We were both out of sorts today.  Not sure what is up with Sam, emotions a bit close to the surface. I have an issue with my eye which is causing discomfort, headaches and knock on bad mood. I got as close to throwing an irrational strop at lunch time as I have been for years, I am pretty good at calmly going with the flow but today it was a bit much.  Lip wobbled but we had a break and carried on and had a nice afternoon.

Sam insisted all work must be done near the fire this morning. The prospect of a hands on maths lesson caused an emotional outburst, which since he usually loves that sort of thing suggests some bug is brewing. We simply swapped it for tomorrow’s worksheet based lesson.

Wsn’t the best day for a very hands on science project in hindsight but in the end fun was had.  We were looking at circulation.  He compared the colour of his hands after holding one up for a minute. We had a go at being a heart.  Seeing how many times we could transfer water from one bowl to the other in a minute.  Sam managed 20 ‘beats’, me a couple more, certainly not the 60 odd we aimed for. We made a model heart. Then blood, using white and red waterbeads as blood cells and pieces of red foam as platelets. We also read about the endocrine and urinary systems.  On the subject of how toxins are removed we made Sam’s hand sweat by taping a bag around it. A lot of the rest of the day was spent playing with the waterbeads.  They have been transferred to increasingly big containers as the day has gone on.  Bit worried they will have overflowed by morning.  I read aloud from “My Story: The Workhouse” while he played.  Sam and I can’t walk past the tub of beads without a play.  Jack spent a good while with them when he got home. We settled down for a rest and sewing/playing on the Kindle watched the discussion in the House of Commons about Trump.  Gave rise to interesting discussion and a laugh when he was asking Pete about Facism and said ‘an angry old man said’, which was all the description Pete needed to identify Dennis Skinner 🙂

As the syringes were out he fulfilled one of his recent ‘must do’ plans this evening by injecting an apple with water… and a banana and a pear and a grape and a potato and any other fruit an veg he could find.  Tesco came this morning so he was busy for some time!

Charles Dickens House and The Foundling Museum

After a quiet start to the month itchy feet hit and we were ready to add some flesh to watching and reading we are doing on the Victorians.  So we headed to London to explore Charles Dickens House and The Foundling Museum.
Both were lovely places if not the most child friendly. My friend’s 8 yo wasn’t really engaged by much of it but the older two really seemed to enjoy it.  I think the ability to read the displays and trails helped plus of course familiarity with the Dickens’ stories. 
The lady behind the desk in the Dickens Museum was really lovely.
The things that stick out were the tokens in the Foundling Museum, we found one engraved to a ‘Stephen Large’ had to wonder if an ancestor.  The names given to some of the children caused much amusement.  There was a William Shakespeare, a Julius Caesar, Francis Drake and even a Robin Hood and a Little John.
Mis Havisham’s wedding dress and a hedgehog in the kitchen stick out at the Dickens’ house.  The contrast between Dickens’ huge writing desk and the tiny writing table used by Jane Austen was striking.

We Found Out Why I Had Wet Mud My Supply List

Back in August I wrote out my supply list of what we needed block by block of activities.  All well and good but that does mean I look at the list in January and think what on earth can we possibly want wet mud for for Maths of all things? 
Turns out we were drying it out and working out the volume of water removed.  We had to cheat as not a hot day and bake it in the oven.  No wonder Pete looks dubious at what he finds in the kitchen at times, think he’s scared of accidentally eating a science experiment!

More hands on maths (yesterday’s work to catch up on too!) when we looked at displacement.  Never stops being fun 🙂
Sam also made story stones.  We managed one sensible story about Thor (there was a man with a hammer) and Loci.  The second one had more stones added and ended up a lot more surreal with a carpenter becoming a mythical knight and battling Donald Trump. Who died and turned into a giant flying snake that got nucked by the Russians!

We did manage to catch up on all our ‘core’ work from yesterday.  After lunch and an episode of Victorian Farm we ran out of steam though and rather than do a very practical science session curled up and read one of the My Story books we’d picked up on the Victorians.  This one was on the Workhouse.

Write Off Day

It is a long time since we have had one of those.  But hey ho they happen to us all. 
I woke up with a sick headache which was not a good start.  Took two coffees before I could move properly.  Then the printer really didn’t like the card I was using to print off stuff for the day’s home ed group session.  Sam’s work didn’t go well as instead of sitting with him calm and helpful I was sat on the floor ranting at the printer.
There came a point where we cut our losses and decided to follow the whim for new colouring pens for the HE group and nip into town to buy some, pay for a trip that was hanging over me (needed bank transfer and I’ve no idea what my online banking passcode is, never got in to using it) and get a birthday cake for a friend since I obviously wasn’t going to have time to make one.
Frustrations didn’t end there as we missed the bus by seconds and then mislayed bus ticket as I was getting on bus so had to pay again for the return journey.  Meant another meal eaten on the go while I packed up for the group.
Group was lovely.  No photos as I was busy constructing a dragon puppet, playing parachute games and worrying that there was no one about in the office so I had no way of locking the hall on departure.  
Stresses continued in a minor way at home, work and HE related – I so wish people would read messages properly! Oh and FB would have events where you can set it that people have to be approved before being registered as ‘going’, has to be a better system for limited numbers events. 

We did manage a bit of ‘work’ in the evening.  A Chinese take away, for Chinese New Year.  Sam did have a go with chopsticks!

This was the only photo I managed of the day.  Which sums it up neatly. Oh well “tomorrow (or today now) is another day”.


Slow Day

In the mood to take it quietly today.
Started with Latin and Spanish.
Sam got into a creative writing task so much I even managed to sit down and work.  We did even more creative story telling this time with shadow puppets (I’ve put some of the videos on Facebook page), I think his creative zeal had gone by this time.  
He liked the ‘den’ though and stayed in it for Maths.

Well until he wanted to use the centimetre cubes. For use substitute play with 😉 We then looked at education and Confucianism in ancient China.  Carved rubbers into moveable type using one of those pointy things from scratch art sets.  Was lying about and was perfect for the job.  Ink was mushed up berries run through a sieve. He stamped out the letters on to the paper we made last week.  I take full responsibility for the back to front S.We read more about the Shang dynasty (scary levels of human sacrifice) and watched more of Michael Wood’s Story of India.  Then some Code Academy and Sam made a cake.

Lost Sam to the laptop for the afternoon and I got distracted from work by booking HE trips.

How Many Children Can You Fit in a Newspaper Dome?

Seven quite large ones, comfortably, is the answer.  Good job my neighbours are good about the noise 😉

Sam was up bright and early so the day got off to a flier.  English, Latin, Spanish and Maths all done by 10am.  He looked at Siberia and we talked about differences in taiga and tundra and where in the world might have each.  Also the new word of the day was archipeligo as he ooked firstly at Japan but then looked for others.  We finished reading a lovely book about Dickens and Sam wrote a short biography on his blog while I prepped the room for science.

After lunch, over which we watched Victorian Farm, friends joined us for science.
After the success of the bridges this time decided to stay with structures and we moved on to domes.
They started making shapes out of straws and paper clips to decide the strongest.
Then rolling up and cutting newspaper poles to build a dome.
Which lasted all of 8 mins before it was ripped apart and turned in to tug of war and swords.

Other Priorities

10 days since my last post.  That is a long time on recent form.

Those who know what I do workwise might guess the cause 😉 It’s been a month where my head has been full with other concerns and priorities.  Home ed has plodded on successfully, albeit with a bit more home time. Although hard to tell how much that is down to work and how much is Sam having a heavy, wheezy cold all month and me watching the pennies. Having the energy and time to blog though hasn’t happened.

Anyway this is a catch up post.  Trying to recal what we have done.

Maths has been area, lengths and perimeters. 
English, Latin and Spanish just progressed on with no dramas.

History has been lots of reading of abridged versions of Dickens, trying to source more as he’s loved them.  We’ve also watched Victorian Pharmacy.

Geography we’ve continued to look at Asia and China.  He’s written diaries of an Everest climb and we have continued to explore inventions from China, designing a house to Feng Shui rules and making paper from egg boxes.  We’ve also continued to read about the Shang Dynasty and watch Michael Wood’s Story of China.

Science and we continued to look at the human body.  Digestion was good fun. 
We soaked cloths stained with ketchup in different washing powders to see the affects of enzymes. Broke down fats.
Modelled the digestive system with a bit too runny results. Started off with too much sauce in the beans.

Week after was the turn of the lungs.  We burnt up oxygen, measured breath temperature, demonstrated there was moisture in breath and made a model where one lung worked.

Socially we’ve had trampolining. We tried out a venue for a potential social meet.  Don’t think we’ll be going back, it was a cafe with a play centre attached thought it would be good place for mixed age gatherings but crikey it was loud and Sam and the other older ones weren’t too impressed.  Will leave it to the younger ones I think.
We did find this gem on our walk home though.
On Weds last week we were supposed to have an animal handling workshop but it got cancelled on the morning due to illness so we lost the morning to making sure everyone knew, telling the venue and trying to sort new plans.  New plans were geocaching.  Very successful and icy outing.

The last two Fridays have focussed on getting me new glasses as my eyesight has been causing issues for a while.  We had a long time in Game after my test so he could spend Christmas vouchers.  Lots of practical maths as we were price comparing with Amazon (where he also had vouchers).  This week we collected the glasses and spent some time in the local museum.  We’d been talking about the workhouse scandal at Fareham so that was where we headed but ended up hanging out for a while.

At home we continue to spend lots of time on board games.
Plus Sam eventually finished Christmas Lego.


Freestyle Crafting

Morning was a procrastinating type of morning but Maths, English, Latin and Spanish did get done eventually.  We also read more about Dicken’s life and the Shang Dynasty and watched an episode of Victorian Pharmacy.
After lunch we had our first DIY group of the year, working on the skill ‘Cardboarder
We provided scissors, tape, string, other various bits, photos for ideas and lots and lots of cardboard, the instruction to make a piece of art, a sculpture (of an animal if they wanted it for the skill) or a toy.
Sam made a rocket (it started as modern art).

The rocket improved, with what I think is a sword.  There were a lot of weapons made!I asked what this was and was told it was a ‘collaborative project’ which wasn’t that helpful but nice to hear.  Think plane or kite as they were trying to fly it in the garden.

I had a go with one of the art techniques.Was a good session.  It is nice to do more structured projects, learning new skills like the screen printing sometimes.  However lovely to see free flow creativity in action too.  They kept going with the modelling for about 1.5 hrs which I thought was quite some concentration and absorbtion levels.
Board games still having a resurgence in appeal in the house so we spent much of the evening playing Carcassonne, before he indulged in a solitary game of Risk.  Risk hurts my brain – that is a dad game 😉

Play Day

Whatever Jack was complaining of yesterday took us both this morning, just a trace of a cold I think but unpleasant headache with it.  Anyway it was a day for shifting the original plans for the afternoon (a very messy science project) to another day.  I replaced with reading (more Dickens and the history of the Shang Dynasty) and tv watching (Victorian Pharmacy) instead.  We’d finished by 1 so spent the afternoon playing games.
Days are always what you make of them 🙂

Spinny Chair Fun

I had a big work project come to a pinacle at the weekend meaning there was a lot of sitting at the computer.  Made me realise how uncomfortable it was using a dining chair at the computer, add in the fact I realised yesterday that I had 7 children at our house this afternoon for an activity and only 6 chairs.  So it was a make use of Argos quick delivery to get a spinny chair delivered this morning.
The excitement of the chair meant that Sam was up washed, dressed and breakfasted a good half hour earlier than usual 🙂 Maths, English, Latin and Spanish were easily finished by 10 am.  So we set to work building.  Well I tightened screws, Sam is quite capable of following the instructions now.  I have trained him well.  Also took the opportunity to lower the seat on the trip trap chair to make it usable by 11yo.
Then he span – a lot. With time to spare before lunch I read an adaptation of Bleak House aloud while Sam made something from the Qixels.

After lunch a small group of friends joined us for some science.  We are hoping eventually to work on the Crest awards but for now it’s a bit of fun and getting them used to the group work needed.  Only taken us 4 months to sort out actually meeting.
We with welding with chocolate to test girders.  The first job was to devise a way to hold the joints as they set from what they could find in the conservatory.  Most built a lego contraption.

The dodgy looking one (the boys) held nearly 700g, the next 5kg and the next two held the 5kg and stayed in tact.  So we tried lightest person – unsuccessfully.   Given knex to build a bridge they decided on towers, cars, glue guns, anything but, however they had fun.
Jack arrived home, just after everyone had left, complaining of feeling rotten.  Spinning about and using my chair for transport claiming he was Davros did seem to cheer him up though 🙂