Benignly playing schools
Next thing: to work out what to do with them. She asked and I explained that people usually use them to divide up the different subjects they're studying. She asked what subjects were, so I told her a few, but said they could be anything she liked, really. She decided on the following, and wrote labels for them all:
That's (from top left): discovery; number; poem; form; fairies; history; story; circle stories; and adventure. Just in case you can't read them - I had to go some distance away to fit them all in ;-)
Writing all the labels took some time and was done very carefully.
Then she had to decide on content. "Let's write a story," she's said every morning this week, at around 8am. These have mostly consisted of her dictating and me writing. (We started with her dictating, me writing and her copying, but she eventually got tired of doing that.) And pictures - they're all illustrated.
I love her stories. She's given me permission to blog a few of them, so here they are, all her own words, with absolutely no prompting, questioning or correcting from me:
The dog and the cat: they don't like each other.
Once upon a time, there was a dog and he was walking in the park with his owner. And a cat, who was walking in the park with her owner. And they met with each other, and had a fight.
And when they had finished the fight, they went home and had a bath.
Of course, they lived in the same house as each other and the cat was called Sarah. The dog was called Erin.
And their owners weren't very happy that they had a fight, but the dog was only a puppy and the cat was only a kitten, so their owners just had to care for them.
And their owners gave them some food and they just got along with each other.
And that's the end.
The three fairies.
Once upon a time, there were three fairies and their pet was only a rabbit. Their rabbit was bigger than a mouse, although the fairies did not know that they had a curse on them, by the evil fairy Sarah.
She had black clothes and she had hair dye, but she'd already used it. And now her hair was as red as anything.
The fairies had six blond rabbits, which fought, and Sarah had six black rabbits. The fairies were called Nightgirl, Lucy Light and Rain Rain Sky.
Sarah had done a plan on the curse and the curse was that the fairies would be under her power for a long long time before their friends could come, because they were the most powerful of all.
The fairies had more magic than Sarah and their magic was:
"Night sky, please help us".
- which causes lightning, and they lived in a castle made of diamonds.
Their other spell was:
"Light, Light, help us! Make the grass grow longer to help us!"
BUT their other power was the most powerfulest power of all, because it came from the fairies' own hands and not from the sky. Nettles come out of the fairies' hands when they are fighting and the fairies rescued the others and Sarah's plan was ruined and they all lived happily ever after and that's the end.
The muffin and the baker.
Once upon a time there was a baker and he baked the most yummiest muffin in the world. But he didn't know that his muffin had a life and it ran out of his bakery shop.
A cow was walking by. The muffin told it about what the baker was doing, running after him. And then the cow chased after him! The poor old muffin.
A crocodile was living by the river. He gave the muffin a ride across the river and he lived happily ever after. The end.
There are half a dozen others where those came from. Lyddie has certainly got the creative writing bug! And a poem:
Get an eyeful
Of my trifle.
You like? ;-) I do!
In the 'form' folder (the only one that was my idea) we practice the mechanics of writing. I make a note of the letters and numbers she's struggling with as she writes, and later we work on improving those.
I'm amazed that she actually wants to work on improving her handwriting skill. This wasn't something the older children ever wanted to do, but I think they'd been put off by the formulaic methods employed in school. Lyddie didn't need to write 20 a's to 'get it'. I did the first one there and she did the other five, and that was it. Time to move on. She's very happy to work as long as it's on her terms and we don't labour anything unnecessarily - which, of course, is the main advantage of home education.
The progress we make in one hour-long session is phenomenal. I'd say it equates to about a week in school terms, having been an NTA in the older children's school many years ago and seen through adult eyes how things have to happen in those environments. This was of doing it is so much more refreshing and enjoyable - it's just.. bang bang, get it done. Move onto the next thing.
Home educating a child who has never been to school is a completely different experience. The older ones were so reluctant to sit down and apply themselves to anything involving paper, or even learning, that we had to give up and completely deschool - a process that never quite ends. (Though the condition does improve over time.) In Lyddie's case, blissfully, there's no need to deschool, because she's never been schooled. So she's very happy to be neatly and profoundly creative with a few colourful folders and pens.
I've learned a lot from experience and observation though, over the years. When the child says start, you start. When the child says: let's do it this way, you do it this way. And when the child says stop, you jolly well stop! Hopefully if we continue on that basis, she'll never need to deschool.