Variety

Life isn’t dull at the moment. Lots of variety to what we’re up to and Sam has a renewed interest in whittling to scare the bejezzus out of me. I am very good I hope at not showing my extreme terror of my child wielding a lethal weapon and occasionally saying ‘it’s alright,  no blood!’

We’re still managing breathing exercises and poetry every morning.
Monday had the usual maths and English and skype tutorial for computer science. We also baked biscuits and decorated them as atoms.  Purely for fun we also did the colour running from Skittles experiment (video on fb).
As well as edible atoms we made edible molecules from winegums and marshmallows. Plus managed a game of Chemistry Fluxx. I like this one, definitely something different.

We ticked the social box and getting outside with a walk to the beach and a  couple of hours playing pool and in the arcade with friends.

Tues we managed some maths before it was time to go out to our last debating session for our ‘big debate’. I have no photos as I was ‘chair’, sufficient to say it all went really well and we had a good laugh.  It’s not ideal going out in the morning we struggle with the routine but the sessions and the group are exactly what we want.
Afternoon, we finished maths and watch a documentary about the book Revelations of Divine Love. Plan was to do some other ‘book work’ but I wasn’t in the mood and Sam immediately declared he wasn’t either and wanted to whittle. So he whittled and I read aloud and did not panic.

Weds saw us up in London to see the Impressionists at Tate Britain (via Parliament Square and a look at the statues) and the Currency under Communism exhibition and the Medieval Europe gallery at the British Museum.

We also detoured to see the Sutton Hoo helmet (they have original and a replica of what they think it would have looked like) Plus the clock gallery. We like the oddities.
Thursday he asked to lie in. At 9.30 I woke him up but got into bed with my coffee and read to him until about 11am. Lovely start to the morning. Managed Maths and English before lunch (including catching up on Tues), plus some US geography.
Afternoon was spent playing board games and chatting with Grandad who was visiting. Plus some history (medieval towns) and geography (wealth disparities in Britain).

Friday had lots of maths. Working on probability.
Plus by request Live Mathletics. I was drawing nice graphs while revising GCSE maths 🙂 English was done including spelling test. Lots more whittling while I finished reading Shadow of the Minotaur, then he wrote a book review.
After lunch he’d just started Science when the delivery man bought us a molecules kit with excellent timing. So we built some. The delivery included sandpaper so he went back to the figure he was whittling for a while before going on to computer to invade some nation or other.

Today had a session at the Makery and a chance to chat with some potential home educators.

On the Mend

Energy levels are slowly increasing. We are not sprinting about exactly yet but I am back to working and we left the house in search of fresh air on Thurs when the sun showed it’s face. Fresh air and sticks for today’s home ed group.
Other things on Thurs were a look at Jabberwocky in English. Finishing up the algebra section in Maths. Then a bit of work on elements and atoms including a jigsaw of the periodic table. Plus some time with Grandad.

Today has been a doing our own thing day. Sam stayed home with a todo list of a few jobs like LearnTec homework, learn a new song on the recorder and tidy room. I was out at the under 10’s home ed group I run.
Afternoon has been spent working (me), reading My Week and playing on computer – Sam.

Off Piste

We’ve had 2 days at home to end the week.
I would say work was done quickly and efficiently but I would be lying. The actual planned work has taken virtually no time at all the random exploring of other directions has take up our days quite well though. 
Plus we’ve had Pete and my Dad popping in and out at various times contributing to not in routine feel. But been a nice go with it few days. All I wanted done achieved and a lot more besides.

Much of Thursday morning went on a creative writing project. Coming up with a creature and writing a story about it.

Maths was very quickly polished off. Geography was a look at employment in the UK and defining different employment sectors. History a look at the social repercussions of the Crusades. I need to source some decent resources to learn more about Islam he’s keen on understanding more about the history and conflicts in the Middle East.

We looked at gas pressure in Science. We froze a balloon and a plastic bottle of air to see what happened as the air cooled. Bottle worked as expected.

Balloon has given much discussion and contemplation (to me and Pete too) about why nothing happened.

To show heat and expension on gas we did the balloon over the top of plastic bottle, pop bottle in hot water trick. You can see a video on the facebook page.

We then spent about an hour taking photos of Sam through the bowl and reading up on refraction. Then some more time recording what happened to the water when blew air from the ballon pump on it.

We fished some of the crystals out that we’ve been growing – still trying to cultivate the one on the string.
 

Sam got distracted by reading his How It Works magazine over lunch and I got distracted by working on ideas for a future block for our Tues group.
Pete and my Dad turned up and the afternoon was spent chatting and doodling zentangles. I seem to have lost them though 🙁
We finished the afternoon with the last episode of Saints and Sinners.

Today was a slow start, as J had an inset day but was going in a bit later than normal as had GCSE revision sessions. Pete was lurking about too.
We spent most of our morning on maths. Sam did the games asked on Mathletics but then spent well over an hour on Live Mathletics. Before sitting down to read and discuss the Times.  I spent the morning working through exercises in J’s GCSE Maths revision guide.

We did the end of chapter exercises in the science book. 
Sam read more of his Crusades book over lunch.
This afternoon we finished off the Work pocket in our project on Colonial America.
Then curled up and read the Shadow of the Minotaur.

Very pleasant few days.

 

Political Play

To be honest I’ve kind of lost track of what we’ve been up to this week. Mentally my mind has been on work as was really enjoying a piece, GCSE revision with number one, admin jobs with HE groups and a rather interesting FutureLearn course.  Sam hasn’t seem to notice or care, he’s in quite a self driven mood and getting reasonably independent at the stuff I do ask of him.

We’re keeping up with recorder practice and poetry reading every day.
Monday morning was spent mostly on computer watching oracy and debating videos, doing Mathletics and having a Computer Science tutorial.
We squashed in some written maths on a new topic ‘number planes’ which he’s sailing through.
The afternoon was spent at the Town Hall with the Mayor and her Consort as a follow up to our citizenship group last half term (we’d run out of time to get it in). We saw the council chamber and the Mayor’s Parlour.
They were fabulous with the kids. We learnt about the work of the Mayor and Council and the elections and the history of some of the paraphanalia.  They were trying to encouraging the kids into local politics while scaring me off. Something I fancy when I have a bit more free time but they didn’t make it sound appealing. But if you think things should change you can only change them by doing something and that is always easier from the inside, so maybe… one day.

No idea what happened to Tuesday! I had a headache so sent Sam to his debating group with a friend and stayed home and worked.
Afternoon was spent learning more about monks (watching Saints and Sinners) and reading our new novel ‘Shadow of the Minotaur‘. Sure other stuff was done but I forget.

Weds was Maths and English. Geography looking at population density around the UK and History looking at a timeline of the crusades. We were looking at diffusion in science, we tried timing how long the air freshner took to be smelt from across the room. Sam having a heavy cold meant this didn’t work too well and the house got very smelly. Lots of time was spent on the games on the Parliament education site.
The afternoon was spent at HE group. I have never known such a quiet session, they were engaged in drawing or playing in the cupboard. I say this after nearly every session but as much as I moan about the HE community (or lack of community) in general we do get lovely people at the groups I run, kids and adults.  I actually got to speak to people which is rare. Hence no photos or any idea what Sam did drawing wise oops! Think we need another go at home – they were drawing zentangles. 

A nod to some of what I was up to workwise this week 🙂

Full Week

The lack of blog posts this week is down to dodgy internet.

It’s been a busy week and with so much to cover there is little time for reflection so expect lists!
We have managed recorder, breathing and poetry every morning!
Monday, we also practised his poem for a short perfomance he was giving at his oracy group and watched a video looking at permance poetry. Online Mathletics came next followed by his skype Computer Science tutorial.
English, maths and some US geography filled the rest of the morning. We had Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech on in the background since it was his birthday. We listen to it every year (that I notice the date anyway), lots of discussion followed. The poems in his book that he is reading aloud from all had a race/civil rights theme this week, I suspect not coincidentally so discussion has been ongoing. I seem to recal there was a poster drawn to recruit people for the Crusades too.
In the afternoon we met other home educators for a stroll on the beach and a play in the arcade. After that is was back to watch a documentary about architecture of churches (shows it sinks in, we were in Chichester cathedral later in the week and he pointed out something to me as English perpendicular style 🙂 )

Tuesday started with our introduction to oracy and debating group. The children all read a poem or did a small speech. They were brilliant, not just at having the confidence to perform but at the listening and supporting one another, we couldn’t have asked for more they are a fabulous little group.
At home we watched an episode of Saints and Sinners (medieval religion thing going on!) and did maths, English and a quick look at the Crusades.

Weds we went to Chichester to visit the Cathedral.  A friend joined us with her eldest and I took a couple of friend’s kids. Definitely proving a nice idea to take just the older ones sometimes.
Lunch in a freezing cold park (the boy was rolling down the hill, coat is a disgrace) was followed by an afternoon sketching around Pallant House Art Gallery. What the gallery lacked in decent art works (there were some okay stuff but the main visiting exhibition left me cold) it made up for by being a lovely building with some fabulous pieces of furniture and staff/volunteers who were incredibly welcoming and lovely with the kids.

Thursday was our home pj day. I thought our plans would be forgotten for the day since we had no internet and our planner is online. The internet actually came on by the time we needed to check anything. We decided to do some swapping about of plans anyway. The storm had woken me up at 12.30 and I hadn’t really slept since which led to not being in the mood for science practicals. We shifted the more hands on stuff to Friday on the planner and opted to do two days worth of Maths and Writing with Ease instead as they were table jobs and we felt lazy.
He had a long play on live Mathletics. We then did some Geography looking at the weather of the UK and then migration. The discussion of migration led to watching the American episode of The Incredible Human Journey. The afternoon was spent working on activities from his history pocket looking at school in Colonial America. He made a quill and tried handwriting and then did some colouring while I read aloud from King of Shadows.

Today was a very pottering sort of day. English was finished off for the week including a book review, so was US geography and the school history pocket. For the pocket he made a horn book and compared his daily routine with one for a child from that time. Definitely prefered his.
Much of the day went on a frustrating python project that none of us (not even Pete) to get to work.
We couldn’t be bothered with some of the hands on stuff for science after that as mood had gone but it was rehash of stuff we had done before anyway. We did set up some crystal growing with copper sulphate solution. Once I had got him to stop playing with the bag of copper sulphate, for some reason tipping the bag about and fiddling with it has taken up a lot of attention today.

Opportunities

Someone on my local group wanted a word to sum up home ed; I decided that I wanted a change from freedom so plumped for opportunity. The last few days have been a perfect summary of how that works in practice.
On Thursday we had tickets for a free Winter Concert at the Globe. This is a community concert of songs and poetry, schools, nurseries, staff of Borough Market and all sorts of community groups. We went last year and this year despite getting drenched on the way there and being in the Yard (aka standing outdoors) it was another lovely experience. An opportunity we can seize being home educated and also make the most of in ways that you can’t with 30 children in tow (hot dog and chips shelting by a van on Southbank and hot lattes from Starbucks to warm up after).

With no need to be back by a certain time and our newly purchased Art Fund cards begging to be used we went to the Tate Modern for a while. First stop was the swing installation again. 

Then we visited the Red Star Over Russia exhibition.


Then we went back to the swings until they came and chucked us out. There you go home ed gives you the opportunity to get chucked out of art galleries 😀 A brilliant day.

Today we were tired.  So we took the opportunity for a pj clad relaxed day. I unfortunately was wide awake at 3.30 so took the opportunity to do some reading and sewing. Sam slept in until 9.30. We still managed maths, English, geography, science – inc setting up an experiment to test factors that can affect germination, reading and a history documentary before I retired to soak in the bath and do some of a Future Learn course and Sam played on the computer.

Perhaps not the best trip ever

Wednesday is our group event/day trip day usually. Today we went to … the doctors. Wahoo!

On the positive, I now have an even heavier handbag to carry about as Doctor’s given us some bits to try to lessen the symptoms/impact of these sudden bouts of stomach ache/sickness/headaches Sam has been getting and we ruled out any real physical problem.

That set us back by what we could achieve today but did still manage to look at more percentages (one of his favourite bits of maths as they are very easy, do some dictation and work on adverbs, do a mapping activity for Florida and look at the need for new housing in Britain and some of the issues that surrounds it. Sam had the idea of developing the Falkland Islands more to provide jobs and shelter for the homeless and others if Britain gets to cramped. He’d also train everyone who went over with guns in case Argentina invades.

We watched another episode of Secrets of the Castle. Science has moved on to reproduction in plants. A lot more comfortable a topic. He watched some videos, read the chapter and verbally did the exercises and then he dissected a flower. Then he retreived my vase and dissected most of the bunch…
I bribed him with Norad games to try and come up with a Christmas list!  Well he put on four books which he could easily buy with the voucher he has but won’t use.  Christmas and Birthdays shouldn’t be so hard!  

The White Stuff

The story of this week has been dominated by a non-stop battle to try and clear up cornflour. I made 24 batches of a white clay for a group activity which took some clearing up after!
Late afternoon sun came out on Weds to allow us a lovely group session playing with the clay and charging about in the garden.
The rest of the week has been spent at home mostly reading and discussing stuff so no photos. We have looked at decimals, adjectives, mapping, grid references, contour lines and OS symbols, the feudal system (and I’m pleased he made a link with a poster he’d seen at the Russian Revolution exhibition back in the summer and compare it to the neat and tidy pyramid in the book), daily life in Colonial America, human reproduction, started rewatching Secrets of the Castle and began reading The Machine Gunners. Pandemic and Hearts of Iron IV (one of his military computer based games) have featured highly.

For those who worry about the writing side, Sam hardly wrote from the ages of 7-10/11, said it hurt. All I asked him to write was maths and some handwriting practice, everything else I scribed or we did verbally. Weds morning he knocked this out while I was getting dressed so 10 mins tops. Yes it’s not his neatest writing, yes he’s missed paragraphs and punctuation. But I know he can do all those things so I trust it will come together, more happy and pleased that he’s keen to get his thoughts on paper.

 

Test of Strength

I’ve been getting a bit overwhelmed and losing the plot lately with trying to keep all the balls in the air; got behind on where I wanted us to be HE wise, holidays and events coming thick and faster than could keep on top of workwise, one HE/school event after another and the house disintergrating about me.
A quiet week HE wise with a few days off and skipping all groups (although did meet friends for a lovely afternoon in the park), and slowing down in the non-stop holiday calendar that need content for work, plus Sam having his own computer has giving me the break I needed to pause and get back in control of it all.

We’ve nearly caught back up with our reading home ed wise having complete Melusine, spent a long time reading Anglo Saxon Boy (on the list to check for more in series we’re enjoying it) and the Just So stories have been a huge hit. We have had a fun few days looking at the working of joints and muscles and ‘playing’ with a set of Newton scales. A ‘pocket’ of our US history project completed on colonial villages and houses. Plus we finally made it to our new park to meet up with friends on a glorious sunny winter afternoon. One of those afternoons that showcase the best of HE, where you get to sit in the sun chatting watching an eclectic mix of kids play happily. Totally managed to miss all photo opportunities so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Considering Sam and I have been really under the weather this week with colds, and in my case a humdinger of a sinus headache, we’ve been incredibly productive.
Maths has been fractions and English poetry.
We’ve read loads and caught up a bit with History and Geography that we’ve got behind on.
Science we’ve moved on to the human body. I used the fact that we were looking at breathing to get started with some breathing exercises we’ve been given to help Sam manage his asthma better. We’ve a ridiculously expensive set of horns from a therapy place (sure I could have bought it all from the party section of Wilkos much cheaper) so determined that must get money’s worth.

We’ve also looked at the skeleton and labelled some bones.Tuesday saw us at our Citizenship group where we wer looking at designing communities for inclusion.  The session finished off with them designing a home ed commune. Not sure they applied the spirit of what we’d been looking at to this one but they had great fun doing it.

Weds, Sam opted to stay home while I went to home ed group with out him (I had planned the activity so had to go). Was a very calm, chilled session. Sam made himself a paracord bracelet when I got home (I won’t say how many I’ve made the last few days, very addictive).
Thursday afternoon was spent playing games and messing about with my Dad before a bit of a stressful evening at a 6th Form Open Evening with Jack. Bit stressful in own right but they dug up a WW2 bomb on the local airfield which closed roads and combined with rush hour and the local firework display result in complete melt down of the local traffic situation meaning we lost Pete for hours which worried Sam who had stayed at home since we expected Pete any minute.  I was the awful parent who had to run out of meeting to take a phone call!

We’ve finally started reading through this one to go with Sam’s breathing exercises. He’s not happy to hve Anthem for Doomed Youth on his birthday 😀