S ~ Survey
A ~ Analysis
D ~ Design
I ~ Implementation
M ~ Maintenance
Survey: I think Benedict has some form of dyslexia and as a result struggles with written work, sequencing and remembering instructions.
Him and I are both disillusioned with the current system. He is not motivated and I lack inspiration and in all honesty we would much rather be doing other things! Him ~ Lego and Minecraft and Me ~ Knitting and Sewing.
He enjoyed the rabbit trail before half term but when quizzed about what he had learned he couldn't remember a thing! He can however remember what we ate last year in July at Mrs Miggin's Coffee House on the way to Beadnell!
Benedict responds well to interactive lessons; he has enjoyed the primary history interactive and dig it archaeological games. He also enjoys autonomy when it comes to choosing the maths topic on Multi-step Maths.
He recognises that he is isolated but the thought of school scares him. He is quite traumatised from his previous experience of school ( being to afraid to ask the teacher for help and feeling constantly ill due to the diabetes) and he projects this fear into new situations.
Since being tied to the school run for Pip, this has affected our ability to make good use of field trips in other areas outside of our locality.
We spend all of our time stuck in the same four walls.
We have different learning styles:
Benedict is primarily auditory, followed by concrete/kinaesthetic
I am primarily a visual with some kinaesthetic.
Analysis Part One:
Resources ~ We have a wide range of materials within the home:
Books ~ fiction and non fiction
Games ~ educational and those just for fun
Puzzles ~ jigsaws, word searches and quests.
Art and Crafts
Sewing and Knitting Materials.
Music and Story CD's
A well stocked kitchen for cooking and baking.
Garden waiting to be planted and maintained.
Manipulates ~ Lego, Cuisenaire, Montessori, Meccano.
Limiting Factors ~
Unpredictable Health: This often affects our ability to find a workable plan for each day.
Time and Energy: We are following two different rhythms, Pip in school and Benedict at home. Him and I also have different bio-rhythms; I am a morning person and he is a night owl!
Social Interaction and Isolation: Benedict's contact with others is very limited.
We have missed the fortnightly home ed meet and a get together with friends as a result of my ongoing poor health. Benedict's diabetes is too unpredictable for anyone other than myself or Dave to manage, so leaving him with others outside of the family is not an option.
Benedict spends a lot of time in self made "comfort zones" as a result of this, either with Lego, Harry Potter books and computer games. He also seems to be stuck in a time warp and whilst his contemporaries have moved forward and are transitioning to secondary school later this year, he seems to be still stuck in primary mode.
I am really worried about Benedict's long term mental health as a result of all the health issues within the family.
Feeling Overwhelmed: We often feel out of our depth! Benedict often feels swamped with information and struggles to break a task down into small steps. The sole responsibility of Benedict's education and ultimately his future rests on my shoulders and I often feel inadequate to the task.
Analysis Part Two:
What functions are required to meet the needs of Benedict and Me?
Positivity ~ things/people/treats to look forward to.
Outside ~ regular time slots outside of the home.
Learning Styles ~ use auditory and practical techniques to reinforce a concept.
Creativity ~ junk models, knitting, sewing,photography,gardening, new skills.
What are the resource leaks?
Unhelpful learning concepts, too much desk work, uninteresting materials/topics and not enough variety.
What are our goals for the remainder of the year?
Benedict ~ to develop greater independence with tasks around the home, assume more responsibility for diabetes care, learn a new skill, nail primary maths and english!
Me ~ sign up for the permaculture design course on-line and remember to action those activities which are good for my general well being.
It has to be sustainable as it needs to work when I am ill.
Instructions/lists need to be visually clear so that B can work independently if required.
Needs to have a core of subjects on a daily basis with other items around the periphery.
Desk work needs to be kept to short, twenty five minutes maximum.
Any desk work needs to be followed by a get up and moving activity.
Regular agreed rewards help with motivation.
Most Importantly, use Benedict's visual board as a planning aid!
Benedict worked on this design last week when Dave was away in Edinburgh.
So with all this in mind I designed a Learning Tree as our visual reminder:
It was interesting putting this design together as initially I had thought of putting the core subject along the bottom, since they would form the focus for the day. However I realised that like a tree the system needs a healthy root stock and that could only be brought about by caring for both mine and B's general well being. After all if we are nutritionally depleted like a tree we are unable to make new shoots and flourish! The leaves are a reminder to spend some time each day nurturing our well being.
You will see that I have taken some of Benedict's visual board ideas and incorporated them onto the tree; history, den building and cooking. Having a dog is out of the question but we do have an animal sanctuary not far from here so we could offer to walk a dog once a week, this serves several functions at once; he gets chance to be with a dog, we get out of the house, it is a chance to meet new people and they also have a cafe as part of the complex so there'll be a warming pot of tea at the end!
Implementation: Our proposed learning ideas for next week are as follows.
History: primary history extension sheets, you tube videos, make an Anglo Saxon tunic, horrible history books, map of Saxon England ~ have any place names remained?
Practical Tasks: help mum menu plan and budget for an on line shop, continue with kitchen tasks, learn a new skill ~ ironing.
Creativity: finish junk model space station, make some play dough for Pip, learn to knit a square.
Big Wide World: library visit with mum, bake a snack to take on a walk.
English: read aloud,narration and copy work on one day, grammar exercises on the days in between.
Maths: multi step maths on line and maths around the home.
Faith: bible stories, stories about the saints and general catechises.
Obviously the core subjects are pretty standard and the other areas listed are just suggestions to get us going, I don't expect us to hit all those activities in the one week but it will be interesting to see what we do actually manage to achieve. In the past I have been wary about stating our intended learning as it seemed that any plan was doomed to fail, but not this one! I will evaluate at the end of the week using the what worked/what didn't principle and make adjustments accordingly.
Maintenance: There needs to be a weekly review for at least four weeks to ascertain how things are working. I will need to design a user friendly chart that will identify if the design is working. To help with this task there are several questions to consider:
Is the design helping to achieve the broader educational goals as well as both mine and Benedict's needs?
Are new problems being created?
Is the design realistic and achievable?
Are there any unnecessary costs?
If you actually got to the bottom of this ramble then thank you for your reading x