Our first week

And so it begins…

Monday
After dropping Tiger at school, we came home, fired up the laptop and started. Ocelot was keen. In 2.5 hours, she did some maths work in Education City (we are using up a subscription), then she wrote a geocaching log for Literacy, followed by a story plan for a writing competition. She then had a break before doing some Science workbook which was then followed by some Latin and French. We then picked up Tiger from pre-school and took him to gymnastics. After that she played outside, then did her Minecraft Homeschool prep, made some Rainbow Loom bracelets, watched some YouTube videos on biomes and tornadoes before being allowed on Minecraft. In bed, she did her Duolingo, Dragonbox and various apps before reading her book.

Tuesday
We started the day by taking Tiger to pre-school, we then headed over to meet a friend for some geocaching. We did some of her science book whilst we waited for my friend to arrive. We then cycled along the Thames path finding caches, looking at birds and wildlife, trying out an echoing bridge before arriving back at the car. Once home, we did some online maths, wrote more for her literacy competition, did some music practice and then went to the local Paint your Own Pottery shop where she painted a cat. She ran a lap of the field and completed all the obstacles placed round it before we picked up Tiger. Once home, it was Minecraft time until Daddy got home; they then did 45 mins of Python. In bed, Ocelot did her Duolingo French app and then some reading.

Wednesday
We were late starting this morning due to traffic, but as soon as we got home, Ocelot got straight into her maths which she then followed with Literacy. She then wrote a geocaching log from yesterday’s finds. After some online Science, she went back to the Literacy and made some cartoon strips. We then did half an hour of map reading for a geography text book, we looked at local maps and one from Snowdonia and she learnt how to read 6 figure grid references. It was then time to pick up Tiger. After lunch, she and Tiger built a marble run, then made more cartoon strips together. After a spot of Minecraft it was time for their swimming lessons. Ocelot swam well and Tiger…he wasn’t too happy. Once Daddy got home, they continued with their Python project.

Thursday
Today was our first venture into home schooling classes. We started the morning by finishing off a story writing competiton entry; it had to be posted today. We then headed over for a ‘Hands on Science’ lesson. Ocelot has been very excited by this and has talked about the class since, but during the lesson I sat next to her and watched her anxiety levels rise, she couldn’t speak and she couldn’t answer the questions that she knew the answers to. She is keen to go back, but I think it was too much for her so close after leaving school. We spent the afternoon doing some Maths and then playing on the Warrior Cat website. After a very successful viola lesson we came home where she played Minecraft before heading to bed to do her Duolingo and reading

Friday
We spent the first few hours of the morning finishing up some EducationCity before heading to a Home Education Outdoor day. Ocelot was very nervous to begin with, but she had fun playing in the woods and making wooden swords, after lunch, she made a friend and was reluctant to go home! Tiger made friends within 30 seconds and was gone for most of the day! It was good for Ocelot to meet other home schooled kids, she had a great day and wants to return.
In the evening, we went to the theatre to watch The Science Show. It was excellent and she and her friend chatted excitedly about it all the way home.

Weekend
Camping, triathlons and a visit to a working farm where they had a hand on letting section.

Final Holiday Week

Ocelot would have had 3 weeks of Easter Holidays had she been at school, but she’s not! However, it felt wrong to deny her that week even though Tiger had gone back to pre-school.

Tiger went back on Tuesday so Ocelot and I pottered round the house, she did her Minecraft Homeschool, we looked at her FutureLearn and we took a cat to the Vet. Tiger had half a day on Wednesday, so we had another pyjama morning. They both had swimming lessons that evening which went well. On Thursday morning, we went geocaching with my friend. We walked just under 5 muddy miles and found 21 caches, this seemed to tire Ocelot out so she spent the afternoon on the sofa watching ‘Toothless.’ She had her viola lesson in the afternoon; her teacher seemed to think she was more relaxed and more forth coming compared to previous weeks.

On Friday we met up with some friends (all home schooling) at Warwick Castle. The children all took part in the Horrible Histories exhibitions, watched the Falconry show and wandered round the castle. It was a great day out.

This weekend, we have had her best friend from school over for a sleepover, had an extra swim lesson and tomorrow, she has triathlon training.

From Monday, we will be trying a structured learning approach. Ocelot is keen to get started. It’s a busy week already with meets, camps and a theatre visit.

Minecraft Homeschool

Ocelot is a huge Minecraft fan. She runs her own server for her friends, reads anything and everything about Minecraft, skype-crafts her friends and has been known to play on 3 different devices at once!

A friend suggested ‘Minecraft Homeschool’ back in January. We signed up to ‘7 wonders of the ancient world’ which was a 6 week course based in the seven ancient wonders. Each child has to watch documentaries, watch powerpoints, take a quiz based on the topic and then go and do the weekly build. They interact with other children on the server and they have a teacher who pops in to check that everything is running smoothly.

After the first course Ocelot signed up for The Mayans, unfortunately, due to school, she didn’t get to do much of this. She’s now on a 6 week ‘Word Crafting’ course which is Literacy based.

There is a small cost to this but it’s £6 for the 6 weeks. Brilliant fun with some learning.

Easter Holidays

We had a relaxing first week of the Easter holidays. We went on a few bike rides, went to the forest, built a fort, planted some seeds in the garden, went to swimming lessons, found a few Geocaches and played a lot of Minecraft. Ocelot also continued with her ‘bed schooling’, her Python work and got interviewed for an article about her books.

Over the weekend, she did a Parkrun 5k race, played on the beach, went bowling and stayed up late to watch ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. We then visit The Angel of The North, went on a Gruffalo Hunt (mainly for Tiger) at Hamsterley Forest before heading home

The second week began with a trip to London to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here we met with friends and spent the day exploring the play parks and the water park. It was a brilliant place to visit. We then had a few days at home just catching up before we headed up to Conkers to meet friends. A weekend of triathlon racing followed by a visit from the grandparents (lots of bike riding and forest walking) ended the Easter Holidays.
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The telling…

Tonight, DH told Ocelot about the plan to home school her. I wanted him to do it as I didn’t want her to think it was just my idea. I took Tiger up to bed and DH sat down and talked through trailing home schooling with her. I then came down 15 minutes later to discuss various points.

She took it very well but had two concerns; the first was that she’d be missing her class residential trip and the other was her brother.
I produced the information for a Gifted Kids outdoor adventure weekend and promised her a camping trip to the beach…that pleased her. The other issue was Tiger as she didn’t like the idea he’d be here on Fridays (he doesn’t have pre-school that day), but we explained that if she liked home schooling, then in September, he’d be at school full time. I then explained that we can do trips out on Fridays and that Tiger would be fine to come along.

She then asked about Minecraft and I said it would still be there, but as she has now, only from the end of ‘school’ time. She then worked out that she’d gain a few extra hours a week. She then wanted to design a timetable and I said we could do that together. We talked about school work in the morning, with more unstructured time in the afternoon which she looked very happy about. I said ‘no homework’ and she was very pleased with that. A small concern was holiday time, so I said we’d have to stick with Tiger’s school holidays and she could have a week or two off with him.

Ocelot wanted to name the school so I said she could think about one, then she asked about rewards/merits. I said that was entirely up to her and if that is what she wanted, then we could do that. She wants to go shopping for folders and new pens so we’ll do that when Tiger starts back after Easter.

So, it went very well and Ocelot seems very much on board.

The last day…

Friday 4th April, the day Ocelot walked out of school for the last time.
We sent a letter to the school on Tuesday giving notice of her leaving.
Now for the biggest challenge of telling Ocelot. I think she has a vague idea that she is going to be homeschooled as we’ve talked a lot about it but we haven’t told her when.
We will tell her that it is a trial of one term and then we can reassess over the summer; I can’t see her returning to school for a few years.