Boo and Busy

The last few days have all been about adapting to changing plans and inevitably Halloween.

Monday felt like it was our one chance this week to be productive home ed work wise and never really got into our stride. I was having trouble with printing too (trying to prepare for Tues group) just one of those collating going to pot times really. Multitasking never turns out well. I know this so why I keep attempting to do it who knows.

We did manage lots of Maths, plus English , his online Computer Science tutorial, some geography and an activity in preparation for the group that we had on Tuesday. Plus painted some pumpkin tealight holders.

Then it was time for him to suit up in Halloween gear to go to a party with friends.
Tuesday was all go! At the weekend I’d discovered that I needed to use our voucher to get our new Dockyard pass by end of Oct so had to squash in a quick dockyard trip. Then having persuaded Sam that we wouldn’t do Trick or Treating this year a friend messaged me in the morning to say she’d told her kids they were coming with us, so trick or treating needed fitting in too 😀

The day started at our ‘Citizenship’ group. It’s a 6 week block of activities put together by a group of us, replacing the Mindstorm sessions. We talked about communities and groups that they felt part to. Briefly touching on what makes a community. We did some physical sorting of themselves by certain factors about their identity. Then they had a go at filling in a census form. 

We compared the sort of information on the form to what they’d included on collages that they had made about themselves.

We then used a list of things that could be used to define identity and prioritised them.
Finally as we had a birthday in the group it was cake, singing and ending with a few group games.

A friend kindly dropped us at the ferry so it was time to nip over to the Dockyard, pick up pass, quick snack and play at Action Stations and then back to Gosport for a pumkin hunt. I had ordered some with the groceries but hadn’t come. Supermarkets had removed them in favour of Christmas stock but greengrocers in the village had some.

Home, bath and then a bit of carving, decorating and then Sam painted my face before we headed out with friends (group had grown) for some trick or treating. Lovely evening as local community really goes in for it now.

Not my house I should say. A more enthusiastic neighbour!

 

 

Coding Challenges and Cramming

We’re going away for the rest of the week on a history focussed trip so the week so far has been mainly cramming in a week’s worth of Maths and English into 2 days and rewatching a documentary about 1066.
Lots of time was spent on weather related discussion thanks to weird coloured skies and downed planes which left Pete stuck in Ireland. Discovered that Sam seems very knowledgeable about Armageddon theories.
We had the last of the block of Lego robotics sessions today.  Also as it was spreadsheet day some time was spent making a spreadsheet of Sam’s Beano annual collection so we can keep track of the gaps.
Definitely coming down with a cold which does not bode well for the next few days so another short post.

Diffusion and Independence

Thursday and Friday were perfect home ed days, the ones where it all feels smooth, productive and almost effortless. We’ve been struggling to get that stride going this year but appear to be getting over the ‘back to school’ bugs at last and settling in to routines.
When I’d worked out our planner for the week I had forgotten about the group I run for younger home ed kids on the Friday, which meant getting it all done was always a stretch. 
Thurs morning went very efficiently though and the afternoon was given over to practical science and chatting to Grandad.
We made slides from cheek scrapings and onion cells.  Then set up some diffusion experiments. Gummy bears in different solutions and a bag of flour in an iodine solution. Done them all but they are good to repeat and the fact that the iodine worked really well last time and hasn’t this has given rise to discussion of why not and how some materials let things through and not others.
Then the ultimate diffusion activity – waterbeads. We spent the rest of the afternoon with me reading aloud while he played with them. They are now in the conservatory making Jack late for things as he finds it impossible not to stop and play with them as he passes.  Sam decided rather than finish the last bits of the week’s work off on Friday afternoon he would take himself off to the library to do some on Friday morning while I was at home ed group. He did a few bits in the library before popping to shops and then coming to check on me and taking himself off to finish off the rest over a smoothie in Costa. When you are home educating an 8 yo that you can’t even walk away from to put the washing out because that is all they take to lose concentration people with older kids tells you it gets to this point that you can set work and they do it and you don’t really believe them.

The examples for Friday’s home ed group.

On the Trail of Alfred the Great

I have had a fair few stresses around HE workshops of late that have been making me think time for a break. Today’s though was brilliant so has restored my faith somewhat. It had it’s herding cats moments as ever. Booking and arranging the workshop was so easy though. The education officer really, really seemed to know her stuff and passionate about it too.
I found it hugely interesting and learned lots too.
We started with a tour of Winchester Cathedral, looking at evidence of the earlier Saxon cathedral and influence it might have had and differences.
We then had a workshop tied in to King Alfred’s push to exband liteacy; where they painted an illuminated letter, made a brooch and translated runes.
A few of us stopped in at the museum on the way home too.
Lovely day with a nice balance of old friends and some lovely new people, the two best things about home ed.

Soldiering On

I have had a headache that really would not shift this last week hence the lack of posts.
We’ve got through it okay though. The week was mainly saved by me accepting on Weds that making it to London on Fri for the New Scientist Live event was a non-starter and using the money saved from not buying tickets/train fare to buy a proper microscope. It’s a learner model and I wasn’t expecting much really but very pleasantly surprised and impressed with it. Sam is quite taken and his interest in it took pressure off me.
We did start off the week trying to get by with our pocket microscope and it was nowhere near good enough to see clearly but just good enough to spark enough interest to make me think splashing out a bit was worth it.
In other stuff we continue to work through Python book, watch In Search of the Dark Ages and read Oliver Twist.Not forgetting still on USA project. 

The difficulties he was having with maths last week passed and we were on to squares and indices (one of his interests) and factors. English we had some fun with different noun types.


Tues was Lego Minstorms course. I missed any photos of the robot but did get the kits playing after.
Weds was the first of our groups for senior school age children and turn out was very good.  They were making stencils with glue guns.

We’ve also had time to play board games, spend some time with Grandad and make it in to town for lunch and a potter about (starting to hatch birthday plans).

Oh and I can firmly say that Kidzania are now my worst place ever to deal with and have the most stupid (and frequently changing) policies known to humankind. Too much time this week has been spent musing over how I could run it better. Pity as it’s a fantastic space but I’ve well and truly burnt my bridges for organising trips there in future!

New Routines

It’s been a hugely busy few days. We’re getting used to new materials and new styles of working. Definitely can feel the increase in structure and amount of writing, he’s got a good attitude though and I’m pleased and impressed with what he’s managed.

At the weekend we finally managed to put our flat traveller through the laminator and into the post.And took our visiting one down the beach.We are into researching things and answering textbook questions in exercise books. 
In English we’ve been looking at extracts from Oliver Twist and non fiction works on hunger. Science we’ve been looking at how to think and investigate scientifically. I messed up and we may have had a false start and done some work on cells (which we’ll get to properly in a few weeks).
Maths it’s the usual revision of place value and addition. History we’ve been looking at early humans in Britain as part of a brief pre 1066 overview.Project wise we are looking at Maine and reading about lobsters and lumber. Tues morning saw us at our new group for the first in a 6 week block of Lego Mindstorms sessions. Sam enjoyed it. I had to leave the room as struggled with the way it was presented. Hopefully teething issues though. In contrast the lady providing our Saxon archaeology workshop this afternoon was excellent, so good with them. Definitely need to do more. We’ve also been reading lots – an Anglo Saxon non-fiction book, an adaption of Beowulf by Rosemary Sutcliffe (love Sutcliffe’s books for bringing history to life) and Oliver Twist.  Started watching In Search of the Dark Ages by a very young Michael Wood. From the clothes and hair I doubt I could have been much more than 5 when it was filmed.

 

First Day of Term

The glumness of the last few days of holiday has lifted and I’m ready to get on with new term now.
Jack was back at school before the start of the usual school day as he was on prefect duty welcoming and helping yr 7’s. He wasn’t jumping with excitement but managed to get up and sort himself out and go with no stress.
Sam made it up about 9am, later than ideal but better than has been. He made a birthday card for a friend and we had a big board game clear out to pass on to friends so we have space for new ones we’ve been eyeing up.
We then spent about 3 hours picnicking and playing with friends in a new playground that we’d heard good things about (well deserved too).
We got very soggy as it rained rather heavily for last hour but no one cared. It was nice to be out and catching up again.
Home and into pjs and a bit of work was done on his art award and then computer play followed by tea and watching the wrestling with Jack.
Good first day.

Boiling Alive

Is how I feel, pretty much.

On the home ed front things are going well. I have planned well and keeping up with what little I’ve allocated us isn’t proving hard.

Yesterday we’d easily finished by 11 so heading in to town, picked up lunch and a friend’s daughter and went over to laser quest. Despite the heat 18 children went in and had the usual fun. My plan on hiding out in the shade didn’t quite work out thanks to a cute 5yo who wanted to play – kickboxing in that heat was a mistake though.

Could have spent day on the top deck of the ferry, was nice and breezy. Sam had sun tan lotion in the eye hence the squint.

 Today started early as I went to view a hall with a friend for a group activity. Sam stayed home and got on with work. When I got back all that was needed was grammar, writing, science and some history reading.  
Telephones and telegraphs were the focus of science.
Sam made a circuit so we could do morse code with a bulb.
After that Sam experimented with the electical bits for a couple of hours with a quick detour into researching answers to questions I couldn’t answer.
At some point he decided to show me what a peg blutacked on to a motor felt like against your head. Unfortunately I had my back to him when I said yes to ‘can I show you something?’ so couldn’t point out the flaw with that. He quickly realised the problem and there was a lot of apologising as he spent 20 mins helping remove lots of knots, blutack and a motor from my hair. It was scissors job in the end.  Had to see funny side.

Catapults

We had a catapult building day at our home ed group today.  After a morning spent constructing examples. 
We demonstrated the spring action by bouncing a ball on a parachute.
They then designed, refined and did 3 tests on the catapult. Frame of the session was based on this resource.
Finally with the help of an exercise band they fired waterbombs at me.

Games

When Pete asked Sam if he’d been playing games all day, he said yes, dumping me in it somewhat. He did clarify he’d been playing the metaphorical Game of Life, which made me laugh.  I’d hope life feels more like a game than work anyway.

This morning I let Sam sleep in.  Heat is not our friend he was pathering about until gone 1 am when he went to sleep in our bed, coincidentally helping end my sleep for the night (been a very long day!)  When he got up he did his maths and accidentally tomorrow’s too.  The extra activity involved laying a treasure hunt for Jack, unfortunately he told him the prize was an ice lolly which made the steps between start and freezer a bit pointless 😀 English, Latin and Science were polished off too.

Then we did some science. Sam made an arch dam.

We looked at water pressure, comparing the outflow from holes positioned at different heights. A small water fight followed.

Final bit of science was investigating tsunamis. The afternoon was a lovely home ed group session. I’d set up some story telling props to make. We’d made versions at home before though so Sam happily settled for an afternoon of comic strip drawing, some collaboratively before playing bulldog outside.

Finally at home it was games time. I missed the photo before the game started. He’d spent about 1/2 hr setting it up as a pretty faithful map of 1939 pre-WW2 Europe.