Thursday, 5 December 2013
We left the house very early this morning as we had to be at our first forest school session by 9.45am. Theo was very excited at the prospect of getting covered in mud, building shelters and generally having fun outdoors. Tristan is too young to join in just yet but should be able to in the New Year.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare and waited. It was a bit windy and a little rainy but the boys thought it was great fun as they chased leaves around. We waited for over half an hour until another family arrived. We checked with the park staff who were unable to help. After quite some time the other mum and I decided that it must have been cancelled and parted company. Theo's plans for a woodland adventure changed leaving him a little disappointed and we had to quickly come up with a new plan for the day. We found out later that it had been called off.
We headed to the venue where we will be holding our local home ed group soon. We spent a couple of hours organising and tidying. Keeping busy took Theo's mind off being sad which was good.
We arrived home after a long morning where we had lunch and warmed up. It is Tristan's birthday tomorrow and Theo wanted to buy him a present which meant heading out again. We went to the shops and I gave Theo some money to buy his brother a card and a gift. We also visited the library where I was given some very good news. The librarian gave me a Home Education Card which means that we can now borrow up to forty books. I am delighted as it means that if we decide to learn about a certain topic with the home ed group I will be able to get enough books out for all the children. It is really quite wonderful.
Back at home we learnt more about plants concentrating on cells and cellulose. Theo also read about the Stone Age and whilst doing so he discovered that it was the Japanese who first made pottery. He wrote this down in his Japanese Lap book.
Theo wrote about the Stone Age in his Japanese book.
We spent the late afternoon making sketchbooks to take to an organised activity at the art gallery tomorrow.
The boys went to bed early which was marvellous as it gave me time to make a cake for Tristan's birthday. I have also spent the evening blowing up balloons and wrapping presents along with Paul. I think Tristan will be a very happy little boy tomorrow.
I am still suffering from a pain of a cold but in true mum fashion I have soldiered on regardless. I do hope that I feel better tomorrow so that I have plenty of energy for his birthday.
The boys have chosen 'Slinky Malinki' by Lynley Dodd for tonight's bedtime story.
The story of the rapscallion cat is an absolute favourite with us. The beautifully written rhyming tale has been committed to our memories and we can all recite it off by heart. The illustrations are also lovely and this book comes highly recommended by our whole family.
Do you have another favourite Lynley Dodd book?
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
As a home educator I know that on the days when I am poorly a supply teacher is not going to magically appear at my front door and take over. A substitute will not arrive, pack me off to bed with a hot drink and a paracetamol and start teaching my kids algebra. It isn't going to happen but I am glad of that. I am glad that I was at home today with my boys who showed me that we really are a team. They showed me that even when mum is not well education still goes on.
I woke with a sniffle which progressed over the course of the day into a horrible monster of a cold. I admit that by 10am I was wondering just how I was going to manage to give my children enough quality attention and education.
I needn't have worried. Theo has become very self motivated and responsible since he has been home educated. He read to his brother this morning patiently sounding out words so that he could join in. He made us all breakfast and helped wash and dress Tristan. When I told them that we needed to buy bread I was impressed to find them both ready at the front door grasping shopping bags. Theo bought the supplies from the shop and they carried the bags home for me. If I hadn't been ill I think I would have felt like royalty.
I let them watch a couple of Doctor Who episodes which never normally happens during the week. It was nice to all snuggle up under blankets in the living room and the rest did me good. Theo waited on me which was lovely and he also took care of Tristan by making him lunch
What really made me proud was discovering the boys at the table in the work room having a go at some Maths. Theo had located some multiplication grids and was busily working away whilst Tristan was finishing some pattern work and tracing shapes. It was a moment of realisation for me as it dawned on me that they can survive and function without my constant input. They just did it and they enjoyed it.
I let them use the iPad and computer to play some BBC Schools online games. They concentrated on Science although Theo also completed a Bitesize English quiz. They spent much of the afternoon drawing and creating games which required the use of a dice.
It is uplifting to know that your children want to learn and display the self motivation to do so independently. It isn't just about me and whether I can manage when I am ill. We are a family and we all pitch in together when one of us is not able to perform their normal role. The boys are responsible for their education as well and they proved to me today that they know this. I am very proud of them both.
We have a busy few days ahead so I hope that I can overcome this cold speedily.
Tristan has chosen a classic book tonight for his bedtime story. He has chosen 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs.
The story is told through beautiful illustrations without words. It tells to tale of a boy who becomes friends with a snowman and together they go on a wonderful magical adventure. It is a delightful book which has been one of our favourites for years. Young children can tell the story by using the pictures which makes it extremely engaging.
We love this book and rate it as one of our all time favourite festive reads. Is it one of your seasonal favourites too?
I adore our home school mornings. The time that we used to spend rushing around trying to find shoes, ties, coats, book bags and angrily snapping at each other because we might be late is now spent leisurely eating breakfast and reading. There is no arguing that this is a much more beneficial way of spending time.
Tristan used key word cards to show me which words he could read. He is doing very well with his reading and can recognise a number of CVC words.
A home educating friend recently told me about 'lap books'. These books give children a more hands on approach to learning. They have interesting folded tabs and pieces of paper for recording key facts about a topic which makes the experience more interesting. I think that our slightly creative way of learning is similar to this anyway but today I decided to give a lap book about Japan a try. I printed a few pages from http://www.homeschoolshare.com/country_japan.php
The boys had started by drawing and colouring Japanese flags yesterday on folded pieces of paper. They used a variety of prompts taken from the Lapbook to research facts about Japan today.Theo really enjoyed using the Internet and books from our home library to learn about the natural disasters of Japan. From this point we went on to find out how volcanos are formed and how they erupt. We discussed tectonic plates, the earths mantel , earthquakes and typhoons. Tristan was involved in all of these learning experiences and recorded them in his own version of the book.
Theo loves maps and was engrossed in finding out facts about Japan.
They have enjoyed using some of the Lapbook pages and I think that they are a useful tool. We will probably create our own versions in future as the children enjoy making ,drawing and writing their own pieces of work. They are a great idea and I can certainly see the benefit of using unusual formats to engage children.
My parents visited today as they wanted to give Tristan an enormous parcel for his birthday on Friday. He is incredibly excited now that he has seen a present and can not wait to open it. They also brought Theo some delicious looking dates to eat as they are his favourite snack and a very festive hat for Tristan.
I asked Theo to complete a Maths game on the BBC schools KS2 site. I left the room for a few minutes and returned to find him on the GCSE maths site where he was converting percentages into decimals correctly. He explained to me that he had taught himself. I left him to complete the game.
When I came back ten minutes later to tell him which English exercise we would be doing I found him on the GCSE Bitesize Debating Skills English section. I watched him for a little while as he watched video clips and proposed how to persuade an audience successfully. I realised that he is far more advanced language wise than I had previously given him credit for. I asked him to complete a couple of the online English 'tests' on the site which he flew through without any errors. A degree of autonomy needs to be granted to him with regards English study as it is clearly an area which he enjoys and excels at. He has often told me of his interest in Old English which stems from his enjoyment of The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and I may see if I can come up with something which will provide a challenge for him in this subject.
Tristan sat and read a book about the body with me. He questioned what bones were for and how they grow. He found the Halloween skull and showed me where in the body it went.
Theo made the family sushi for dinner. This was in keeping with the Japanese theme today. He was immensely proud of making dinner for everyone for the very first time. It was delicious.
The final sushi rolls were wonderful.
The cress is coming on well and the experiment has begun with half of the container being plunged into darkness so that we can see what happens if a plant does not get light. More science is on the agenda for tomorrow.
It has been a great home educating day. Please feel free to comment about any of the things we have done today and if you have any questions I am happy to answer them.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Tonight Tristan has chosen 'Grumpy Cat' by Britta Teckentrup.
In this story Cat is grumpy because he is lonely and perhaps a little shy. He wants to fit in and play with other cats but just doesn't know how. Heavy rain brings Grumpy Cat together with a little kitten. After resisting the new friendship for a while the pair are eventually brought together and Grumpy Cat is not lonely anymore.
The story is good for helping children think about friendship and how some people might find it more difficult than others to make friends. Tristan also enjoys this book because he is able to read a few of the words and he adores cats.
What will you be reading tonight? Please share your favourite books with us.