Friday, 24 October 2014

Art, party, parks and decorating

Harry finished his latest picture at art class last week - a rhino. This is my favourite so far; I like the green shading.

We joined some friends for a Halloween party - the boys loved filling the pumpkin piñata with a huge amount of sweets, although they only had a handful each! 

We sat around the fire and listened to a story, toasted marshmallows, lit a pumpkin fire balloon and bashed up the piñata: it was great fun.

This weekend has been very busy. My dad was here to decorate the hall and he has hollowed out an area under the stairs for storage. Harry moved lots of bricks on his own and helped with wallpaper pasting.

We haven't painted yet but will be doing it soon, along with carpet shopping! 

We have visited two parks to meet friends of Harry's who go to school, as they are on half term holiday.

Peter has been playing with magnetic letters and numbers.

Harry has been playing cello, doing his maths book and we have been playing his speech therapy game. 

We did an orienteering session at Gibside with other home educating families. Harry loved this! It was quite a long way for Peter to walk but he just managed! 

It's been a really busy week, I have a cold and probably a chest infection and am suffering from lack of sleep; Peter has woken me up before 6am every day since the clock change. I will certainly look forward to feeling well again! 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Decorating, more tube play and Jesmond Dene

Harry wanted to get on with stripping wallpaper early this morning, so he is learning a good life skill this week! He also did a Reading Eggs lesson.

Peter has continued to play with the cardboard tubes. Today he made small Lego cars to drive through them and used a battery powered train. He is waiting for it to arrive here.

We spoke to my mum on the phone then spent all afternoon in Jesmond Dene with some friends. All the children played in and out of the bushes for three hours! I took Peter's bike along too and we did some more practise. I think they will sleep well tonight, which is just as well, as Stuart and I have another night of wallpaper stripping ahead! 

They brought some leaves home and did crayon rubbings with them.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Play, story starters and decorating

Harry and Peter played Lego together for an hour this morning, without any bickering! This is unusual and very nice so I let them carry on without interrupting and I researched some WW1 activities and started thinking about Christmas ideas. If we don't have anywhere to be, or anything urgent to do, I do try to let them get on with self-directed activities if they are doing them well. I think this skill is just as important as the activities I prepare for them.

I brought some big cardboard tubes home from Scouts this week and we had a great play with these for an hour as well. We started just rolling marbles and balls down them, then we taped a starting line to the carpet to test which ball rolled the furthest.

We also built small towers to knock over by rolling things down the tube and an arch for them to roll through.

Harry built a 'city defence' for one of his towers and was pleased that this couldn't be knocked over! This was a great use of engineering skills: he knew that the building needed a wider base to be more sturdy and eventually it became a city wall to protect his tower.

We have been using this online story starter resource from Scholastic. The boys love spinning the wheels to create their story starter and the finished pieces can be printed to keep. 

We had been waiting for a delivery today, so when it came we went out to get Christmas cake supplies and paint testers. We didn't make a cake today, as I needed the oven to cook pizza for tea, but we will soon. We also talked to my dad on the phone and he is coming to help us decorate our hall this weekend so we spent the rest of the afternoon pulling wallpaper off! Harry really enjoyed getting involved with this and they will enjoy seeing their Granddad at the weekend. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Autumn and literacy games

It looked decidedly autumnal this morning with a very strong wind so we stayed at home and wrote some Autumn poems.

We also listened to a BBC Let's Move podcast; 'falling leaves and windy weather', which seemed apt for today! We had to be leaves falling from the trees and blowing around and spiky tree branches stretching upwards.

Harry and Peter watched Magic School Bus Goes Batty to tie into the autumn/Halloween theme. This explored nocturnal animals, echolocation and bat feeding habits.

We played some letter games. Harry and I played bananagrams and Peter matched the wooden letters to their space on the board. 

We also played Harry's speech therapy game, to practise saying a variety of 'ch' words.

Harry had his swimming lesson this afternoon, which was a bit ruined for him as he swallowed a lot of water near the start and wasn't happy for the rest of the lesson! On the way out we went to get some shopping at the supermarket and to return some books to the library. There was a group of schoolchildren in the library and Harry said 'that's nice of the teacher to bring them to the library'; I am pleased he thinks the library is a nice place to go! To diverge from the Sea Quest book obsession for a short while, I read Hamlet aloud from the Orchard Book of Shakespeare Stories.

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!