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!
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.
Here is a small snippet of some of last week’s activities…
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Design and Technology: She did some baking with her daddy and tried to make the mixture into seal shapes. (15th December 2013)
Maths: She used scales to compare weights of seals, using mathematical language. (25th December 2013)
More maths: She also used her toy seals for counting and calculating within her games several times.
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)
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/
Our Halloween fun started when Squiggle decided to decorate our house of her own accord. This included a huge display of 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/
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.
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.
Squiggle was also delighted to see that Willows Farm still had signs up of Halloween today!
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:
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.
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)
We went to London Zoo for the day.
We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.
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.
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.
Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.