Saturday, October 4, 2008

the curriculum

I want to say that I didn't post that last post, that was my daughter!

I wanted to publish the curriculum that I presented to the OBoS for registration in the hopes of it helping some other poor soul who is attempting to register. It is undoubtedly the most boring thing you will ever read, but if it saves you from WRITING the most boring thing you ever wrote then you can thank me!

Programme for Stylish

Our aim of home schooling is to provide a wide and extensive list of interesting subjects and allow Stylish to navigate her way through them as they interest her. We are finding that she is far more interested in things now that we are teaching them to her ourselves, for example maths, and history, and reading fiction.
At the beginning of each week Stylish is given a list of activities from the subjects in the curriculum we have designed, they need to be completed by Sunday afternoon at 3pm. She works in a very self motivated fashion and is more than capable of completing all the tasks on the list.
Each morning Stylish writes a timetable for her day and works at her own pace to complete the activities, asking for help when required. After lunch each day we sit down in the lounge room as a family and read (with Spikee watching a DVD or sleeping). Stylish usually chooses to work on humanities in the morning and maths in the late afternoon to early evening.
We are seeking tuition outside the home with some trained (family and otherwise) professionals in some subjects.
Mathematics every second Tuesday morning
Music Monday morning and Friday afternoon
Counseling Tuesday afternoons
German lessons Friday morning
Hopefully next term Ailis will commence Little Athletics classes on Saturday morning and later on in the year swimming lessons at Enmore Park pool.
There is no particular area of our house which we use for education. We just use the most practical area. Some mathematics is completed on the computer, some at her study desk, and some on the kitchen table where there is plenty room to spread out books and papers. Reading is usually undertaken in the lounge room, however on a beautiful day we sometimes sit on the front veranda and do some reading or go to the park and eat lunch and read. Science is a very fluid subject, sometimes we study science in the garden (gardening, bug catching etc), sometimes we go to the museum, sometimes Ailis simply reads to herself from her science books or uses the computer for research, or watches a DVD.
Each week Stylish is provided with a list of activities that further her interest and knowledge in these areas. She is learning far more complicated fractions than she was at school and enjoying them now. At school she felt they were boring and too difficult, but at home she is finishing the work set for her and seeking further work.

We are concentrating on the areas that she has traditionally had problems with, like fractions, spatial recognition, and logic. We are planning to work on symmetry, percentages, decimals, making and interpreting graphs, and mental arithmetic exercises, and will continue to cover a wide range of mathematic subjects.
The sources we are using are mathematics text books, online resources, and Stylish is also spending time with a maths tutor once a fortnight.
The books we are working from are
Excel Basic Skills Mathematics and English
Magnetic Maths
Zoodiac Year of the Maze
Junior Sudoku
Other sources we are using include
Using measurements for cooking, interpreting graphs on food labels, bus and train timetables, and the television guide. And Microsoft Excel to create graphs, as well as hand drawn and measured graphs. Meal budgeting and shopping, our family sudoku board and sudoku cd-rom,
I studied reading recovery with St. Johns Ambulance in 2003. I have access to my Mothers’ English books at any time. She is an ESL English teacher at primary school level.
Stylish is a very competent reader and an even more competent writer (it runs in the family). She has always won awards for English, and has competed in the Public School Speaking contest at the regional level since she has been old enough to compete. Largely she is interested in reading non-fiction and can often be found with her head buried in a David Attenborough book, or a book about bugs, insects, reptiles, or other natural subjects. She can quite competently read books on this subject matter that are for adult audiences, and she comprehends and retains the information.
I am currently encouraging her to read from fiction books as well as the usual non-fiction. Since home learning began she has completed two fiction story books and is keen to begin reading from the Narnia series.
Each week Stylish writes down any words she is unfamiliar with in her work book, then she writes a sentence using that word. We are using homemade work sheets to help with spelling. These are based on common spelling and grammar problems she encounters, for example THEIR THERE and THEY’RE and YOU’RE and YOUR. I intend to focus on punctuation next term and will be using a text book when I find one that is suitable for her age and capability. The Excel Basic Skills range often have textbooks readily available in news agencies.
I would like to use the grammar and spelling text book that we purchased for school use but the principal has not given them back to us despite our request for them. I intend to request them again in the new term, and hope that once home school registration is granted she will be more forthcoming.
Each day Stylish sits in the lounge room and reads with me for half an hour. At this point I am making her read fiction. She also reads in bed at night but I do not keep track of the length of time spent reading, nor what she is reading, however it is usually a fact book (currently Life in Cold Blood, by David Attenborough).
She is also doing word search puzzles and crosswords that we find on the internet, these are useful in furthering her already extensive vocabulary. Each week we travel to the library and she borrows books (usually fact books) and reads those too. She is learning to use the computer at the library to locate books that interest her.
Some of the activities we will be doing next term are:
Deconstruction of texts such as news paper and magazine articles and commercials, discussing their purpose, intended audience, and the language within.
Creating an advertisement using appropriate language and decoration.
Reading books. Fiction and non fiction for half an hour each day.
Writing both factual work and creative writing in different styles.
Reading the Harry Potter series out loud, taking it in turns to read chapters. Discussing the books as compared to the movies.
Science is a subject that Stylish is really interested in. For science we are studying plants and animals at the moment. Stylish has three stick insects and has owned them for eight months now. In that time she has researched their lifecycles, measured them and kept a diary of their growth and how much they eat (photographing the leaves they eat). She is also fascinated by frogs and their lifecycles, she can identify a wide range of frogs and (believe it or not) their tadpoles. She knows exactly how tadpoles change into frogs and varying lifecycle lengths form individual frogs from Sydney to the Southern Highlands, as well as throughout Australia and other countries.
We have been spending lots of time at The Australian Museum exploring their Search and Discover room, with their extensive collection of animals, books, and computer programmes, as well as helpful museum staff.
Next term we are going to be studying plant life, photosynthesis, seeds and growth, how plants sustain wildlife, and how scientists study plants and trees, and how plants and animals work together, and how they are different. We have several practical experiments planned as well as theory exercises.
Our sources for science are:
Science and History Project Book
Life In Cold Blood
Life in a Rotten Log
Bugs and Lizards
Killer plants and how to grow them (carnivorous plants)
Eco Activities for Kids - David Suzuki
And television shows including
Creature Features
And anything by David Attenborough
I believe that English is a subject that furthers all avenues of learning, and as such, even when it is not the direct topic of learning, it is still a skill that is being learnt and utilised.
History and Geography:
Stylish has never displayed any particular interest in these subjects unless they relate to natural history and its’ geography. Whilst I totally endorse her interests and wish to encourage her natural learning of them I have been making some suggestions in our weekly list of activities to encourage further interest and more knowledge seeking on her part.
Since beginning home schooling we have suggested she research historical subjects such as The Witch Hunts, The Tower Of London, a brief discussion of an Egyptian God or Goddess, Volcano eruptions (a part of scientific learning also) and The Holocaust. We intend to offer a new suggestion for historical research each week until she finds one she is really curious about, and then we will pursue that. The Witch Hunts seemed to interest her a great deal, and she put a lot of effort into researching and recording what she learnt.
Next term history studies:
A project about The Witch Hunts
A visit to the Australian Museum to explore the Indigenous Australia exhibit
A visit to The Convict Museum
Reading about Ancient Egypt and creating a papyrus scroll
Reading about The Vikings
Stylish has developed an interest in South America. Since beginning home learning she has researched things about South America like their traditional dress, food, animals of South America, and their food - which included Stylish cooking a South American style family meal from a recipe she found (based on a budget - for maths).
Next term Geography includes
Making a graph of South American countries and capitals, learning them.
Learning the 7 continents
Learning the states and capitals of Australia
Making the globe 3D Jigsaw
Learning the oceans and seas of the world
A test on continents, oceans and seas.

Horrible Histories - on DVD and in books
Science and History Project Book
Mummy’s Tomb
Ramses - Son of The Light (fact/fiction series)
A Children’s Atlas
World Maps for children
Tell Me about Stuff
Music lessons are conducted by my father (a high school music teacher) at his home once a week for an hour. They involve playing various instruments (recorder, piano, and clarinet), exploring percussion and applying it to different styles of music, reading and writing music, and music appreciation and history. music was not a subject taught at the school so she is only beginning to understand the production and appreciation of music within a structured context.
We will also be attending a music and drama group for children of all ages on Friday afternoon.
Visual arts:
Stylish will be creating a range of art work using varying media. These will include painting, collaging, working with clay, photography, drawing with pencils, charcoal, crayon and textas, learning to knit, macramé, and origami.

Stylish will use our family camera to take pictures at The Botanic Gardens, then use the computer to digitally enhance and print them to make a collage and a photo montage online at ONETRUEMEDIA .
She will create a figure from white clay and decorate it using paints and any other materials she chooses.
A visit to the Art Gallery, and The Contemporary Art Gallery.
Online resources include:
Macramé for Beginners and Experts
Health, Physical Education, and Personal Development:
Stylish is a keen athlete and has always done exceptionally well in sports carnivals. We will be enrolling her in Little Athletics classes on Saturday mornings beginning in term 4, and swimming lessons will begin in early January and continue for two weeks. She will also learn Scottish dancing, I am a qualified teacher.
For personal development she will attend counseling weekly with her counselor. They are working on building a healthy self esteem and working through the grief Stylish is experiencing as a result of the death of her grandmother, and her baby brother this year.
She will also be learning to cook and budget for healthy family meals based on the food pyramid (which she will be creating for herself using the internet) and cooking from different countries (which is also a part of geography lessons and maths). We will be discussing drugs, both legal and illegal, and researching and discussing their affects on the body.
Stylish has recently created a blog, and will be updating it weekly or more often if she chooses.
She has been learning about technology in our home and discussing simple tools (like a hairbrush for example) that don’t use any electricity or power.
We will visit the Power House Museum.
Stylish will be using the internet as a research and learning tool on a regular basis.
We will be learning about technology from prehistory and discussing it’s current significance in our society. For example spears were an early technology but they are not used by our family today.

Stylish has showed a particular interest in learning German. Each Friday morning she will attend private German lessons in Belmore. This will begin in Term 4, although some basic German language has already been studied. We will be purchasing a German dictionary so that Stylish can complete some German exercises at home..

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