Our Week in Pictures

We started this week back in Weymouth to revisit the Sealife Centre as we found it so relaxing and therapeutic last month. We often find it helpful to return to places of interest quite soon after the previous visit, especially when something specific has captured her attention, because subsequent visits often add a new dimension to the place visited. We find the familiarity of the environment provides her with security and confidence (but yet at this stage the place is still ‘new’ enough that her expectations aren’t too rigid) so she is able to build on the previous experience and add even more value to it, by allowing her to extend her interests further and encouraging new interests at the same time.

Highlights of this visit were playing in the water (yes, even at this time of year!), going on the seal ride, watching and discussing the various fish, different types of turtles, studying the corals and anenomes, observing the seals again and alot of laughter!

image
Sealife Centre at Weymouth

Later in the week we visited a local park on Thursday, attended a home education group visit to KIDS playground on Friday, went to a home education information session on Saturday (which mainly turned into an excuse to play in another local park with her friend most of time!) and then finished the week by going to a family- friendly disco with another friend on Sunday. She also enjoyed time at home drawing, playing and caring for her pet bunnies.

image
Playing at a local park
image
KIDS playground home ed group
image
Home ed info session/ playing in a local park
image
Bopping Babes disco
image
Drawing
image
Feeding her pet bunnies

The Beauty of Interest-Led Discussions

Today so far we have discussed the following, all entirely led by Squiggle (and it’s only lunchtime!)…

Odd and even numbers

Times tables (she specifically asked about counting in twos, threes, six, tens, elevens, hundreds and ten thousands). This also led to a discussion about how larger numbers are written.

Why people can’t fly and how gravity works. This led her to demonstrate and explain it to me herself in her own words while jumping around flapping her arms.

Why our cat is called a half Norwegian Forest cat, what we mean by ‘half’ and where the rest of the name in general comes from.

The weather forecast for today and how people predict the weather. This led to discussion over recent weather, climate and seasons.

How paper is made.

Our Week in Pictures

Here is a small snippet of some of last week’s activities…

image
Splashing in puddles
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
image
Woodland walk
wpid-pic20140217173322.jpg
Various activities (see below for more detail)

Activities at home this week included water play (sensory activity), studying a particularly friendly ladybug, discussion about the weather (with myself as well as our cat obviously!), drawing lots of different pictures including a cat character and Igglepiggle (as well as many others), making a decorated model house for her seal, sorting beads and inventing her own target games using a set of foil containers she found in the cupboard. In additon, our egg experiment can be found here. We also met up with friends at a local soft play centre.

Our Week in Pictures

Here is a snippet of some of this week’s activities…

image
Writing
image
Art group
image
Being creative at home.
image
Playdough
image
We even found some unexpected educational fun in Asda looking at life cycles. She also got to meet a character, which she loves doing!
image
Other activities at home.

Cooking Eggs

Squiggle has never been keen on eating eggs before, but in conversation today, the topic came up about different ways to cook eggs and she seemed really enthusiastic to try this at home. She was very interested in helping to cook the eggs in various different ways. This occasion included scrambled egg, hard boiled, soft boiled and fried egg. Even better, she happily tasted them all too. She also had fun making an egg and red pepper sandwich, which she also ate.

image
Exploring different ways of cooking and eating eggs.
image
Making egg sandwiches.

Following Interests: Seals

A couple of months ago Squiggle developed a keen interest in seals. Therefore some of her recent learning experiences have been related to seals in some way. Below are some examples of how we have followed this interest in various ways and covered several subjects doing so.

Drama (and imaginative play): Squiggle acted out Christmas day with her seals. (19th November 2013)

Seals acting out Christmas 19.11.13
Seals acting out Christmas 19.11.13

Geography: Her lost seal ‘returned’ from Germany, which sparked a discussion about countries and travelling. We also looked it up on the globe. (26th November 2013)

Seal returns from Germany 26.11.13
Seal returns from Germany 26.11.13

ICT (and research skills): She wanted to know the difference between seal lions and seals, so we researched on the internet (2nd December 2013)

Literacy: She made herself a seal book (2nd December 2013)

'That's Not My Seal' book she made herself 02.12.13
‘That’s Not My Seal’ book she made herself 02.12.13

Maths: She realised Maths Seeds has a walrus in, which is a similar enough to a seal for her liking, so she played this for several hours over the course of a couple of days. (3rd and 4th December 2013)

Using a number line to add and subtract 04.12.13
Using a number line to add and subtract 04.12.13

Design and Technology: She did some baking with her daddy and tried to make the mixture into seal shapes. (15th December 2013)

She tried to make her baking into seal shapes (with daddy) 15.12.13
She tried to make her baking into seal shapes (with daddy) 15.12.13

Maths: She used scales to compare weights of seals, using mathematical language. (25th December 2013)

Comparing weight 25.12.13
Comparing weight 25.12.13

More maths: She also used her toy seals for counting and calculating within her games several times.

Counting and calculating within her game of seals on the bus 27.12.13
Counting and calculating within her game of seals on the bus 27.12.13

We then visited the Sea life Centre in Weymouth to see real seals close up and observe their behaviour. She really loved this, especially as she was able to watch them peacefully for long periods so we spent several hours watching them, over the space of a few days. (13th- 15th January 2014)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Samples of Learning- Science 2013

Here is a small selection of some of the learning opportunities for Science last year:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Butterfly World (St Albans, Hertfordshire)

Last week we visited Butterfly World again. We have been here a number of times both on our own and with friends, as well as this we have attended a lovely toddler birthday party here a few years ago and organised two home education trips also. It has a very chilled out vibe and there is more to see and do than people might assume. Points of interest in addition to the butterfly house includes natural playgrounds, designer gardens, an ant colony and other insects. There are also handling sessions and talks during school holidays and at weekends. Butterfly World is now closed for the season but re-opens next March. For more information visit the website http://www.butterflyworldproject.com/

 

butterfly world 30.10 (35)
Butterflies feeding in the tropical butterfly house
butterfly world 30.10 (39)
Studying stick insects
butterfly world 30.10 (20)
Leaf cutter ants
butterfly world 30.10 (14)
There is lots of space to walk and play. At the top of the hill is a giant ant sculpture
butterfly world 30.10 (44)
Natural playgrounds
butterfly world 30.10 (36)
Natural surroundings to explore
butterfly world 30.10 (21)
The magnifying glasses proved to be a good purchase from the gift shop!
butterfly world 05.06 (7)
Designer gardens
butterfly world 30.10 (17)
The gardens are fascinating, very unique
butterfly world 30.10 (18)
This garden is designed ‘Honey I shrunk the Kids’ style, allowing visitors to imagine they are a tiny creature in the garden.

 

Halloween Fun and Light Party

Our Halloween fun started when Squiggle decided to decorate our house of her own accord. This included a huge display of Halloween drawings.

halloween drawings 25.10.13
Halloween drawings

Heartwood forest held a special lantern woodland walk so we decided to pop along for an evening adventure. It was incredibly packed and they clearly had not expected anywhere near that many people so the organisation of it was not what we had hoped. However this still managed to be a HUGE hit with Squiggle, who seemed to simply love the novelty of it all! www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/5622/heartwood-forest/

lantern woodland walk 30.10 (8)
She made a paper lantern
lantern woodland walk 30.10 (3)
Night-time woodland walk.
lantern woodland walk 30.10 (4)
Lanterns on the trail

The next day we went to a local church who were holding a Light Party (with funfair theme!) This was a gentle and positive alternative celebration.

halloween inc fun day 31.10 (6)
There were several funfair style games and activities
halloween inc fun day 31.10 (16)
Aiming into a hoop
halloween inc fun day 31.10 (22)
Giant snakes and ladders

At home we did carving the pumpkin which was a wonderful sensory activity as she scooped the pulp and seeds out by hand. We also made a Halloween pepper (which she ate very quickly) and some Halloween ice shapes that she enjoyed playing with and tasting.

halloween pumpkins 02.11 (7)
Scooping out the insides by hand
halloween pumpkins 02.11
Pumpkins
halloween food 29.10 (2)
Halloween pepper
halloween ice 05.11.13
Ice shapes

Squiggle was also delighted to see that Willows Farm still had signs up of Halloween today!

willows halloween 06.11
Halloween hay bales
willows halloween 06.11 (5)
Squiggle loved the giant spider as it felt really furry

 

A Typical Week in Home Education?

In reality there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week for us, we are interest-led and we tend to go with the flow as we feel this suits our needs as a family. The freedom to do this is one of the many reasons we love home educating. I will share more of our personal educational philosophy sometime but that is really a separate subject so I will leave it for now. However, this post aims to give a flavour of the type of thing we might find ourselves doing and a rough gist of what our week might look like. So here is a brief summary of our week:

Saturday

In the morning Squiggle played outside in the garden with her dad. She also picked some blackberries then helped to clean and feed our rabbits. After this we decided to head to the seaside at Southend for the rest of the day.

southend 21.09 (3)
Playing on the beach
southend 21.09 (5)
Collecting seaweed
southend 21.09 (7)
Paddling in the sea

Sunday

We spent some the day at home then decided to pop to Milton Keynes shopping centre for a little while (where she particularly enjoyed the caravan show and studying the inside of a working clock)

model plane 21.09.13
This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

London zoo 23.09 (2)
We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
London zoo 23.09 (12)
Iguana in the reptile house
London zoo 23.09 (25)
The gorilla striking a pose!
London zoo 23.09 (53)
Petting farm
London zoo 23.09 (54)
Squiggle spent a long time playing in the water fountains with an acorn. She had fun designing a science experiment to see which fountains could hold the acorn up in the water. She did lots of investigating how easily the acorn moved in the little stream as well.

Tuesday

We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.

recognising coins 24.09 (2)
She decided she wanted to play with some coins that had been left on the table so this led to learning to recognise and sort different coins. We also had a discussion on the value of things.
Paradise park 24.09 (3)
Watching how the otters behave
Paradise park 24.09 (4)
We enjoyed watching the white tiger take a bath

Wednesday

We had planned to go to a local park to meet up with some friends in the morning then we also went to Leighton Buzzard park in the afternoon.

fleetville park 25.09 (5)
Fleetville park
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (21)
Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (8)
Developing her climbing skills and confidence
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (11)
These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (20)
Balancing skills

Thursday

We stayed at home today so I produced a hidden parcel that had arrived recently, which she was very excited about. It was a zip wire for her hex bugs! This of course inspired her to play with these for sometime, including lots of exploration and discussion about how they work. Activities she later chose included playing Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds on the laptop.

hexbugs 26.09
Hexbugs
maths seeds 24.09 (2)
Maths seeds

Friday

Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.

art group 13.09 (10)
Exploring clay at art group
art group 27.09.13
Doing scratch art