October half term

So this week all the local schools are off and that, of course, means that the weather has turned and it’s rained most if the week!
So what have we been up to this week? Sunday I spent most of the day gardening while it’s was dry, and then we went for a walk with friends at a local woodland.

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We’ve had a quiet week and spent time painting together, playing Just Dance on the Xbox, reading (myself and E are now over halfway through The Hobbit), and we’ve played together.

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The two little girls and I made some delicious soda bread yesterday, which we enjoyed warm for lunch.

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S got out her Alphablocks workbooks and did some of those. She is now beginning to blend letters and read more words.

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We also had a go at making bowls from autumn leaves. It’s much more difficult than it looks on Pinterest! I’m not sure we’ll actually be using them for much.

Me and R had a lovely evening yesterday. The younger 3 were in bed early and they’re coming down with colds, so me and R put on a film. We had snacks and snuggled down under a blanket. A lovely little treat.

My Random Musings

A Dinner Party

A few weeks ago I hosted a dinner party for a few friends, this gave R an idea for a project. She would host her own dinner party.

She set about working out a guest list and menu, and she designed some invitations.

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The day before her party she baked a sponge cake. She worked out what measurements she needed to use, weighed all her ingredients and mixed them all without help. We discussed what temperature the oven needed to be on and how long the cake needed to cook for. Once it was baked and cooled she decorated it with chocolates.

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The day of her party she made sure all her courses were ready to cook. She’d decided on tomato soup and bread for her starter, pasta with vegetables for her main, and the cake with ice cream for dessert.

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She dressed the table, setting each place and folding napkins. We picked some flowers from the garden for the centrepiece.

She got herself all dressed up with a pretty dress and some pearls, and did her hair and makeup.

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Her guests all arrived looking very smart, and they sat down to eat. R served up the starter and while they ate I kept an eye on her pasta. After the starter R cleared the table, and put out a bowl of cheese she had pre-grated and her sauce for the pasta, then gave everyone their meals.

I left them to eat.There was lots of laughter coming from the kitchen as everyone had a lovely time. R called me when they had finished and I helped her serve up the dessert.

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After their meal they watched some tv together in the lounge and had a hot chocolate before their parents came to collect them.

At 7 years old I think R did a fantastic job.

The Freerange Family

One of those days!

Today was one of those days that you walk down the stairs narrowly avoiding the little parcel of poo that your potty training toddler has left there, and into the lounge to find the two biggest ones having a major fight (over something very insignificant) and all before 9am.
It was one of those days were you just need to get out of the house, if only for an hour.
It was also one of those grey, slightly miserable days when you just was to curl up with a hot chocolate and a blanket and watch mindless tv.
I looked at the children and the pile of poo at the bottom of the stairs and decided we would just put on our wellies and get out (after cleaning up the poo).

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We headed to Moors Valley for the adventure trail. “But it’s boring” chimed the kids. I marched on none the less and we found a big gloopy mess of mud. The kids all charged in and began to have fun.
We eventually starting working our way around the play areas and bumped into a mum with 5 children all similar ages to my older ones (only 2 were hers). E went off into the undergrowth with 3 of the boys and they started a game.
Then R began to play with the girl and before long they were all playing wonderfully and continued to do so for the next 2 hours.
The mum and I chatted, it was really nice having friendly company whilst the children played. If we’d taken a picnic I think we would’ve stayed together all day. It was such a delightful change from the start of my day.

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S wanted to do some writing on the ground with sticks, so we wrote words and letters and had to read/guess what the other had written.
Eventually our tummies were rumbling and we said our goodbyes.
I’m so glad we went out today and didn’t just veg out in front of the tv. It just goes to show that no matter how the day starts or whatever the weather, you can still go out and have fun.

The Freerange Family
”My

 

Crafty Owls

It’s wet and miserable outside today, so we decided to do some craft. S had asked if we could use the empty toilet paper rolls that we seemed to have an abundance of. We looked through our craft boxes and decided to make owls.
I had some sheets of foam that I used to cut out feet, wings and beaks.

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We have lots of goggley eyes of various shapes and sizes to use. And of course lots of messy paint.

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The girls all had great fun (as did I) painting our owls and giving them little faces.

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It filled our morning perfectly and was of course followed by a bath for little S as she decided she needed to be purple just like her owl!

I’m linking up with #abitofeverything

A Bit Of Everything

Swing parks and science.

We’re trying to make the most of the weather before it gets too cold and wet. We’ve been enjoying swing parks a lot this week. We’ve played shops in them, done lots of running around and cartwheels, made new friends and played with family.

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Monday we went out with Granma and Granpa (to the swing park) and then went for an ice cream. It’s really lovely being able to spend with them.
R is still enjoying her science workbook in the evenings, although trying to get my brain going at half past 8 in an evening can be a challenge.

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Tuesday we met up with aunty A and baby N and, you guessed it, went to the swing park! We went to the library afterwards and chose some new books to read, R was very enthusiastic and chose 4 novels. I suggested one at a time may be better as they take a while to read and we didn’t want to run out of time, which she agreed to. Then she picked 2 art books, a book on Aztecs and a book on Tudors. History and art definitely seem to be her favourite subjects (as well as being very sporty).
Tuesday also saw us on our usual swimming lessons and dinner at Nanny’s house.
Wednesday we spent the day at home, we baked cakes, and R made fish nuggets for dinner. S did some of her Alphablocks workbook and some of her Biff, Chip and Killer workbook too.
Little S did lots of colouring, sometimes with pens on paper and sometimes with yoghurt on sofa or toothpaste on clothes or even ketchup on plates! She is certainly keeping me on my toes at the moment and very much living up with the “Terribles Twos”.

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Wednesday evening was the highlight of our week. I’d arranged for us and some our home educating friends to go and see Ministry of Science live at Salisbury city hall. It was very loud but lots of fun. E wasn’t too keen on the big bangs but found a lot of it very funny and was giggling his head off. It was a great mix of live science experiments and historical science facts. It gave us some ideas of experiments to try at home and some insight into the wonderful world of science. R started wondering what science she could do in Minecraft, so we’ll be investigating that over the next few weeks. I think one of the best things though was that the children came out excited about science.

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I am linking up with Domesticated Momster #momsterlink

Domesticated Momster

When it goes wrong!

It seems Autumn is here, the air is decidedly cooler, the leaves are changing and falling, and the evenings are much darker. This week began rather wet and soggy. Monday we spent the day at home and set up a couple of science experiments, neither of which was particularly successful.
Our first was to make a raw egg bounce. We did two in the hope that at least one would work. The idea is that you take a raw egg and soak it in vinegar for 2-3 days and the egg will bounce. The vinegar reacts with the calcium of the egg shell and dissolves it, leaving you with a soft, bouncy egg.
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In reality the egg shell does dissolve but you are left with a raw egg that explodes on impact when bounced! The other thing that happens as the shell dissolves is that the egg absorbs some of the vinegar and this makes the egg grow. When doing this eggsperiment don’t use a jam jar. Trying to get a swollen, soft, shell-less egg out of a jam jar results in a very messy explosion of goo!

The other science experiment we tried was to learn about how plants absorb water. So we put some white roses in pots of coloured water. Maybe roses weren’t the right flowers to use because they didn’t change colour as I was expecting. What they did do however, was die!

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I’m sure the children did still have fun trying out these experiments, and we do now know how to dissolve an egg shell (if ever we should need to) but I’m not sure how successful we actually were. Plus my kitchen still smells of vinegar.

This week hasn’t all gone wrong though it has also seen us baking cakes and icing them. We’ve been to home ed club and swimming lessons, and I took them all swimming with a friend on Wednesday, which I am hoping I can make a regular thing.

E had a major achievement and learned to ride his bike without his stabilisers, this meant that I was able to fit all their bikes into the car and they cycled from Pottern park to Moors Valley and back on Thursday.

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The good thing about when things do go wrong is that we can learn and adjust for next time. I’m sure all successful scientists had a few failures before they achieved their goals, besides we had fun too.

I’m linking up with The Free Range Family #busydoinglife and My Random Musings #AnythingGoes

The Freerange Family
My Random Musings

My top 5 home educating essentials

When I started home educating I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d need. I stocked up on various workbooks, a set of reading books, and lots of stationary.
As we enter into our ninth month I have discovered my essentials and realised which items I could probably do without.

My top five essentials are:

1. A season pass.
Ours is for Moors Valley Country Park but it can be for anywhere local that you all enjoy. I chose the quiet times pass which is valid for a year but only Monday to Friday during term time. It’s £25 for the year which I think is really good as it’s £9 for a days parking. It’s great for those times when we just need to get out of the house and I don’t want to spend a fortune. There’s loads to do, gets the kids active and we all love it there.

2. A laminater.
I didn’t buy this specifically for or because I’m home educating but it is certainly useful. I’ve used it when I’ve made games of pairs, letter matching games, to waterproof outdoor activities like scavenger hunt lists, and for making reusable wipe clean resources. It means that instead of going out and buying, sometimes costly, resources, I can print things off the PC and save some money.
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3. A craft box.
I use the term “box” quite loosely as I seem to have several craft boxes and other bits all over the house. All 3 of my girls love nothing better than covering things in glue and glitter. E will also join in sometimes if he deems crafty time “not too girly”! As well as helping them develop their creative side, craft time can help with their fine motor skills which in turn helps with handwriting. It can also help with mathematical skills when counting beads and creating a pattern.

4. Baking items.
We bake. A lot. Anything from cakes and biscuits to breads. I always have flour, butter and sugar in, and a good supply of sprinkles, icing sugar, colours and essences. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen weighing, measuring and mixing. I encourage the children to read the recipes and follow them without help. Even little S, who is 2, likes to look at the instructions and can crack an egg. Cooking builds up so many skills, reading, maths and learning to become self sufficient. R can already cook herself a basic meal without assistance (although I do supervise.)

5. Books.
I have so many books. Books about the human body, books about space, gardening books, colouring books, encyclopedias and dictionaries. Workbooks, picture books and novels. No matter what sort of books you have, any book is good. Sometimes the children just look at the pictures, sometimes they read the words and sometimes they want to be read to. You can learn so much from a book and it’s not just about developing their literacy skills. Books are good for any age, baby to 100+. It’s great for children to see adults reading and enjoying books too.

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I love this quote and have it on the wall next to the book shelves.

Although these are my top 5, I would also recommend building a network with other home educating families both online and off. It’s essential to have the support of others and to be able to meet up with, socialise and enjoy the company of like minded people.

Do you home educate? What are your essentials?

I’m linking up with My Random Musings

My Random Musings