Emmy and the Whale by Julian Burrett and Chris Clor: Book Review

They say to never judge a book by its cover, but as soon as I saw the title of this story I was very keen to get my hands on it! We adore whales – in fact we adore anything to do with nature, wildlife and our natural environment – so I figured this would be perfect for us to review.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, childrens book, book review, whale, oceans, adventure, Living Life Our Way

Emmy and the Whale is written by Julian Burrett with imagery by Chris Clor. The story follows the adventure of Emmy and a lost whale as they discover wonderfully mysterious places on their journey to find his way back home.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, book review, childrens book, oceans, whale, resources, Living Life Our Way

The wording and the storyline itself is quite simple. However, in contrast, the pictures in this book are very detailed and advanced. This means that the book would suit a variety of ages and children can get even more out of the story by using the pictures as talking point for discussion. And of course it is also great for even non-readers to look through independently too.

The imagery is somewhat unique; it is a result of days of photography in two different countries and hundreds of hours of CGI and photoshop. It is both surreal and captivating. With each turn of the page, it is almost impossible not to get drawn in by the style and quirkiness of the pictures, and become absorbed in the world that has been created.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, book review, childrens book, oceans, whale, resources, Living Life Our Way

This beautiful book is available to buy via their website at www.emmyandthewhale.com
I was sent this book for free to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Easter Activities

Here are the Easter events and activities we did this year…

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Easter hunt at home
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Easter hunt at Highfield park
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Arts and crafts activities at home- Squiggle has improved alot on reading and following instructions!
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Mead Open Farm
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Willows activity farm

March Round-up

Here are our March highlights. I chose the song ‘Wonderful World’ because we went on several lovely nature walks and this song really echoes our appreciation of the world around us!

As well as the nature walks, a few of our other activities (as seen in the video) include a marine conservation workshop by Whale Fest, a playdate at the park, other parks and playgrounds, growing our own potatoes, reading, Aldenham SEN playground, a trip to Willows farm and a visit to Stockwood Discovery Centre.

Haven: Littlesea (Our trip to Weymouth, Dorset)

We had a brilliant short break at Littlesea Haven Holiday Park in Weymouth. We stayed in a lovely privately owned caravan in a well-situated spot and really enjoyed the facilities that this site had to offer. We have stayed on several Haven sites now but this one was a firm favourite! Nice pool, good layout, great entertainment, understanding staff, excellent location (with a car) and all-round enjoyable stay.

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Indoor entertainment at Littlesea
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Outdoor play area

Whilst we were at Weymouth, we also visited Sealife Adventure Park. We have been here several times before and absolutely love it! Well worth a visit, wonderful day out.

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Lots to see, really fascinating
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Seals are still her favourite! She was very happy to discover two more seals have come to join Sealife too.
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Fun playing in the water park.
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Lovely new sensory area- great addition!

We also went to the beach…

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Reading the signs on the bridge. Some of them we didn't know so we all learned something new!
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Scenic views
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It was really quiet and very peaceful.
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Beautiful sea views

Last but not least, we popped to the beach and the funfair at Bowleaze Cove…

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Bowleaze Cove (and the marina we passed on the way there!)
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Funfair at Bowleaze Cove

All in all, a fantastic short trip! Loved it!

May 2015

Memories from May…

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Seaside fun
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Physical development
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Creative movement/ interpretive dance- a plant growing
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Planting more fruit and veg in our growing area
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Sensory fun and physical games in the garden
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General fun in the garden
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Playing various sylvanian games, including measuring the height in hula hoops.
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Maths- 'going shopping' for bunny food
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Music class
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Local playgrounds for sensory input and physical exercise
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Designing her own playground for her toys in the garden
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Reading- letters from penpals, my list of things that I found in the garden (a reading and writing observation game she made up herself) and 'shop' price list
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Writing- letters to penpals, birthday cards and letters to mummy from her toys
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Drawings (we also went to art group but no pictures of that)
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Making a playmat for her toys based on a map she drew
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Squiggle invented this rainbow game
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Designed own mini skittles game
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Van Hague- peacock spreading its feathers
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Living Crafts at Hatfield House
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Butterfly World
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Park walks- spotting nature and exploring
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Who lives in a house like this? Discussion about habitats
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More park walks- Squiggle decided her toy cat Rain was interested in flowers so we took her on a flower walk
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Mini topic on flowers- Venn diagram, parts of a plant, following written instructions, making own book and designing own activity
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Willows Farm
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Fun at the fair

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Cassiobury park

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Squiggle's party

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Happy 7th birthday to my wonderful little girl. Mini tea party at home with buffet, cake, pass the parcel, musical chairs, pressies and playing! Plus a bike ride too.

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A friend's birthday party

November: Part Two

Experimenting with play dough and water- exploring properties
Experimenting with play dough and water- exploring properties

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Drawings of a seal doing an Easter hunt! 27.11.14
Drawings of a seal doing an Easter hunt! 27.11.14

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Writing a list 27.11.14
Writing a list 27.11.14

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Sorting mixed nuts 29.11.14
Sorting mixed nuts 29.11.14

Our Week in Pictures

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

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Splashing in puddles
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
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Woodland walk
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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.

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.

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Playing on the beach
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Collecting seaweed
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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)

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This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

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We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
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Iguana in the reptile house
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The gorilla striking a pose!
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Petting farm
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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.

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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.
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Watching how the otters behave
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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.

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Fleetville park
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Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
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Developing her climbing skills and confidence
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These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
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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.

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Hexbugs
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Maths seeds

Friday

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

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Exploring clay at art group
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Doing scratch art

A simple day in the garden

Today Squiggle decided to spend all day playing outside in the garden. As soon as she went outside one of our cats, Gingerbread, followed her and promptly started to drink some dirty rain water that had pooled up on her sand pit cover. This got her wondering about our cat’s eating and drinking habits so she developed her own experiment to find out what he prefers.

She collected some grass (as she has seen our cats eat this) and two containers, one for wet grass and one for dry. She then asked if she could put some cat crunchies in one of them, so I took this opportunity to explain the concept of a ‘fair test’. She decided she would therefore put an equal number in each and only change the wet/ dry aspect (we should have used the same containers to of course, we discussed this later!) She then observed him to see what he ate most of. She discovered he seemed to prefer wet and concluded this was possibly because he could then both eat the food and drink the water to. She even gave the mixture a name ‘cat lick’ and said it is produced in a place called ‘Gingerbread Gardens’.

(Please note our cat was a willing participate in this investigation, I would go as far as to say he very enthusiastic in fact; we did however talk in brief about it being entirely up to him whether or not he chose to take part though obviously!)

She had her lunch outside in the garden, where she spontaneously did some adding up with the food items. Later when it started raining she became fascinated with watching snails. We talked about them in detail, discussing their differently coloured and patterned shells, studying them carefully and observing them. We also counted them, then she carefully handled some.

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Explaining to our cat what she is doing
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Observing to see what he eats most of
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Writing her instructions
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Explaining to him that she has made a book for him
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Reading the instruction book to him
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Finding snails in the rain
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She found it fascinating to watch them
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Holding snails with care
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How many snails can you see?