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’.

Chemical reactions, compass points and coughs/colds

One of the great advantages of home education is that no one is putting pressure on you for attendance figures it is your call what your child does.  One of the disadvantages of home education is you find yourself having to make calls on how well your child is all the time and it’s hard!

Sam has a cold and chesty cough, he’s wheezing but not particularly asthmatic but I know how quickly he can tip meaning we have had tricky calls over the last couple of days.  We opted not to visit a friend, mainly to avoid passing it on because that would be bad.  But chose to go to laser quest (I would be worst mother ever if he missed that – high point in the month).  Cubs we decided to skip as he’s been worse at night and they were hiking.  Think in the end that was over cautious as he wasn’t as bad last night and seems pretty much fine today.

In between the toing, froing and decision making we’ve covered maths, English, Latin and Spanish as normal, been working on atlas skills and exploring chemical reactions.

Vinegar and baking soda
The brown things are airfix soldiers – aka explosion casualties
Using cabbage water as an indicator to test for acid/alkali
Moved on to testing random contents of the fridge
Moved on to testing random contents of the fridge

Besides laser quest we’ve also had a trip to Stanley Park to practice our map skills ‘in the field’.

Using 6 fig ref to find location of geocache on the map – that we then failed to locate on the ground.
We made pictures using the 8 compass points instead after a second failed cache!
We played catch each other with the string.
And hide and seek with squirrels.

Then having jettisoned the dead wood  sorry parted company our friends we went on to find a cache on the way home :).

One of those days where he gets so involved it is lovely to see.  Testing the acids took us beyond 7pm and then he still wanted to play a maths board game 🙂

Reasons to love home ed no. 567

Sam has a cold and his asthma is playing up.  He’s not particularly ill but he’s not completely right either.  One of the reasons home ed has always worked so well with Sam is that it is so easy to tweak and adapt plans.  There is no ‘is he well enough for school’ dilemmas, no guilt at sending him in when he’s below par because that is what you have to do, or hassle from schools/ewos because you don’t and his attendance isn’t ‘good enough’.

There are very few days when it would be hard to find some evidence of education taking place – basically only days spent sleeping or vomiting.  On days where he may have been too sick for school often we can carry on more or less as normal (perhaps in pjs and blanket as a treat) as we don’t have to worry about the going out in the cold, passing on germs, energy levels lasting the day.  Sometimes when he’s really not great we end up retreating under blankets on the sofa for books and documentaries.

Anyway back to yesterday – the sneezes, wheezes and rain simply meant that we opted for an indoor day rather than the pencilled in outdoor one.

English was done efficiently, including looking at story settings.

20150122_9Latin and he’s finished Level 1 🙂

Spanish done curled up in bed.

Maths was some Timez Attack and Fraction pairs


We made a game to practice giving directions (needs some work!)20150121_3Looked at route mapping from bus maps.  I want the boys to be confident using public transport, I think it gives them such a huge amount of independence and self reliance.  We planned the trip we’d intended to take with a view to doing it on Friday.  Looking up times on the timetables as well.20150121_5

We then had a game of the London Game to practice using the tube map.  Confidence navigating London is another key aim for the boys, opens up so many opportunities.

20150122_1We finally got around to watching the first of the RI Christmas lectures.

Then spent the afternoon in front of the fire reading.20150122_7 Looking up where some of the stories were set.20150122_3Rest of the day passed in playing Minecraft with Jack, chess with Pete and an early night.

Not bad for a ‘sick day’.

P.S.  Sorry for all the positive posts at what for most people is the hardest point in the home ed year.  If it helps I will be miserable from May to July (always am – heat and hayfever make me grumpy and Sam harder work too).


The windy week that whizzed away

Week seems to have gone in the blink of an eye.

Besides the usual we’ve been exploring some new resources. There is a teacher that donates loads of good stuff to a local Oxfam, sometimes I can get some really good stuff.

20150116_9In creative writing we’ve been working on descriptions.20150116_13

Mapwork has been writing directions and following them.
20150116_7Gosport-20150112-01918 Gosport-20150112-01916

There has been a fair amount of getting cold and wet.


We’ve received quite a few postcards via postcrossing so we bought a new big map and have been tracking them.


Maths wise we’ve been exploring a resource based on Maths comic strips.  We’ve played various versions of Maths pairs, City of Zombies and other games (inc awful Beano one).  Mathletics and Timez Attack have both featured and he’s been rereading some of his Murderous Maths books.20150116_1There has also been a fair discussion of financial matters as we had a day spent in banks dealing with new accounts (for boys), standing orders and other bits.  Perhaps not a full day but considerably over an hour so it felt like a very long time.

We’ve had new resources to explore and plans to make.
20150116_2With the weather (and a new cold) keeping us indoors we’ve dug out the Kinect and had fun bowling, boxing and playing football.

Social wise there has been board games with Grandad,  lunch out with friends, laser quest, art and Spanish and a friend over for X-box play as well as Cubs and Gang Show.

Map Project – Planning

Trying to get my head straight on this one as know I am likely to try and fit too much in.

Learning Objectives

  • 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.


 Be able to follow simple routes marked on maps

  • Follow local trail leaflets
  • Plan and print a map and directions from Google Maps – follow.
  • Track the route of Philius Fogg as read Around the World (Watch Palin?)

Be able to navigate simple routes using local street map, road map, public transport map, OS map

  • Street map – right and left activity from Gffp.  Plan a route using local red book, write directions, walk following directions.
  • Road map – plan route from ours to his penfriends (nearest major points anyway) using road atlas.  Use Google maps to plot route and compare.
  • Public Transport – use local bus maps to plan route for a journey.  Follow.  Play the London Game.
  • OS Map – plan long walk and follow.

Understand key, symbols, grid ref and contour lines of an OS map

  • Work through activities from OS
  • Draw plan activity from Gffp
  • Scale drawing activity from Gffp
  • Battle Ships – design a game with 6-fig ref
  • OS symbols flashcards
  • Contour line pic from 3D model (Gffp) and reverse
  • Geocaching

Know 8 pt compass and use.

  • Navigate a chalk maze using 4 compass points
  • Worksheet plotting directions between cities using compass points
  • Label compass rose
  • Bearings activity Gffp
  • Activity on rec – following compass points between places.
  • Compass direction pictures
  • Walk on Alver Valley using map and compass.

Understand how to use an atlas and be able to interpret different types of maps.

  • Work through OPAAB

Be able to use online maps.

  • In addition to previous activities work through GGPC


Mapzone – can download leaflet with activities.

How to set a map

OS Teaching Resources

Geography For Fun Projects (GFFP) – highly recommend this one, not the first project we’ve used it with.

Oxford Primary Atlas Activity Book (OPAAB)

The Great Global Puzzle Challenge (GGPC)

Map and Compass: The Art of Navigation (for me)

Around the World in Eighty Days – book definite toying with Palin

What’s Where in the World



Map jigsaws

Pinterest Map board


Feeling the Positive Vibe

Yesterday my Facebook feed was cluttered with posts from people, both friends and complete strangers on national groups, many of them on their first day or trying a change of approach/routine, sharing how well their day had gone.  Lots of positivity bouncing round the home ed community, lovely to hear.

Here we’ve had no radical changes. Tweaks to routine to accommodate changes to activities and try to make things feel less rushed.  A dropped bit of curriculum here, something picked up there nothing of major note.  Still it was a good day and it felt head clearing to get back towards the routine we abandoned at the end of November.

Yesterday was a stay close to home but with a bit of flexibility day according to my tweaks to schedule.  Not sure what I mean by that exactly but time will tell.  I think it is a good day to stay near to home and not commit to any group activities.  Weeks always go better if we start off productively, Jack finishes early and I have Guides and often need to allow prep time.  However, I don’t want to get caught up in thinking therefore we can’t do anything/see anyone as I had been. It is actually a good time for catching up with local friends and family on an ad hoc basis.

Anyway we started with English.  Handwriting, copywork, spelling, grammar and we’ve added a daily writing activity back in.  The writing activity was to write a paragraph of local information and a short paragraph about himself that we could use for our Postcrossing postcards.

Yes postcrossing.  Despite my best intentions in September, last term we managed to send one and receive none, after I forgot to reactivate our account.  So we decided to start the year off strongly and send a big batch.  Upping what we’ve sent should up what we receive too.  Hoping to keep up sending a couple a month at least.

20150106_4My new student – globe-headed boy.  No sorry it is Sam looking up where the cards were going.20150106_3 Starting a mapping project and some work on his Cubs Local Knowledge we took a walk around the local area.  We started off with a trip to the library and then Sam navigated us around most of the local village trail.

20150106_5 20150106_6



We managed a play in the park 20150105_35and a bit of a gander at the ship that has run aground off Southampton.20150105_3620150105_32At home Maths was Timez Attack and a game of City of Zombies.  Spanish was Duo Lingo and then there was some Latin too.

A map of our earlier walk was made.

20150106_11There was some Lego playing, Minecrafting, reading of Asterix.  We all ended up in bed at 7.30 reading.  Sam has discovered the Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis – nice to see him add a bit of variety instead of endlessly rereading Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus..