Pages

Friday, 20 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 105

We are limping towards the end of our academic year - almost there now! We are all but finished, with just a small amount of work left for some of the children to complete next week. I'm ready for a break, and I have a number of lists of jobs to do around the house that would fill more days than I have available over the summer; not long to go now.

I'm also conscious that I need to evaluate where each child is up to with their studies, and to prepare thoroughly for the year ahead. More than ever, I will need to prepare differently for each child, and this will take plenty of time and consideration to do well.

Although we're not quite finished yet, we are doing considerably less book work now, and the children are enjoying having time to play or create.

My 11 year old made lime macaroons earlier in the week:



My 9 year old has been crocheting, my 6 year old has just been learning to cross stitch, and my 12 year old has got us all playing a Doctor Who board game he found in one of our local charity shops. It's surprisingly good!


We have also started our Summer Reading Challenge (after being badgered about it for about 3 weeks by all 4 children). They are all enjoying a bit of time to get stuck into some books. It's particularly encouraging to see my 6 year old immersed in proper chapter books this year, and to see how much her reading has improved since last summer.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 104

We are still working, but definitely winding down towards our summer break. My nine year old has been continuing to work on learning to crochet, and has begun to make a blanket.

My 9 year old's Crochet

My 6 year old has also learned French knitting; she wanted to crochet too, but I thought trying something simpler for now would be less frustrating - and she has really enjoyed it.

Learning French Knitting

The highlight of the week was a trip to the beach. It's always a bit of a trek from London to the seaside, but I took the train to Littlehampton with my younger 3 (and a friend), and it was a glorious day of sandcastles and sea swimming. It was well worth taking the day out.

On the Beach!

Sandcastle Building

Sea Swimming

Today was our final home education meeting of the term. It felt like a bit of a rush to get anything together this week, but we seemed to have a good afternoon.

We looked at the which places yielded the most bacteria growth from the samples we collected last week. The door handle and the bin had the most impressive results.

Bacterial Growth from the Door Handle

Our topic for the week was bones and muscles, and the children enjoyed icing skeletons onto gingerbread men, and also making a model of a diagram of a joint out of cake and jelly (for the synovial fluid).

Skeleton

Model of a Joint in Cake

I am now very much ready for term to end and the holidays to begin. We have a little for finish up next week, and then we'll be done for the year!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 103


Last weekend began with a parkrun PB from my 9 year old. He's been getting faster over the last few months, and wanted to attempt to run 5K under 30 minutes - and he did. He even managed to jump back up and keep running after a fall, finishing with grazed knees and a scraped elbow.



Another highlight of the week was a trip to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition with the three younger children. We've visited for a few years now, and it is a great opportunity for the children to engage with scientific research.

There were many highlights, but the children were particularly excited about the Quantum Brain exhibit where they were able to operate simple games by concentrating hard!


They were also fascinated by the lab grown bone material:


And they thoroughly enjoyed using Virtual Reality to learn about detecting neutrinos.


The children have all been creative in different ways this week.

My 11 year old made some lemon cheesecake cupcakes to bring along to church lunch. His homemade lemon curd was particularly tasty.


My 6 year old has had a knex project on the go for a while, and this week she found time to finish her windmill.


I have been teaching my 9 year old to crochet, and he has been getting the hang of it pretty well. He's almost finished a practice square, and is planning to embark on a bigger project soon.


My 12 year old has added to a picture of Marvel film characters as hamsters!


Today we met for our home education group. We were learning about bacteria. My group swabbed various places to see which would yield the best bacteria growth; we will see what grows in our petri dishes over the week.

They made junk models of various bacteria, and also of a typical bacterium cell.


We've managed to fit in quite a bit this week, and it's good to look back and see all the positive times we have enjoyed. For various reasons, it hasn't felt like an easy week - and has been challenging in many ways - but it has been good to make time for some fun activities in the midst of the difficulties.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 102

We were busy celebrating my Mum's 60th birthday last weekend, so it has been two weeks since I have had a chance to write about what we've all been up to.

A fortnight ago, we visited Banstead parkrun for a different kind of run. Out in the countryside, and with a decent hill in the middle, it was probably a little more challenging than our local run. We all made it to the end in spite of my daughter falling early and finishing with scraped knees (again).

Peach Parkrunners

We had a few days of trying to keep going with our ordinary work before we headed off to spend Friday and Saturday with my family to celebrate my Mum's birthday. We had a lovely evening at a hotel enjoying delicious food, good company, and balloon modelling provided by my 12 year old!

Admiring Grandma's Cake

Enjoying a Balloon Hat!

Maybe too much coke...

On the Saturday, we spent the day at a farm together, which was also a lot of fun. We had a great weekend, and enjoyed marking the special birthday of a very special mum and grandma.

This week we have been once again trying to have a fairly normal week. We still have some work to finish before we have our summer break, so I am keen for us to keep moving with it. Nonetheless, there has still been time for baking and running, drawing and reading, and watching to see if our mushrooms would ever grow (they finally have begun!). I also squeezed in a 10k run yesterday evening.

Baking Bread Rolls for Lunch

Mushrooms (nearly!)

Today, however, has not been an ordinary day. I took the three younger children back to the home of a fellow home educator who has been kindly running some life-cycle sessions for us. Today was a social occasion, which meant spending a number of hours sitting by the Thames while the children played on the "beach" - digging a trench and building dams, splashing in the paddling pool, and finally going for a swim together. It was a beautiful day, just perfect weather for outdoor swimming.

Helping with the Digging

Perfect Weather!

Time to Read as well a Swim

 Next week will probably be similar - ordinary days where I try to get as much done as we can fitted around various trips out or other activities.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 101

We've spent the last week on holiday in North Wales. Getting away for a break during term time is one of the great advantages of home education, and we have enjoyed a gloriously sunny trip away.

A major highlight of our trip was a day walking up Snowdon. This was not the first time we have climbed this mountain, but it was the children's first experience of reaching the summit on a clear day. There was a wonderful moment shortly before we reached the peak when we were able to see the spectacular views over the opposite side to the one we had been climbing; the children were clearly stunned! In previous years, it has all been cloud.

On the way up, with the summit in the background.

Nearly at the top!

Just walking down from the summit.

We also enjoyed going to the beach. Playing in the sea and building sandcastles are always popular.

Harlech Beach

Sandcastle

We visited Conwy castle one afternoon. There are so many towers to climb and rooms to explore - great fun for all of us.

Conwy Castle

There is also a parkrun in Conwy, which we also enjoyed taking part in.

Running Boys

We also visited the Rabbit Farm; the children miss their pets when they go away, so we promised them a bit of bunny cuddling while we were away.

Bunnies to Cuddle!

Michael Helping Out!


We've spent lots of time outdoors, eaten many ice creams, played some board game, read some books, and generally had a good time away together.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 100

We have taken a break from our usual routine this week for half term. I have been trying to get on top of my planning for the rest of the term while the children have enjoyed various activities.

My 10 year old spent a day baking with a friend, and has also been making cakes at home. He wasn't happy with the results of his day of baking - it didn't turn out as he hoped - but I am encouraging him that when a cake goes wrong that's part of learning to be a good cook! It still tasted amazing (and I thought it looked okay too!).

Mini-cupcakes Made by my 10 Year Old

I took my 9 year old on another trip down to the Thames foreshore with his group of junior archaeologists. This week they were cleaning some wooden platforms that once would have been used for boats which needed to be mended. My son ended up pretty wet and muddy, but had a great time.

Cleaning Mud Away

There was added excitement when Tower Bridge was opened while we were there.

Tower Bridge Opening

We had more archaeology fun today when I took my three boys to visit the London Mithraeum together with their Young Archaeologists Club. They had a chance to examine and handle some artefacts, and to try to work out what the occupation was of the person working with those items. Some were easier to identify than others!

Examining Artefacts

After that, we all went down to look at the remains of the temple of Mithras together. It was a fascinating experience.

Temple of Mithras

In their spare time, the children have been drawing using tutorials from Art Hub for Kids. This has been great fun.

Turtle - by my 10 year old

Angler Fish - by my 6 year old

R2D2 by my 10 year old

My 12 year old also tried out one of the origami tutorials, and made a penguin.

Origami Penguin

Already we have reached the end of the week, and I haven't managed to get as much done as I hoped; this seems to be a pattern - I may be overly optimistic about what I can fit in! Nonetheless, it has been good to have a break from our usual work.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 99

The tadpoles we have been looking after have been changing into frogs at a steady rate. We released 5 more a day or two ago, and will have to do the same for a few more very soon.


Although the tadpoles have been thriving, one of our guinea pigs needed a trip to the vet to sort out a sore eye. Nearly a week later, it is now looking better after a course of eye drops. The children have been good at holding her while the drops were administered.

I have been back to a normal week of running again (after a post-marathon rest), and it has been good to be out and about again. I've also been doing a bit of cross stitch once more, after having quite a number of months of crocheting blankets. I like to have something to do while I am teaching reading or spelling!



We weren't planning to break for half term next week as we have a holiday coming up, but we have ended up with trips out or other plans for so many days next week that I thought we might as well have a rest from our usual work. It will give me a chance to do a bit of planning for our final half term, and make sure that we finish the books that we need to complete before the summer.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 98

On Monday this week, we attended my Grandad's funeral together. Although there were many tears, we also remembered together the lively and vibrant man that my Grandad was - full of jokes and humour. It was good to be with family and share those memories together.

Our home education group met today. We had a session learning about fungus, which turned out to be an interesting topic. We made bread rolls together to start with, prepared some kits for growing our own mushrooms, learned about why fungi are classed as neither plants nor animals, and discussed the uses of fungi. My daughter is an aspiring mycologist, so she was particularly thrilled to give a short presentation as part of our session.

Mushroom Spores

My children are very keen on their cooking and baking at the moment, so most days I have at least one request to do some cooking! My 9 year old has always particularly enjoyed baking bread, and we gave him a bread cookery book for his birthday. He made Fancy French Bread from his book earlier in the week.

Fancy French Bread

A highlight for my middle two children was a visit to the London Mithraeum, the remains of a Roman temple to Mithras. This would be exciting enough, but there was also a short (and very engaging) talk about the cult of Mithras given by Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mysteries and the Roman Quest stories - books that my children have really loved.


Caroling Lawrence and my 9 Year Old

Temple of Mithras


Finally, we were also very pleased to have our first frog from our batch of tadpoles! It has been released back into the wild now. There are a number of froglets too, so we will hopefully have plenty more frogs soon.

Our First Frog