Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Discovering casein

Today has been a great day. After last week, which we spent having fun times with some visiting friends, we've made an effort to stay at home this past two days and get some things done. Besides cleaning, cooking, washing, reading George 1 new book club book - The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, long multiplication using thousands, RE, Geography and learning to read (phew! We do a lot in a short time when we focus!); we also got out these cards that we picked up at a give and take event on Saturday. 

I thought I'd take a look and see what they're like and as with most things Usborne, they're fantastic. So today we turned a glass of milk .......

into a solid star shape......

in just 10 minutes using these things.

1) We heated the milk gently in a pan (it didn't boil) and then added a few drops of food colouring and 2 tablespoons of vinegar

2) With a quick stir, in a few seconds it looked like this

3) We poured the solid in to the foot of a pair of tights suspended over the cup. We threw the liquid away and the left the tights in the cup for 10 minutes to drain. 

4) After 10 minutes, everyone got to squeeze the remaining fluid out. We then transferred the solid lump into a cookie cutter to shape it. 

5) It will take around 3 days to dry out completely and then we can decorate it. 

What we've created here is plastic. We've separated the protein Casein from the milk, which has formed into a solid by changing the shape of the molecules. If you were to add rennet instead of Vinegar (or other chemicals) you'd make cheese. 

This was a great little activity to round off our afternoon and it was fascinating to see the liquid become a solid. I'm looking forward to using these cards more often. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Portland Bill Lighthouse trip

Today we've been to Portland Bill Lighthouse with a group of home ed families. It was a fabulous visit and the views were incredible. 

If you happen to be sailing along the south coast of the UK, you can pinpoint your exact location by knowing that Portland Bill is the only lighthouse along this coastline, painted with one red stripe. It's a stunning building. 

We made it!!

Each lighthouse uses different shaped prisms to produce different beams of light. They also rotate at different speeds so that they flash at different intervals. Ships carry a record of every lighthouse so that at night, when they can't see the red stripe, they can still pinpoint their exact location. 

The descent was somehow more terrifying than the ascent! 

After the visit to the lighthouse we went to the JailHouse Cafe at one of the two prisons on the island of Portland. Again, the views were soectacular and the children really enjoyed running round outside while we had a relatively civilised lunch inside. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Harris Hawks

Today we had the enormous privilege of being able to meet these two beauties. 

We went to Poundbury near Dorchester, where their owner patrols the area with them to reduce the numbers of seagulls (there were no seagulls or pigeons in sight - it was wonderful). They don't hunt as he feeds them, but their presence is enough to scare the other birds away. 

We all had the chance to wear the glove and feed the male bird (the female bird was more timid) and it was wonderful to see them upclose and in such a nice location. 

Afterwards, all the children enjoyed playing in the little park in the sunshine. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Today has been an excellent day

Our day started with a bit of RE, English and Philosophy. Then we went outside to do some maths on the patio. The children were given chalk to partition patio slabs with. They needed to get the most number of partitions with the fewest number of straight lines. The record was 16 using 5 lines. It was the most fun any of them have had with maths for a long time. Then, as the sun was shining, we just stayed out. DadaSmu barbecued some delicious dinner for us all and the paddling pool came out. 

Not all days are perfect, but this one was. Happy happy sunny days :-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sun, sea and beautiful places

It's been sunny again and so we've been out and about. We've been to 'our' little beach to have a paddle and the today we discovered Moreton. What a beautiful village. We didn't get past the ford, but I can see that there's plenty more to discover. Here's some photos. A picture speaks a thousand words after all. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

P.E. Home ed style

I love a lot of things about home ed and one of them is being able to take advantage of the weather. Today we walked down to the beach with two other local families to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. The children had a fabulous time exploring together. As we watched them we remaked on how great home ed P.E. is. The children got to balance, climb, problem solve and work together in teams to achieve goals that they set themselves. They explored dead jelly fish and sparkly 'crystal' rocks. We discussed limestone and porous rocks. It's a unique and free way to learn and grow. Here are some pictures of our happy day. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Polyhedral dice games

I have had a goal to increase the speed and ability of the children's mental maths. While I don't necessarily think that all primary school maths should be taught as early as it is, I do place huge value on being able to quickly solve traditional sums. They're often called number bonds or magic numbers. 

One of the ways that I thought might be fun is with polyhedral dice. The games you can play are endless - and we've played a few! 
We have 20 side, 12 side, 10 side, 8 side and 4 side dice.

The first game that George 2 and I played was a simple multiplication of two numbers thrown on two dice. 
Then we played some family games of adding numbers together. Each time you throw the die, you add the number to your previous throw and the first to get to 50 wins. They quickly worked out that the 20 sided die would likely get you there faster! It was great fun, and the older children helped the younger children with the addition. It got pretty fast and competitive after a while.