Saturday, 3 September 2016

SWAK toothbrush

I love to learn about businesses run by other home educators. and was delighted to be offered the chance to review a SWAK toothbrush and support another Home Ed family :)

Well, to be honest, I didn't really know what one was when I agreed to try it. I suffer from sensitive teeth and have to use Sensodyne toothpaste regularly or else my poor old teeth start to hurt. I wasn't convinced that this toothpaste-less toothbrush would be any good for me.

Anyway, the SWAK toothbrush arrived, looking longer and thinner than I'd expected with this funny little round head. I began to use it as per the instructions with a small dollop of sceptism. I have to say, I was really surprised how easy it was to use although it took a bit of getting used to; not having to apply any pressure was a bit weird at first. After I'd given it a good go, I can confirm that my teeth felt smooth and clean afterwards, although I missed the minty taste that I associate with newly cleaned teeth.

I love the convenience of being able to clean my teeth anywhere and not being tied to the bathroom sink. Both Boykin & The Girl have requested one and, as they are both over 7*, I have agreed to buy them. One of the things that we all like about them is that the little wooden heads are replaceable but you keep using the same plastic handle for ever, potentially. The Girl has recently been impressed by the Zero Waste Movement and this totally fits in with the philosophy of reducing our plastic waste.

You can buy your own toothbrush here. There are a selection to choose from and they also sell tooth oil and tooth salt too.

* Under 7s need full parental supervision with SWAK toothbrushes.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Changes Afoot

Well, it's feeling like Autumn here as the pavements are starting to grow a layer of leaves. I always find Autumn inspires me to start new projects and dust down the old way of doing things. My two youngest children seem to have inherited this feeling.

We spent Monday afternoon devising new schedules. Each person organised their own days in the way that suits them best. I've recently come across bullet journaling, and even though I know I will NEVER be so organised, I have found it helpful to use some of the ideas from it.

We took a trip to IKEA and bought 3 magnetic notice boards, one for each of us. Each board came with 4 hooks and 3 magnets. We've used some of the hooks to hang the boards one below the other. The rest are hanging from the bottom board.

Having an "it'll-come-in-useful-one-day" nature, combined with a "I-hate-throwing-things-away" streak, means that I have had a big jar of bottle tops and a roll of magnetic sticky tape. Perfect for making personalised magnets. A couple of episodes of Star Trek later, we had a couple of handsewn drawstring bags to hold any unused magnets. These hang neatly from the hooks at the bottom of the bottom board ;)

So why have we found the need to try to become so super organised? Well, The Girl is entering her last year of Home Ed *sniff* and will be taking a few exams this year along with some more music grades. She has just enrolled at a not-so-local college to take GCSE English and will inevitably have homework. With one GCSE under her belt (she passed her maths :) Hooray!!!) she has realised that time management will be quite important if she wants to study for two more at home.

Boykin is 'attending' Hogwarts this year and so he has made a simple timetable that will cover all his morning studies. I love how he's managed to put maths under Magical Theory and Physics under flying ;)

And me, well, I have to be on hand for any studying that The Girl will be doing at home whilst also pretending to be Professor McGonegal with Boykin. On my board, I've also included housework, prayer time and all my work tasks - from the latest lapbook to maths & geography tutoring to blogging and updating FB groups ... and everything else in between. I'm not quite sure where my organising local HE stuff fits in really - it's not quite work cos I don't get paid for it, but it sometimes feels like it.... in a good way, of course :)

Friday, 17 June 2016

Wild Animals Session

This month's theme at our local HE group was wild animals.
There were about 5 families who are all regulars. It was a lovely sunny day so much of the time was spent playing out.

Activities on offer were making paper elephants....

....finding where in the world each animal lived on a giant world map... 'Which animal am I?'. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the lovely lift-the-flap poster that one of the other mum's made with a series of questions using a tree diagram to find the answer.

Outside, they could meet with some real ducklings and learn about wild ducks...

...listen to a story & play a team general knowledge game using Brainbox Safari.

If you want to know how to make paper elephants too, they were inspired by this video.

Other resources for studying wild animals:
spotter sheets
Animals on Activity Village
Elephant unit study and lapbook
BBC Bitesize variation - the variation worksheet has a simple tree diagram

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Games Expo

Yesterday, we went to Birmingham NEC for the Games Expo.

I am very fortunate in that Number 1 Son and his fabulous girlfriend organised the whole day for us. They booked train tickets, sorted out travel times and tickets to the event too. All I had to do was get me, Boykin and The Girl up at 6am to get to the train for 7.30. Luckily, I did it :) Just!

It was our first games expo and I was surprised at how many people were there. I didn't realise that board games were so popular. We were also surprised at how many people were there dressed up in sci-fi and fantasy costumes. After having recently spent a fair few hours watching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix, I half expected to see Sheldon et al at any moment ;)

It was fun playing giant versions of games we'd never played before, Yeti was a favourite. I quite liked the look of giant Ticket to Ride as well :) There were so many different games that I reckon I could've found a game to go along with every project we have ever done or could possibly ever do :)

Personally, I love all the wooden games and wooden storage systems and I think that dice rolling towers are a fab idea.

We decided that we all want a games table with cup holders and a cover so that you can keep your games out to finish later - there'd be no piling up of papers on that!

If you like playing games, its well worth going, Family tickets aren't that expensive and the train station is just a few minutes walk away. Plans are already afoot to go next year with costumes and more money :)

Games we liked

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Harry Potter Day

Every few months at our local themed session, we hold a vote as to what themes to cover in the next few sessions. The kids choose some and the adults choose some. This month, by very popular demand, the theme as chosen and voted for by all the children was Harry Potter :)
There was lots of role-playing outside involving various Harry potter characters. There were cloaks, wands and a cloak of invisibility.

Activities included Sparkly magic pictures...

...potion making....

...making The Monster Book of Monsters...

....Create your own Spell...


....and various Harry Potter themed games.

You can download a copy of the 'Create Your Own Spell' activity sheet (designed by Boykin) here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Radish

After keeping an almost daily blog for a month, it seems like such a long time since I've posted ;)

So, what have we been doing in the last 6 days?
We ignored April Fool's day by accident and  went to a local Home Ed craft group where Boykin tried his hand at reverse glass painting. He was very pleased with his efforts. It's quite tricky in that you have to paint first the parts of the design that you would usually paint last. I remember that we did something similar with a chocolate kit that we had once....

On Saturday, The Girl started her Duke of Edinburgh volunteering activities at the local library. I'm really impressed with how well organised they are. She came home with forms to sign, information about what is expected of her and how they go about supporting D of E volunteers at all levels. She has a lovely mentor in one of our local librarians and I'm sure she will get a lot out of it :)

We had a couple of easy going days spent mostly at home. It involved some maths, some movies and some music. Oh, and lots of Agatha Christie.

Tuesday was book group day. Hence the abundance of Agatha Christie in the previous few days. I really recommend The Double Clue . It's a collection of four short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. We none of us guessed whodunnit. We took the Cluedo Board Game to book group to play, in keeping with the theme. I'm glad we did too because the local library was pretty noisy with a craft workshop going on. I'd forgotten that things like that happen in there during school holidays. At one time we'd have been there joining in, but they're both a bit big now really :/

After book group, Boykin went to his friend's house for a birthday sleepover. The Girl treated me to a splendid evening of games, chocolate and a film and I treated her to Chinese takeaway. We played Ticket to Ride Europe and Scrabble  . We decided to watch Slumdog Millionaire while Boykin was away because he is too young for it. I think I'm too young for a lot of it too. It's a good film but I found parts of it are very distressing :( You can read about it on IMDb

Today, there was more music practice, more maths and lots of shelf building and I cooked dinner for a change :)

Maths involved surds and tricks :)

Oh, and do you remember that Boykin was observing seeds germinating? Well, one of them survived and produced a leaf as well as a root. He planted it in a plant pot yesterday and today it had nicely perked up. The Radish :)

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Challenged!! - Days 29, 30 & 31

Well, I almost succeeded in blogging every day for a month :)

The last couple of days have flown by with me doing a lot of work which meant they've taken full advantage and have caught up on lots a little screen time. No.1 Son bought Boykin a subscription to Marvel comics which means he has access to 17,000 of them online. Consequently, Boykin has been catching up on his reading ;)

He did fond time for a bit of maths. He's still working on transformations and did some tessellation.

The Girl has been getting back into the swing of things with maths, music practice and Marvel comics. She's still cooking all the meals but hasn't been able to continue with her garden project due to weather, visiting and visitors.

We've had visitors every day for the last three days. There's been lots of playing out for them and cups of tea for me. It's been lovely seeing old friends again :)

Tomorrow, we're going to a local Home Ed craft group, so things are starting up again after the Easter holidays. It feels weird though that we have another week at least before all their non-HE classes and groups start up again. Although, it is quite nice having more days at home to be able to be more relaxed about life, just like when they were little :0)