Sunday, 29 July 2012

Harry Potter, diet coke and mentos

Here I'm including a few pictures of a couple of things we've been up to this week.

Firstly, I bought a quill, ink and parchment paper so that the boys could write like Harry Potter. They loved it, wrote loads and they've even been doing their daily maths using the quill and ink. These are the boys who hate writing! It's all about finding the thing that gives them the most motivation. Letters, poems and maths have all been willingly done with a quill. The power of Harry Potter!

Along different lines, we watched Volcano Live and they decided that we just HAD to do the coke and mentos volcano. It worked and was really quite magnificent. I think George 2nd's face says it all!

Some heat science

Like most people, I was slightly concerned about covering science with the children as part of home ed. I was fine with the 5 senses, but chemistry and physics? There was no way I could do that! It's one of the things that is mentioned a lot by people asking whether they might miss out on resources available in school. I even believed they might.

Then I came across An Ordinary Life? blog by a fellow home educator of younger children. Her science section is crammed full of fun, manageable experiments and has given me the confidence to get on and do some of them. So, I went shopping and this afternoon we've experimented with magnesium ribbon. I remember this experiment at school and how much I enjoyed it. We were never allowed to have a go of course, so doing it with my own little people was even more fun.

We read about magnesium and it's place in the periodic table in the brilliant book The Periodic Table Elements with Style and thoroughly enjoyed the light show.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

HE Olympics

Today at our local home ed group, we had an Olympic sports day. It was absolutely brilliant! Everybody chipped in and brought an event. We had a sprint, football goal shooting, hoopla, relay, apple bobbing, 3 legged race, strong man competition, throwing a ball onto hoops and long jump.

When we left, I asked George 1 if it was better than school sports day and the response was "Yeah! We never did apple bobbing at school!"

It was lots of fun, despite the driving rain, and I'm pretty sure all the children enjoyed it.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A holiday?

I thought I'd just do a quick photo catch up of our holiday. We went to Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire a few weeks ago. We had an amazing week but I wouldn't say it was a holiday as most people know it. For us it was more of an extension to our classroom for a week.

 This is the beach at Mablethorpe. Not sure if it gets busier than this but it was just perfect for us!
 George 3 enjoying feeling the sand flowing through his fingers
 Georgiana and MamaSmu. I am so blessed to have such a beautiful little daughter
 George 1 had a fencing lesson at the holiday park. He absolutely loved it.

 One of the best days out we had was at The Lincolnshire Aviation Centre
It was a fascinating, well planned out museum and really got the boys thinking about and feeling what WW2 was like. The Lancaster Bomber in the hangar was extraordinary and we spent a few hours really soaking up the atmosphere. We even met a lady who told us how her hose had been bombed during the war in London and she was thrown clear across the room.

 The absolutely stunning Lancaster Bomber
 A diagram of how the bouncing bomb worked. George 2 was particularly impressed by the precision flying that the pilots had to achieve.
 A real bouncing bomb. I was very excited by this as I loved watching The Dambusters as a child

 I think this picture captures how we all felt about this aircraft

 Playing with the telephone exchange in the home front exhibition

 This is Tattershall Castle aka Hogwarts in our family. I have never been so frightened as I was, watching te boys running up and down the spiral stone staircase inside. We got all the way to the top, then I had to watch as they went to the edge of the battlements to look over! A fascinating place but it added 10 years to my life!

 We met some wonderful home ed LDS friends of ours at The Deep in Hull. We love this family and had a fabulous day with them.
On our way home we were able to stop at Woolsthorpe Manor where Sir Isaac Newton had lived and achieved much of his most well known work. This the THE apple tree in the garden tat he was sitting under when he first realised what gravity is. George 1 has been doing a lot of physics lately so he really enjoyed it here and the little hands on science centre was excellent.

Friday, 13 July 2012


A few thoughts today on Maths.

There are a great many home educators who don't do any sort of formal maths at all, until a child is ready to take GCSE's. This is fine and has proven to be very effective. There is evidence to show that a child who is motivated at 15 to take a maths exam, can learn everything they need to know in just a few weeks.

Until this week, I've been one of those, more or less. My children have shown zero interest in sitting and doing any form of structured maths. We've come and gone on structure over the past 9 months, and at the moment, they're showing real interest in 'doing something'. So, we've been following the MEP curriculum this week. It has been a fabulous week, and they have covered a lot of ground already.

I kid you not when I tell you that George 2 has been downstairs doing his maths before breakfast every day and has thoroughly enjoyed it. He's also become motivated to read again and has been reading every day. He has a new folder all of his own with the practise sheets neatly inside.

George 1 today was asked to sort numbers into a Venn diagram. He picked it up immediately and just got on with it. This is the child who came out of school in October last year telling me that he was never going to do another workbook or pick up a pen again!

It may not last very long, but while it's lasting they're getting so much enjoyment from maths and it's a privilege to be a part of that. Everyone is more relaxed, I think because they've achieved something tricky and got their brains in gear a bit.

The joy of home ed, is that in a few weeks, when they're fed up of doing this everyday, we can change it. It'll happily coincide with the schools going back and we can start visits to museums again!