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We’re in yet another busy week.  I forgot to take an antihistamine today and am feeling groggy and ready for bed but I know if I don’t blog regularly I lose the small stuff.  Rather than divide things into days I thought I’d focus on what we’ve been up to when we’re in.

Position has remained the focus in maths and we’ve had some fun with maps, compass points and routes.  We’re still getting on so well using the worksheets that back up Mathletics, there is very little repetitive practice, the concepts are clearly explained and they are fun.  After a bit of a dip he’s found his enthusiasm for live Mathletics again and managed to spend about 40mins on there earlier.

Prepositions still the order of the day in grammar.  Still giving a surprising amount of fun.  We’ve been making up daft sentences from two nouns and a preposition and we spent a while using a set list of prepositions to describe position of things in Hokusai’s The Great Wave.  In one of those little tweaks I’ve opted to switch from 2 handwriting, 1 spelling and 1 vocab session each week to 2 spelling, 1 handwriting and 1 vocab.  His handwriting is actually really quite good now.  He doesn’t join up a lot but if I am honest I still print a lot.  His spelling isn’t bad either really, just has more pages left in the book 🙂  Spelling is more fun too.

We’ve talked about why we need water from a health perspective.

Made a poster

20160317_45 Set up an experiment to grow mould on bread.  We put a piece of bread in the bag touching as little as possible, one he handled a lot before bagging and then washed his hands and did the same to a third and finally rubbed one on the toilet seat.  Waiting to see which grows most mould quickest.

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I had intended to do something on health risks of unclean water but forgot!  Might try tomorrow or leave to next week.

We did some baking.  Pig, chick and bunny biscuits for Sam, coffee cake for me.20160317_51

We’re looking a Pop Art still so read about Roy Lichtenstein.  Looked at some of his advertisement/product inspired art.  Sam drew a computer and outlined in sharpie.  To paint in dots he stamped from bubble wrap  for big areas and pencil rubber for small. 20160317_53 20160317_54

20160317_61 We went to the park.  Not technically home but in our ‘home day’ area.20160317_6020160317_56

Made a slow start with Python.  I think I need to read it and work with him though.  He has been researching costs of Raspberry Pis.  Music and appalling puns are the other big things at the moment.  He’s developed a taste for Green Day!

Just Keep Swimming

Have a feeling the busy schedule is about to catch up with us.  Sam is very sniffly and wheezy and I’ve sneezes, sinus pain and a tight chest.  Hoping it is a cold rather than onset of pollen allergies.  For the second year running we don’t appear to have had any winter to speak off I don’t feel ready for summer by a long way!

We’ll have to see about impact on the week.  Sam is keen to go to Codeclub but more than happy to forsake the adventure playground after – it is something we both like the idea of from a distance but having been a couple of weeks ago we’re not that fussed to go back for a while.  Maybe we’ll be more in the mood as weather warms up.  We also have a HE trip planned and not organised by me so being ill is an option 😉  He’s keen to go though so think we’re pretty certain to make it.

Today has been a much needed quiet day at home.  We caught up with last week’s overdue maths and english and managed today’s too.  All very efficient the two days’s worth of work took about 1 1/2hrs.

We’ve started position in Maths so added a game of battleships to the morning’s lesson.

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Finished off focus on water efficiency with some calculator work on dripping taps and a household water use audit.  We played ‘splash’ top trumps and made a sand bottle weight to add to the toilet cistern to help save water.

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We also finished off our work on crystals by a lot of looking at calcite and amethyst and some household crystals (sugar and various salts).

20160307_10 20160307_12 20160307_14We read about crystals, chatted and made a birthstone wheel.  Sam made ‘gems’ by colouring rock salt and then when they’d dried out mixing them with glue and shaping into rocks.  About 30 seconds after this photo was taken I thought I’d better move the food colouring before it was spilt and yes, dropped it of course.  Make a habit of doing that!

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Rest of the day went watching Horrible Histories, browsing and uploading projects to DIY.org, messing about on Scratch and sorting and testing old games/HE resources to have a bit of a clear out.  Oh and FutureLearn courses if you are me, have 4 on the go (5 next week) may have over stretched myself :/.

 

Phew!

It has been a long, long week.  Not a bad one at all, opposite in fact but busy, very busy.  I’ve tried to blog a few times but have been so tired by the time I’ve tried that trying to make sense of all the thoughts flying about has been beyond me.  It feels like we’ve entered into one of our periodic spells of change.  Not as a result of things not working more as result of growth, opportunities there to grab and mental shifts.

There is a sudden loosening of the reigns and letting go.  He’s not really been asking or pushing but it’s more a shift in my head that I’ve recognised that he’s suddenly more grown up and I can trust him to have a bit of common sense.  Having sent him off to the village last week this week as seen more steps towards independence. When a we experienced a blip in communication meaning that the sleepover I thought was a couple of weeks away became rescheduled (when I was already in bed on Sunday) for Monday I instinctively thought that we could solve the which side of ferry to meet dilemma easily if he could catch ferry on his own.  He didn’t bat an eyelid at suggestion,  so I saw him on one side and 7 mins later friend met him at the other.  All the ‘knowing’ he’d be fine doesn’t stop the sick feeling of watching them get further away though.

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This was followed by him taking himself off to Costa for lunch on his own on Friday while I was running a craft session for younger children (in the same building).  Oh and another sleepover on Friday night.

This is where home ed has a distinct advantage over school.  One of the criticisms often levied at home ed is that you are mollycoddling them and they won’t learn independence if they are always with a parent.  My experience is to the contrary.

Firstly I’d quibble about them always being with a parent; they have attended Beavers from as soon as possible and done pretty much every day trip/camp offered and from a young age there has always been ‘swapping’ of children for home ed activities, they have never been ones to need me in classes or workshops so if adult places have been scarce (or one of them wasn’t the right age) I’ve sat outside.

But mainly they have been able to grow their independence at their own pace, no school saying they must be left, no pressure for long school trips.  Every step they have taken away from me has been because they have been ready and wanted to go.  We have had wobbles – last year’s shambles of a Gang Show camp unsettled Sam and he stayed close to me for a good while after and I don’t know what happened (almost definitely something very minor) but something upset him at a friend’s house last year and the idea of going again was quite traumatic but we had a few cosy months, mainly just me and him and confidence returned and he is off again, more confident than ever before.

They are also more confident with doing ‘normal’ things; like ordering in a cafe, crossing the road, asking for things in a shop, finding things in the supermarket, knowing their way around town and catching a bus because they do them all the time.   They have proved themselves able to exercise a bit of common sense and deal with problems.  Jack got rather lost riding his new bike home from town when he was 11.   Came across a garage, realised he shouldn’t have passed a garage so was lost, went in to garage and asked for directions.

As for schools and independence, according to Jack with nearly 4 years of school behind him now, teachers talk a lot about it but in reality there is very little scope for the children to exercise any.

Other notable points in the week; we read about and finished up looking at fossils and moved on to crystals.

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I should say the thing covered in sand on the right is a track fossil (fossil of a burrow – or track of pencil pushed into sand in our case).

We attempted to grow geodes from egg shells which failed dismally (I think the ratios on the instructions were really off).  Also tried to dissolve limestone in vinegar and see if crystals formed.  We’ll never know as our warm place was tucked in the corner by the heating grill but someone still managed to kick it all over the living room carpet!

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Tree worked though.

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As did growing from a seed crystal and our rock candy was very successful this was after only a day.

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He also eventually broke into the geodes he’s been working on for a month.  There was then some suspicious hanging about in garden where some of the path appears a bit more broken than it was before and there is a big hole in the flower bed.

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We didn’t manage all the ‘work’ I wanted to this week, too many things to adapt round but never mind.  We did manage some playing with the scales though for maths.

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We did fit in a lot of socialising though, planned and spur of the moment.
Monday was sleepover at his best friend’s, I collected him Tuesday from coding club which he is still loving and I am loving as I don’t run as much as I love organising stuff it does both me and Sam good to go to places where I get to sit back (I get to sit with some of the younger ones who need support reading :)).

Wednesday was our first DIY.org club which all went a lot better than I could have hoped for.  All older children really, well Sam’s age and year or two older.  Which is really good as often feels as if they all seem to disappear about this age from the more social activities.  Mostly people we knew but that we don’t see often so was nice.  Sam happily worked on a project with people he didn’t know.  We did some work for the animator patch, making zoetropes and stop motion films.

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Thurs was a bit of a break.  Only person we saw was my Dad for an afternoon of board games, mainly Dobble and City of Zombies – both I highly recommend.  We did play a water themed game too to continue our water project from the morning.

20160305_162725The morning’s project work, colouring while we listened to podcasts about how the water cycle works and how the water reaches our houses, a poster on what we use water for and a quiz.

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Friday was the first session of a monthly group I’m running for younger children.  Idea is Pete should be off work on these days but didn’t come off this time, he was off work but in Cardiff.  Never mind Sam came, we managed to pick up some much needed new shoes and trousers (growth spurt!), he helped set up, played a bit with a 3 yo who wanted his attention (little boys seem to like Sam), then entertained himself on his kindle before going for an early lunch.

I enjoyed myself chatting to parents I wouldn’t normally see and of course I love coming up with the activities for this sort of thing.  Here’s just a few of them – it was Spring themed.

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After that popped over to a friend’s for a couple of hours for Lego, Minecraft, tea and a long over due catch up.  By the time we got home neither of us were in the mood for the work we’d have done in an ideal world so Sam played minecraft and I did some admin/put away the craft stuff from Weds and Friday’s groups and then we packed for Cub sleepover and put his DIY patches on his camp blanket.
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Good week if a long one, not a pace we could maintain.  We definitely need our day at home every week though if we are going to do what I think of as a basic level of education alongside sufficient chill time.

Oh and I never mentioned a St David’s Day baking burst – nothing like home made warm bara brith for breakfast.

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Plus a burst of stitching to try and finish my Winter tree in winter (failed but was done on 1st March)

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We even did a worksheet!

Been a very busy few days here and not sure where to start.

Title is a bit flippant, we do use worksheets/books for a bit of English and some of Maths on a regular basis and have a Latin workbook.  We do as much hands on or verbally as possible though.  We try and give them a wide berth for anything else as the overwhelming majority seem to add so little to learning, they are for practice/fillers.

We’ve been revising word types in English.  Sam wanted to draw the kitten he described.

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Creative writing was looking at a setting and describing characters that might feature in a story set there.

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Maths has been volume and capacity.

Lots of playing with centicubes, displacing water and making boxes.

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Science has been more fossils.  We did a quiz and talked about how fossils are found and recovered.  We made fold mountains from plasticine and talked showed the effect of the top eroding.

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Then we got out the collection and talked about the fossils we have.  Sam did some observational drawings.

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He compared the feel and look of chicken egg and bone to fossilised dinosaur egg and bone.20160226_20

We talked about Otzi the ice man (and had a bit of a stray into cryogenics).  Froze a cherry and shell in ice and saw the change (or not) in texture when ice melted.

Made cast fossils

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and track fossils.

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We started work on our water project for this half term by looking at the water cycle.  Read about it, labelled a worksheet and played a game from Twinkl.

20160226_31 Made a water cycle in a jar.  We didn’t actually see any ‘precipitation’ but we could see the water condense into bigger and bigger droplets and see how they would fall.

20160226_2820160226_27 Art theme this half term is ‘Pop Art’.  We started with Warhol.  Sam drew (pressing hard to get an indent)  a ‘celebrity’ onto a piece of polystyrene foam (pizza base!).  It is grumpy cat.  Not having a roller or sponge to hand and not realising that until we were past the point of no return we fudged it and rubbed paint over the foam with kitchen roll before printing.

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We also printed out 4 black and white mugshots and coloured them in, cut them out and mounted them.

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We have also in the last 3 days; spent time outside, been to the library, baked, played games with Grandad, Sam went to the village on his own in the gallop to independence and had our first group study session at the town library.  Only a couple of tables reserved for people to gather to do their own stuff at but very well attended and tables proved insufficient really.  Went to the park afterwards but far too cold.

20160226_1 20160226_2 20160226_4 20160226_57There has also been reading, Horrible Histories, Minecraft and quite a bit of Scratch.  Here’s the two latest projects, both works in progress apparently.  He’s done the projects as asked by the book but now he can see things he wants to do to them.