Da Vinci Flower Studies

Today’s art group involved detailed obser­va­tional draw­ings of spring flow­ers inspired by some of Da Vinci’s  flower sketches.


20150305_1620150305_13Camel­lia20150305_23 Var­i­ous stages in the life cycle of daffodils20150305_24

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Butser Ancient Farm

Our book on farm­ing through time is yet to arrive annoy­ingly.  How­ever we are really enjoy­ing Vic­to­rian Farm (apart from the brawn — eurgh) so work on his­tory of farm­ing progresses.

Yes­ter­day with the sun out we took a trip up to Butser Ancient Farm to go even fur­ther back.  Been on my agenda for a long time but not an easy jour­ney by pub­lic trans­port.  My Dad though has been really keen to go as that is the period of his­tory that inter­ests him.  I am glad we waited to go by car as have to say I wasn’t hugely taken with it and we only lasted an hour.  Part of the issue was the num­ber of schools in though, plus I find it hard to muster up enthu­si­asm for any more Roman ruins (seen a few!) but we have a pass so will go back, hope­fully when it is qui­eter.  Lovely bit of coun­try­side anyway.

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Science Group — Introduction to Electricity

After a bit of a hia­tus, when life unfor­tu­nately got in the way, we are back to hav­ing a fort­nightly sci­ence ses­sion with friends.  The theme this half term is electricity.

Not a new idea to any of the kids, so more about explor­ing and hav­ing fun.

We started off with some fun with sta­tic elec­tric­ity.  Stick­ing bal­loons to heads.

20150304_3 20150304_1Lots of bal­loons :)20150304_4 We then had a go at mak­ing tis­sue ghosts dance using combs.  Was far more suc­cess­ful sim­ply comb­ing hair rather than rub­bing with cloths.  Then the bal­loons came back out.

20150304_6We had a failed attempt to make a bat­tery using cop­per, zinc and vine­gar.  I hadn’t man­aged to get hold of the thin strips they spec­i­fied so it was a bodged together job anyway.

We then built sim­ple cir­cuits to light bulbs and tested var­i­ous mate­ri­als to see if they were conductors.

20150304_8They wanted to test gold so had a go with my wed­ding ring.20150304_10On to more cir­cuits next time.


Posted in Curriculum, Electricity and Magnets, Science | 2 Comments

Farming Project — Planning

I have per­haps gone too far the other way from maps and this one may be too field trip heavy.

Plan to look at 2 main areas

His­tory of Farming

We have a book on order ‘A Farm through Time’, another book on request from the library on changes in mod­ern farm­ing.

We plan to work our way through the dvds of

Tudor Monastery Farm

Vic­to­rian Farm

Edwar­dian Farm

and Wartime Farm

We’ll no doubt have a visit to Manor Farm too

Where our food comes from

Using the Tesco Eat Happy project as a base the idea is to look at dif­fer­ent aspects of how our food is pro­duced by focus­ing on a dif­fer­ent area every week.  We’ve also found a series of books (like this one) which we have borrowed/requested from the library.

Week 1 - Straw­ber­ries

Tesco Farm to Fork visit

His­tory of local straw­berry farm­ing at West­bury Manor

Online field trip

Tesco resources

Milk­shake and planting

Week 2 - Pre­serv­ing food

Baked Beans field trip

Sup­port­ing resources

Grow bean (in diff con­di­tions?), dis­sect beans, bean mosiacs

Warhol Camp­bells Soup

Cylin­ders — nets and volume

Visit to Urban Farm

Week 3 — Local Farming

Attend local farm­ers market

Cook­ing with local produce

Look at maps of main farm­ing types, dis­cuss reasons

Farm ani­mal crafts

Week 4 — Dairy

We have a Cd-rom of a Dairy Farm visit

Trip to a Dairy Farm

Make ice cream

Milk online field trip

Milk resources

Cheese online field trip

Cheese resources

Week 5 — Bread/Grain

Resources from the Grain Chain

Bread online Field trip

Tesco resources


Mill visit?

Week 6 — Eggs

Eggs online field trip

Eggs resources

Manor Farm with chicken book?

Easter crafts


Gen­eral resources

Farm behind the fork

Farm­ing and coun­try­side education

Eat Happy Project

Minecraft — he is build­ing and main­tain­ing a farm

Farm­ing sim­u­la­tor on tablet

Posted in Farming, Planning | 1 Comment

All’s well that ends well

I felt totally unpre­pared for this last week.  Half term did not feel like a break at all, too many other things took pri­or­ity over home ed plan­ning.  I have a few lit­tle nig­gles about things that aren’t work­ing for me, which I need to sort out but they involve oth­ers and a need to be sen­si­tive to avoid upset and I know I’m not the most sen­si­tive par­tic­u­larly when tired.  But try­ing hard to men­tally shake myself off and by the end of the week thanks to a bit of mood lift­ing sun­shine, every­thing looks bet­ter and prob­lems look very minor.

Maths, Eng­lish, Span­ish and Latin plod along.  Span­ish has had a resur­gence in enthu­si­asm since we moved to using the Duolingo app.  Means we both have accounts and he has the moti­va­tion of try­ing to stay ahead of me ;)

Maths is where I had hoped to man­age some plan­ning.  Rely­ing heav­ily on Math­let­ics at the moment and it is start­ing to bore.  He’s learn­ing from it still so we’ll plod on until Easter and then hope­fully inject a bit of umphh into things.

Mon­day and Tues­day were mostly about tick­ing stuff off.

Inspired by our visit to Southamp­ton Art Gallery last week we made a wire sculp­ture and wrapped it in mod­roc.  Not exactly sure what it is.  Sam kept chang­ing his mind.  Will have to see when it is painted. Bit of very messy fun.


We started off our farm project with the first episode of Vic­to­rian Farm over lunch.  After­noon was spent doing a bit of Cub badge work and expend­ing some energy on Kinect Sports.

Tues­day was another day near to home.  Besides the usual core work we had a walk to the vil­lage to do a cou­ple of errands and back via library.  More Cub badge work fol­lowed.  Aim­ing to fill the blan­ket at Cubs since the Scout badges are pretty much impos­si­ble.  Then we had friends for the after­noon.  Four boys dis­ap­peared into the con­ser­va­tory to play Lego for the after­noon.  I played with my friend’s 5 year old daugh­ter for a while, indulging in some ‘girly stuff’.  Until she found the knights which were far more inter­est­ing and I was tasked with mak­ing her some bracelets by myself :).

Weds was home ed trip day.  Tesco’s Farm to Fork trail.  Bit of a night­mare to organ­ise this one but ended in a nice morning.


After­noon plans were tor­pe­doed when the museum was closed (open­ing hours changed on Mon­day!).  We had planned to go and at the straw­berry farm­ing dis­play.  Instead we picked up a bit of shop­ping and went home.  I spent the rest of the after­noon on HE group admin while Sam built a farm on Minecraft.

Thurs­day was home day.  Core­work, a bit of straw­berry stuff for our project, art group, Span­ish tutor and another episode of Vic­to­rian Farm.

Fri­day and the sun burst through and out­doors was call­ing.  We started off with core work and were done and dusted by 10am.  So we headed out with my Dad to Titch­field Abbey for an explore in the sun­shine.  Titch­field Abbey is one of my favourite local places, one of the Abbeys gifted by Henry VIII to his sup­port­ers as a pri­vate home it has fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory yet is now a ruin.  It isn’t staffed and is com­pletely open to the pub­lic, a favourite place for locals to walk dogs it is a bril­liant place for climb­ing, explor­ing and play­ing.  My Dad fell in love with it too so sus­pect it will become a fre­quent haunt now we have car use.

20150227_19 20150227_16 20150227_6 20150227_1 20150227_17 20150227_11 20150227_8 20150227_4 20150227_2We headed up to Gar­sons Gar­den Cen­tre from there.  Looked at the fish and rep­tiles, played in the park and explored the farm shop before head­ing home for lunch.

After lunch it was out again for a scoot to the vil­lage for a few ingre­di­ents for our after­noon topic plans.

20150228_23Back home we watched the online field trip about Straw­ber­ries from Tesco and com­pleted some of the activ­i­ties con­nected to it.


We then had a go at plant­ing some straw­ber­ries from seed!  And herbs.


After that we greeted the arrival of Jack home from school with home­made straw­berry milk­shake.20150227_2320150227_31 Jack had scouts so Sam and I cud­dled down with the first of the Hob­bit movies.  I cel­e­brated fin­ish­ing our work on straw­ber­ries with a treat for me for a change.


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Self portraits in the style of Da Vinci

This half term art group moves on to Leonardo Da Vinci.

We started, as we start every new artist, by read­ing our Anholt’s Artist book.  I really do love these — much bet­ter than the Katie series that peo­ple often rec­om­mend as an intro to art for lit­tle ones.


That took quite a while as we kept get­ting side­tracked down avenues of con­ver­sa­tion.  Da Vinci really was an absolutely amaz­ing character.

We looked at this pic­ture.  Dis­cussed that peo­ple believe it to be Da Vinci but due to the length of time and the patchy records it is not certain.

da vinci

The pic­ture was drawn in red chalk so using mir­rors and chalk we drew our own self por­traits.

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Tesco Farm to Fork trip

Yes­ter­day we had a school trip to Tesco and it really was a ‘school’ trip right down to the bright tabards, clip­boards of work­sheets and no real in depth learn­ing tak­ing place at all.  The sub­ject was Farm to Fork — ask any of those chil­dren where the food they were look­ing at came from and they won’t have a clue unless they already knew.  That said it was designed as an activ­ity to get chil­dren out of the class­room and offer an expe­ri­ence, the shop had put a lot of effort in and the chil­dren enjoyed it, held the inter­est of even to youngest.  Was some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent.  For us it was a nice way to intro­duce a new topic and we’ll look at the online field trips to cover the farm side (plus we have a few farm vis­its booked).

Touring the storage area

Tour­ing the stor­age area



In the freezer





See­ing the cook­ies go into the oven



Com­put­erised oven control


Learn­ing how to fil­let a fish. The faces :)


Cheese tast­ing

Also did some work in the fruit and veg aisle and some fruit tast­ing.  Before going away with more fruit, a goody bag of recipes and the all impor­tant baked cookies.

20150226_18We had planned to fol­low up with a trip to the local museum to view the straw­berry gallery but it was closed!

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Map Project

Lessons (re)learned on this one.  Don’t over plan and work­books are the quick­est way to kill inter­est in a sub­ject (for both of us).

We got off to a good start and had fun with the route plan­ning aspect.

20150122_1 It is when we started on the work­sheet ele­ment that it started to drag.  Never got around to a num­ber of the hands on activ­i­ties planned.  Although we did get out and about using maps a fair amount.



If I look back over my orig­i­nal objec­tives though I’m happy we achieved all but the last one.

  • Be able to fol­low sim­ple routes marked on maps
  • Be able to nav­i­gate sim­ple routes using local street map, road map, pub­lic trans­port map, OS map
  • Under­stand key, sym­bols, grid ref and con­tour lines of an OS map
  • Know 8 pt com­pass and use.
  • Under­stand how to use an atlas and be able to inter­pret dif­fer­ent types of maps.
  • Be able to use online maps.

Def­i­nitely been reminded by this one that I can over plan and gen­er­ally things go bet­ter when there is some ele­ment of ‘wing­ing it’.

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Half term

Where as we do actu­ally observe half terms since Jack went to school it doesn’t make them a quiet time as there is always the next 6 weeks to prep for and all the things that we can’t fit in nor­mally to squash in.

We’ve had days out…

On Mon­day to the Mary Rose

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And Thurs­day to Southamp­ton.  Sam and I met friends at the art gallery to see the Louise Bour­geois exhi­bi­tion while Jack went shop­ping with his friend.  For some rea­son all my pho­tos van­ished (cam­era fail­ing) so stole Kathryn’s as it is lovely.



There has been no Guide’s but we had a Guiders meet­ing instead, which takes far longer.  Then there was a table top fundrais­ing sale which took up a morn­ing and the updat­ing of paper­work.  I’ve lost hours on the phone try­ing to deal with mass incom­pe­tence relat­ing to a HE trip :(

Took a good while to update the diary.  May pos­si­bly have over booked us :/ Yet again!

Have done some HE plan­ning (need to do more too).

We’ve had a mas­sive sort out and have 6 large boxes ready for a jum­ble sale in March.

Plus some very messy (but fun) projects for work.


And of course there were pancakes :)


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Picasso’s Baboon and Young

AKA Junk modelling.

We ended our study of Picasso by look­ing at some of the sculp­tures he made from mate­ri­als scav­enged from skips.  Then let the chil­dren loose with my ‘we can make some­thing out of this’ box (well one of them ;)) and a load of tape.


Sam’s space ship



Michael’s fan­tas­tic man

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