Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Confidence with Maths

The one subject I was most apprehensive of helping Charlotte with was mathematics.  When she was still at school, I was aware of her struggles with the subject but she wouldn't allow me or her father to help with her homework.  As far as she was concerned, what could we possibly know?  Once out of the state education system, she had no option but to rely on me for her learning. 

As her grasp on the subject was so poor, I decided that we would go right back to the beginning (a very good place to start!) and learn the times-tables thoroughly.  Thank goodness for my 1950s rote style of learning because this is one area I am firmly grounded in.  It was difficult for Charlotte at first, but with repetition on a small but often basis, she is now fairly competent with the tables and is able to learn further operations, of which the times-tables are a basis.  We have already covered a good deal of geometry, fractions and decimals. 

I was gratified when she told me that she could now do so much more mathematics than she could when she was at school.  I don't mean to debase the state education system but, for children like Charlotte who take longer to grasp a subject like mathematics, it is easy for them to get left behind while the more apt pupils are able to keep up.  Learning at home means that we are not restricted by time deadlines.  We are able to go over each topic until she understands it.  As a parent, the best thing for me is to see her confidence grow as she becomes more able in doing her work.  "I can't do that," has now become, "I never used to be able to do that." 

I take nothing for granted and face each day as it comes, but I have a feeling that we're on the right track!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Alcohol and teenagers

Where are your kids tonight?
I'm so proud of our daughter - proud of her in many ways, but especially for her courage and commitment to stand by her beliefs.  She's 14 years old now and, about a year ago, most of her friends began to drink and smoke.  To our dismay, her two best friends were included.  She'd been friends with these girls from primary school and spent most evenings in their company.

Gradually, Charlotte stopped going out in the evenings and began to spend most of her time at home.  Her dad and I worried about this.  We asked her if there was anything wrong.  She told us that her friends were spending their nights drinking alcohol in secluded places around the town, and she didn't want to join in.  Our minds were put at rest.  Thank goodness our daughter has the sense and the courage not to get involved.  It may have set her apart from the rest, but at least we know where she spends her time in the evenings and that she's safe and happy, and she has other friends who take a similar view.

A few months ago, Charlotte met one of her 'then' best friends.  Charlotte asked her if she wanted to come back to the house with her.  The friend told her that she didn't want to.  Charlotte asked her why.  "Because you're different from us," the girl replied.  Thank goodness for that difference.

 For advice on talking to your child about alcohol go to

Go here for advice on resisting peer pressure.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

I'm Glad You Came......

This is a film that Charlotte and her friend put together.  It's set to the music of their favourite group, The Wanted.  I'm proud of them! 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

I want to be a nurse.

Charlotte and I went up to Durham yesterday to buy material for another craft project.  We had lots of time to talk - well, Charlotte did all the talking.  I got a right ear bashing, she hardly stopped to take a breath.  She told me that she is interested in becoming a nurse.  This was quite a surprise to me as she's always had a fear of people being sick!  We went to a cafe so we could discuss it properly and she really does seem to be very keen.  We then went to the library and borrowed a careers information book.  She spent most of last night looking up relevant websites.  Our next plan is to get some advice from a careers advisor to see what's available in our local area, as we read about a cadet nursing scheme which she can apply for when she's 16.  Meanwhile, she said she would like to get a placement in her old primary school for some work experience.  I never know what's going to come next with Charlotte.  She never fails to come up with surprises.  Considering the troubles she's experienced during secondary school, I wouldn't have imagined her wanting a placement in one!  As for her fear of sickness, a nurse is the last thing her father and I thought she would want to be.  Anyway, after all the discussion and pottering round the library, we finally remembered why we had come to Durham and raced off to the indoor market, just in time to buy our material before they closed for the day!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I was wrong...... so very wrong!

A while ago Charlotte chose 'Malory Towers' by Enid Blyton as part of our reading.  I decided to stop and chose another book for her.  The book I eventually chose for Charlotte to read was one which I thought she should read, one 'approved' by me as being 'educational enough'.  However, the pace was too fast for her and she couldn't understand the politics within the story.  I had initially rejected 'Malory Towers' because I thought it wasn't interesting enough.  I've since been having nightsweats at my stupidity!  How arrogant to halt the reading of Charlotte's book, one that she had chosen herself..... just because it wasn't doing anything for me! 

'Malory Towers' may not appeal to me now, but I remember enjoying Enid Blyton's school series as a child...... which is what Charlotte still is.  I realise that I had taken the power from Charlotte to choose what she wants to read and had acted in a controlling manner.  It seems that I, too, am learning lessons during our homeschool journey.  From now on Charlotte is free to choose her own literature.  We've gone back to reading 'Malory Towers'!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

For Grandma

Here's Charlotte busy at work on a piece of sewing for her grandma's 86th birthday.

..... and here is the finished gift hanging on granny and grandpa's bedroom wall.

We got the idea from and here is a link to the project.  The picture is made from felt and Charlotte used running stitch, backstitch and seed stitch as well as embellishing with beads.  Gran and grandpa loved it!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Roll on the new term!

Homeschoolers don't have to follow state school terms, but Charlotte made it clear she was doing no school work while her friends weren't.  I can't say I blame her.  Anyway, she's been to Scarborough for a week with hubby, while I stayed at home to look after the dogs.  We're going to have to pack in a lot of serious work in the first couple of weeks in September as Charlotte and I are taking samples of her work to the Education Department at Durham in mid-September for them to look at.  I received a letter from them approving our proposals for Charlotte's education, so I was happy about that.  By law, we're not complied to show Charlotte's work to the local education authority, but I see no reason not to co-operate with them - the more support the better as far as I'm concerned, and it will keep me on my toes and prevent me from becoming lackadaisical about her education.  Lackadaisical - now there's a word!  I had to google it to see that I spelled it properly. :O)

Meanwhile, I finished reading 'The Intruders' by E. E. Richardson.  I'm looking forward to going over it with Charlotte as I feel sure she will enjoy it.  I liked it so much that I went on to read two more of E. E. Richardson's books, 'The Devil's Footsteps' and 'Soul Trade'.  Brilliantly scary stories - real page turners!

While Charlotte's been on 'summer holidays', I've spent some time thinking about picking up my degree again with The Open Univesity, so I've registered on a third level Children's Literature course that starts at the beginning of October.  I know I'll be taking on a lot, what with organising Charlotte's lessons as well as my own study, but I find I work better under pressure and seem to get more done that way.  The set books are an interesting mix - from 'Junk' by Melvin Burgess which is about squatting, drinking and drug taking amongst teenagers to Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit'! 

I've just finished 'Junk'.  I could hardly put it down and read it in two days!  It's the story of Gemma and Tar, who run away from home at the age of 14.  They get in with a crowd of squatters and it isn't long before they start taking 'soft' drugs, leading to all the rest of it.  Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character.  I found that really fascinating to get an insight of things from the different people involved.  When they first get into the drug and party scene, they make it sound so good and I thought to myself, "Uh-oh, there's no way I'm letting Charlotte read this", as it is a book written for young people, teenagers, young adults, or whatever is the politically correct term, but as the characters tell their story the reality becomes more clear..... well, you'll have to read it for yourself!  I've given it to Charlotte to read because I think she'll enjoy it and it will give her much to think about.  It's given me a lot of insight into the relationship between parents and their children.

I've got lots of lesson plans and projects lined up for the beginning of September, for Charlotte and I to work on.  One highlight for the new term is that we don't need to splash out on a new school uniform!  

Looking forward to reading this AGAIN! :)