Saturday, 31 May 2014

Day in the garden

It has been a lovely and productive day around home. Peter and I went to the allotment this morning to plant our seedlings in the beds. We put sweetcorn, squash and courgettes in and realised we have quite a lot of weeding to do this week!

Stuart and Harry cut the grass at home and there was slide and ball play.

Followed by water gun play with Daddy, of course, as the target!

We also cut the hedge, which is quite a big job and it generates a lot of clippings to clear up, and played on the small bouncy castle. Harry and Peter were well and truly worn out, so the roast chicken dinner and baths were well received!

Tudor Quayside with That History Bloke

We had a brilliant tour of Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside yesterday with That History Bloke. Richard's passion for history certainly came across and the children were interested immediately due to his Henry VIII costume! 

We started in St Mary's Heritage Centre in Gateshead and learned how to bow and curtsey. 

Richard explained some Tudor games and toys and we played cup-and-ball, spinners and 21's with dice.

We walked over the Swing Bridge, spotting St Nicholas's Cathedral and the Castle Keep, which are around 1,000 years old so would have been there in Tudor times. Richard showed us some photos of the Tyne Bridge in Tudor times, which was a bustling market area. We discussed which goods were imported on ships then role played trying to sell our items. 

Over the bridge we looked at pictures of the flood that destroyed the original Tyne bridge in 1771. We then visited Bessie Surtees House, an original Tudor building. We completed a search and find activity for various objects then discussed them. We also looked at various Tudor artefacts and completed a worksheet. We talked about the differences between rich and poor in Tudor times by looking at typical items of clothes.

This tour was enjoyed by everyone and we left feeling fully immersed in history. Harry remembered all the facts we had learned as I asked him on the way back later in the afternoon. 

After the tour we headed onto the Quayside for lunch. A small 'beach' area is set up for the summer with deckchairs and buckets and spades and there were some CBBC Roadshow activities which the boys joined in with. We ended up staying for a couple of hours and sourced an ice-cream on the way back to the car, which was well deserved!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Beach, Theatre and Live Blue Peter

It has been an action packed week so far and Peter and I are definitely flagging! We went to the beach at Tynemouth on Bank Holiday Monday, which was great as Stuart could come too.

We went to Harrogate yesterday to see my family and to a theatre show called The Worried Walrus, featuring a walrus who enters an animal beauty contest. Harry and Peter both love the theatre and they really enjoyed it. This is Harry at the end with Wendy the Walrus! We stayed the night and visited my Grandma too. Harry took his Beavers top with the badges to show her (thanks to my mum for sewing them on!).

We had French class this afternoon followed by a very exciting trip to the Quayside. CBBC is doing a few days of events over half term and Blue Peter was filmed live today. 

We made music using vegetables in the music tent.

Harry and Peter earned a sporting medal in the sports tent by completing at least 4 challenges. This one was to measure how long you stay in the air when you jump.

Peter loved these hairy creatures. He kept seeking them out to cuddle and stroke them, ruining several other children's photo shoots! 

The highlight for Harry was the Blue Peter stage. This was the warm up, when it was still fairly quiet.

This was the live show. It was busy and I had to hoist Harry up on my shoulder to see, while trying to stop Peter escaping through the crowds with my legs! Harry loved it and I am pleased we went: I found it exciting too as a Blue Peter fan. Harry appears quite a lot on camera during the Pixie Lott song at the end, with his arm in the air! I have just watched the episode on iPlayer and will show him tomorrow.

Poor Peter was exhausted and we didn't get back to the car until 6.45pm. We have one more activity tomorrow then I think a restful weekend is in order! 

We had a good trip to the library too this week and have lots of books we have been enjoying reading. Harry has also been reading some Oxford Owl ebooks - stage 9 Oxford Reading Tree. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Beaver fun day

Harry and I had a really fun day yesterday at the Northumberland Scouts Marra Camp. The Cubs and Scouts camped for three nights and the Beavers went for a day visit. I think Harry will be rather excited when the time comes for him to camp!

I have volunteered to help with Harry's Scout Group and dealing with some paperwork for yesterday was one of my first jobs. I was also helping to supervise some of the children who came without parents for the day.

The boys all really enjoyed the array of bouncy castles, including this one with an inflatable demolition ball to knock other people off!

Harry had a turn in the craft tent at making a decorated wooden block using a heat tool.

He also made a Fantastic Mr Fox

We all enjoyed some vinegar volcano demonstrations, I think Harry will always enjoy this however many times he sees it!

The boys had to wear protective headgear to wrestle on this balancing platform, which they loved! And there was lots of grassy space for racing. 

Harry said that the day was 'completely awesome'. I am really pleased that he is enjoying Beavers so much - hopefully he will have many years of Scouting fun ahead of him.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Bananagrams, French and friends

We had a lovely and busy end to the week, including our Tudor workshop on Friday.

We have also played bananagrams, which we have had for a while but Harry hasn't wanted to play before. It is based on the same principle as scrabble but you complete your own grid and there is no board. I really liked this game for thinking about words and spellings. Harry found it quite difficult but thought it was fun and wants to play again. I gave Peter his alphabet board jigsaw to play with at the same time, but of course he wanted to join in and added lots of tiles to make very long words then wanted to know what his words said, so lots of laughter ensued at his funny sounding words!

We had French class and a good run in the park afterwards. 

Harry has also had his enjoy-a-ball class. He has done lots of cello practise this week and is enjoying playing this term's music.

We had friends round on Wednesday - the boys all played with Lego, had lunch then did lots of chasing and wrestling in the garden, which they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy!

Tudor workshop

We attended a Tudor workshop on Friday with a group of home educating friends. The venue was Durham University and they had a fabulous new classroom with lots of space and child-sized furniture and toilets. It was a long and intense day and Harry worked really hard.

We started with some object handling. The children looked at Tudor objects, such as a ceramic oil lamp, cannon ball and pewter spoon, and completed a sheet to describe them and what they told us about the Tudors. We all shared ideas at the end and discovered what some of the objects really were.

They also tried some Tudor writing using quill pens. Harry copied the Tudor alphabet to write his name and wrote an inventory of some of his belongings, as we were told that the Tudors left lots of information behind for us in inventories.

We went for a walk around Durham too to spot Tudor buildings and clues and complete some questions. I worked hard at this point as I had to piggy-back Peter most of the way round! 

We went back to the classroom to design a coat of arms. Harry chose lots of animals to represent the characteristics he would like to have.

We are following this up with another Tudor event in Newcastle next week.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tudors, baking and gymnastics

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster! Waking up at 5.15am is never going to be the best start to the day and especially not when you are Harry, who does not cope well when tired at all. Peter had his enjoy-a-ball class yesterday morning and I spent most of the rest of the day trying to stave off meltdowns! Harry went back to bed but refused to try and sleep - at least he was resting and listened to lots of audio books. I am very pleased he can do this when he is really overtired as he would get nothing but a lot of stress from a day at school. Peter had a daytime bath - one of his current favourite activities! Harry had Beavers yesterday evening, which he enjoyed as there were police officers visiting to talk about safety.

I am pleased to say that today has returned to normality! We listened to and talked about some audio clips about the Tudors this morning at our group session, in preparation for some organised events coming up. We also watched a couple of BBC Class Clips at home. Harry seemed to really enjoy craft time and made some pictures for grandparents. 

At home this afternoon, we made rocky road as we had some marshmallows in the cupboard. Breaking up the biscuits was a popular activity too. It was very nice! We also baked some chocolate buns.

We have been listening to a new BBC learning podcast in the kitchen: The Tales of Beatrix Potter, which we are all enjoying.

Harry practised cello and did some reading before going to play games on the iPad. Tuesday is an intense day as the church hall session tires him out after his late night at Beavers and he has to be ready for gymnastics at 5pm, so I usually try to build in some down time. He did really well at gymnastics and passed 4 activities towards his next badge. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Letters, numbers and the rest of the week

We have had quite a productive end to the week, despite me having a nasty cold. Harry has almost completed his current English workbook and did some pages on capital letters. He still forgets how to write certain letters sometimes, probably because he doesn't use them often. He also did an activity to match capital and lowercase letters.

Harry has been using a fractions maths app on the iPad - Slice Fractions by Ululab. I wasn't sure this was very good at first as it started out easy and just like a game but it actually got quite complex towards the end so it has been worthwhile. It looked at equivalent fractions and thirds through to ninths, which he hasn't done before so I drew out some examples on paper to help him as he worked through it.

Peter played a number game where I stuck the numbers 1-10 around the hall on post-it notes then timed him as he collected them in the order I shouted them out. He got much faster second time and was pleased to put them back into the right order on the wall. I think we will start looking at numbers 11-20 soon as he is quite confident up to 10. 

Harry has continued following up his space badge at Beavers by starting his big space jigsaw. It has lots of small details to talk about it. Peter also got a jigsaw to do at the same time.

We have also had French class, a play in the park with friends afterwards and a super full day out at Gibside yesterday with friends. I neglected to take my camera or phone (shock horror!) so there are no photos but the boys spent six hours running, climbing, exploring and playing with their friends.

Harry had cello this morning and the Quayside looked great in the sunshine. He is playing two pieces reading music now instead of just using the coloured strings book.

We went to the allotment this afternoon and planted the first fennel and some more peas. We now have potatoes, onions, garlic, peas, beetroot, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes, as well as many fruit bushes. Everything is looking quite healthy so we are hoping for some successful growing!