Monday, 16 February 2015

Dyson challenge cards

We had fun with some science activities last week and were joined by some friends. I used the Dyson challenge cards, which were free from the learning section of the Dyson website, and we explored expanding gases and viscosity. These were very effective and simple demonstrations and I love the concise explanations on the cards of the science behind it.

The children all loved the gloop, which melted into a liquid when left alone, turned to a solid when moulded and went very hard when poked with a sudden impact.

We also watched a YouTube video about armoured jackets made using a similar material which the children loved.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Finally, an update!

My blog has been neglected for a few weeks as lots has been going on in our life so I'll just post a quick update then hopefully will be back to regular posts.

Peter had his fourth birthday! No longer a toddler and he had a nice visit to soft play and build-a-bear.

Harry has continued to create great pictures at art class and has been playing cello very nicely.

Harry has been reading Beast Quest books and has read the first two Artemis Fowl stories borrowed from the library as well as King of the Cloud Forests by Michael Morpurgo. Peter has started blending sounds to read simple words in the stage 1 Oxford Reading Tree books. He is also using the Teach Your Monster Read app.

Harry has started working from the Galore Park English textbook which is the perfect level of challenge for him at the moment. We are doing some of this each week. He has also been working lots on the basic maths functions using techniques for larger numbers, in Conquer Maths and the Mr Thorne Maths Universe app.

We have been using the BBC Schools Let's Move podcasts based on Ten Pieces classical music programme, so we have been following the podcast through dance and movement then watching some of the Ten Pieces too.

I recently received a set of free challenge cards from Dyson, which contain small science and engineering challenges. We have started following these last week, by using coke to clean a penny, which teaches about chemical compounds.

Harry has been to a family stargazing event at Kielder Observatory with Stuart, which he really enjoyed.

Harry and I have just started following a futurelearn online course about moons. He has always been interested in space and I think we will enjoy this.

We have been working on the Stone Age for a few weeks. We have read several books, looked up details about Germany (where the first bones were found) and visited the Hancock Museum in Newcastle using their downloadable object sheets to discover items in the Stone Age gallery. The boys played a great imaginative game for a long time involving hunting and being Cave Men. Harry also wrote a report back to the future from the Stone Age. 

We talked about Cave art and why it existed and also generally about art and how it can transport us to imaginative places or make us feel emotion. We looked at the posters and pictures in our house and said how they made us feel. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year home education

Happy New Year! We had a lovely two week Christmas holiday and saw all of our close family. It feels like a long time since I updated here!

Stuart went back to work on Monday but before that we went swimming, visited the Centre for Life and Gibside together. We have also played many, many games of Uno, read lots of new books and built Lego Christmas presents.

We are slowly getting back into routine this week. Harry and Peter have both done some reading and writing practise, Harry had Beavers and his swimming lesson and we have started reading about The Stone Age, which we will be working on for a couple of weeks.

Harry has also been playing cello and we have watched some videos by The Piano Guys. We especially love this Batman themed piece. Peter and I listened to a BBC Playtime podcast called 'Robin'. 

We've been on the bus to City Library too, to return our Christmas books. Harry has borrowed a couple of Michael Morpurgo titles to read along with his beloved Beast and Sea Quests!

I won't be changing much about our routine this term. I think we are doing the right amount of external classes - both boys are doing enjoy-a-ball and music and Harry also does art class, swimming lessons and Beavers. Peter isn't school age until September so we may start him with an extra activity then if he wants to do one.

Last year Harry's main aim was to read independently and he has exceeded my expectations in that respect; he reads so quickly and fluently now and I expect he will start to read longer books this year. He will be working more on written English and we will be starting the Galore Park Junior English textbook. He will continue to use Conquer Maths online.

Peter is enjoying Reading Eggs online so he will continue to use that and he is now able to read three letter words by sounding the letters. He loves practising writing letters too! We will start using the early stage Oxford Reading Tree books as well. He will be using workbooks for learning to write numbers and practising early maths skills.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas craft and beach

Harry finished sewing his Christmas tree decoration this morning. He likes this type of pre-punched sewing kit. 

Peter made a cut-out window decoration and a Lego/jam jar snowstorm. Harry did this a few weeks ago and Peter wanted to make a matching one. The glue-gun glue in Harry's had unstuck too so we used superglue this time on the jar lids. 

We met friends at the beach today too, which was quite mild for December and the boys had a great dig, followed by lunch at the cafe on the beach. We went back to our friend's house and all the children played minecraft together. Harry really likes joining the same world as his friends and helping each other. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Playing games, craft and swimming

We were all very tired this morning after being away at the weekend. We also had friends over to play yesterday, a bike ride and the Beavers Christmas disco, which was a later night than usual.

We spent a lovely, relaxed morning at home. We played our new snakes and ladders game, which has numbers to 100. I had some tesco clubcard vouchers to use and bought a few new games for us from there. Snakes and ladders has always been popular with Harry and Peter from a young age.

And we played our new favourite game - Uno. Both boys love this and Harry would play for ages but Peter gets bored after a few rounds. 

We also did some sticker and glitter pictures and Harry started sewing a felt Christmas tree decoration. I read aloud too and Peter had a bath, so we were ready to go to Harry's last swimming lesson of the term this afternoon. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014


We had a trip to Harrogate today, so Harry and Peter could go to the panto with my mum. They had a great time and brought flashing spinners home! My sister and I (along with sleeping baby) had a lovely lunch and did some Christmas shopping.

They were also pleased to see baby cousin Jacob again. My mum with her grandsons....

Saturday, 13 December 2014

End of term music concert

It was Harry's Christmas music concert today. All the children in his year (he is year two of three) played a solo or duet piece and he also played in the ensemble concert. He really enjoyed it all and played very well. 

He was pleased that his concert even had its own special tickets! 

I had a haircut this afternoon so Stuart and the boys went swimming and had great fun.