Homeschooling Harry: Week Two

Harry got me out of bed at 6-ish to watch Doctor Who with him. When we’d finished watching, Joe still wasn’t awake so I said we might as well start “school.” Harry rolled his eyes a bit, but since I said we’d start by watching a couple of videos on The Kid Should See This, he didn’t mind so much. We watched this one and then this one. Then Harry said he wanted to look on BrainPOP to learn more about Henry Ford.

As we searched for Ford, Harry said, “So I can learn about anything I want?” I told him yes, that was the point. He said, “So I could learn how ice creams are made?” “Yep.” “Hair? Brains?” “Yep.” “Computers? Bogeys? Cup of teas?” “Yes, yes and yes.” (Not looking forward to the middle one there, so much.)

We didn’t find a Henry Ford video, but Harry spotted the Martin Luther King Jnr video and wanted to watch that. By the end, we’d both welled up and I started wittering about how amazing it is that America now has a black president. Harry searched for Barack Obama and, when we found there wasn’t a video for him, I tweeted BrainPOP to ask them to get on it!

By then, Joe was up, so school was over until after we’d dropped him at preschool. I decided to head for a coffee shop again so Harry wouldn’t be tempted by the Wii. Last week, Harry chose a bag to use as his Flexischool bag and I’d been sticking library books and various other bits and bobs in it all week, so we had that with us.

We got some drinks and breakfast and we started with a poem from Read Me Out Loud (which I picked up in the library). It was Some Salamanders by Nick Toczek. We didn’t get it. Harry then did some more “literacy” and then we started on French. I’d found a book in the library called Harry Learns French and I recommend it, even if your child’s not called Harry!

We moved onto Science, which is all about plants. Again, I’d got a book from the library and we had a read of that and made plans to try one of the experiments in the book.

By then, Harry was flagging and I realised we’d been working for an hour and a half, almost without a break. (Well, apart from very short breaks for him to scoff some pancake.) I asked him what he wanted to do next and he said, wearily, “Just go home…”

I’m going to have to learn that just because I’ve got the pile of stuff I want him to do, doesn’t mean he’s capable of doing it all at once. We’ll find a balance, I know. Anyway, I was proud of him because he’d actually got quite a lot done and hardly complained at all.

We picked Joe up from preschool and, as David was home too, decided to go to the park. Harry and I talked plants and seeds, while Joe yelled “Yet’s RUN, Harry!” And off they ran. This was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do when I thought about homeschooling. When I look at the notes they school gave me about the plants project, my heart sinks, but actually being in the park, talking about the plants and searching for seeds was just fantastic. Plus we had the children’s playground to ourselves and I even went on the big slide. (Eep.) (We went for an ice cream and Joe said, “You enjoy your day off, Harry?”)

Back at home, we tried the experiment from the book, but it didn’t work. (It was this.)

Harry and I had a chat about how there are a few things he has to do each week – work on his writing and reading, Science – and then he can choose whatever he wants to do. I need to remember this too and be more relaxed about how the day goes. And of course, it doesn’t all have to be done in the one day – Harry’s always happy to learn, so anything we don’t fit into Friday can be done over the weekend. “Yeah,” Harry says. “Like my blog.” Indeed.

(In the photo at the top, the red dot bottom right is Joe.)

Read about what we’re doing and why here.

Read Harry’s blog about it here.

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4 thoughts on “Homeschooling Harry: Week Two

  1. Completely fascinating, Keris. Loved it! Great websites, too. (Unfortunately Freddie is ‘completely uninterested in how old cars are made, Mummy,’ – but I wasn’t! So glad this is working out so well. I love Joe as that little red dot in your picture! xxx

  2. this is fascinating! I couldnt imagine doing this myself so you have huge kudos from me! I love Joe in the top picture too! haha

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