Tag Archives: Museum of London

Not Back to School #4!

Yes, this is the 4th time we’ve celebrated Not Back to School!  I think I get more excited about it than the girls – they’re a bit ‘yeah, whatever’.  But I love the start of a new ‘school year’ – it feels lovely and fresh and full of promise.

This year we celebrated by going to Costa for their favourite treats and then onto the Museum of London to see the ‘Fire Fire’ exhibition, which is commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

It was a last minute decision to take them there after they both showed a lot of interest in it when the wooden replica of 1666 London was set alight on the Thames.  I thought the museum would be quiet with it being the first day at school but it appears a lot of schools had an inset day, doh!  D had lost her enthusiasm after a 45 minute wait to get in and then it all went downhill from there – the poor sausage was sobbing with the sadness of the fire and the worry that it might happen to us.  Nevertheless, M loved it and wanted to see all the exhibits and try on the clothes.  We had tons of conversations about it all and it was lovely to see M so engaged in history.

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We’ve been remarkably busy this last week, squeezing in playdates, visitors and builders in each day.

We had my cousin and her son here for 3 days and we whiled away our time at home playing Terraria, Minecraft, Geometry Dash, playing in the paddling pool, bouncing on the trampoline and watching the new Jungle Book film.

As soon as they’d gone we had a play date at M’s friend’s house.  We haven’t seen them all summer and the girls had a lovely time playing in their garden for hours.

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We had a quiet day at home on Friday.  D watched the usual Stampy/Squid/DanTDM videos while M played on Minecraft.  Aquila happened to arrive that day so I took the opportunity of reading it to them.  This month’s issue is all about the children of WWII – the girls already have a vague idea about it having seen it in films and talked about it.  It was, as usual brilliantly written but I got quite tearful thinking of all the children coping with war now.

On Saturday, J took the girls to the park and I took the opportunity of planning and writing out the month’s calendar – we’ve got some lovely things planned this month.  We only have two classes for M planned (pottery and Brownies), which would have previously sent me into a panic that we weren’t doing ‘enough’, but now I feel pleased that our weeks are so open and flexible. 🙂

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Papier Mache, Rubik’s Cube and Google

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time making papier-mache goody bags (inspired by an episode of Creative Galaxy).  D is beginning to realise that these TV programmes aren’t very realistic in showing you how much time these art projects take to complete.  So instead of taking 1 minute it took us 3 days to make our goody bags!  And even then, D’s collapsed because we hadn’t put enough newspapers layers on.  However, she wasn’t to be defeated and was keen to start all over again.  This time we made it with 4 layers of newspaper, just to be sure.  After it had been painted and a ribbon handle was stapled on, she immediately filled it with goodies and gave it to M!  Aah.

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The girls are really getting into films now.  They probably watch at least one film a day and their current favourites are Cat in the Hat and Paddington.  They’re both brilliant films, even for adults, and I’m usually asked a few questions during the film, which goes to show they’re not just flopped zombie like in from of the telly: instead they’re engaged and learning.  I’m quite thankful for the break it gives me too: they’re both really busy with different activities at the moment but they still require a lot of hand-holding and help through things – not complaining, just sayin. 🙂

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In keeping with my promise to get outdoors more, the girls have been out on their bikes, scooters or roller skates every day lately, a great achievement for me!  M adores her bike so will willing go anywhere on it, and D is getting more and more confident on hers thanks to J’s persistence that she practices.

D has been keen to play long-ignored board games (Tell the Time, Junior Scrabble and Pop to the Shops) and also completing her favourite map jigsaws which she’s getting faster and faster at.  J has also begun teaching her how to play chess.

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D even made up her own game by drawing the Sun and each planet in the solar system (Pluto is always included because she feels sorry for it).  We then had to choose a planet and orbit the sun like the planet would.  There was a discussion with M about whether the planets traveled at differing speeds or whether some planets take longer to complete an orbit because of their distance from the Sun!

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M is becoming more and more engaged in learning as time passes by: she now asks me some incredible questions and I can tell by the surprise and pleasure I feel when she does it that I had become accustomed to her never asking me anything (or asking and then feigning disinterest when I begin to Google it).  On a visit to the Museum of London last week, she was full of questions about the Roman invasion (including some rather interesting ones like ‘weren’t the English angry?’).  This week she has also asked me ‘what’s the point of ants?’ and ‘why do people in different countries speak different languages?’.

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Last week, M decided she wanted to make the bunnies a toy out of loo rolls.  She had the idea of making them a castle but she had an added challenge that she couldn’t use any glue or tape to fix it together in case the bunnies ingested it.  She came up with an ingenious way of connecting the rolls using a slot on one and a flap on the other.  Her brain never ceases to amaze me!

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M has also dug out a long-forgotten Rubik’s Cube and has been spending hours and hours working through the instructions.  She’s now got to the point (after working on it solidly for a day) where she’s gaining an understanding of its movements and can figure out problems more easily.  She’s set herself the challenge of being able to complete it without any instructions at all!

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And here she is in her new Brownie uniform!  She is thoroughly enjoying it, though small problems are arising to do with her being unable to take in long streams of information from her leader.  I was unsure whether to make the Brown Owl aware that we’re seeking an Aspergers diagnosis but in the end I decided I would so that she might understand M’s behaviour more.  She seems like a very understanding woman and had already noticed a few of M’s difficulties.  After each session I can sense a faint shadow of M’s old school self – the anger at me, the needing to wind down, and the faintly glassy-eyed look which tells me she’s over-stimulated.  But on the whole, it is a positive experience for M and she really looks forward to it every week.

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And finally, a picture of a sausage sandwich for you to enjoy.

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Deschooling’s Over!

I’m pleased to report that 18 months after finishing school, M has deschooled!

Various things have happened this week that have made me realise that school could finally be out of her system: most importantly, her love of learning is most definitely back and it’s plentiful; also she has asked me several specific questions to learn about something without smacking into her ‘fear of learning’ wall; and she is soaking up knowledge everywhere and then joyfully telling me, D or J about it.  On the whole, life for M is much more positive.

The other night I got the highest praise a Mum could ever hear when M told me that she loved her life!  However, this was in response to D saying that her life was rubbish compared to Dora’s (she has also crooned out some tear-inducing songs on this subject).  Of course, all explanations from me about how Dora’s life is unrealistic; you only get to see one part of it; her best friend is a talking monkey; yadda yadda yadda… all fall on deaf ears.  So instead we’ve switched it around so that D gets to BE Dora the Explorer for the day. 🙂

Dora’s first trip was to see St Paul’s Cathedral last week.  This week, Dora visited The Museum of London!  It’s certainly an excellent way of getting D out, as otherwise she would live her life permanently in the lounge.

The museum was fantastic: the girls were fascinated by how London had changed and the terrible things it had been through.  There was almost too much information in there for one trip so we will definitely be going again.

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M is just starting to dip her toes into history.  I tried to set up a history time line a while ago and they did enjoy it but ultimately there was very little understanding as neither of them had a concept of time.  We have just started discussing the number of years this week and then there were lots of time periods to look at in the museum so she’s had a good start at it.

We’ve also been a bit ‘sciencey’ this week:

The other morning I could hear the sausages chatting in bed so I went up to say good morning.  When I walked in, M said ‘we have just been discussing why some planets take longer to go around the sun that others’!!!  What a way to start the day.

J and I watched a glass of water trick on QI the other night and J showed it to the girls on Sunday morning.  There was A LOT of water on the kitchen floor but it was funny. 🙂

I put up a new poster in the kitchen which was linked to the Wild Weather BBC series on telly recently.  It has sooo much information on it, it makes me realise how little I know about my own planet.  D asked me to read it to her, and we talked about storm couds, tornadoes, the temperature of the Earth and hailstones.  Funnily enough, we had a hailstorm later that day and J went out in it to entertain the girls: D was shouting at him to get back inside as she had read that people can be killed by them!

We also attempted to make periscopes but they didn’t work very well so we need to have another go at it.  While we were searching for the periscope mirrors through the science box, I came across some packs of PH strips that I bought a while back.  I showed the girls how they worked and they feverishly dipped them into anything they could get their hands on!

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Spanish continues as the sausages continue to teach themselves.  They have been counting Smarties in Spanish and then saying all their colours in Spanish too!  They can both roll their ‘r’s impressively too.  They learnt ‘Te Amo’ from Dora this week and D made a treasure hunt for M: the treasure was a piece of paper with ‘Te Amo’ written on it. 🙂

We also went to a home ed social group last Friday and the girls absolutely loved it.  We met some old friends and made new ones too and we will definitely be returning soon.

That night, D wanted to put on a concert and so sang 3 of her own compositions to me and M.  I was reminded a little of Victoria Wood. 🙂

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And lastly, D finished her painting at the girls’ art class today.  I am absolutely in awe of how good this is!  It was an exercise in parallel drawing so she was instructed how to copy the shapes in the picture bit by bit and then chose what colours to paint it herself.  If you want to see the original, click here.

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