We had one of those days that just comes together, happily pottering at home. Sometimes I get frustrated at weekends with housework calling me everywhere and people in front of screens… usually I’m happy if I get chance to do some painting and also have some time with us all together. We got a fair bit done, L decided to make shortbread scone biscuit things which are lovely and S and L worked together on mending the guinea pig run, which was really beginning to fall apart. R had a go at sawing and hammering and measuring, and really took it seriously. I had chance to paint, but it was lovely because we were all near enough to chat as we did our individual things. It was a nice chilled out day after our busy London trip.
S, L and R also filmed the next in the series of Minecraft Tutorials they’ve been making.
We then had a family picnic to go to the next day, (which is what I’d done the painting for) my sister & her husband had a joint birthday picnic. Lovely to catch up with people. It only rained a little bit and managed to stay warm, which when we have picnics is unusual! Lots of chance to play with little nephew and niece too which was fab.
L had an inset day, so S took the day off too and we all went to London on the train. We went to the Science Museum. We had taken the girls before and hadn’t thought it was that long ago… turns out it was when they were 3 and 1!! I think it is because we’ve been to the Natural History museum a couple of times in the mean time and also the V&A and the British Museum and the Museum of London, so we’d not managed a trip back to the Science Museum. We also top up by going to what was ‘Intech’ outside Winchester, which has lots of science hands on stuff. We don’t get into London that often, and one museum a day is enough for us, so it limits how many it is possible to cover. There are still some that I’ve not been to that I’d like to. Any suggestions?? Do leave a comment.
So 9 years since we’d been! So it was all new to them, and with their knowledge now, so much of it meant that much more to them both, as they both had some knowledge of most things we looked at and could put them into context with other things we’ve seen.
We had a walk round most of it, and did loads of the hands on stuff. R tried making some good electric circuits, so we’re going to have a look at that more at home as it wasn’t something we’ve done much of.
L had a good look at some of the renewable energy stuff, it is far more in-depth and interesting than the bits they are covering in Geography at school, which L has done over and over again previously, so it was good to see some better info about Government targets for 2020 and all the different options available, with interactive games you could run your own city on & choose options for it.
We enjoyed all the interactive quizzes about genes and personality and your body, and also changing our voices and faces to look or sound male.
We all had a go at directing baggage at an airport too, which was harder than it looked! Though I did get congratulated by another mum for managing some of it, as she said she’d had a go because I’d made it look ok and she couldn’t work it at all.
We then went to Covent Garden and saw some excellent street performers, followed by tea at Five Guys Burgers, which S was very excited about as we’d tried it in America, and this has just opened here. It was great… though highly inadvisable for anyone with a peanut allergy!! Home quite late, but an excellent day out.
How does that happen? A whole week has gone by. I’m not very good at posting everyday, as if we have been out or done much then I am often wiped out for the evening with a brain that isn’t functioning well. The joys of M.E. 🙁
The week has whizzed by. R had a trip to Legoland with home ed friends, they had a fantastic time. Rose was the guide as her friends hadn’t been before. They also had a trip to Runnymede (the riverside site of the sealing of the Magna Carta) which was yet another addition to our Magna Carta knowledge! See more here: Magna Carta
Father’s day was a lovely relaxed affair, with just the four of us, Ticket to Ride Europe board game, the film Skyfall, and a barbeque.
We caught up with Home ed friends we hadn’t seen for a while.
I’ve managed some painting which I’ve really enjoyed and been pleased with.
Pizza making at Woodcraft.
Lots of Algebra, we’re now on around level 6 stuff on MathsWatchVLE as R wants to stick with algebra and keep working her way up before we start a different topic.
We’re reading another Michelle Paver book, The Outsiders, this time set in Ancient Greece, so some good conversations about that, and a book on ancient Greece out from the library.
I’ve read my first Bernard Cornwell book, Sword Song set in England in 885AD, which I enjoyed. Not a period I know much about, so I’ve learnt a lot and have chatted with L and R about it. L knows more about King Alfred than I do, so we’ve chatted about that and what I read in the book too.
Drama, they are starting rehearsing ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ which R is enjoying.
Auntie M came and had R for a day, they went fabric shopping and laid out the pieces for a shirt that Auntie M is going to make. R helped with the design.
I went to see ‘Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ at the theatre which was fantastic. I had considered taking the girls, but wasn’t sure. In fact I think they probably would have enjoyed it. Maybe I will try reading the book with them first and go another time if it comes again.
Lots of other things went on, it has felt like a productive week. R and I also had a sort through resources and cleared some out and got on top of the house a bit…. One thing that is hard about home ed is keeping the house tidy and clean… or even approaching tidy! It is a constant flow of things moving around the house as games are played, craft is made, resources are used, with things left out to go back to… but I’d rather that than a tidy house with nothing going on!!
I had the chance to look around L’s school for an hour while lessons were on last week. She knew that I’d be coming and we’d had the jokes about me jumping up and down and waving at her… she’d rolled her eyes at me but also giggled a little bit. I did, of course behave myself 🙂
It turned out that L was in an exam and I got to look in and see 300 year 7’s in their exam. We only looked in right near the end and through a small window.. I didn’t want to put anyone off!!! Couldn’t see L amongst the mass of backs of heads.
A friend came with me and there were a few other parents there too, we were given two year 9 students to show us around, and we went into several classes while they were running.
We were also there at lesson change over and the start of break time. Certainly different from my memories of school, there was a calm feeling to the school, and space, not huge numbers of children shoved through narrow corridors. There was art work everywhere and displays and information, and it didn’t have that school smell that some schools have!!
The children and teachers we met were great and the overall feel of the school was nice. I only broke out in a sweat when we went into a science class and the teacher was giving out detentions… he seemed pretty stressed out. I’m hoping we didn’t add to that too much… it was also a reminder of how children can be spoken to at school… which could have involved a lot more respect.
The other classes we went into felt OK, and the kids seemed fairly engaged and happy. They certainly have lots of lovely activities and events and very much focus on being a community. It would be good if there was more overlap within the local community too… perhaps we’ll work towards that while L is there. She did get her class involved in the library campaign by writing postcards which her tutor helped to sort out. So it is a good place to start from. Having tours like that also help, I was surprised more parents didn’t go along.
Although I am very pro home education, I have always tried not to run schools down. I was aware that one or both may like to try school at some point, and we’ve always given them that option if they wanted to. We now have one in school and one home educated. Both are happy and also engaged in learning… so I’m happy with that.
Made use of some time at home with R to look at some maths videos on MathsWatchVLE, a resource L has from school. We’ve covered some interesting algebra and also long division which seems 100 times easier than when I did it at school.
It has taken home education to finally fill me in on the education it would have been good to have!
We’ve also done some art, R is mostly creating drawings of new creatures for Minecraft. All very colourful.
Woodcraft folk this week was a smoothie making session, which went down very well and I should think managed to dose the group up on their 5 a day in one go!
L has had her first ever ‘proper’ exams this week, in the hall at school, full exam conditions (there have been plenty of tests at school this year but only in class)
She has had three exams today and seemed happy with them all, she just ran out of time with the last couple of questions in the maths paper.
I have really mixed feelings about it all. L is totally chilled out, she has done a bit of revision but not loads, and she doesn’t seem worried in any way about the exams. Her teachers at parents evening suggested that she should be in higher groups for English and maths. I think my main concern is that I want her exams to reflect her ability as they don’t have SATS results for her. I want her to be in the right set for her so she doesn’t get bored.
I have been suggesting she might want to look through some things with me, as I’ve had that horrible pre-exam feeling and haven’t wanted her to get into the exam and panic.
I’ve then had to step back and give myself a talking to….. she is not me…. she is not seeing it as I would have… and this is a good thing! She is in control of her education, and the wobbles are mine, not hers!! I’m very proud of her.
We had friends round today and had a session making things from balsa wood with files and saws….
R was very pleased with the result and is keen to make other things too. It was good to get advice on the best way to shape things and join things. I learnt things too.
We also sat watching some baby mice that have appeared in our garden….
After a gentle day for me and a seaside trip with fish and chips for R with Granny and Grandpa we then had a LiberTea party to go to at a friends house, mostly Woodcraft folk and a few home edders too.
We took a print out of the Magna Carta and also a quiz, but the friends had also done a really good quiz, with info all round the garden. There was a good turn out of adults and kids and cake and sunshine, so it turned into a really lovely afternoon. People gave donations for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture too.
Lots of good discussions and chat and laughter, followed by a pub meal on the way home.
We did have the offer of another LiberTea the following day but we needed a day at home. Which involved some serious den building.
Poor S worked all weekend.
We had a great home ed session at the library today, made up as we went along, all about the Magna Carta, we did drawings of soldiers, animals, forests, houses and gave them out to the kids playing Barons.
R was King John, who then took various resources away from different Barons, the Barons then had to discuss what they would do to stop the King, and what they would demand from him.
So we wrote our own Magna Carta for the King to agree to, otherwise we would fight him.
The kids got engrossed we had a 14yr old (only there for some of it) A 10 yr old, a 9 yr old an 8yr old, a a 6 yr old and 2yr old.
They all joined in, and all took turns to be King John, with him eventually dying of infectious diarrhea, (we had to look up what he had died from!) He wasn’t really going to stick to the Magna Carta and had signed it to keep the Barons quiet. He had no idea how far reaching an effect the Magna Carta would have, carrying on right through to today’s human rights and also the forming of Parliament.
Then spent ages drawing weapons and discussing what they would and wouldn’t have had in 1215. A really good session.
A fantastic trip to Salisbury to see the Magna Carta.
It was a glorious day and we went on the train, which was a lovely trip. Salisbury is such a lovely place anyway and we went via the park and river in the sunshine, with plenty of wildlife about
We wandered around the cathedral first, looking at the points of interest on the leaflet, there is a lot there and it is a beautiful building.
This mechanical clock has ticked more than 4.4 billion times since it was built.
We also saw lots of statues and tombs which were really interesting. We saw the tomb of William Longspee (1226) who was the first person to be buried in the Cathedral, he was the half-brother of King John, and his advisor at the 1215 Magna Carta negotiations.
After a good look round the Cathedral we then had a go at writing with a quill and ink and making a seal (with soft modelling clay)
We then got to see the Magna Carta display, which included a draw containing this above. We couldn’t believe how neat and small the writing was.
It was then time for the big event, which was seeing the Magna Carta itself, which is surprising small and took over 50 hours to write out.
There was a full transcript on the wall with some very interesting bits. There was also more information about how the Magna Carta was used and renewed at various points in history and how it was used in the English Civil War against King Charles I.
Also how it was used by the Suffragettes.
We finished will an ice-cream and a paddle in the stream which was fab.
R had drama this morning, they have started rehearsals for a production of Where the Wild Things Are. As usual she came bouncing back afterwards with her friends W and L.
There was a serious carry on of the epic playmobil game they’d started last week, with dragons and fairies and clans (I haven’t moved any of it yet but will definitely need to vacuum soon… it is just so elaborately set up I haven’t had the heart to move it yet! Even the electricity meter man was impressed as he tiptoed through it to read the meter today. We then had lunch in front of a clip about order of operations in maths on MathsWatchVLE see Maths that we’d mentioned and wanted to show the 3 of them…. so as a time management thing, so they wouldn’t miss out on important play time we watched it during lunch!!!
Then there was den building in the front room with soft toys galore moving in, and signs keeping adults out.
R also played with her guinea pig who is so chilled out with us now.
Plus some gardening… cutting back some of the jungle that has appeared very recently. R has also been practising her chin-ups.
What an excellent way to sell algebra to a dyslexic child!
Instead of writing: Think of any number and then double it, then add five.
You can just write 2x+5.
This appealed enormously to R and we worked through how to write out quite a few expressions. We also worked on simplifying fractions which appealed to her as well.
R finds reading and writing hard work, and as she reads to me I can tell that she is seeing words in a very different way from me, she can recognise some very complex words and then stumble on a word that looks simple to me. Thankfully maths doesn’t produce the same issues, although we do still occasionally have a backwards 3 or 2 and also mixing up of which word means which operation. Sometimes it is just a lack of confidence and she does know, she’s just not sure enough.
It has been confidence building for R to realise that she understands and is capable of much of what L is doing at school (especially in maths).
In school R would struggle so much more though, one-to-one is so beneficial for her – I’ll do the reading while she focusses on the mechanics of the maths problems. It seems that combining too many different skills at once makes it harder – so processing reading, writing and maths all at once is very difficult.
The same with writing things herself, if her brain is concentrating on the content it makes it extremely hard to also concentrate on word formation and spelling, so dictating a story to me helps, or writing practice just for actually writing, rather than content makes it easier for her.
R read some more Secret Seven to me out in the garden with chin-ups on the swing frame as little breaks. I then read more of Ghosthunter, the final book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver – R had listened to a CD of it but then wanted me to read it as the CD had been quite intense, with scary mood music, with me reading we can stop and talk about bits. We did both well up a bit as it got quite sad, but it gets happier at the end 🙂 Fantastic series, based around 6000 yrs ago, really exciting stories.
More playmobil playing, some minecraft, chatting, playing with the guinea pig, plus a bit of tidying and cleaning.
R set up a spy game for friends coming round after school, with disguises, walkie talkies and pens and notepaper, we had two lots of two friends round today, one lot after the other, so the kids all had a good play, spies in the garden and Wii U too.
I went to the first WEP meeting locally (Women’s Equality Party) at our library. There was a good turn out, 30 something people (mostly women), interested in what it is all about. A lovely and very interesting group of people, many of whom I would like to get to know. I will be going back… especially if the cake is that good every time!! I recognised a few people, but lots I didn’t.
It led to some excellent chats with R especially about equality and what that means, and what is still not equal in our society. She is very astute and has her own ideas about it all already, she was very interested and she brought up the generational differences and we talked about that. Also talked about being involved at the start of setting up a political party and how exciting that could be, and what would be good things to suggest. Love how in-depth our conversations get… she is a deep thinker (I was going to say … for a 10 year old…. but actually I think she is just a deep thinker, regardless of age.)
Lots of reading, chatting, computer, and then we all watched ‘Paddington’ I don’t think we would have picked it if other people hadn’t raved about it…. we all really enjoyed it. Funny and sad. Lots of famous faces too.
Clean fish and guinea pig today. Then I sat in the sunshine reading the paper while the girls played spy games with walkie talkies, changing what they were both wearing several times, with different props as they were in disguise.
S, R and L also did the next in the YouTube Minecraft series ..