The last few days have shown the worst side of home ed, the flakiness and the lack of awareness of others that some home educators show.
I am generally quite laid back about things now, I do get irritated by persistant unreliability and in particular lack of communication, it is so easy to head off potential worry and problems. Also a lot easier to be accommodating if you know there are issues such as social anxiety, chronic health problems. Communication really does solve most things and avoid ruffled feathers.
Generally I can’t complain with trips I run. I jokingly say I scare people but maybe I do. What has annoyed me is seeing over 50% of people cancel on the last minute on a friend. Definitely far, far more annoyed watching it happen to someone else.
It’s like people don’t consider that even though there might be no costs setting up the trip was still a lot of work to do in organising. They don’t seem aware that low numbers can put a trip at risk or make it not work as well for those who do show because some things do benefit from a critical mass of children or just frankly just be embarrassing. They seem blissfully unaware that we all contribute to the reputation home educators have and the effect that has on venues offering activities or the willingness of other home educators to organise activities.
Anyway it has also shown some of the best sides of home educators too as I do have a cracking bunch of friends to moan and grumble with.
And in the case of one to try and stop an explosion with! Today’s Weds outing saw us near to home doing a town trail in local town solving clues. Great fun and really makes you look at things you don’t normally notice. We only managed half before rain and ill child (not mine) stopped play, so another hour or so still to do 🙂
At home we read and discussed growth of factories, steam powered machines and the effect on the growth of towns.
Looked at religions in Asia.
Finished a handwriting book and he was pleased to see the improvement.
Did some more on shapes; terminolgy and drawing regular polygons.
We had a very productive start to the term even if I was still sketching out a plan for science this morning! After Easter productive days are usually on the scarce side so every good day is always a welcome surprise. The fact that Sam’s alarm clock went wrong and got him up before 7 might have been a big factor.
His online Maths required some quite complicated mental arithmetic and took way longer than usual but he did well. Luckily this was balanced by his written maths involving no written maths and instead following some instructions for origami using vacabulary such as parallel, perpendicular.
This is how science is done. For English Sam made a map of an imaginary place to use for story telling. I read aloud from a My Story book, Mill Girl whil Sam made the map. Then we read from a history textbook and did some of the questions verbally. It’s a KS3 book as the only thing I could find that covered what I wanted in the level of detail we wanted. Planning to use the whole scheme in future as we do seem to be drifting towards being more book based.
We rounded off history with a documentary about the Industrial Revolution over lunch. Afternoon was science based with looking at tunnels. We made a syphon. Which worked impressively but I was too busy trying to stop the living room getting soaked to manage a photo. Next job was a steam powered turbine. I wsn’t so convinced this one was a likely success and I was right. Maybe US origami paper is different to Uk version as lets just say ours didn’t like steam 🙂 Aquifers and looking at groundwater pollution came next with more success. Final bit of science was more a bit of fun. We had been reading about the Channel Tunnel and how they dug from either side and met. I gave Sam measurements to place his sticker on one side of the card and reversed them for me. Then poked a pin through the centre of mine to see if we’d managed to match up. No where near! Our tunnel was heading for the Netherlands we think 😉
Roblox, work (for me), more politics chat and a game of Risk saw out the day.
Monday seems a long way a way now – the problem of not blogging regularly. Was an incredibly busy week though, don’t seem to have stopped until today when we sort of crashed.
Besides the usuals we finished off the resources section of our Asia study and then read about food in Ancient China. We held a very fudged version of a Chinese Tea Ceremony and Sam baked moon cakes.
After lunch we had friends round for science. With Easyer on the horizon I dumbed the structures route we had been going down and we did eggs.
Standing on them, I think between 5 people standing on them (inc me who is no light weight) we broke 4.
We then had a go at turning eggs inside out by spinning them in tights. We got one that sort of worked.
A go at decorating eggs by painting eggs with a paste of baking soda and food colouring and then dripping vinegar on so the colours mixed failed completely when the vinegar washed the eggs clean. But vinegar and baking soda always makes kids happy so lost them for a while to making a fizzy mess.
When I finally persuaded them to clean up the mess I was asked questions about why the shell had gone funny on some. So I explained the acid desolving shell thing and popped one in a jar of vinegar ro demonstrate. Scum was forming on top an hour later. Not sure if it completely dissolved as stuck a lid on and sent it to stink out some one else’s house. We then wrapped up eggs in tape, foil and elastic bands and took them out with some unwrapped ones to test which survived the roll down the hill best. Which moved on to throwing, which moved on to sweeping the path and hanging out in the park for a while.
After a tidy it was to the school for a meeting with Jack, while Sam and Pete got to enjoy a spring evening on the beach.
Neither of us cope well with the clock change and spring time. Sleep patterns go mad, headaches are virtually permanent and we get really moody. Could feel the switch today, getting any form of concentration out of Sam was hard and every time I let my attention wander from him he was gone. Feeling exhausted myself and the smell of the grass when I opened the door to tesco triggered a pounding headache and irritated throat, so it has been a real internal battle to keep a lid on my impatience. I think I managed it. We’ve ended (or close to) the first Monday of the clocks change without anyone crying at any point so that is an improvement on other years.
Been a pottering at home day. Sam made a story jar and wrote a retelling of the Atlas legend.
We read about health care in ancient China and did some Tai Chi.
Sam played with bubble wrap. I would have if he’d have shared 😉 Then he programmed his microbit to act as a Magic 8 ball.Researching hw to use his Skylanders on the DS and playing on the computer took up the rest of the day.
We needed a change of scene on Friday. While it is nice having regular groups, we do like to go places and don’t seem to have had the time lately. Well I like to go places and Sam enjoys it when he is there!
As we’re up in London twice in the next 10 days decided to go somewhere completely different. So we went to Christchurch. The main motivation was that the museum (Red House) was an old workhouse. However there is also a ruined Norman Castle there which I expected Sam to enjoy more and I was expecting a quaint market town and we love those.
Mixed reactions. The castle and Norman house were interesting and we should have loved them. However there was graffiti and loads of litter that rather spoiled them and we moved on quickly.The back streets we walked down were definitely quaint and we even found a replica dunking stool.
The edges of the main area of town had quite a few interesting independent stores and we liked it. The main town area though had an air of neglect and scummyness that I wasn’t expecting.
Negatives aside we really liked the museum. Small, friendly and lots to do. We focused on the Victorian area downstairs but did go up to the prehistory area too. Spent a surprising amount of time in the fashion gallery too. I suspect because it is something I know about I can tell hime stuff beyond the cards and in a way that builds links to things he knows. The gardens would be lovely on a nicer day. We were a bit taken aback to find dinosaurs among the trees.
We then wandered around the Priory.Before some lunch and window shopping.
Latin provided fun as he was working out roots of words. Maths was easier than he expected producing glee. English showed what huge inroads he has made into writing as he wrote a very competent advert. And all done by 10.15.
We read for an hour, discussing in detail as we did, from a non-fiction book about the Victorians. While I did a job about the house Sam read about and wrote a profile on Dr Barnado. Then read some more about Victorian schools and gave me a verbal narration to summarise. We got out the slate and he had a go and writing Victorian script and did some extra sums.
We dug out some more Victorian replica bits for a look and then watched Victorian Bakers over lunch.
We then got distracted by looking at my sewing and sharing stories about the different monarchs.We moved on to Sketch Tuesday whichthis week was feathers. I got into awful trouble for not emailling off last week’s st today’s has already gone! I drew a peacock while Sam did an eagle. We did print photos to copy.
Sam then programmed one of those touch the wire games on his Microbit.
Finally we read a report about the child we sponsor and checked out where he is. Then it was over to Roblox and work.
I was exhausted today. Hands on fun stuff was beyond me so it was a catch up on quieter stuff. Nice to have balance but a low photo post and not an exciting one, more a list of what we did.
So we did;
a dictation exercise from Writing With Ease 3 about Laura Ingalls Wilder
a writing exercise from his Collins book encouraging use of personal details to bring authenticity
a review and activities verbally on quotations mark
a lesson on finding percentages of numbers
a couple of Mathletics games
reading and a worksheet on children’s work in Victorian times
read some of a My Story book on a Sweep’s Boy
watched last episode on Victorian Slum
a couple of comprehension style exercises about natural resources in Asia
drawing for Sketch Tuesday
We were back to routine today after last weeks frolics. We caught up on what hadn’t been done last week in terms of Maths and English.
Sam worked through his Asia unit study, learning about the natural resources of the continent.
We read about jade carving in Ancient China and looked at some jade burial suits. We mixed together two shades of fimo for a jade look and Sam made a ‘bi’ a ring with a dragon around it and a flute. Not sure why the flute came it to it. In the afternoon friends were around for science. We talked about forces that act on a bridge (modelled with marshmallows). They made beam bridges and tested how many coins they held. Then strung the bridges to make them suspension bridges and retested.
Moving on to towers next time so with time to spare they had a go at making their own. Can’t go wrong with spaghetti and marshmallows. Inspired by chatting with friends Sam reinstalled Minecraft and had a play. Made a cake.Now he’s stretched out in front of Richard Hammond’s Wild Weather.
Looking at my diary a couple of weeks ago I realised that this week we didn’t have our regular Mon or Weds activities so took the opportunity to go to stay with my Father in Law in Wales for a few days.
We travelled over Monday morning and spent Monday afternoon touring the Royal Mint. Little gem of a place, I thought we’d really enjoyed the Bank of England Museum but this was far better (despite the tour guide being adamant that Isaac Newton was Chancellor of the Exchequer!). Sam struck a new £1 coin. Couldn’t take photos in the Mint these are just the exhibition after. If you don’t know the story of the 1933 Penny look it up it’s interesting. In my usual not observant state I hadn’t noticed the coins now make up the Royal Coat of Arms when placed together. Interesting to hear about the countfeiting prevention in the new coin – holograms and UV among others. If in the area definitely worth a trip.
On the Tuesday my Father in Law had plans so Sam and I headed down to Cardiff Bay for the day. We caught the waterbus from the City down to Techniquest. It was horrendously full of school children when we arrived but after about 20 mins they all disappeared off to workshops/shows and we had a peaceful hour, leaving as they started flooding back. After lunch we visited the Pierhead Building a magnificent piece of Victorian architecture from the heyday of Cardiff docks. We also stopped at the little Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl was christened. Before heading back to the City for Lego.
Weds was St David’s Day and we couldn’t have spent it in a more Welsh way. We headed up the Valleys to the Rhondda Heritage Park. To be honest it was a bit of a disappointment, lots of work being done for the new season but meant lots of things closed off or not working and all felt a bit builder’s yard and unloved at the moment. It was a pleasant enough morning though and I think it was still the better option than heading further away and going down a real mine (this was a reconstruction above ground) as don’t think my joints or Sam would have liked going down properly. Being St David’s Day did stop for a lunch of cawl and welsh cakes.
We did manage to get through a bit of our usual English and Maths in quiet minutes too. Plus more bridge building. Love the flexibility of home ed.
It has been a not staying on task, following up various strands of conversation that have taken us far from where we’ve started and following random urges to try something out, sort of day. We even left the house on pyjama day as the sun was shining and we wanted some garden canes to make a kite.
Anyway we did Sam’s English first thing and he did some geography while I got dressed and put bin out/washing on.
Tesco then bought food, while I dealt with that Sam got out his nib pen and ink and wrote a postcard to his penfriend.
When I was eventually sorted we did Maths. On Sam’s least favourite topic – time. You’d think it’s the one that you’d just absorb but no. Anyway was managed with low stress. Spanish and Latin were finished quickly. Apparently he was learning to flirt in Spanish 🙂
We headed out to the village to pick up some supplies from the hardware store and a bakers for lunch.
On getting home there were two police cars in the layby outside and one opposite so something was going on in my terrace. Having filled Pete in on the gossip (the boys weren’t interested) I meant to curtain twitch but got distracted by Jack who’s new kindle (as in a week old) wasn’t doing what it should. Spent 10 mins googling and messing round with settings before restarting it. Which fixed it. Finally a techy problem I could fix! Police had gone by now so maybe I will never know.
Sam had made and eaten his lunch by now. So I had mine while he found his whittling knife and started work on the kite. Incase anyone is wondering why it’s because they were used for signalling and dropping bombs in Chinese warfare. We are reasonably confident that we will get flight when there is enough wind (not a breath today).
We finished off the Shang Dynasty book we were reading and Michael Wood’s Story of China on dvd. Then the afternoon went in Roblox and a bath if you are Sam and work if you were me. He did help with a craft. I wasn’t supposed to be doing crafts I was supposed to be doing something else but hey ho. Marbling with shaving foam is one of my favourite activities ever. Love the texture of shaving foam.
I then made 6 batches of biscuit dough for tomorrow’s group session.