Monday, 20 October 2014

A good home education day

It's been a lovely day today and I feel like we have been very productive. 

Harry went to art class this morning. The teacher allows us to make up missed classes by attending one of her other classes and this was to catch up with the session we missed while on holiday. This is a great advantage, as home educating families often use term time to go on holiday or make family visits or excursions. He started a rhinoceros picture in pastels. We also played in the park with some of the other children although it was pretty cold and rainy!

At home Harry has continued his written review of series 1 of the Sea Quest books. He started this a while ago and has picked it up again now. 

We did some French practise; we said our names and ages, watched some counting videos on YouTube and played Shopping List in French.

Some complicated Lego creations have been built.

I got some of the craft supplies out and the boys decided to make fan style wings and tails for birds, by cutting strips of paper and fastening the ends together with a split pin. Peter also snipped up some wool to make a spider web.

Harry read his current Sea Quest book aloud to me and has done a Conquer Maths lesson on shapes. Peter has used the Teach Your Monster to Read app.

Harry also had Beavers this evening and they had a presentation called Amazing Brain from researchers at Newcastle University, which involved interactive games on how the brain works and links with the senses. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Static electricity, art and bike riding

We used these books to read about static electricity yesterday and we did some fun experiments. I explained that static electricity is a build-up of electric charge and can happen naturally, like lightening. We contrasted this with electric circuits, where the electric current is moving. 

We refreshed the meaning of conductor and insulator and Harry remembered that a plastic toy is an insulator, from previous times we have experimented with electric circuits. Harry knew that the three basic parts of a circuit could be a battery, a conductor and a light bulb. We will be following this up by using his electricity kit next week.

Harry enjoyed 'controlling' my hair with a charged balloon. We gave it an electric charge by rubbing it with a woollen sock. It worked well with Peter's fine hair too! 

We also used the charged balloon to pick up small pieces of paper.

Harry had his art class and finished his dinosaur picture. We played in the park for an hour afterwards with our friends.

Harry also had his enjoy a ball class. I helped Peter to practise riding his pedal bike while Harry was in his class. He did really well and managed several rides on his own! 

Ten pieces follow up

Harry had his cello lesson at the weekend and Peter attended the under-5's music session at The Sage. We also watched two more of the Ten Pieces performances at home.

Harry's favourite so far is Mars by Holst so we had a look at some of the follow up activities from the BBC resources page.

We listened to Venus, Bringer of Peace by Holst and compared the pieces. Harry identified that Venus uses higher, slower and quieter notes to create more peaceful music. We talked about the musical terms 'tempo' (speed) and 'ostinato' (repeated pattern of notes).

We then did some painting. I asked Harry to paint what he saw in his imagination when he listened to Venus and Mars. 

This was his Venus, using glow in the dark paint for the lighter areas. The paint (from Tesco) worked really well; they took the picture into their bedroom at bedtime and it was a great effect. 

This was Mars. The black circle areas are the eyes of the God of War and the red planet Mars is his mouth.

Peter joined in with painting too and enjoyed doing some sponge printing.

Harry also played the beginner cello version of Mars from the resources page. He enjoyed this and could see the link to the complete piece of music. We will use this over the next two weeks for extra practise as Harry's music class is now finished for a half term break.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Autumn outdoor play

We have had a super afternoon at the Valley Gardens in Harrogate with my mum and sister today in perfect Autumn weather. 

We did some leaf identification, found a frog, splodged in mud, and played with some amazing leaves. We've all had a great time and Harry and Peter both fell asleep on the way home; the dark evenings are quite helpful for that! 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Socks, rhyming and bike riding

Harry and Peter chose this book at the library yesterday which is very funny so we read it this morning several times and listened to a BBC Playtime podcast on the theme of socks. The Playtime series of podcasts is aimed at pre-school age so it's not very involved for Harry but he still likes joining in; we had to stand on one leg and pretend to put socks on and pretend to wash and hang up our socks in time to the song.

The book contains lots of plays on words, which Harry especially loves. We liked 'Goldisocks' and 'socksophone' best.

They also wanted to colour their own sock drawings and Peter wanted to write on his, so I drew pencil lines for him to follow.

We had some more fun with rhymes by playing Slug in a Jug, an Orchard Toys game. Peter is just starting to appreciate rhyming so we can play this together now. The aim is to collect rhyming cards then make silly sentences with them.

Harry has also played his cello and we have played the maths board game, Trilemma again. We read several more library books borrowed yesterday and went for a bike ride to the local playground. It's the first time we have worn gloves out as it felt very Autumnal.

Harry's latest Sea Quest book arrived today and he has read a few chapters. They both seem to be recovered from their cold bugs now and hopefully will get a good night of sleep, as Peter has woken me up every night since coming back from holiday! 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Board games, books and Ten Pieces

Harry seems to have picked up Peter's cold and high temperature so I modified our work plan for today to make it more relaxing. Harry had a long bath first thing whilst listening to The Horse and His Boy. Peter and I played board games and read several library books due to go back. While Peter had his bath, we played Trilemma and I finished reading Harry's latest Sea Quest book to him. He still loves these books and is waiting for the next one to arrive in the post. His reading speed has doubled at least since becoming hooked!

We then watched the performances of the first three pieces of music from the BBC Ten Pieces DVD. Harry liked the first one best: Mars by Holst; he said it was exciting and loud. There are lots of resources to use alongside the DVD here and I printed some of these today for us.

Harry practised his finger positions on his cello and they were both really inspired to play their own music too. We played music to make us feel scared (long, low menacing notes) and excited (faster, higher notes). Harry also played a song to tell a story on the piano which he called The Lost Piece. It was really sad at the start but became lighter and more hopeful as he found his lost object. It was very good! 

We went to the library on the way out to return books and borrow another bagful. Harry was dosed up with nurofen and warm juice so he managed really well at his swimming lesson this afternoon, before coming home for TV on the sofa! Hopefully he will look a bit brighter tomorrow!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Speech therapy, air activities and pre-school work

Harry had his monthly speech therapy group this morning and Stuart took him. He has a game to practise at home that uses lots of words with the 'ch' sound.

Peter and I stayed at home and did some adding using Lego bricks, where we talked about the plus and equals symbols. He is good at counting into larger numbers so I thought we would start some simple adding and subtracting activities. We also went to the shop and bought an Alphablocks magazine. He practised some writing on the cards that came in the magazine. I really like the BBC pre-school magazines for literacy and numeracy activities and Harry used to do these a lot too. Peter is quite confident at writing with a pen and recognising letters now.

When Harry came home, he did an activity for Beavers. He had to find out about one type of aeroplane to earn his Air Activities badge. He searched on Google for the 'heaviest army plane' and came up with a Russian military jet. We printed a picture then he typed some facts and printed those too. This was good practise for typing on a keyboard and I think we will add typing to our usual writing activities for some variety.

Harry has also practised cello and was really pleased to make the correct notes first time. He found this hard in his lesson on Saturday as he couldn't quite press on the string hard enough, but maybe he was more relaxed trying it at home. He has done a Conquer Maths lesson too on reading a calendar and a list of animal name spellings on the Squeebles spelling app, while Peter had his enjoy a ball class.