by Arnold Lobel to me. Other activities included sorting and playing with LEGO, playing computer games, and playing the piano.
The day was rainy with rough weather so we stayed inside all day. When putting his chickens away at 5pm Thomas found an echidna inside the chook house. Roger helped to remove it to a more suitable spot where it could find termites. It was very difficult to dislodge it from the hole it was digging with its powerful claws and legs. We discussed whether it was a nocturnal animal, and the fact that echidnas are one of only two monotremes in the world.
After dinner we played poker, then from reading 'New Scientist' a question was raised about if it were possible to view the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from anywhere except space. Mountains on Costa Rica and Panama were excluded, as were peninsulas on Antarctica , and Cape Horn selected as the only place. This involved searching through the Atlas and looking at the globe and working out how far the horizon is away at varying heights. April and Roger determined that the Caribbean Sea was not the Atlantic , as some answers in 'New Scientist' had concluded.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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