Category Archives: September

Big Ears

We’ve got two weeks left until M’s chess competition so I got M started on chess at 9am this morning after the girls had had a play.  D chose a book she wanted to read from our big box in the lounge and we sat on the sofa together – D was very good at reading the words I picked out for her and managed to sound out some more difficult ones too.

Then D did about half an hour of Reading Eggs and M did a bit of cutting and sticking for her India lapbook.  They both soon tired of that so I got them to carry on with their various letters and cards they’ve been making for friends and family.  D finished hers and we put it in an envelope ready to post.  M decided the ones she’d done weren’t good enough (she’s such a perfectionist!) so wanted to do a watercolour card instead.

By this time it was 11am and I needed to get lunch ready as we were going out at 12 so I put the telly on and ‘Get Well Soon’ was on – today it was all about diabetes and very related to our nutrition project so I left them to watch while I cooked lunch.

After lunch we headed off to our Fulham/Putney group.  Today there was a Bionic Ear Show on – it was fascinating!  Though I have to say I think M & D were a little young to absorb all the facts.  It was all about the inner workings of the ear and how to look after them to prevent hearing loss.  D knows quite a lot about ears from reading Usborne’s See Inside Your Body but even she had had enough after half an hour.  However bored the girls were I was pleased to see how well behaved they were throughout.  We stayed to play for an hour afterwards but then left – the parking fees are so horrendous I can’t bear to stay longer than 2 hours!

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The girls had a play in the garden when we got back but came in after 15 minutes wanting something to do – they seem to have a very short attention span today!  M had the great idea of playing schools again so the Arithmasticks came out but that game didn’t last long either.

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A tip from another home-edder was to casually leave things lying around that the girls might be interested in, which they then hopefully will take an interest in – it works a treat with M.  On Saturday she saw a print out of Mondrian pictures I had left on the table and immediately wanted to know what it was.  When I explained that it was a new project we’d be starting on she was over the moon!  So today when I suggested doing a Mondrian picture she was dancing around the room chanting “Mondrian!  Mondrian!”  Ha ha.

I got D to cut out the shapes she wanted from blue, yellow, red and black card and then stick them onto a white piece of card like a Mondrian picture.  She really took to the idea and did a really good picture!  I thought M could make hers a little more accurately and suggested she measure out her shapes using a ruler on the white card and then measure and cut out the same sized shape on the coloured card.  She came up with a much better idea and decided to draw a grid on each card and then she could just cut to the size she wanted more easily – clever girl.

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While we were waiting for the glue to dry the girls had a bath.  D had a melt-down because she hadn’t got in or out the bath first (?!) – I’m not sure where all that came from but I ended up leaving the room to calm myself down as she was sitting in the bath and trying her hardest to cry as loud as she could.  In the end, M calmed her down (I was too angry to try!) and when D was dry and dressed, M very sweetly read her a story and played Snakes and Ladders with her after promising that she’d let D win.  Tut.  I do feel D takes advantage of M’s generosity a bit too much sometimes but if I try to intervene they both gang up on me so I just leave them to it now.

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Anyway, the Snakes and Ladders game ended with D cheating.  Honestly I don’t know what is wrong with her today!  So I got them back at the table to finish their Mondrian pictures.  We’re very pleased with them!

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Lazy Day

Today was one of those days when I have to just give up on any plans I had made and just go with the flow.  I had planned to go to Kingston to buy a Christmas tree (it’s never too early) but D was under the weather and M didn’t really want to get in the car again so we called it off.

I made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Candy Bar (very healthy but fatty – delicious) with the girls helping me to measure out the ingredients.  D then spent ages watching Numberjacks and playing with her Arithmasticks. M carried on making her Christmas decoration with the enormous fir cone she found yesterday and looked up facts on the internet using her Rice Krispie Discovery Cards.

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M played in the garden a little bit but generally it was a VERY quiet day.  I took full advantage and did some crap-clearing (a seemingly endless task in our house) and some lesson planning on Mondrian.

At 3pm we went to meet D’s best friend in our local park.  The girls got a good run-around and the evening sun was gorgeous.  What a lazy day!

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We had a VERY slow start today, even by our standards.  The girls were playing so nicely that I didn’t want to disturb the peace (when I went up to see what they were doing they were breathing on the bedroom window and drawing faces – simple pleasures!).  So I got 2 hours of house work done and then at 10 I asked if they wanted to do some cutting and sticking (a sneaky way of getting them to do some work) and they were very keen.  So we made a chart showing saturated and unsaturated fats; a wheel with a rainbow of fruit and veg on it that the girls drew and coloured in; and some little booklets all about vitamins.  All this will eventually get stuck into our nutrition lapbooks.

The girls wanted to go on and on with it but I had to stop them for lunch and then we went off to Kew to meet a home-ed group there.  We had a wonderful time!  I haven’t been there for about 10 years and the girls have never been.  They really liked it (despite the look on D’s face) and M found an enormous fir cone which she is going to decorate with fir leaves to make a Christmas decoration.

I saw a new development in M at Kew today – she was initially shy in telling adults her name but later on was running off to pick blackberries and offering them around everyone in the group (about 10 Mums in total) and talking to other Mums about the fir cone she found.  I was very proud.  I keep reading that this is one of the major benefits of home-ed: that children learn to communicate with a wide range of ages, rather than just children of their own age in school.

I had lovely chats with the Mums too which was great.  We will definitely be going back!

 

 

 

Lets Play Schools!

There was a lot of playing going on this morning – the girls favourite game for the last few days has been schools (how ironic).  M sits D down and asks her the answers to sums and D has to work out the answer using her Arithmasticks.  What a great game!  So we didn’t get going on home schooling until gone 10.  First of all we made some fudge – I saw a recipe for it on Mumsnet.  Then M said she was ready to be tested on her 3 times tables (although she wanted a mock, not a real test).  She only got one answer wrong but still got in a huff about it.  The trouble with M is that most things come far too easily to her so as soon as she comes across something challenging she finds it difficult to cope with.  She was in a grump for about half an hour until I dug out a times tables sticker book which cheered her up immensely.  While this was going on, D was on Reading Eggs.  I am flabbergasted by her skill: today she read ‘The Queen likes to sit on her big throne’.  Impressive!  And it’s SO much more interesting than ‘the cat sat on the mat’ type books.

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I then got them started on a cutting and sticking activity about saturated and unsaturated fats.  We only got as far as the cutting though as I realised it was 1pm and we hadn’t had any lunch.  While I was cooking lunch the girls sat at the kitchen table and we talked about all the different coloured foods we could think of.  Then we ate our yellow corn on the cobs.

After the lunch the girls played with the pulley and then time flew and we had to go out for their swimming lessons.  D was sobbing and was desperate not to go so I promised I would sit near her at the side of the pool and this seemed to do the trick.  She did really well and managed to jump fully into the water.  After D it was M’s turn: M has now decided that she didn’t want swimming lessons after all and didn’t look too pleased about being there but she did very well at learning the breast stroke anyway.

The girls were playing until 7pm today – the evening was so warm I thought we’d better enjoy it while we can!

 

We’re Following the Leader…

We decided to have a day out today and I thought that with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell being so popular at the moment that Kensington Gardens would be a great place to go.

Knowing that it’s a very large place, I printed out a map of it but it was so detailed that I had to print it out across 6 pieces of paper.  I gave M the job of putting the pieces together and working out our route across the park.  She loved it and got very involved in trying to make a route so we could see all the statues.

The day started out foggy but by the time we left the sun was starting to break through.  It took us 50 minutes on the tube and when we came out into the daylight the weather was beautiful!  We entered the park near some gorgeous fountains and walked along the Serpentine towards Peter Pan’s statue.  The sun was low and bright but the air was still quite crisp.  The girls were a bit dismayed that the statue didn’t look like the Peter Pan they knew, but they loved looking at the animals around the base and M had to be persuaded that it wouldn’t be a good idea to climb up it.

Then we did a HUGE walk down to the Royal Albert Hall and back up to the Diana Memorial Playground.  It took us about an hour and a half to get there with M reading her map along the way.  The girls did really well although D did need a lie down on a bench and then a carry for the last few minutes.  We had a drink (and a much needed coffee) and then played for an hour in the playground.  The girls LOVED it – there’s a pirate ship, wigwams, a stream, sand, a high walkway and lots of secret passages in the bushes.  When D saw the wigwams she shouted ‘Look, Mum!  That’s where the red-skins live!’.  How racist can you get?!  In her defence she’d learnt it from the Peter Pan Disney animation.  Bit embarrassing.

I had a bit of a fright today as D disappeared while we were in the toilets.  We found her playing merrily on the walkways.  I was furious and gave her a good telling off.  She didn’t seem to realise what she’d done (and this is the 3rd time she’s done it) so I made her sit on a bench until she could explain to me why she mustn’t run away.  She’s a stubborn sausage so sat there looking very cross and refusing to talk to me.

We then left the park to get some lunch and after D had eaten a bacon sandwich and chocolate coin she told me she mustn’t run away because it isn’t safe.  I gave her a big hug and she said ‘why are you hugging me so tightly?’ and I said ‘because I love you and I don’t want to lose you’ and then she got off her stool and gave me a big hug back and M joined in too.

After I’d wiped away my tears we walked back to the park and spent another hour playing there.  They could have played on and on but knowing we had a long journey back I decided it was time for us to go.

D fell asleep on the tube and I forced her to sit upright to wake her up again as I couldn’t have carried her home with my bag and coats too.  Of course as soon as we walked in the door the girls got a new lease of life and went running around in the garden.  I had to peel their clothes off them at bath time.  I think they’ll sleep well tonight!

The Spying Sausages

J kept the girls busy this weekend with Judo, parks, a visit to Nanny’s and swimming.  It was wonderful for me because it meant I had a good block of time to get to grips with a few things.  I found that if I only have an hour or so I just faff about.

So Saturday morning saw me in Maplin for the first time in my life.  I got quite excited over a reel of copper wire and also bought some electrical wire and torch bulbs for an electricity project I have in mind.

J went out mid-afternoon so I got the girls making bubble wands which I’d seen on this blog.  Then we made a bubble mixture which I read about in my new Science Experiments book by Robert Winston.  We then left the mixture to sit for 2 days and had a go with it today.  It didn’t work quite as well as we’d hoped, the mixture seemed too heavy and popped very easily once it had left the wands.  However, it was extremely bouncy and the girls and good fun watching it bounce inside the wands.

I also made these by wrapping silver pipe cleaners around star shaped biscuit cutters.  They kept the girls amused for about 1 minute.

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Then, to continue with our body project, I used an experiment from my Usborne 100 Science Experiments book whereby you simulate what happens to the diaphragm when your lungs expand – the pink balloon is the diaphragm and when you pull it’s knot, the red balloon (the lung) expands – clever eh?

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There were a few shenanigans going on between the girls by this time, both of them getting competitive and unfriendly.  I tried to distract M by showing her a reflex test with a ruler but while we were talking we noticed a little face peeping out from behind the shed – D was spying on us!  This made us all laugh and M decided she wanted to be a spy too so they both went off on a secret mission in the garden with binoculars and walkie-talkies.  It was very cute and a bit rubbish – they were talking so loud there was no need for walkie-talkies.

D then decided she HAD to write down all the letters of the alphabet in upper and lower case??  Don’t know where this idea came from but I’m not complaining!  She did a really really good job of it.  Meanwhile, M was busy creating letters and cards to give to her cousins when she next sees them in Nottingham.

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Then it was time to go to our Fulham/Putney home ed group.  Unfortunately the sign language teacher had cancelled this week but the girls had a lovely time making things with clay, Bendaroos and a magnet set.

We got back home at 4pm and the girls had a quick play in the garden and then sat down to watch, yes, you guessed it: Tinkerbell.  I think that the Tinkerbell magic might be wearing off though as both girls weren’t glued to it like usual and started playing a game before it had finished.  Fingers crossed!

After dinner, the girls wanted to play on Splat Square and then D played with her Arithmasticks for a while and M continued tinkering with Bendaroos.  Then another spying game started – I could hear lots of loud whispers and shuffling feet in the hall while I was spied on.

D was late going to bed today – she was half undressed and insisting on counting from 1 to 100 on her counting poster in the bedroom.  The girls’ eagerness to learn never ceases to amaze me.

Our Pulley

Today started in full on mode, I decided to make today an art and DT day and the first thing I did was put up a simple pulley system on the stairs using postage string, a cable hook and an old bucket.  The girls quickly worked out how to pull it and passed ‘surprises’ to each other throughout the day!

M then decided to do her Top Model activity book which involves drawing a dress and then cutting patterned to fit.  It’s horrendously girly but it involves some sort of designing so I let her get on with it.  Meanwhile, D painted a rainbow in watercolour.

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Then I thought it would be nice to do some collage with pasta.  So we set to work dyeing some old macaroni I found in the cupboard.  We left them to dry and the girls painted pictures to be decorated with the pasta when it had dried.

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The kitchen looked like a tip so I spent an hour cleaning it while the girls played upstairs.  Then the sun got hotter and hotter so I called them to play outside for a while and I had a cup of coffee and gathered my wits about me.  They’re the best of friends again today thank goodness.

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The postman delivered letters for the girls from Grandma today, with stickers!  The girls were so quiet for half an hour while they made little pirate scenes with them.  Then I gave them a few bits of the dyed macaroni and some postage string to make necklaces with.  I could hear them singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ while they worked so I put The Sound of Music on the telly.  I still can’t get over that we can watch a film in the middle of the day and still have tons of time to do other stuff in the day.  It works well for me as I can work on other things without interruption.

After the film had finished we had dinner and then I got the glue out and the girls spent the next 2 HOURS gluing macaroni to their pictures.  I sat in another room to do some work and I could hear lots of lovely ‘I love yous’ going on between them and a little bit of The Beverley Sisters song ‘Sisters’ was being sung too, so cute!

D was late going to bed and I could tell the usual shenanigans were about to start so I said that if both of them got in their pyjamas and brushed their teeth RIGHT NOW then they could pull their own bedtime milk up in the pulley.  Worked like a charm.