Friday, 26 April 2013

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
"The Tale of Peter Rabbit" was first published by Frederick Warne in 1902 and endures as Beatrix Potter's most popular and well-loved tale. It tells the story of a very mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr McGregor's vegetable garden!  

We have been rowing The Tale of Peter Rabbit as our Five in a Row book this month. This is a great spring book and it ties in well to work we are doing at the allotment. The printables came from Homeschool Creations.

Peter joined in with some sticking. He used flower shapes and colours, which we talked about afterwards and Harry sequenced a growing seed. We also compared the seed pictures to one of our tomato seedlings (as we have lots!).

We talked about the medicinal use of herbs and looked up information about (and tried) parsley (to reduce inflammation and for antioxidant effect) and camomile (to calm the nerves and help sleep). Harry was not impressed!

I found these chocolate biscuits which worked well for our rabbit themed maths activity. 

We talked about estimating and Harry estimated how many in total in the bowl and then we counted them. He also estimated how many in a handful and then counted them. His estimates were less than the actual numbers both times.

We also grouped them into 3, 5 and 10 and counted them that way, which was quite difficult with Peter on the prowl for a snack! There were 45 at the start and only 40 when we counted them in 5's so Harry correctly informed me that 'Peter has eaten 5!'.

We also played the cabbage game. We used this last time we rowed Peter Rabbit and it was very popular so I got it out again. We have a picture of Peter Rabbit and a picture of a trowel to hide under numbered cabbages. This time we kept aside the cards they were hidden under after we found them and we had to add together the numbers. We also had to say which card we had found them on, such as we turned over three cards so we found it on the third card. Harry set this up a few times this week to play together.

We used this sequencing activity for some reading practice. Harry read all the statements then put them in the correct order.

Harry did a good story narration this time. I wrote most of it for him as he had already been doing a lot of writing that day.

We had some rabbit colouring sheets and Harry turned his into a framed picture by adding a layer of tissue paper around the edge and sticking it to a larger sheet of paper. He has some really good ideas sometimes when he is crafting!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A trip out - Discovery Museum

We spent a fun morning at the Discovery Museum today. This is one of the many places that make my list of 'why Newcastle is a great place to live' and we always enjoy our visits. 

We looked at Newcastle through the ages in the Newcastle Story exhibit, from Medieval times to the original Tyne Bridge with houses and shops on it.

The exhibit included the present day and Harry was excited to find a picture of The Sage Gateshead. We also watched a film showing the building of the millenium bridge and The Sage.

We had a play in the science maze - turning wheels to make balls travel round without falling

And of course in the water area, where a full change of clothes is always required (at least for my children it is!). They love it in here and we would have stayed longer but the car ticket was about to run out.

Sourdough bread

We baked sourdough bread this morning, our latest 'Paul Hollywood's Bread' effort. We made the starter last week using this recipe. Harry was really interested in the concept of harnessing natural yeast.

This was the starter after one day. Harry kept going to check on it.

After two and a half days it looked as though it was trying to escape!

We fed the starter and left it for another day. It looked a bit unhealthy after this so we fed it again and left it for another day. It was then ready to use to make a bread dough. We used this recipe. This was the dough ready for its first 5 hour prove.

And here it is ready for its last overnight prove. 

We baked it this morning and it was wonderful - ready just in time for a morning snack. I think it was worth waiting for - the crust was especially delicious. I think Harry had lost the initial excitement about it as it was a pretty long process but he enjoyed eating it and I think he would want to make it again.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Museum skeleton workshop

We went to an interesting workshop at the Hancock Museum today about skeletons.

We thought about what a skeleton does - holds up bodies and protects internal organs. We looked at some creatures with exo-skeletons too, including a scorpion.

We looked at different animal skeletons (elephant bone, fish, snake and leopard skull) and compared things they had in common. We saw how the teeth can show whether an animal was a herbivore (short flat teeth for grinding) or carnivore (sharp teeth for tearing).

We also looked at a rabbit skeleton and a stuffed rabbit to see which features are not shown just by looking at the skeleton, such as the fur and twitchy nose.

The children labelled a model human skeleton and fit bone shapes into a human outline on floor mats. We looked at the different joints, including a hinge joint at the elbow and ball and socket joint at the shoulder.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

April allotment progress

We are pleased with our progress at the allotment recently. This weekend we noticed that the weeds are starting to appear - they must be pleased with the recent sunshine, so we will have to get our gloves on for some regular weeding sessions I think.

My dad and Stuart spent a day fixing up the greenhouses by replacing glass in them to make them safer. We planted our first batch of seed potatoes in a trench. Here is Harry measuring the distance between them with his forearm and pulling soil back over them.

We planted a section of carrot seeds.

We are really pleased that the seeds we planted in the greenhouse 2 weeks ago have sprouted so hopefully we will have leek, broad bean and broccoli seedlings to plant out. It's great to see things happening and it gives us all a lot of enthusiasm!

Our tomato seeds on the windowsill at home are doing well too and we have another batch of seed potatoes there to plant later.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Reading aloud

We have started our first long read aloud book - this one...

I have been asking Harry for a couple of months if he would like me to read it to him but he hasn't wanted to until yesterday! I am really pleased as I was an Enid Blyton fan as a child and there is a new exhibition based on her work opening at Seven Stories soon.

We only started it yesterday and have read 60 pages already so I think it's safe to say Harry is enjoying it. I think he would have listened to the whole thing by now if my voice could manage and we didn't have Peter to look after too!

I love reading to my children, it's often one of my favourite parts of the day and I hope they want to be read to for many years, even when they can confidently read themselves.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Woodland and pond habitats

We attended a session today with other home ed families which was led by the learning team at Gibside, a local National Trust property. We talked about the type of habitats found there (big ones such as fields and under the ground and small ones such as holes in trees) and which animals live in them. 

We looked under logs and in leaves to see what we could discover. We talked about which animals might eat others ones. Harry is recording his woodlouse and worm. 

Peter was dropping leaves and watching them blow away in the strong wind.

We headed down to the pond and looked at some pondlife in trays dipped out of the water.

The leader caught a live toad in her net, which was very popular with the children!

We were outside for the whole session and it was a great way to learn. We also stayed for lunch and played in the indoor area for an hour. A super and tiring day! 

An introduction to habitats

As we have spent some time recently looking at the polar regions and endangered animals and visiting the Washington Wetland Centre and the Durham Botanic Gardens, I thought I would try to consolidate Harry's understanding of habitat. He understood everything very well so obviously has been taking in the previous discussions we have had! This was also preparation for a session we attended today at Gibside, a local National Trust property with other home ed families.

The botanic gardens have indoor cactus house and rainforest areas (where we saw banana and coffee plants) as well as outdoor woodland and meadow habitats.

We started by reading this book from the library, which covered the definition of habitat and looked in more detail at rainforest, woodland, desert, freshwater, seashore and meadow.

We read and talked about food chains and how they start with a plant. Harry came up with 

Leaf - aphid - ladybird

Grass - zebra - lion

We also talked about adaptation. We read about camels and cacti surviving in the desert and camouflage. We watched this YouTube video - I find rapping camels often stick in the memory! Harry also matched up adaptations to the correct animal to create this sheet (I can't for the life of me find the source of this printable to link back to it!). I asked him how each animal was adapted to its environment before showing him the adaptations and he got 4 of the 6 without any prompts.

We also used these lovely Melissa and Doug habitat sheets which have re-useable stickers of the animals found there. We created rainforest, ocean and grassland habitat scenes.

A tired day

We were all really grumpy and tired yesterday. It was a busy weekend sorting out the garden and allotment and we have had a few nights of disturbed sleep due to Peter's cough. It doesn't happen very often as I try to balance busy times with restful ones but we do have to survive this kind of day sometimes!

I am trying to encourage Harry to take part in restful activities on his own while Peter is napping at home. He is really good at doing quiet Lego/reading/Hama beads/jigsaws if I am doing it with him but sometimes I need some space or have jobs that must be done. He managed 15 minutes drawing in his doodle book then came to find me... it's a start!

I am not averse to them watching TV for down time and Harry loves playing games on the computer/iPad but they had already watched yesterday morning and I do try to keep in mind an hour a day as the limit. They both get a bit obsessive if they watch more than that and it's often a lazy choice for Harry as he usually manages to find something more productive to do pretty quickly if I say no to TV.

So what did we do?

Harry made some geometric magnet pictures following patterns. He loves these and used to play with them for hours when he was younger. Peter used his animal magnets to make pictures.

Harry has been colouring some robot pictures recently and he decided to write a story about them so he carried on with that and did a reading eggs lesson. I will post more when it is finished. He is doing well trying to work out the spellings of words himself instead of asking me every single one.

After Peter's nap we got out their bikes and went to our local playground. This helped our energy levels and moods a lot. Peter is getting really confident on his balance bike now and took both feet off the ground a couple of time to coast down hills! I had to carry the coats home too it was so warm.