Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Girl's new hair

In response to The Girl's screamswhen I try to brush her hair(I'm as gentle as can be, honest) and her running away from me shouting " No, Mummy, no, please stop" everytime I approached her with my instrument of torture - her hairbrush, she's had a haircut. It's taken 6 months to get her to agree to this. Maybe the threat that some random passerby might just call the social services has something to do with it. Anyway, being the bad home educator that I am, she's had 6" cut off and, oh, she looks lovely. Funny how the nice hairdresser man's advice of brushing it twice a day had more sway than my own, identical advice.....

Mr Gumpy lapbook

We used FIAR Vol 2 to study Mr Gumpy's Motor Car, Boykin liked it so much he wanted to do the same thing with Mr Gumpy's Outing. I came up with a few ideas, not all of which we used. If anyone wants to use them they're available on my HSLaunch page.
ETA - Ami at HSS made a fabulous lapbook to go along with my ideas. Thank you so much, Ami :0)
We had a very nice time learning about rivers - we live in a river valley so it made perfect sense to follow that course;)

This is a plasticene river the Boy made showing all the river features we talked about.

Here are photos of our lapbook. we used 2 folders and stapled the two joining flaps together to create a pocket to keep his paper boat and characters in.

This is laminated flap so he can match the word to the feature again and again.
We went to look at our local river, found tribuataries, studied a map and followed it's course to the sea.

I kept the whole project in a box until it was finished. To start with I put small toy animals and an old-fashioned toy car in there too. He had great fun playing with those while doing the activities. They 'talked' to him ;) He also had fun making rivers and hills in the sandpit with his friend.
We also looked at weather stuff - keeping a diary and making a cloud in a glass

Useful Links:
Printable mini books from Homeschoolshare
Virtual tour of the Thames from source to sea
Video of origami punt


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Eglentine and Margery have tea :)

Oh how cute can kids be! Today mine had a tea party using my granny's china - The girl was very excited when I told her it was hers :)
They went into this whole imaginative role-play calling with new names and posh accents. It made me smile :D

 It's been a while since we played teaparties. They really enjoy it - especially with half-price choccies and buns from the butchers involved. I think we might do it again very soon :)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Elements Exhibition

Today we went to Leeds City Museum. It's the first time we've been but we'll definitely have to go back again. There looks like there's lots to do and see. Today we met up with LOTS of other Home Ed families to go to the special exhibition - Dr Rocks Lost Gallery.

We didn't really have enough time to explore the gallery properly because we had to get back for the Girl's drama group. And my two seemed much more interested in counting the pet rocks and drawing than looking closely at the exhibits.

However, they really liked the films of different objects being blended.
The Boy and two friends enjoyed the animal, vegetable or mineral quiz which had some surprising answers. I always thought plastic was a mineral but according to Dr Rocks it's a vegetable because it comes from fossilised plants.

The Boy was very excited to meet Dr Rocks himself and ask him lots of questions. He was particularly pleased to find out what the globe represented - the moon :)
Here they are at the end of the day, coming home on the train. Th Girl was reading about D-Day landings in her Discovery  Box magazine that came today. 

After that they went to drama and a friends house and another friend came here to play. When there was just us again, they watched The Rescuers [DVD] [1977], listened to another chapter of  Tunnels (Tunnels 1) and went to bed. Now, I'm going to get ready for tomorrow's local group meeting and laminate...lots!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Weekend scientists

So, in preparation for this months local group meeting, we finally got round to doing some experiments fromthe book above. It's an American book so I had to change some of the text but nothing major. Most of the experiments can be done with stuff you'll have at home - lots of food. I think one or two of the chemicals may be a little harder to get here - borax and iodine spring to mind - but I'm looking forward to working our way through the book.
The first experiment we did was electrolysis using pencil leads (carbon), water, 2 wires and a battery.  The pencil leads are in the crocodile clips hanging in the water.
It worked! Bubbles formed. Apparently, one pencil lead has hydrogen bubbles on it and the other has oxygen bubbles:)

We did some sodium experiments with salt, freezing salt water and plain water and we have two dishes of salt solution growing crystals. Anyway, the boy enjoyed making bubbles so much he asked to do the bicarb-vinegar experiment again which seemed to tie in nicely...

... and resulted in The Magic Vinegar Pot!

After cleaning up that little lot, we went to a birthday BBQ and then to the theatre to see Funny Bones.  I highly recommend it for anyone with children. It's funny and interactive and you get wet :)

On Sunday, we had more science. This time they dug out a crystal growing kit and set those going. There's only a couple of different types of chemical in the kit, mostly with added food colouring but it was interesting to show them the chemical formula names and then refer back to the Periodic Table to see what they were.

Much less messy :)

Friday, 4 June 2010


I was going to post last night and then my computer decided to s-l-o-w right down to a stop so I had to wait til today. it takes so long to start up that it wasn't worth it last night and I needed some sleep. It's not like there's owt urgent to post anyway... :)

We had a very nice day yesterday. The Girl got up and did her French translation homework before French group, and The Boy woke up full of the joys of spring :) We went out without breakfast because todays French lesson was all about le petit dejeuner and we went for the hands-on experiential approach and had a lovely petit dejeuner en classe.

The children all really enjoyed the croissants, pain au chocolat and tartines dipped in hot chocolate. If you don't know (I didn't) une tartine is a bit of bread and jam or bread and chocolate spread. A couple of the girls said they felt a bit sick afterwards for some reason.....

It was a lovely morning and made me determined to practice more with my kiddos at home. We speak odd bits of french in a kind of immersion approach but surprisingly, they don't seem to be able to apply what they do at home to what they do at french group. Anyway, besides all that, The Girl got up today and decided that we are having a french day starting with le petit dejeuner albeit on a smaller scale. She keeeps surprising me with new little phrases from her French (AA Phrase Books for Kids):) Loving it!
Oh, we also played pairs yesterday with some food vocab cards from First French with Superchat (Book & CD) (Book & CD) which I bought a while ago and we use a lot. We played the same game again today so hopefully some more vocab will go in.

Right now, I have one small child doing maths...

...and one running around sweltering playing at being Dr Who complete with long trousers, bow tie and jacket!

I think it's going to be a  good day :D

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I read a book!!! OK, I read lots of books but this is the first adult fiction I've read in 12 months! It was bought for me as a present ages ago, I started it but didn't really get into at first and left it for 12 months. We went to a Festival last weekend and I needed something to take with me to read when I needed a break from manicness, so I took Birdsong. What happened was that I read the book and entered Festiworld as means of a break from the book.....IYSWIM. Basically, I couldn't put it down.

This has to be one of the most powerful books I've read to date. It starts in 1910 but most of the story centres around World War I. Faulks very vividly depicts what life was like in and under the trenches. The passages which take place underground were so convincingly written that I kept having to go outside to read them to avoid feeling claustrophobic! Faulks uses some amazingly beautiful metaphors to describe great tragedy while the scenes of trench life are distressingly well drawn. It was such an emotional experience reading this novel that, even though I finished it 2 days ago, the characters still seem very much alive in my mind. In fact, when I closed the last page, I just sat and hugged the book for ages looking at the blue sky and loving the world we live in today. (Corny, but true!). I'm not sure how perfectly accurate it is, but the story has given me a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made by all those men, as well as making me realise how hard it must have been for the French population. I've not really looked at World War I with my kids yet, and don't intend to for quite some time but Birdsong has certainly provided me with a bit more background info.
All in all, it suddenly makes sense why we have so many war memorials and why 'Lest We Forget' is written on them. Lest we forget that war is truly horrific and no matter who wins, everyone loses.

Recommended reading for all adults - definitely not for children.