Muscles, Graphic Design and Film Festival

I’ve been trying to blog day by day lately so I don’t lose the small stuff.  But I’ve got myself a bit behind, to say life is rather full at the moment is a bit of an understatement.  With one festival/holiday on top of another work goes mental, there is a serious spike in numbers of HE group requests to join, HE activities shift indoors and are therefore more labour intensive, Sam’s birthday takes time and then I always set myself a ridiculous agenda of the sewing to try and achieve in the run up to Christmas.  Completely unnecessary pressure that last one.  Oh and no Christmas cake yet, must make a cake!

Anyway here’s what I can remember of this week.

Tuesday was PJ day.  We rushed through Sam’s stuff in the morning so I could get on with some work in the afternoon.  We spent a bit more time on Maths and English than usual as plans for rest of the week meant us cramming what we’d normally do in 4 days into 2 1/2. 

Then it was more muscles in science.  We read up about the idea of muscle teams.  We did some tests to show that if you immobilised the middle finger then you can’t move your ring finger and if you move your middle finger then your ring finger moves too.  The sniggering is about the fact he was ‘swearing’ at me!20161108_320161108_6We moved on to how facial muscles work together to make expressions.  We have disapproval, happiness, surprise and disgust.

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We made a model arm complete with balloon muscles to show how one tightened as the other stretched.

20161108_15 20161108_16 Then a model of a hand to show how the muscles work together.

20161108_19 20161108_20 20161108_24We watched another episode of Empire over lunch.  The rest of the day disappeared in work, computer play and reading aloud (BFG).

Weds morning went in a rush.  I can’t really recall what we did, to be honest.  The weekly planner tells me there was English, Maths, Latin, Spanish and some work on Asia for geography, looking at political boundaries within the continent.

The afternoon took us to our group, first one of the academic year since I messed up the booking.  Was a lovely afternoon, we only had a handful of children under the age of 11 so we able to go a lot more structured and down the route of group work and discussion than I’ve been able to before.  The younger ones kept up well as they usually do when the average age is higher.  

We were working on the graphic designer skill.   We looked at examples of logos and talked about what made a good one and then they spent some time (most had to take it away to finish) working on a design for a logo to act as the banner on the local HE facebook group.

Then we did some ‘screen printing’.  Well a very adapted method anyway.  They cut designs from sticky back plastic and stuck them to the t-shirt or bag and then stippled on fabric paint.  When the paint was dry the plastic peeled off to leave the design.  Sam’s smudged a bit.  We got some really inventive and colourful ones as a group.


Evening was spent finishing off the BFG.  Reason being it was the first film of this year’s film festival for us on Thursday morning.  It was a really good adaption but I was reminded how much I hate going to the cinema.  Even when the film is good I just find it really, really boring to just sit and watch.  Cinemas aren’t made for sewing though 😉  Plus even sitting in the posh seats at the back I get tetchy about the lack of personal space, I have quite a wide buffer zone needed.  Hey ho only 2 left.  Although I suspect I will put up with the inconveniences to see Fantastic Beasts too in a week or so.

We had lunch with a friend after and then went in for the hell that is shoe shopping.  Once we get to it, and Sam accepts that it needs to happen (and it really did – everything he had was too small and leaking) it is never that bad we managed 3 pairs; walking shoes, trainers and winter boots so will last until we need beach shoes.  Managed hats, scarves and gloves too.  So it was home and then to dentist with Jack for a filling, leaving Sam at home being sick after having too much coke in the cinema.  Not a day to chalk up as a classic!

Balancing Act

We’re in a stage of transition at the moment home ed wise, there’s a feeling that on the horizon it all gets a lot more serious and less ‘fun’.

There’s mixed emotions of trying to keep the fun, flexibility and following our own agenda as long as we can while at the same time starting to work on skills that he’ll need in the future.  I know not all home educators think the same but to me if at 16 the same doors aren’t open to Sam that would have been if he’d gone to school then home ed has failed.  Realistically that means at least 5 GCSEs inc Maths and English.

I don’t think we need to cover the KS3 curriculum but to move from where we are now to where we need to be is quite a jump.  Small steps are what we need.  Essay writing and following a learning agenda set by others are something quite alien.  We are not textbook, worksheet, writing things down, curriculum following people, just isn’t us.  We do some but tend to adapt a lot and outside of Maths and English tend to abandon things very quickly as so much feels like ‘busy work’.

The other motivation is that Sam needs more than sticking and gluing now.  I want things to stay fun but they also need to be a bit challenging.  I am thinking mainly of workshops we do.  I think we’re close to giving up on KS2 ones, they are not holding interest.  The one we did today that was planned particularly for us was nice.  Not much is capturing my interest when I look about of KS3 though and there aren’t that many children of that age into the whole workshops thing.  Days out and seeing and doing are not something I’m going to let slide though I just think there will probably just end up being less ones with the group. Which is a pity as it is how we’ve forged our strongest friendships.

Last Thursday was a day that felt like we were doing education.  We were doing our own spin.  We didn’t do the worksheets that went with the slideshows we watched on Indian rivers and mountains.  He wrote up reports on his blog instead.

We also have a history textbook for KS3.  The intention was never to follow it as a course but there is precious little about for looking at the British Empire.  The idea is to use the relevant chapters for information, picking and chosing the activities we do from them either as written or discussion exercises.  Our first dabble worked well.  It’s a nice enough book.  Activities are thoughtful and relevant.

The key point of all that drivel is Thursday wasn’t the most exciting day to blog about but it was busy, productive and pleasant enough and probably a sign of the slow drift of change.  I am sure that one day this blog will just be a memory as I have nothing of interest to note.  I’ll miss it.

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