With 2014 being an “Afrikaans” language only, then “no, you have to bring in English”, for a couple of weeks, back to “Afrikaans only”, with regards to formal language learning, I was really not sure how to tackle languages in 2015! By end of 2014, we saw that Afrikaans was pretty well laid, with Mr.A being able to read short words and sentences, and understood what he read. He said again that he is eager to learn to read English, because it would make some of his games, especially Minecraft, a lot easier. They are learning simultaneously, so both languages are about comparably strong when it comes to talking, but Mr.A seems to think in English, while Mr.R thinks in Afrikaans, if you take their grammar, especially sentence structure, into consideration. So after a lot of discussion between Daddy B, me (and my trusty HS-support group), and the boys, we decided on the following for this year:
We’ll continue with Omvattend Afrikaans Gr.1 book until complete. I found that this Gr.1 book is of a very high standard, and contains a lot of Gr.2 work, as I know it from other, older curricula, so I am not too phased that Mr.A hasn’t completed it yet. We took some time beginning of last year, sorting out his language learning style, and then took more time working out a way that suited him best – having to cover letters, words, sentences, with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. He is getting there, which is most important. Slow and steady wins the race! When we finish the first book, and there are only maybe a month or two of the year left, we’ll rather continue with short little booklets I have, like Smile Phonetics, language arts booklet I was gifted, etc. and start Omvattend Afrikaans Gr.2 next year.
Mr.R is, of course, learning alongside Mr.A. I’m still a bit unsure about this 5yr old (almost 6yr) wanting to learn, but I won’t ever stop, neither force him, if that is what he wants to do. I definitely believe “Better late, than early“, but no harm in him setting the pace.
For English we are going to continue with Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1 (E.P.).
As we are South African, and here we learn British English, I make use of Starfall UK links, and try to say the letters out loud for them to get the right pronunciation. We make use of E.P. links, but most of them are from Starfall.com. We read the paragraph/story about the animal, and either of the two boys colour in the picture of the animal. Then I chose one or two video links with regards to pronunciation, and one craft for the letter, that goes up on our wall. This I did ahead of time, pulled up a spreadsheet with the relevant information, and made links by lesson, in Mozilla Firefox.
For copy work/writing, we are using the South African Basic Education Caps books for Gr.1, which I was given. I’m not fond of them, as I was told by English home language parents that they contain errors (and I found the same in the Afrikaans and math books), but I can skip or correct as I go. We use it mainly for their colourful pages, review of letters, and as I said some writing, review of colours, shapes, etc. that are added in these books.
As we had to lay the Afrikaans foundation strong last year, I had to switch to Afrikaans Math workbooks. Luckily I could download a lot of workbook pages, and had a programme to follow for both boys, that were similar, but with Mr.A obviously doing a bit more advanced stuff than Mr.R.
We will fill in (for the visual/kinesthetic side) with Edupeg Gr.2 books, as well as some free math games on Ubuntu and the internet. I continue to use the manipulatives from Box-N-Dice, and where I see that they don’t understand a concept, I will fall back on those DVD lessons. In the end we only bought Level1 DVD, but if it is really necessary, we will consider buying Level2.
I read sample chapters from the first book, Apples, to the boys maybe 2 years ago. They both still remembered the little boy who slept in his sleeping bag under a table, and ran in the snow, looking for apples!
Interest Based Learning
I decided to incorporate Mystery of History this year. The boys had asked SO MANY QUESTIONS last year about different topics, which would have been covered by MOH Vol.1. We will do this as an interest topic, thus we are NOT going to learn dates, we are NOT concentrating on remembering names, places, etc. It is purely for enjoyment!
I am again using books we have on all kinds of topics to enhance the experience, by including science experiments, nature science, geography, human science, etc. So for instance when we learn about Sampson from the Bible, we will read up on human hair and muscles. In Ice Age we will do ice experiments, look at YouTube videos where applicable, etc.
It took me about three weeks’ evenings in December to work out a programme with all the added extras, but this time round, I cut it down to the bare necessities. So just a little bit extra, to bring in hands-on (although MOH has its own age-appropriate activities), and variation. It shouldn’t overwhelm us like Expedition Earth’s work (which was also an interest subject) did.
As you can see on the plan underneath, we will not be doing all subjects on all days. The main subjects are Afrikaans and Math (each having 3 “days”). Then English and Mystery of History share two days. It took a bit of juggling to fit in around their sport and me having to go to town on a specific day and time! So for most of the time we work for 2hrs a morning, but some days, some of the MOH activities (like baking a cake, etc.) will take longer.
Those of you who followed last year’s work, will see that we are either using books we have, or planned to use since a while back, or we are just continuing with a higher level book. No major changes except in what the boys can manage, and how they have developed and matured.