Tag Archives: Maps

Google Earth, Reading and Glasses

The tagline on one of D’s favourite map books is ‘travel the globe without leaving your living room’, and this is just what she loves to do.  We’ve been Google Earth-ing a lot this week.  We’ve used it in the past but that was more to marvel at our own house (!); ‘walk’ to nursery and ‘visit’ Grandma’s in Nottingham.  This week she has broadened her horizons!  She’s looked at Aunty S’s house in Leeds; the Statue of Liberty; Cannes beach (where she swam last week); the Pyramids; Chile; and she searched darkest Peru in the hope of spotting a bear (that ended in disappointment).

Meanwhile, M has been playing Farmville after a long break from it.  She is much more confident with it now and I think it’s really good for managing time, prioritising, working out costs, value and much more.  I’m hoping that between this game; Animal Crossing and day-to-day life, she’ll learn how to tell the time.  Sitting down and learning how to read clocks just doesn’t work for her.

They have both been playing on Minecraft PE.  D is creating a fantastical rainbow world, while M has begun copying a very complicated maze from her Minecraft Constuction Handbook.

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D was a little sad that M had got a speed cube but she hadn’t been bought anything so I thought she might like this solar system kit.  I was right!  She spent a few hours on it yesterday and she is enormously proud of it.

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There were 2 kits in the pack and M would like to do one but not painted as planets.  I was wondering if she might be inspired by Eames’ Hang-It-All.  She hasn’t started yet so we’ll see!

I watched a first aid video with M yesterday  – the Big First Aid Lesson is on tomorrow and I was having a look into it and found you could watch last year’s lesson.  M was very quiet and asked lots of questions but she was strangely apathetic about it?  There were definitely cogs whirring and clicking though so it’s probably still being assimilated.

They’ve had a fair amount of exercise over the past couple of days: they’ve been playing lots of Swingball – we’ve got an indoor one which is great for burning off energy when the weather’s not great outside; Aunty Sh took them to the park for an hour yesterday; and today we walked to Wimbledon, shopped and walked part of the way home again.  Their legs are definitely getting stronger!

The main purpose of going to the shops today was to pick up their new glasses!  Turns out they’ve both got a slight astigmatism (kindly passed down from me) and the optician recommended they wear glasses for screens and reading.  They are SO PLEASED to be wearing glasses!!!  Such a change from my day when they were dreaded and mocked…

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After picking up a bit of shopping we headed to the library, which I am beginning to love more and more since my embargo on purchasing books.  We stayed for almost 2 hours and I think if I’d have brought a packed lunch they would have been able to stay longer.  M picked up an armful of rabbit books (she is currently memorising every rabbit fact known to man) and D found an incredible book all about constellations and the story behind each one.  From across the library, I could hear her shrieking ‘LOOK M, LOOK!! IT’S CASSIOPEIA!! M! M! IT SAYS HERE THAT ANDROMEDA IS THE DAUGHTER OF CASSIOPEIA!!!!’  With that in mind, I tried my hardest to find a children’s Greek mythology book but I could only find one on Mythical Birds and Beasts, which will do for now.

When we got back to the library, D immediately got started on a project of her own idea to make a book of flowers from our garden!  It also includes a leaf she found on the street in Wimbledon.

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After this was done we read a book about Black Holes which was waaayyy above her comprehension level but she insisted on reading anyway.  Then I read two stories from the myths book – the first was about Pegasus and The Chimera and the second was about a Mermaid (don’t ever look at one!).  They were both really enraptured by the stories. 🙂

Then they both gobbled down a chicken roast dinner and ran outside to play on the climbing frame – saving people and animals from a burning Earth, apparently.

France, Speed Cubing and Maps

We’re back from a marvelous holiday in the South of France!  We had a lovely time – the girls swam in the Med, admired the sunsets, ate A LOT of biscuits and Nutella, co-slept with Grandma and spoke the odd French word. 🙂

Here’s a sketch of the view from our apartment, made by M – she’s hoping to paint it soon.

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On Sunday we made a sad goodbye to Grandma and Granddad and then the girls played in the garden before going off to their Aunty Sh’s house for a barbecue.  I spent those precious hours madly planning meals, doing an online food shop and making an enormous ideas list for the week.  I love doing this now, it gives me a sense of control and allows me to strew and plan at the same time.  Plus, I am a list lover.

I also ordered M a speed cube – on holiday, she was getting us to time how long it took her to complete her Rubik’s cube and it was becoming obvious that it was getting too clunky and the stickers were starting to peel off.  I had to do quite a bit of research as to which one to get (who knew there was such a speed cubing industry out there?!) so I hope I’ve chosen the right one.

Back to Sunday, on my ideas list I’d written ‘stay up late and star gaze’ and the sausages chose to do that when they’d come back from the barbecue.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a starry night but we did spot Saturn, Jupiter and Venus.

Onto Monday, the sausages were already wanting an activity by 9am so we had a look at the list and decided to do this cloud activity.  I did manage a quick recap of how rainfall happens without getting booed off but they already knew most of it anyway. 😀

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The rest of the day was spent with M speed cubing, Minecrafting and watching Matilda.  D decided she wanted to spend the day playing Rainbow Fairies.  We have to act out all 7 books, D is the fairy and I play one of the girls who finds her.  It went on for hours.  Jeez. I’m not a natural role-player but I do try really hard to find the joy as D takes so much pleasure from it.

Tuesday morning was spent with M at art class (she’s finished her Van Gogh, pictures next week!) while I tried to chat to other Mums and alternately chase D around the park.  The afternoon was quite low key, although we did manage more fun with shaving foam, pipettes and food colouring.  I don’t know if you can make them out but M’s (on the left) is a volcanic island with a beach at the bottom and D’s is a flower.

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The sausages love pipettes so then I cut them out some butterfly shapes to colour in.

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And lastly, we did a little map exploration before heading off to Brownies.  D was telling me with a sigh that she loved maps in a ‘I just can’t help myself’ kind of voice so I found this UK map with county lines and we looked at where our next holiday destination is (Whitby). After colouring in North Yorkshire, D went on to colour in Northumberland (last year’s holiday destination); West Yorkshire (where her Aunty S lives); Nottinghamshire (where her Grandparents live); Greater London (where we live); and also marked where the Giants Causeway and Loch Ness are!!  M was painstakingly labeling her counties in teeny tiny writing but D didn’t want to.  When I asked her how she was going to remember which county was which, she then rattled all their names off to prove she could.

So that told me. 🙂

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A Week in the Life of a Home Educating Family: Tuesday

Day 2 in the sausage household.  It’s hard work this daily blogging malarkey!

Here is Monday’s post, if you missed it:

Monday

7.30am

We all wake up together and come downstairs.  J is already awake and is working on his laptop in the lounge.  M is still unwell so both girls (D doesn’t need any excuse) watch CBeebies for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, I begin writing yesterday’s blog post, make breakfast, have a shower and pack away the shopping which has just been delivered.  J leaves for work.  Generally, Tuesday is the day that we spend at home until late afternoon when M has her ballet class.

9.30am

D decides she really wants to make a start on the World Map jigsaw which we failed to do yesterday – my job is usually to do the grunt work: turning all 150 pieces over, sorting them into continents etc, while she gets the glory of fitting them together.  M doesn’t know what to do with herself: she’s too poorly to do much but she’s bored – the worst combination, poor girl.

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10.30am

We give up on the jigsaw for a while and I let the bunnies out for a run around the kitchen. I have to clean the cage again – the amount of poo these two tiny things create is amazing. M attempts to stroke them but they keep hopping away which makes her quite cross.  D isn’t interested in the bunnies at all today and decides she would rather be a bunny herself… a bunny who likes sums!  M and I take it in turns to ask her sums (if you have 10 bunnies and Daddy puts 2 in a pot, how many bunnies do you have left?).  Eventually the bunny decides she would like to finish the jigsaw so we all get on with it.  D tells us what a ringed seal looks like and what they eat, she points out Borneo, Mexico and many more points of interest on the map… all learnt from Go Diego Go!

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11.30am

M and me then carry on our game of Monopoly and D plays Lightbot, which is an excellent app for learning coding.  It’s a very successful game: I manage to describe what ‘mortgage’ means to M without her getting angry, and she manages to buy Park Lane, Mayfair and all the stations so she inevitably wins!

12.30pm

I decide it is high time I did a bit of housework and go to hang a wash up.  When I come down again the girls are asking if they can help with a few jobs (I find they are generally very helpful if you give them the jobs they love to do) so D mopped the kitchen floor and M de-cobwebbed the radiators with a feather duster.  M also helped me put baking soda and vinegar into the washing machine to stop it being so smelly and D brushed out the bunnies’ vet beds which had just been washed and dried.

1.30pm

I still have tons of cleaning I feel I should be doing but the girls are in an activity mood so I try to encourage them to find an activity they can do without me: D chooses colouring and M wants to do sewing.  She’s been learning new stitches recently to put on a Christmas sampler she’s designed and wants to give as a present.  She has a real talent for sewing and has persevered with tricky stitches, taught herself new ones using YouTube and is generally being all-round impressive about it.  These are her practice stitches:

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However, M isn’t quite well enough to sew for long so she plays on Minecraft for a while and D continues to colour.  I unsuccessfully battle the mess in the kitchen.

3.30pm

I have managed to get the kitchen looking as clean as it did this morning but am no further on with any other jobs.  Where did the last two hours go?  D now wants me to read Ella Bella Ballerina and The Nutcracker to her and I’m quite relieved to sit down for a bit so gladly do it.  It’s a gorgeously written and illustrated book and both girls are intrigued as to why the Mouse King would put a spell on the Prince, and why he turned him into a nutcracker.  Something for me to research when I have a minute.  M makes a final decision not to go to her ballet class this evening – she must be feeling pretty bad as she loves that class and wouldn’t usually want to miss it.

4pm

I then start to make dinner but D starts to ask me to find things for her, claiming she is too frightened to go upstairs on her own.  When I tell her I need to get on with dinner she starts to cry.  I manage to swallow angry retorts of ‘stop being ridiculous’ and ‘I’ve got enough to bloody do’ and calmly explain to her that I spend most of the day doing activities with her and sometimes I need to get on and do jobs.  It doesn’t work.  She goes off to cry in another room.  Hmph.  After half an hour I work out that she’s probably got low blood sugar and ask her if she would like something to eat.  She recovers instantly, asks for veggie hot dogs with broccoli, and plays with her toys while she waits.  Problem solved!

6pm

I sit down to eat my dinner in the lounge and ask M if she’d like to play Junior Scrabble.  I bought it last year but it’s the first time she’s shown an interest in having a go.  It turns out to be a little too advanced for her vocabulary but she seems to enjoy it anyway.  We have to stop after half an hour as she’s too exhausted.  Meanwhile, D is playing on Can You Escape – she loves puzzle games almost as much as me and M, even ones that are for older children.  I just have to walk her through the puzzle a few times until she gets it and then she has the satisfaction of remembering all the codes and hiding places on each level.

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7.30pm

I suggest going up to bed early and having a longer reading session which both girls are surprisingly happy to do.  I start on another Rainbow Magic book with D and continue with Harry Potter for M.  M has lots of questions about why Neville Longbottom doesn’t confide in Harry about what happened to his parents, how close their friendship is, what the cruciatus curse does and many more.  I’m actually feeling like I could lie down and continue the conversation and/or go to sleep but I remember that I have jobs to do downstairs.

9pm

I come down and start to write yesterday’s blog up and edit it until it is vaguely coherent. J teeters in around 10.30pm and goes straight to bed: it seems the Christmas party season has begun in the City!  His job requires that he’s out most evenings but he rarely drinks much.

11.30pm

I go upstairs to bed and the lot of them are crashed out.  I have to clear out a load of toys plus an iPad and tablet before I get in.  Sleep!

 

 

Back From our Hols

We’re back in our house after 3 weeks away!  D is very pleased and her first comment on waking was “it’s good to be back in our own bed”.  M is less pleased and is missing her Nottingham family terribly.  We had 5 days in Nottingham with my Mum and Dad (and a sleep over at my sister’s house) and then a week in Seahouses, Northumberland, followed by another week in Nottingham.  We had a really wonderful relaxing time, surrounded by family.

I haven’t blogged at all while away so here’s a few snapshots of what we’ve been up to:

Back to life in London this morning!  Both girls opted for a day indoors – I was quite up for a ramble on Wimbledon Common but as I’m fasting today I’m pleased to have a quite day indoors instead.

While we were in Nottingham I bought a new laptop and iPad.  My Samsung laptop and tablet are both dying a slow death and the girls are very pleased to have a new laptop that they can play the full version of Minecraft on and an iPad that has better games than the old tablet!  A lot of time has been spent on both machines for the last week.

Big themes have also been: D zooming ahead in mental maths – the game is this, you ask her bunny an addition or subtraction question and the bunny answers!  This clever bunny has now made the link between the number bonds to 10 and the number bonds (in 100s) to 1000!!; D learning how to win at noughts and crosses (with a lot of cheating along the way); M learning french knitting; M still enjoying collecting ‘specimens’ to put into labelled vials and was over the moon to find a live mussel and crab shell at the beach (though thankfully these weren’t put into labelled vials); M is also zooming ahead in independence, I swear she would now go on a sleep over every night of the week if she could!

This morning has been a healthy mixture of playing games on the iPad, watching Powerpuff girls on our new Netflix account and a couple of requested activities: this morning D decided she wanted to finish Reading Eggs (this always pleases me as I bought a whole year’s subscription and she then told me she’d ‘gone off it’. Grr).  She deflated a bit when I told her she’d have to go back a few levels and keep doing it a few times a week so she doesn’t forget it all over again.  She was still insisting she could do the test on level 9 and suggested I read it all for her!  Nothing like a bit of delegation to get you on in life…  In the end I persuaded her to try level 6 and she did really well working independently and also with a little help from me.

Afterwards she played Minecraft for a while and then announced she wanted to draw our car!  So I set her up on a little chair outside our house and she got sketching.  She then decided to draw our house too and it wasn’t long before M appeared and wanted to join in.  I bought myself a sketchbook a while ago so that I could join in too and even I was moved to attempt to draw our Flanders poppies which have flowered while we were away…

This week we’ll just be slowly cranking up the gears again as we settle back into our routines.  We have a long awaited play date planned with a little girl from D’s old nursery and I’m hoping to get M sorted out with a few play dates too!

 

 

Car gets sick and then M gets sick

We have had a very odd 10 days.  Last Monday, the car went into the garage for an MOT and didn’t come out again until Saturday morning, with a very hefty bill too.

We got to pottery ok in the afternoon, although we had quite a miserable wet walk from the tube station and back again, but we didn’t make it to ballet on Tuesday or swimming on Wednesday.  We’re really car-reliant and the thought of dragging the sausages along on long walks, do an hour of exercise and then a long walk home again was just a bit much for me to contemplate.

The main thing about last week was that each day the car was promised to us the following day, so I didn’t make alternative plans because I was thinking we’d have the car back – so we spent the entire week at home!  Actually, that turned out to be a good thing as by about Wednesday the girls started getting quite tired and their appetites dropped, and mine did too.  I did wonder if it was because we were all a bit mopey but it turned out we were all building up to a tummy bug.

THIS is when I am so happy that we HE because when the sausages have those in-between days where they’re not exactly ill but they’re not right either, you don’t feel you have to drag them into school.

By Friday we were all feeling a bit ropey.  We had already cancelled M’s archery class in Reading due to the lack of car but I had wondered about attending an HE sports day event in Crystal Palace.  However, because of our tummy bugs and the downpour outside we cancelled that too!. Then Saturday came and M had a full blown stomach upset but D and I recovered.  Poor M is only just managing to eat and stand up today (Tuesday).  And worst of all is that I booked a week-long course for her at All4Kids with her best friend and she’s missed half of it :(.  Poor M.

D has really missed her playmate and tonight sang a really heartfelt lullaby to M, which she had made up on the spot.  It was rather tear-inducing!

We have managed a few bits and bobs (though not very much, understandably) before the girls got too ill:

They had their last Judo class before summer and both girls have gone up a grade!

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M had another of her best friends (B) over for a little play after J spontaneously asked his Dad and him out for lunch.  M is showing B her Minecraft creations… speaking of which I need to do a separate post on what the girls have created in Minecraft as it really is incredible.

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They had a little DIY lesson from J:

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Recently I asked both girls if there is anything they miss about school or nursery and M said she missed DT, sports day and the Christmas fair.  D said she missed making pig masks and queuing up…

Luckily, all of these things are do-able in HE too.  We missed sports day but we can go to any school Christmas fair (I don’t think I can ever return to M’s old school, given how rude her head-teacher was to me, the same goes for D’s nursery, unfortunately).  I offered to help D make a pig mask but I think the moment had passed and she wasn’t interested anymore.  So the only thing left was DT.

I set M a challenge to wrap an egg in such a way that it wouldn’t crack when thrown out of an upstairs window.  She got really excited about it!  Goes to show how much she likes DT :).  The first attempt cracked but the second worked a treat.

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Then we made M’s ‘Cookie Cakes’ again.  She made the recipe up all by herself and they are really delicious!

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Then the girls did some cleaning.  They still argue over who gets to do the mopping, but it was M’s turn this time and D did the vacuuming.

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We’re off on a big family holiday to Northumberland in a couple of weeks and D has become fascinated by maps of the UK: spotting us in London, Grandma & Granddad in Nottingham and then trying to remember where Northumberland is.  I dug out an Usborne map of the UK sticker book which I bought ages ago and she has been happily doing that and asking questions about all the different landmarks.  She also adores this 150 piece jigsaw –

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Something else that has really sparked her interest is a sketch pad that I bought for them both a while ago with the intention of taking them with us when we go out to encourage them to draw more (I bought one for me too!).  We haven’t taken them out yet but D has been drawing and drawing and painting and painting since getting hers!  She absolutely loves it.

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One final word and then I’m gone.  Today D asked me to ask her some sums so I did and I discovered that she has worked out how to add tens by herself!  I was asking M a sum (who was weakly trying to join in) 20+30 and M answered 50.  Then D said “yes, that’s because 2 and 3 make 5 so 20 and 30 make 50”!!  I was astounded!  I thought I would test her theory out to check she really understood what she was saying and she really did – with very proud beams all over her face :).

Led by Sausages

We’ve been busy over the last few days but it has been utterly sausage-led activities (apart from a necessary trip to the post office – cue a little conversation about doing things because you HAVE to, so that you can do things you WANT to, i.e. if we don’t post these passport applications off then you won’t be going to Spain in 6 weeks!).

Oh, and also I tried to wedge a little chat about Darwin into Wednesday’s excitement about M’s Darwin family story.  I opened up Galore Park’s history book and started to read the page about creationism.  I asked the girls what they thought of it:  M asked “why did God rest on the 7th day?”  So I replied, “probably because he was knackered”.  M went into peals of laughter and decided she didn’t believe in God anymore.  D said she was going to believe on alternate days.

I was pleased I’d squeezed that little snippet of creationism in because later that day we got onto a conversation about evolution.  M asked some really intelligent questions about cells and I think I think it pleased her that I didn’t really know the answers, ha!

Thursday we had our regular HE meet up.  The children had set up stalls to sell whatever they fancied.  We had made about 20 fairy cakes for the sausages’ stall.  The girls manned it and dealt with the customers really well – I was impressed.  We sold the cakes for 10p each but somehow managed to make £2.60?!  Somebody was fleeced.  I managed to convince the girls that we should give the money to charity and we had a conversation about who needs the money more than we do.  We’ll probably save it up to do something charitable with when we have a bit more!

Today we made a necessary trip to Wimbledon to post our passport applications off.  Both girls wanted to go to the library afterwards and honestly, I have never known such feverish excitement about the library before: “Mum! Mum! Look at this picture of a FULL MOON!! Mum!! It’s a SOLAR ECLIPSE!!”.  D’s obsession with space is still going strong, as you can see by her book choices:

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Meanwhile, M scoured the bookshelves looking for more fairy books…

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The rest of the day was spent doing table activities and was again led totally by the sausages.  D really wanted to do some worksheets to put into her folder (she loves her folder) so she did some handwriting practice and some new sums: adding tens.  She really impressed me by how quickly she grasped it.  M spent her time doing some absolutely IMMACULATE colouring in.  Usually I do think colouring in is a bit of a waste of time as there is no creativity involved but occasionally it’s nice to relax into it for a while.

As I said before, we’re off to Spain in a few weeks and D has been begging me to do a lapbook on Spain so I printed one off the other day and the girls got started on it.  As you might imagine, they were pretty zonked by this time though so then I put Jake and the Neverland Pirates DVD on for them while I got on with dinner.  There has been a lot of interest in making paper pirate hats and treasure maps lately – it seems everything is educational!

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Little things: I bought a load of BBC Natural History sets from Google Play for an incredible price the other week.  I was watching “Wonders of the Solar System” with D the other morning and Brian Cox said something about the “raw power of the naked sun”.  D thought it was odd to say the sun was naked.  Later I heard her saying to a visitor: “Did you know the sun is NAKED?!”

Center Parcs 2014!

We’re back from a wonderful 5 days at Longleat Center Parcs.  Lots of swimming, playing, cycling, eating, drinking and laughing.

Daddy's list of jobs to do before we set off...
Daddy’s list of jobs to do before we set off…
M lost another tooth!
M lost another tooth!
The sausages in our much-loved holiday home
The sausages in our much-loved holiday home

We spent hours and hours outside in the parks…

And ate A LOT of deserts…

And we wrote our favourite things about Center Parcs on the kitchen chalk board.

We had a lovely lovely time and can’t wait to go back again next year 🙂