Category Archives: December

Strictly Times Tables

The love of numbers is still in the air!  D was working out what 4 x 9 is after seeing the judges’ score on Strictly Come Dancing.  She gets all cute and excited when she works something out in her head :D.  She’s still working out the number of tens and units in various numbers too.  She’s also (having been inspired by Strictly) trying to do various dance moves while saying the beat like a choreographer; and clapping to a beat and talking about the different speeds of a rhythm.  Who knew there was such a lot of maths in Strictly. 😉

M has also been thinking about Maths: in the car on the way to art class she asked me for some division questions, which then led onto me asking her sums with a negative answer (she quickly worked out she just needed to switch the numbers around in the sum!).  She then wanted to chant and be tested on her times tables.  And so the mental maths goes on.  I’m so pleased they see maths as something fun to do, not some awful chore that has to be waded through everyday.

The girls had their final art class before Christmas on Tuesday.  For D it was her final one because she doesn’t want to continue anymore.  She managed to finish her final canvas: another beauty which is going on the wall!  It’s a copy of Hundertwasser’s ‘Hommage a Van Gogh’.

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M had her final Brownies class before Christmas too.  This time it was a little different because the majority of girls were performing a concert at their school.  It meant that there were only 8 girls there (instead of 21).  When I came to collect her at the end, the Brown Owl said to me she’d been amazing at joining in and organising the other girls!  I think this is due to her feeling more confident in a smaller group but they were also doing something that she loves – putting on a play!  No script, costumes, audience or anything – just a lovely game.  Right up M’s street.

Yesterday I took the opportunity to get out into the gorgeous wintry sunshine and to get to the Common one last time before we leave for Nottingham.  We all marveled at the frost which looked like fairy glitter, and the low sun which was like a bright torch in your eyes!  I completely forgot to read this week’s Nature Curriculum but it was just nice to get out.  The girls spent the entire trip playing a make-believe game, which seemed to have a Minecraft theme.

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Today we have some guests arriving (Z and M!) so we’re all excited and looking forward to seeing them! 🙂

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Emotions

Today, D has been drawing her ‘motions’ (emotions) after being inspired by Inside Out.  First of all she drew Joy, Sadness and Anger (but no Disgust or Fear as she didn’t like them!) but then scrapped that and drew a new picture with just Joy because she “just feels so happy at the moment”.  That was lovely to hear given how highly strung she’s been recently.  I didn’t take a picture of it but she also drew her three favourite ‘islands’: Family; Christmas; and Goofball.  All in all it was very cute!  When D had finished drawing, we watched Inside Out again and M remarked how strange it is that they only show 5 emotions.  After a quick Google, I found an article which describes these 5 as the primary emotions (a bit like the primary colours), which I then read to the girls.  They seemed to understand but no doubt they’re taking a bit of time to process it as it was fairly complex!

I noticed today how there is such a difference in M’s attitude towards absorbing information: there is no sign of the panic/fear/anger/sadness that used to appear at a moment’s notice.  Now she just listens and asks questions if she needs to.  Today, she finished learning Silent Night on the piano – I was amazed that all mistakes were met with giggles instead of rage!  She did have a few moments of frustration (she is after all, human) but she kept herself in-check.  Why?  Because the bunnies were sleeping next to the piano and she didn’t want to disturb them, ha ha.  Every home should have a bunny. 🙂

J took the girls out last night to see all the London Christmas lights, along with his Mum and nephew.  They had a look at some shop displays, went up the Shard and finished off with some pancakes.  I was in two minds whether to go with them or not but in the end I decided I was in great need of some alone time!

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Documentaries

We’ve got documentaries coming out of our ears at the moment – the girls are actually asking for them to be put on!  This hasn’t happened before, ever.  As I’ve mentioned before, D loves the ‘Colour: The Spectrum of Science‘ programme and now M loves a new one I put on the other night on Netflix – ‘Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace: Hampton Court’.  She seems fascinated by the goings on of Henry VIII.  We also watched ‘Secrets of the Tower of London‘ and two episodes of the ‘Britain’s Outlaws‘ series.  There have been so many questions, from M in particular, and no anger issues at all!  We tried ‘Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity‘ too but that was a no-go: it didn’t pull any of us in unfortunately.

The girls have been busy making a boat from a cardboard box – they’ve really worked hard together.  They made oars to go with it, made a shelf for a little treasure chest and designed a flower motif on the base of the boat.  They then drew the same flower design with Sharpies on some plain white t-shirts.  Altogether a gorgeous little team project!

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No Curious Minds today: D didn’t want to go.  It was quite hard for me to accept as I could see it was a beautiful wintry day out there; but we have an arrangement whereby we all get a turn to have ‘the final say’ as to whether we go out or not.  So we stayed in and M finished off her Sequin Art, we watched Disney’s Christmas Carol (which was surprisingly true to the book); D did a bit of maths with Numberjacks and also made a card for her friend and both girls played on their boat.

We’ve had a busy happy few days really.  D is much more relaxed now that I’m with her in the evenings; and J has promised her that she doesn’t have to join in at Judo, she can just watch M if she wants to.  Giving her more control and comfort may well have done the job – I hope…

Recovery

M spent the weekend recovering after that horrendous bug she caught last week – she looked awful: all skinny with large sunken black eyes.  D was also ill on Friday night, having had a relapse.  Needless to say, neither of them could go to Judo.

However, on Sunday we had our annual meal with J’s family to celebrate his parents’ anniversary.  It was at a Chinese restaurant – the first time the girls have been to one.  M certainly chose that meal to tank up – she tried everything in front of her – prawn crackers, sesame prawn toast, ribs, crispy seaweed, the lot!  She particularly liked making up the shredded duck pancakes with cucumber and spring onion.  This is a far cry from the girl who would only eat about 4 different foods a few years ago!  D was more true to form and ate some brioche I’d brought with me but she did try a prawn cracker which was pretty brave of her.

I can’t remember how much I’ve written about D’s state of mind at the moment but she’s worrying about anything and everything: Judo, art class, me leaving (to go to Australia or Russia?!); being forced to go to Brownies/school etc etc.  There have been a lot of tears this week over seemingly trivial things.  One major change though is that she can’t bear being left at night, which has meant me having no ‘me time’ at all in the evenings.  Even me being in the room isn’t enough – she wants to lie on top of me.  So I’ve ditched my me-time for now as the fear and sadness I see in her face when she’s begging me to stay just isn’t worth it.

On the plus-side, I am loving our bedroom time at the moment.  We either have a ‘lesson’ from D, or we get to read her new space book from the library (I went on my own at the weekend and picked up loads of great books).  I think I might be a tad more excited about this book than she is, as her interest in space isn’t as passionate as it used to be.  I have finished reading Heidi to M and I got her a few classics to choose from – she’s chosen Jane Eyre – one of my favourite books!  It’s rewritten for a modern-day audience but it’s been done really well, and isn’t abridged.  I found it in the 9-14 year old section but even D is keeping up with the story.

Today we’re back to our usual routine, which feels a bit odd after 2 weeks off due to illness.  We went to the girls art class this morning and then Brownies this afternoon.  Our free time has been spent on SequinArt, singing, piano playing, baking, sewing and board games.  In fact, neither girl has the remotest interest in doing anything ‘screeny’ – not even Minecraft!

On a final note, I was thinking today that home education doesn’t leave a lot of room for a private life – both girls are fully versed in periods these days although I did have to go through all the details again with D today.  She now thinks she’s luckier than boys because she’s got three holes instead of two.  We’ll leave it there.

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