We went to French class this afternoon as Harry still wanted to see his friends. We took his birthday cake to share and sang Happy Birthday in English and French. We also took a pass the parcel and the children all played in the park afterwards. Harry has had a lovely day and chose fish and chips for his birthday tea, which was a bonus for me as it meant I didn't have to cook!
Thursday, 6 March 2014
It was Harry's 6th birthday today. One of the advantages of home education is being able to spend special days with all the family and Stuart took the day off work too. Harry built and played with his new Lego and remote controlled helicopter this morning and had phone calls from family.
Monday, 3 March 2014
We visited the Hancock Museum last week. I had promised the boys we would go back in term time after we went to a special event in half term. The museum is just on the outskirts of the City Centre and we started by feeding the ducks in the Civic Centre gardens.
We said hello to William Armstrong, a famous North East inventor and engineer, who contributed a huge amount of money towards the building of the museum in 1882 and has a prominent statue outside. Harry liked the bronze relief showing the swing bridge, one of Armstrong's works (the sun was in his eyes!).
In the museum, we looked around the Roman section. Harry counted the steps it took him to walk along the model of Hadrian's Wall.
He thought that the shields were different because the soldiers were in 'different teams'!
The boys also liked the rocks and minerals section. They spent a long time using a sorting tool to sort objects by colour and shape, as rocks are sorted and graded.
We always enjoy looking at the mineral display and choosing our favourites. Some of them are amazing shapes and colours.
We spent a long time upstairs too looking at the animal display. Harry drew the polar bear, with huge paws, a toucan and a penguin standing on a rock! Peter and I did a brass rubbing of Northumbrian sea life, including a puffin and a starfish.
We joined our friends from French earlier this week for some group art work. The children listened to some of the Katie stories by James Mayhew, including Katie and the Starry Night and Katie and the Sunflowers. They then worked together to create large paintings of Van Gogh's Starry Night and Sunflowers, which had featured in the books. The finished pieces looked really good.
We also talked about Isaac Newton's discovery of the colour spectrum and made some colour wheels.
We went to the park afterwards and had a good play. We also demonstrated another Diet Coke and Mentos eruption on the grass!
At home, Harry has finished Storm Castle, the level 9 Oxford Reading Tree book he has been reading and played his cello. He has also done some pages of a maths problem solving workbook, looking at adding and subtracting large numbers, and an English workbook, looking at past and present tense verbs.
Peter had his enjoy-a-ball class and really enjoyed it again. Harry did a spelling list using the Squeebles app on the iPad and some maths while he waited. Peter has also done some more Reading Eggs and been trying to write letters. We did a Montessori numbers app on the iPad while Harry had his gymnastics class and Peter knew all the numbers up to 10. I have just ordered a Kumon numbers book for him to work in, as he really enjoyed the tracing one, which covers numbers 1-30.
We have listened to the first three chapters of Five Children and It together, which is the book we are going to discuss on Tuesday at our group session, which will be World Book Day themed. We have all enjoyed the story so far and I have been asking Harry a few questions after each chapter to check he is taking it in.
They have played in the garden and been dressed as superheroes nearly all week. Harry spent some of his birthday money on these outfits, including Peter's, which was really kind.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
We spent time last week doing some Stick Man themed activities. I try to use one book per month to provide themed activities over the course of a week and the boys really enjoy the activities. I find it a great way to include a wide range of topics - this time we have included English, science, craft, exercise and cooking.
"Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three." But it's dangerous being a Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him. He even ends up on a fire! Will he ever get back to the family tree?
Harry and Peter both did some alphabet work. I wrote Stick Man on a sheet of bordered paper (from Twinkl) and made matching letter cards for Peter to cut out, match and glue. I also wrote all of the letters in the words Stick Man twice and asked him to match them up by drawing lines.
Harry put some of the words from the story into alphabetical order and answered some comprehension questions. These were in a Stick Man pack from tes connect, which is a site you need to register for, but it is free and I sometimes find useful resources, although a lot are very school specific.
We also had some great fun with sticks. We tried to use sticks for as many different things as possible during a park visit, as Stick Man was used in the story. We had a bubble popper, a fire hose and pretend ice cream sticks!
Peter also pushed his on the swings.
And made claws with spiky sticks.
We made the word 'Spring'.
We also brought some home to use for crafts. We used forked sticks to weave shiny yarn around. Harry drew spiders and we added these to turn them into spider webs.
Harry and Peter collected their own stick family, with Stick Man, Stick Lady Love and the Stick Children Three. They painted eyes on them and we added felt leaves as hair. They both really like the stick family and I keep catching Peter talking to them!
We also had a think about nests, as Stick Man was woven into a Swan's nest. Harry and Peter thought of several different birds, including parrots, toucans, puffins, crows and bluebirds. We read this library book, which had a nest section, and talked about why birds make nests.
We watched YouTube videos of weaver birds making their nests. Harry and Peter laughed lots at this one as a young bird kept falling from the branch after failing to make a strong knot! We also liked looking at pictures of camouflaged eggs, which are coloured to look like pebbles or grass to provide protection.
We also made our own edible nests. The boys bashed up shredded wheat (85g) and added melted chocolate (200g). They pushed the mixture into bun cases and added mini eggs.
Thursday, 27 February 2014
We did a Diet Coke and Mentos eruption in the garden this week. This even has its own Wikipedia page, which was useful in explaining why the reaction happens. We read the page and watched a couple of examples on YouTube before taking ours out into the garden.
We had a leftover juice bottle with a wide lid in the recycling and we used this first, having decanted the Diet Coke into it. The foam seeped copiously but gently over the sides.
The proper Diet Coke bottle created the effect the boys had been waiting for! We discussed how the build up of pressure, combined with the small exit hole in the Diet Coke bottle vs the wide exit hole in the other bottle created an upwards spurt rather than the previous gentle foaming.
Harry and Peter rode their bikes to the local playground after this and had a great time running around. We also did some stick investigation and collection, as we have spent lots of time this week doing activities based on the book, Stick Man. We will be finishing these tomorrow so I will post them all together.
We have had a busy and lovely week and unfortunately I haven't got around to posting any of it so I am going to do a few updates!
We played a new version of one of Harry's favourite maths games - place value target - this time using numbers into thousands. We took turns to throw 9 coins onto the target then recorded our score in columns before writing it as a number. We have only played this so far with units, tens and hundreds but Harry didn't struggle much at all with moving into thousands. He is genuinely better than me at tossing the coins with the result that he usually wins; I suspect this is one of the reasons he likes playing so much but I am willing to sacrifice my competitive pride for his numeracy!
Harry has also done 3 Conquer Maths lessons, on measurement and fractions.
We followed up the fractions work with some Lego maths. We looked at a whole piece and used smaller pieces to represent quarters, thirds and halves. Harry likes using Lego bricks as maths manipulatives.
Peter did some Lego maths at the same time. I asked him to make a tower of four bricks then find the correct numbers from a choice of three cards. I then asked him to make a taller tower and count the bricks, then find the correct number. He also built a really tall tower and counted correctly to twenty, which I didn't know he could do yet - I love being amazed by the abilities they acquire themselves! Peter enjoyed playing with the Duplo so he went off to build walls on his big board afterwards.
Peter is very keen to join in with work when Harry is doing something, so I am starting to prepare things at his level when thinking about Harry. This activity was really quick to prepare, I just had to gather a small tub of Duplo and write out the numbers 1-10 on card.
Monday, 24 February 2014
Peter had his first enjoy-a-ball class this morning and he loved it! He has been so excited to start after watching Harry for months, so he is now in the youngest class with other 2/3 year olds. Peter has great co-ordination and often a better throw than Harry but I think this class will be good for him to start listening to instructions and practising waiting. I took the iPad and Harry did some maths while he waited. We then went to the post office to post Nanna's birthday present and Harry took it to the counter, asked for first class post and paid himself.
We had an early lunch as the boys were both really tired after a bad night of sleep (me too!). Harry did a Reading Eggs lesson and I read a new alphabet book from the library to Peter. We also looked at magnets for the letters he can identify. I put them in small groups and asked him to find certain ones.
After this we had a FaceTime call with my mum then Harry and Peter went to bed for a nap. If we don't have afternoon activities I just put them to bed early when they are tired but Monday is Beavers day so they needed a rest.
This afternoon, Harry has played his cello and completed the assessment section at the back of his stage 4 phonics workbook. I have put this away for filing now and we will start the phase 5 books soon. We also spoke to my sister and finished building all Harry's Lego mine vehicles, which we have been doing for a few days.
They made models of robots at Beavers tonight, as part of their imagination badge. Peter and I did his Octonauts magazine - adding stickers, counting and reading stories.
I spent the evening at a meeting for the Scouts/Cubs/Beavers group, where we discussed development actions and I will be discussing in more detail whether there is a role I can take to help out.