Category Archives: friends

Learning in Chunks

A sociable Saturday with visitors and an anniversary party.

A chunk of gardening and woodwork

Then we had S’s parents and Auntie J round on Sunday to help clear a load of bits in the garden so we can move our old shed and put up a new one. We achieved loads, especially the clearance of a particularly large buddleia. L and R came out in the garden too and helped clip up the pieces into more manageable sizes. R decided that when the new shed is up, there will be room for a den behind it… so she is keen to build it. There were some pieces of wood with lots of nails in them, so Grandpa showed R the easiest way to remove them and L helped too, so they both spent ages sorting out the pieces of wood, ready for den building.

A chunk of games

The last library session of the term yesterday, with board games and card games, we had an excellent laser board brought it, with puzzles to solve of sending the laser round different ways using different mirrors. Someone else brought a Bakugan board which was popular, most of the kids played Tsuro,

2015-07-14 17.08.57

which is up to 8 players and most ages can cope with it. We also had Happy Families. So, a good session. There were also judges there looking at the library borders, which our group had planted some of the bulbs for.

Friends round in the afternoon to play playmobil, and out in the garden too.

 A chunk of Maths, Spanish, Art and Molecules.

Today has been a very constructive day with a huge chunk of maths, we looked at Straight line graphs, distance-time graphs and real life graphs. Videos on MathsWatch VLE.

Further Algebraic simplification… Multiplication and Division.Expanding brackets. Also videos and questions on MathsWatchVLE. R was really enjoying it, we only stopped when her numbers started to be written backwards which usually shows she needs a break.

We then had a chunk of Art, R is designing mythical creatures and lands,

 

2015-07-14 17.09.34

and we had a Learning Spanish CD on while she was drawing. A Michel Thomas CD, who is absolutely brilliant for learning how to speak various languages. Worth getting out from the library if you can. R moved on to playing with the molecule kit we have, but still wanted the Spanish on, and must have listened for a couple of hours (in amongst chatting over some of it… ) not full concentration, but she was obviously getting something out of it. We also managed a chat about the structure of diamond.

This isn’t an average day, we have some much less ‘formal educational’ days, but when R is interested and chooses to she picks up an incredible amount…. and takes in far more than if we had a lot of days of forced learning without her being engaged. She is excited about Algebra, so we can carry it on as much as she likes… and she is really understanding it. We definitely work learning in chunks, and we can adapt the size of each chunk of each thing on each day to suit the circumstances. So sometimes a five minute chunk of maths is all that is needed, other times it is twenty minutes, today it was an hour and a half solid. Other days nothing. It is all valuable. 🙂

 

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New Forest

We went out with friends to visit other home ed friends who have moved out into the New Forest, their house and garden are lovely and the garden backs onto forest, so the 5 children went off to play in the forest, building dens and being free for hours and hours, so nice to give them chance to play without adults breathing down their necks (the rule being they stay together and within sight of the fence… so within shouting distance… but it is still right in the forest!)

They came back occasionally for drinks or food or to show us how muddy they were, or to show us the bite from a wasp type bug, but not a wasp… which we managed to google and find out is a deer fly, which is part of the horsefly family.

Deer Fly

We also had one of the children had a woodlouse on her hand and the kids all watched it ‘give birth’, we had to look up whether woodlice lay eggs… which they do, but they keep them in a pouch and when they hatch it does look like they are giving birth to little white woodlice babies, which is exactly what the children described.

Woodlouse

There was bike riding, paddling pool and general play, with boys and girls of mixed ages from 7-11, and a chance for parents to sit in the sunshine with cups of tea. What a fantastic home ed day!

I was so chilled out I didn’t even take any photos!!!

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Gentle days

We are enjoying having some gentle time at home more often recently. R and I have been making the most of sitting in the garden reading together, having water fights, doing art together and chatting. We’ve also carried on with more algebra related maths. It is a chilled out time and the days fly by. R has also been challenging herself to improve and gradually be able to do full chin-ups… she still can’t quite manage it yet, but she has improved with trying every day.

We had a student round this week. I met her at the library, she is here for a year from Taiwan to do a Masters degree and wanted to meet some non-students…. normal British people (I can’t help with the normal… but we are outside University life.) She came round for the afternoon and we chatted lots about all sorts of things, differences and similarities in culture, travel, families, education etc. R came and chatted with us for quite a while too. K has offered to cook some Taiwanese food for us another day, so we’ve got to decide on some English food to introduce her to as well.

Woodcraft was a walk around the old city walls, which the girls really enjoyed.

R had drama, which has one more rehearsal before the show next week and a play with friends here, they built another den in the front room.

L had a trip to Paulton’s Park with the school. She loved being able to go with her friends and not have to be with an adult.

Today has been a Granny and Grandpa day for R, which involved an hour of badminton and then a catch up with some Great Aunts.

I had some time to catch up on a few things and also do some painting in the garden which was lovely to lose myself in.

A twelfth birthday tea after school this evening with our “baby” group… we’ve met up pretty much every week since our oldest kids were babies and they’re all turning 12! Amazing. All so grown up and so lovely. 🙂

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Library, Tie-Dye and Parties.

At the weekend I had an event at our library which I supported… A repair cafe we’re trialling as a possible thing to run regularly to possibly help bring in some money (from us running the cafe part of it) to support our library which is under threat of closure. We’re waiting for a council decision in August after an impressive response to the consultation. The Repair cafe went very well, with a good attendance and lovely volunteers. We’re hopeful we can repeat it again soon.

R was still at a sleepover and L was tired, so wanted to just chill out at home. I love how her chilling often consists of baking something, or playing the ukulele or chatting with me.

L wanted to have a go at tie-dye, as R had in the week and Auntie M had left stuff for L to use too. I did some with her and we were pleased with the results.

tie dye
tie dye

R was gone most of the day as she then went to the swim party of her friend too… so two tired girls by the end of the day.

We then had a barbeque at Auntie A’s for G’s 18th birthday with all the family. It was lovely. Can’t believe our ‘little’ nephew is now 18! Shows how quickly the time will go with our girls growing up too. I keep being surprised quite how grown up L is looking, real glimpses of her as an adult peeking through. Our nieces and nephews are all in late teens and early twenties and a really lovely lot of young adults, so lovely to have them around chatting with us and our kids.

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Choosing to stay at home

Today we had all sorts of nice possibilities …. I had researched a trip to the beach by train as it was yet another warm day. The Hat fair was on in Winchester which we do usually go to with the local home ed group, we could have met with friends, gone for a cycle ride, or many other options….

We talked for quite a while about it and R was adamant that she wanted to stay at home and have time in the garden.. Although I was up for going out it would probably have wiped me out for the weekend, so I was happy to chill at home too.

We had a lovely day. We sat and read together… I read some more of The King’s Curse by Phillipa Gregory out loud to R and she read some Secret Seven to me. She laid in the newly decorated hammock I was in my comfy camping chair… in our lovely shady garden, with the guinea pig in her run by us. It was great.

We had discussions about Henry Tudor and the goings on around 1500.

We then chatted more about elements and atoms and molecules and listened again to the Periodic Table song …The Periodic Table Song which we listened to ages ago and R remembered an impressive amount of! We talked about ionic bonding and covalent bonds. We then watched a couple of videos of the alkali metals reacting with water, and chatted about some science sessions R had been to quite a while ago and how they connected.

It was then time for some art, R started a minecraft style picture of herself, which is going well. I especially like the small squares that are her eyelashes.

R went off to play some minecraft and I got my paints out, sat with my feet in a bucket of water in the shade in the garden and got lost in some painting which was lovely.

R then went to a friend’s house and is staying for a sleepover, so some time with L this evening which was good too.

See also: What do you do when you are totally free to choose?

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Hot Wednesday

R went to drama this morning and carried on with rehearsals for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, sounds like costumes are going to consist of dressing up in a mishmash of bright clothing…. the sort of costume that even I can cope with sourcing!!! (I wish I was the type of clever mum who quickly throws together some amazing creation… alas I am not!)

It was 25 degrees by 6am this morning, so apart from R going to drama, we stayed at home, with friends round to play in the afternoon. R and W and L got the water pistols out and J and I sat in the shade, though when it got really hot in the afternoon it was cooler in the house…  the advantage of a Victorian house. Sometimes I do wish it was lighter in the house, but it is perfect on hot summer days 🙂 we all moved into the house later in the afternoon and the kids played playmobil, we also got out the chemistry molecule set that J had brought round and had a go at building a few molecules, J and I also looked through some chemistry books, we regularly swap ideas of things to try. He has recently done some electrolysis experiments with W and L which have worked well… and would be worth a go at.

L came home very hot from school, though she said ICT and English had both been lovely and cool. Thankfully she didn’t have PE today. We got the bucket of water out to sit with feet in, which helped. S went out for a run! Bonkers!

We popped round to friends in the evening to deliver belated birthday presents, some of S’s photos on Canvas which our friend requested. Just took a while to sort. We bought some smaller ones for us too, which arrived today… one of London, one of the Golden Palace in Japan

Kinkaku-ji
Kinkaku-ji

 

and a Mount Fuji pic S took last year while we were on holiday in Japan and a Grand Canyon pic taken as we flew home from Los Angeles a few years ago. Now just to decide where to put them!!

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Science at the Library

We had a science session at the library which I ran.. I had a few ideas ready but decided to wing it depending on who came along. Initially a few children started a game of chess, others joined in helping with advice on tactics etc, then when that finished I offered the science idea.

It went well (these things don’t always)

I got each child to be an H or an O and then we had O2 molecules or H2 molecules. Then we did H2O molecules with the H children holding hands with the O children and acting out how things worked. We talked about elements and molecules and the periodic table and then we built some molecules with a kit I have.

This led on to talking about carbon and carbon chains and organic chemistry, and diamonds and graphite. The session went really quickly and the kids were all engaged.

A couple of friends then came back to play, but we also did a bit of algebra because they’ve been doing some at home and so have we, so the kids showed each other (and parents) what sort of methods they’d been looking at. We’d been looking at working out the nth term. They’d be looking more at factors, so it was a good swap of ideas.

There was then lots of playmobil play, and some time playing in the garden as well.

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Productive family day

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.

See them here: YouTube Minecraft tutorials

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.

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A whole week?

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.

painting
acrylics

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!!

That’s a quick round up of this week!

It has been a good one. Hope yours has too.

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Algebra, Smoothies, Exams and Sword making

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….

Making a sword
Making a sword

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….

Little mouse
Little mouse

See also:

How we do Maths

 

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