Homeschooling Harry: Week Three (part 2)

First thing Friday morning, before David and Joe were up, Harry said he didn’t want to do homeschool on Fridays anymore – could we do Mondays instead? I chose Fridays because it’s the day they seem to do the least work at school. They have a long assembly, they have Golden Time and they also frequently watch a film. I suspected this was the problem and I was right. “I miss all the fun!” Harry said.

I know I’ve been struggling to make homeschooling as fun as I want it to be. As I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve found myself wanting to do a “good job”, impress Harry’s teacher and the Head, show them that I can teach him as well as they can. But that’s made me lose sight of why I wanted to do these Flexi Fridays in the first place.

So this week, I told Harry he could do whatever he wanted. If he didn’t want to work at all, that was fine with me. We’d still go to Starbucks, but we could just sit and chat. I got his Friday bag and took all the stuff out and spread it out on the floor. There was quite a lot. A Carol Vorderman times tables book, a couple of French books and a Learn French CD I’d just bought, a couple of books about plants, the Read Me Out Loud! poetry book, Wreck This Journal, Pick Up Your Pen, The Usborne Write Your Own Story Book and the curriculum stuff that school had given me.

I told Harry he could take anything he wanted or leave it all at home. His eyes lit up. He picked up Read Me Out Loud! Then Wreck This Journal. Then the maths book (I really wasn’t expecting that). The French CD. And then he added his school spellings book. I took the rest away. I think it may have been the moment I really knew that, despite Harry’s reservations, I’m doing the right thing with these Fridays. He’s so keen to learn. Of course, when I told David he said, “Brainwashed already…” but I really don’t think it’s that. And I honestly don’t think it was to please me either. He just can’t resist books – I don’t know where he gets it from…

We listened to the French CD in the car on the way to Starbucks. When we got there, we read a poem (he liked it better than last week’s). He did his spellings using a writing app on the iPod (can’t believe I didn’t think of that sooner!). He loved Wreck This Journal – I think it’s great for his motor skills and it gets him writing without realising he’s writing. We did some French words and he asked me how you say “Olympics” in French (I googled – “Jeux Olympiques”). We read the first two pages of the maths book, which were the one times table and the zero times table. I thought I may as well go back to the beginning and it’s a good job I did. Currently his homework says he has to learn the three times table and “division facts”, but I realised on Friday that he’s still not entirely comfortable with zero and one – probably best to learn them first before moving on, eh?

In the afternoon we went to see Beauty & the Beast at the cinema. Harry has been learning about stories at school, particularly about “warnings and promises” and so we’d been talking about fairy tales. We also have a theme each month and this month’s is films – it’s Movie May! After seeing the film (new 3D version is barely any different – I really wouldn’t bother shelling out to see it at the cinema), Harry asked if we could learn more about the Beauty & the Beast story and about Walt Disney. And I made a note to have a chat with him about how if we want someone to love us, tricking or imprisoning them is not the way to go about it!

This post is longer than I intended, so I’ll round it up! We also went to B&Q and bought a Suttons Fun to Grow Vegetables pack and, when we got home, sowed the seeds. And one of the teachers at Joe’s preschool gave Harry a bug-catcher and challenged him to bring a bug when we collected Joe. We only managed to catch an ant, but even so…

So this week’s been challenging, but I think it’s been important. I now know I need to speak to Harry’s teacher and tell her we won’t be doing the work she’s given me (no idea how she’s going to take that…) and I also know I don’t need to push Harry – he wants to learn, I just need to relax and let him follow his interests. LOA. 😉

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19 thoughts on “Homeschooling Harry: Week Three (part 2)

  1. I’m so enjoying reading about your Fridays. I found it surprisingly easy to ditch the curriculum, but I was thousands of miles away from school!

    1. Thanks, Victoria. Yes, if I didn’t have to report back to the school, I wouldn’t give the curriculum a second thought.

  2. I have to say I don’t understand why they gave you all those ridiculous target worksheet thingies when they only do stuff like watch films and have Golden Time when he’s at school — surely he should be able to have as much fun with you? Which it sounds like you did this week, which is great 🙂

    1. They told me he would be missing science, so I do think they actually fit one lesson in between all the fun!

      With my paranoid head on, I’d say it may have partly been to put me off, make me think I was trying to take on too much.

      1. Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised, to be honest… But you’re doing the plant stuff and I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to stay on top of things. (As long as you dont spend hours on the paperwork, obvs!)

  3. Well this was borderline entertaining/disturbing. I can only say that I am glad that my parents never did this to me or I dont think I would be able to go on to do my A levels this year (possibly not even managed year 9 SATs as I can assure you bogeys do not come up). My freind showed me this and my class of us agree that ditching the curriculum is possibly the most brilliant way to trainwreck your childs future!

    I wish you luck with this project, and picking up the pieces afterwards.

    1. Thanks for you comment. I just have one question for you – why do you think it’s such a bad idea?

      Also, I welcome discussion in the comments, but this is my blog. If you choose to comment again, may I suggest you do it more politely/less obnoxiously?

  4. “I now know I need to speak to Harry’s teacher and tell her we won’t be doing the work she’s given me (no idea how she’s going to take that…)”

    If the school is in any way oversubscribed, perhaps they will indicate the shape and direction of the gate, and suggest you choose another place to childmind your kid for free.

    Where to start?

    You don’t like how he’s taught – but it gives you some fodder to wave at your publisher – so you keep him at the school and play-act at homeschooling.

    You personally vilify a teacher – having asked for work the kid can do at home – and because it makes good copy. Cheap. For shame.

    Fridays in primary schools – does the acronym SEAL mean squat to you? Clearly not. But this is why the kid enjoys school on Friday.

    BTW, were you to put any of my work online witnhout my permission and make it the target of your spleen, I ‘promise’ I would happily help you to see the legal ‘consequence’.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I don’t suppose you care, since it seems your opinion is pretty fixed, but the school is supportive, knows I’m ditching the curriculum, and the head said just last week that I’m doing a wonderful job.

      I don’t know where you get the idea that this blog is “fodder” for my publisher. I write teen fiction.

      I haven’t “personally vilified” anyone. It’s clear that my criticism is of the curriculum/education system, not the school or the teacher. Nor did I ask for work to take home – the teacher chose to give it to me and accepts that I’m choosing not to do it.

      As above, I welcome discussion in the comments, but this is my blog. If you choose to comment again, may I suggest you do it more politely/less obnoxiously?

  5. At my child’s school they have a class assembly on Fridays so that each class takes it in turn to demonstrate what they have learned in a particular topic. My child would hate to miss Fridays as he enjoys the assembly especially when it the turn of his class. It gives him confidence to stand and say his piece in front of the whole school. It is a shame they do not do this as your child’s school.

    1. Thanks for your comment. They do actually do this at Harry’s school, in fact, it’s Harry’s class assembly tomorrow. He was given the option of going in to take part in the assembly, but he has chosen not to.

  6. What bizarre comments! I’ve been blogging nearly 9 years about home education and I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative comment. Fascinated to see how the flexi schooling works for you longer term.

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