Monday, 29 September 2014

Dinosaur detectives workshop

We really enjoyed a museum workshop with other home educating families this morning. The theme was 'dinosaur detectives'. We handled fossils and talked about how they became fossilised and about how we know facts about extinct animals. We compared carnivore and herbivore teeth and even saw pictures of fossilised dinosaur poo, which was very popular with the children of course! 

Peter and Harry always like to greet the rhino sculpture at the Great North Museum.

We role played as ammonites swimming around; some were eaten, some were washed up on shore and some eventually sank to the seabed and were buried under layers of sand and mud to become fossils.

After the workshop we went into the dinosaur section of the museum. Harry completed some facts about T-Rex and Peter thought of a way to describe the Iguanadon - 'greeny red with sharp feet'. 

We also watched a 'Walking with Dinosaurs' style animation.

We spent a long time looking at the rocks and minerals section in the museum too. Harry completed a sheet looking for lots of different colours. There were also meteorite samples.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Rocks, art and maths app

Harry has been working through the Dragonbox algebra 5+ app this week and is really enjoying it. I know a few other people use it too and recommend it and I also would. It is a great problem solving and logical thinking app as well as cunningly teaching the basics of algebra.

He has written some more of his Sea Quest book review too. 

We went to a friend's house yesterday to have a look at some different types of rock, including some real cooled lava from their trip to Mount Etna! I think I was more impressed than the children actually! There were examples of each of the different types of rock; Metamorphic, Sedimentary and Igneous.

We also did some French practise together, including introductions and playing the French version of Shopping List. These were the friends we did our French class with last year.

We also played in the play area with our friends for an hour and did the same after art class today. This is Harry's second completed picture from the class. He is now working on a castle in pastels.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Art and hand washing activities

We had a gas man round early this morning to fix our boiler so Harry and Peter occupied themselves by building a very tall marble run and colouring. Harry is creating another Batman picture so he worked on this.

We then had some friends round. We looked through this library book, which has different images of art designed to evoke fear through various themes - supernatural, war and nature vs man. The children then created their own pictures designed to be scary. They really enjoyed this and did it for a long time. 

We also did an activity with our friends showing why it is important to wash hands, which I had seen on An Ordinary Life blog. We watched this YouTube video about germs first. 

We then rubbed oil and glitter on the hands of two of the children to simulate bacteria. Those children touched the hands of the other children, passing the 'bacteria' along to show how easily this happens. 

We tried to wash the glitter germs off with plain water, which didn't work due to the oil on our hands (simulating natural oil on our skin). 

We then washed it off with soapy water, which did work. We discussed surfactant properties and the relationship between oil and water, being that they do not mix and the oil repels the water, so a surfactant (the soap) is needed.

When our friends left we went out on bikes to our local playground for the afternoon. The grass had recently been cut so Harry and Peter mainly played with this and left the bath very green at home later! It felt very autumnal as lots of leaves had fallen around the park.

Shape and classifying maths

We had fun with some hands-on Venn diagrams and sorting this week. I saw this idea on An Ordinary Life blog which I often read. We will do this again as it was easy to prepare different levels of activity for each boy and it can progress to more difficult concepts for both of them.

I gave Peter a simple colour sorting activity with some blocks and Lego bricks. He sorted the colours then built things with the blocks, including making a letter 'o' and an obstacle course for his fingers!

I prepared two Venn diagrams for Harry and gave him a bowl of blocks and bricks too. I didn't tell him what to do and he naturally did exactly what the diagram suggested and sorted the blocks accordingly. He also built some structures afterwards.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Baking, reading and listening

I am pleased that this week has started positively after we had a bit of a dreary last week. 

We spent yesterday morning baking some treats for the week ahead - chocolate brownies and Swiss roll. We haven't done baking for a while and will have to fit it in more often as we all enjoy it.

We went out yesterday afternoon for Peter's enjoy a ball class and Harry's beavers group, where they were looking at unusual fruits and vegetables for their healthy eating badge. 

Harry has been working on another Batman picture. He copied the shape from his art class picture and coloured it differently. 

We have really enjoyed reading this book from the library. I am a big Shakespeare fan so I was secretly very pleased when Harry chose this. We have read The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream so far.

Harry has also continued reading his Sea Quest books. There are some top trumps type cards in the back of each book and he cut these out for us to play with too. I asked him what writing he wanted to do this week and he chose to write about series 1 (4 books but with the same story weaving through them). He started this today and will continue to work on it. 

The new season of BBC School Radio podcasts started this week. I really like these and they encourage listening and participation. We listened today to Something to Think About, which asked about what we have enjoyed doing recently and what we are looking forward to. We are going on holiday soon so we talked about that.

Harry and Peter have been making trumpets and spy glasses from marble run pieces too and Harry had his swimming lesson this afternoon. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Fun run with cousins

Harry and Peter did a fun run this morning with their bigger cousins in Lancaster. Stuart's sister was running her first half-marathon and the fun run was part of that event. They love spending time with their cousins and seeing the rest of their family too. 

This was also a milestone weekend as Stuart took the boys to Lancaster on his own for the weekend for the first time! I stayed at home and got on with sanding all the wood in our hall ready for decorating; not very rock and roll but needs must! It was very quiet in the house but also nice to be working on my own schedule for a change. Of course I love having the boys at home full-time or I wouldn't home educate but it's also very intense so I really appreciate alone time when I get it. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Michael Rosen Good Ideas

I had a great night last night with several other home ed mums at Seven Stories. We went to hear Michael Rosen talk about his new book, which is all about practical ways of learning. This is a subject close to the hearts of all those who went and we made the most of the night by going for a couple of drinks afterwards.

I am really looking forward to reading the book. Harry is a very practical learner and it will be good to have a different and third party perspective. Hopefully I might get a few new ideas too! 

Michael Rosen also mentioned a couple of new books he is working on, which sound interesting. One is an English version of favourite German folk tales and another was a book on humanism aimed at children, so I shall be looking out for those! 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Our week

It's been an unmotivated, slightly down week for no particular reason. Peter has been up in the night a few times, which I find really difficult now (much more so than when he woke at night every night!) and Stuart was away for a few nights so maybe I have just been tired. We rarely have a whole week of feeling like this so I am sure normal service will resume next week! 

Things have been ticking over as usual and we've been doing Conquer Maths, French, cello practise and Reading Eggs along with our usual classes - ball sport, art and swimming. We also met friends in the park on Wednesday.

Harry has been making lots of loom band bracelets and has followed YouTube instructions for making loom band charms too.

Peter made shape pictures and we read a shape book from the library.

Our holiday reading arrived. I have been really looking forward to this book - it's the third in a trilogy. 

We went to a cheque presentation ceremony at Metro Radio for Harry's scout group. Along with other community groups, they received a grant towards a new minibus. Harry and Peter were the only children as it was during the day, so I was pleased that they behaved very well and sat nicely, clapping the other groups as they received their cheques. The large supply of biscuits and cakes definitely helped Peter to sit in one place! 

Whilst in town Harry and Peter spent some vouchers on books. Harry has really got into the Sea Quest series and is reading constantly. He chose more of them! 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Rocks and volcanoes

We've been following up some of the rocks and volcanoes activities we did last week today. It was raining heavily this morning so I was pleased that we didn't have any plans to go out!

We read some books first. One of Peter's Octonauts magazines had the Mariana Trench Adventure story in, which has lots of good detail about hydrothermal vents, magma and creatures. We also read What's Under The Bed?, one of the Wonderwise series of science themed books.

We enjoyed discovering The Magic School Bus TV series on Netflix after this. We watched two episodes about volcanoes and rock erosion. Harry and Peter enjoyed them and they had a lot of detail in. There are lots of other episodes on different topics so we will be watching this again.

Harry and Peter painted a volcano with underground magma chamber after this.

We read this section of our rock book - The Rock Factory - about minerals forming crystals and Harry also painted some jewellery made from precious crystals.

This afternoon we went out to Peter's enjoy a ball class, played cello, read books and Harry started a healthy eating badge at Beavers. He came home with some fruit kebabs which he enjoyed eating for his bedtime snack!