Monday, 7 September 2009

Back to work

I'm enjoying getting back into a kind of rhythm after our summer 'break'. A and I had a discussion about how we are going to approach our second year of HE. We talked about things being a little more purposeful this year. For our first year we were kind of finding our way a bit, thats how it feels looking back. Nothing wrong with that, but I think we've both grown to know how things do and don't work for us.

A asked me to put up a chart of all her projects so she can keep track of how much she's doing:

So our basic routine is: some maths and English in the morning (this can take many forms - I'll expand later); then A chooses what she wants to focus on in the afternoon.
This is a very loose, flexible routine - sometimes we'll go out for the day and there's no 'routine'. Sometimes A becomes so engrossed in a project that she spends the whole day on it. Its all good.
But somehow it helps us both to have some kind of framework grounding us, even if we do ignore it at times.
And the routine only works for the days we're based at home together - one or two days a week I have to work, so A spends time with her Granny, where she has some workbooks she sometimes uses, but the two of them also go off on all kinds of adventures. Granny is involved in Adult Literacy classes, so some of the resources she uses for that are quite good for A.

For English we do all kinds of reading and writing - A is much more interested in reading since she did the summer reading challenge at the library, and is often happy to sit and read for a while. Sometimes she'll ask me to give her some titles for stories to write. Other times I'll ask her to write a review or summary of something. I read to A regularly too, something we both still enjoy, and which often sparks off interesting discussions.

I'm feeling very inspired about maths (even if A isn't!). We had a great session on 'angles' today, which seemed to go really well. I'm very excited about Khan_Academy , which I'd put on my favoutires links some time ago but never looked at properly until recently. These little YouTube tutorials look perfect for A - visual, short, clearly explained - I anticipate using these quite a lot. I also had another look at NRICH , which looks promising too.
I'm using a mix and match approach to maths, picking a theme then gathering lots of info from lots of different resouces, and using what I think will appeal to A most. A still has a very negative attitude to maths, so I'm being very gentle and encouraging with it. I'm doing my best to make it enjoyable and relevant. I've told A there are only 2 rules for our maths sessions - 1. she can take as long as she needs to think about/work out things (she reacts very badly when pressured or rushed on maths questions, and completely loses confidence in her ability), and 2. its ok to get things wrong, as thats a crucial part of the learning process.
I keep hoping that my enjoyment of maths (yes, I am that nerdy) will be infectious, but it doesn't seem to be.


The PerkyPig! said...

I totally empathise with the maths thing - Chelsea had her confidence knocked so badly during her time at school regarding her numeracy skills, and it's been a long road trying to build it back up again. We are getting there, slowly...

Julia x

K said...

Hi Julia,
its weird though - A's old teacher was really good about the way she taught maths - very sensitive about different abilities. I think A just has an inherent dislike of maths.
Its sad how many kids are put off by the way its taught at schools though, glad to hear your girl is getting her confidence back :)

The PerkyPig! said...

Me again :) The posters you saw on my blog came from The Works. As for my bookshelf - if you are ever down this far, you are more than welcome to visit and rummage through my shelves! *grin*