Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Day 55 - Introducing Captain Orange & King Pirate Waxwork.

My back felt better today but I seem to have picked up a stomach bug which is not very pleasant. To soldier on regardless is the only option when you have children despite an overwhelming desire to curl up and sleep. I always try to keep the mantra 'stop being soft' playing on a loop in my head during times of illness but have been known to descend into weeping fits of self pity in the past. I managed to master the art of self control pretty well only moaning at Theo about my aching gut on one or maybe several occasions today. 

Paul left very early again this morning looking a little weary it must be said. Both boys woke up within moments of his departure ravenously hungry as normal. I fed them and proposed my library visit plan before realising that I was not very well. I amended the plan asking Theo to begin his English project using resources at home. 

His project is to create a snow fact file. He sat in bed and read about the Scott & Oates Antarctic Expedition gasping with disbelief when he realised that their adventure was doomed. He read the harrowing account and letter written by Scott and was obviously very moved. He stated that he could not believe how amazing they were to face death so bravely. His emotional response brought a tear to my eye especially to hear him say that he would never forget that tale. He went on to begin writing about this under the title 'Mind blasting Story of Scott of the Antarctic'. He also used the iPad to find out how snow is formed.

Tristan sat and played with the castle quite happily while Theo worked in bed. I spent time gathering material, felt, glue, scissors and my sewing kit ready for the next activity.

Both boys were asked to decide on their super hero name which left Theo deliberating for a while but Tristan selected his within seconds. We then set about cutting material in to the shape of a cape. One in orange and one in blue. Theo was asked to help with much of the cutting, pinning and sewing. Although the ability to sew is not a priority it is an important life skill and he enjoyed learning how to do it. Once the material had been hemmed we cut letters out of some green felt and stuck it to the capes. Theo also added some 'gem ' stones to his. They looked fantastic and the boys were delighted.

It was decided that the superheroes required masks to disguise themselves and we set about measuring faces and cutting out eye masks.

Captain Orange with his ability to turn unsuspecting criminals orange and King Pirate Waxwork with his super strength appeared on the stairs to make their inaugural flight around the house. It was great to see their imaginations in full flow.

The boys had lunch watching 'Planet Dinosaur' which is very useful for Theo and his dinosaur project. He knew two of the dinosaurs featured on the show and Tristan also corrected me when I referred to one as a Triceratops saying 'that's not a Triceratops it has a different horn'. I absolutely love that Tristan is soaking up so much information and is able to talk with Theo and I about some of the topics we cover. The episode sparked some great conversations between the boys about predatory animals and also how animals evolve to adapt to their habitats. 

The boys scrubbed their hands thoroughly, donned aprons and excitedly stood in the kitchen awaiting direction. I taught them how to make a casserole slowly explaining each stage of the process. I asked  Theo to chop the vegetables and he took to it with enthusiasm because he was being trusted with a sharp knife. He did a good job. I asked them to smell each ingredient and try to describe the aroma. Tristan also tasted all the raw ingredients ( except meat of course). They worked together sensibly and made a very good casserole with only one exception. Theo decided to go against advice and add more Thyme and Rosemary. Rather than tell him to stop I allowed him to experiment so that he would understand why ingredients are often used in very small amounts. 

After the cookery lesson Theo wrote the recipe down on a piece of card. He gave a list of ingredients and instructions on how to cook the casserole. He has decided that he will write a book of recipes so that he can cook these dishes in the future.

The recipe did not take him long to write and once complete he went on to do some Geography work at the desk. I asked him to think about the newspaper clipping used yesterday in his Science book and write down what pollution can do to habitats. He gave some examples of things which damage the environment and then explained how damaged habitats effect plants and animals. 

Tristan wanted to make a garage for his new car from an old box. He decide that the box should be green to match the car so I set him up at the table with appropriate materials. He had lots of fun painting. I took the opportunity to ask him to create a handprint picture and write his name using his finger. He only had help with the letters 'r', 's' and 'n'.

Theo drew a diagram of his cape in his DT book and labelled the various elements of the design. He will briefly explain the proccess tomorrow. 

Tristan drew some pictures on his magnetic board. He drew a spider with too many legs and we spent some time discussing the number eight as a result of this. I also read three books of his choice with him and discussed the emotions of the character in the books. He showed me his sad, happy and waking up faces. 

The boys built an under table super hero base complete with a computer, post box and communications device. I posted various notes to them asking for their help in finding lost toys which I had hidden around the house. They absolutely loved this game and ran around solving mysteries whilst the casserole was cooking. 

When I was permitted entry to the base I was surprised to find the heroes engaged in far more intellectual pursuits than I expected. The Captain and King were playing a simplified version of chess invented by Theo to teach his brother the names of the pieces. Wonderful.

Dinner was eaten although not in its entirety. Theo admitted that the herbs he had used were overpowering and a little bitter.  I managed a tiny bit but my stomach was not really up to the challenge. A little while later they received some chips through the post box in their den. I am glad that the meal was not a huge success as he has learnt a valuable lesson about cooking.

Theo practiced his violin for a while followed by some piano. Tristan patiently waited for the return of his super hero partner. 

Paul arrived home and had a brief chat with the boys but had to carry on working at home. The super heroes dashed off to bed quite happily. Theo read for hours as he is hooked on the last Harry Potter book.

We received a letter from the LEA today with a report attached. It commented positively upon various aspects of Theo's home education culminating in the overall judgement (a sinister use of vocabulary) being one of satisfaction.  They also provided a card to show if we are ever stopped by the police or the truancy team when out and about. 


Other than feeling a little poorly today has been so much fun. The boys adored the super hero activity and can not wait to visit the park tomorrow to show them off. If anyone would like to know in more detail how we went about creating the capes please ask. 

Prudence Clarke