Home day

It has been a full busy week, lots achieved (all ‘work’ ticked off) and lots of fun had along the way (plenty of ‘socialising’ ticked off) so today was a pottering about at home day.

Our copywork and narration this week has been on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Sam is now brave enough to read Dahl so decided to read the full book.  He started last night after Gang Show and lay in bed reading it to the end this morning.

We had some ‘jelly stones’ lying about so spent some time this morning playing with them, mixing the colours and making them expand.

20150312 20150311 20150310 20150246Then for good measure made some real, edible jelly.  No I don’t know why the expression.

20150314 A good long spell on Kinect Sports followed until Sam had thrashed me at everything and I was completely exhausted.

After lunch we had a long, messy crafting session for work – powder paint, ice, shaving foam, spraying water, squeezing paint.  Great fun!

20150230 20150215 Some baking followed.  All I had to do was take it out of the oven!  Oops 🙁

20150316Not bad for a taking it easy day 🙂



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 🙂

Atoms and Molecules

Sometimes, just sometimes, it is possible to hit on just the right way to put forward an idea as to make it seem so simple.

Chemistry was not my strong point in school.  I was able to churn out what I needed for exams but as I’ve been reading with Sam I am aware I didn’t have the deep understanding.  So back to basics, a bit of reading, a bag of American hard gums, some marshmallows and cocktail sticks and not only does Sam understand molecular bonding but so do I!

We started off recapping structure of atoms.  Then took this a step further and looked at the arrangement of electrons into shells.  We made some paper plate models by folding the plate in half and trimming around the middle making sure to leave it attached at the top and bottom.  For the atom with 2 shells we cut another ring into the outer section of the plate.  Then we glued pompoms onto the plate for the particles.  Red for protons, green for neutrons and pink/purple for electrons.  This table is very handy.




We then read the sections in the book and encyclopaedia about molecules.

To show how the bonds were made we took an American hard gum to represent an oxygen atom nucleus.   We broke a cocktail stick on half and stuck the two pieces into the gum.  This was the first shell which can have a maximum of 2 electrons.  We then stuck in 8 sticks for the second shell which can have maximum 8 electrons.  We checked on the periodic table how many electrons oxygen has, 8, add added these (mini marshmallows) to the sticks filling the first shell before starting on the second.

20150120_110Can clearly see the outer shell is missing two electrons,  So we made two hydrogen atoms.

20150120_67We then joined them together to show how the atoms share pairs of electrons.  A water molecule.


This was obviously too much fun to only do 1.  So we made ammonia and carbon dioxide too.

20150120_7220150120_75We then decided we preferred to eat the rest of the sweets.  So we looked at the chemical symbols for some common molecules.  We sorted out some Lego to represent come elements.


Then we built limestone, quicklime, sodium bicarbonate, water and a few others I’ve now forgotten.

20150120_86 20150120_87

Let the Good Times Roll

Another couple of good days.

Tuesday started with our ‘essentials’.  Handwriting, narration and spelling.  Below is grammar – photo one is the response when I read out an exclamation, photo two when I read a question.  Writing was a postcard to his penpal.

20150106_13 20150106_14Maths was Mathletics and later on a bit of working out number of neutrons in an atom based on atomic mass and number It’s Elemental

Latin and Spanish were done in front of the fire.


Science we were on our own and it was time for a new project – atoms and molecules.

20150107_55We read and talked about the make up of atoms, including a good look at the periodic table pinned up in the conservatory.

We did a paper cutting exercise to think about the size of atoms.

20150106_18 20150106_20

Sam played the ‘It’s Elemental’ game and then followed some of the web links from the Usborne Materials book.

Then we made ‘atom biscuits’, possibly the most unhealthy foodstuff ever.  Rich tea biscuits, icing and skittles.  Green are electrons, purple neutrons and orange protons.


20150106_28After lunch we read from the book basket.  I read from here

20150107_2lovely book, for each month there are two chapters describing walks and the wildlife that can be seen at that time of year.

Sam read from this one.  We have a lot of Basher books now but this is the first and favourite.

20150107_57Then we had a new friend over for an afternoon of Minecraft before it was time for Cubs.

Wednesday, thanks to a change in routine, is now trip day.  Earlier in the week I decided we’d use our Dockyard pass this side of the harbour, posted our plans on the local facebook group to scoot along the waterfront to the Submarine museum and a couple of other families joined us – some at the bus stop.  Lovely day if a bit nippy.  We’ve all been before and have passes so can go again so there was no pressure to milk every educational opportunity out of the day.  Just a relaxed explore with friends that my over-scheduling last year made it hard to see enough of. Exactly what I want more of this year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At home Sam continues at great pace through the Seven Wonders series on book 3 now – and this is why we have big Amazon bills.