Tag Archives: library

To Wonderland and back again

Half term was a blur, the girls did a two day drama workshop with a performance at the end which was great. We caught up with friends, went to a birthday day in the forest, which was a good mix of old home ed friends, some who now have kids at school, others who are still home ed, and us with one of each!

Went to an Alice in Wonderland event which was fab,

The Red Queen and Alice
The Red Queen and Alice

Caught up with more friends, went out for a walk at Holly Hill.

Out trick or treating with my sister and her boys, what a treasure trove!!

The last day was spent in pj’s having a lazy day which we all needed I think!!

This week we started on Monday with an art session at the library, we made stain glass window pictures, which came out very well indeed. Using gold card and cutting out holes and sticky coloured see-through coloured sheets on the back.

Unicorn
Unicorn

We’ve done some reading. Having had a break R’s reading has yet again improved a lot. She has also had a go at some typing and her spelling is getting better… the attempts at words are much closer now.

More algebra, we both enjoy that using MathsWatchVLE videos. Today we covered Factorisation of some fairly tricky equations.

A local author has asked R to critique some of her new poems, which with the promise of a small recompense R is very excited about doing!! We had a look through, and commented on the first five poems today.

R also had a go at some 11+ Non verbal reasoning quizzes on Education Quizzes which is a great site with lots of different subjects and levels. Worth e-mailing them as they offer free access for teachers and also Home educators. You have to sign up for each subject separately, but well worth it.

I’ve been busy as ever with the local library … which looks like it may well end up closed by the end of March 2016, along with others in the city. We have now written to the Secretary of State asking for an inquiry, especially as all 5 libraries and the mobile library come out in the most deprived quartile of the poverty index. R challenged one of the Cllrs at the Alice in Wonderland event we went to at our local library. He actually blushed when she asked why certain options hadn’t been properly looked at!!

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Break from technology

We have been away in Tenerife for two weeks… sunshine and relaxation… and no gadgets, no television… no phone.. only a basic kindle & books…. great to have a break from so much technology!

Playa de la Arena
Playa de la Arena
Playa de la Arena
Playa de la Arena
Loro Parque
Loro Parque
Siam Park
Siam Park
Jardin Botanico
Jardin Botanico

It has been really lovely, and although we’ve now been back from holiday a while, it has left me wanting to not dive straight back in with computers. Not here on my website / blog particularly… I have been thinking about things I’d like to write about… the biggest joy to be away from has been Facebook! It has also been good not constantly seeing news all the time.

We have read so much and played card games and chatted and swam and lazed…. the first really relaxing holiday we’ve had since having kids…. not that we haven’t relaxed a bit before, but both girls really appreciated chilling out too.

So it is a gentle start to September, at least I’m trying for it to be…. I came back to over 400 e-mails and a council decision to close (unless community groups step forward) local libraries. So now it is back to campaigning. Not what I’d hoped for.

We had our Not-Back-To-School Picnic / Sports Day with our home ed group yesterday, it was lovely to catch up with so many people, and the weather was fairly kind, if slightly chilly… but good fun. L got to come too which was good… as she had an inset day.

 

L went back to school today.. she was excited about going.. unfortunately there was incredibly sad news about her friend’s sister, so there were tears after school.

R and I had a gentle day, we chatted a lot about things we want to do this term (it feels more term like with L at school!)

We created some weird and wacky Alice in Wonderland clocks for an event coming up….

We played with the guinea pig, and picked lots of blackberries. Rose made a blackberry smoothy with lunch.

Then we carried on reading ‘The Outsiders’ by Michelle Paver which is taking us a while but we are enjoying. We like the point of view of the dolphin and also bits about Ancient Greece. R read a page for every chapter I read…. it is a pretty wordy read and she did really well.

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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,

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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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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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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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LiberTea and cake

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.

Indoor den buiding
Indoor den buiding

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.

See also

Magna Carta

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Weekend Spying and Equality

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 ..

Minecraft Tutorial YouTube videos made by R

S cooked a lovely roast tonight and paella yesterday. We all needed a quiet weekend as all cough and coldy, so it was just about the right level for us all. Happy days.

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Loving our Local Library while we can.

We went to our local Library’s anniversary event at the weekend, fancy dress, to celebrate 76 years of being there. So many people have been going there all their lives, but this could be the last anniversary event as it may be closed by next year 🙁

We had over 400 people through the doors, author Ali Sparkes, and we even had a Dalek join our campaign to Save our Library!

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We had our library home ed meet up today, with lots of new faces, lots of little ones and our usual people too. We did some more on designing roller coasters for a competition. Then we did some map work… with a map of the library and x’s marked on it, the kids all went and looked for a letter at each place and then put them together to make a message. The older ones helped the younger ones look for the clues.

There was plenty of interaction with older people in the library, pleased to see children enjoying the environment and learning as they went. We had a few older people asking if they could join in with the treasure hunt!

Then as we had so many small ones a member of staff did a lovely story time for them while the older ones carried on with their roller coaster designs. Our library staff are so important and do so much and yet they, along with our library are under threat of not being there for much longer. So sad. We’re certainly not going to lose them without a huge fight!

See previous post : A lesson or two in campaigning

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