Monday, 20 April 2015

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South Africa!

We've had an amazing Easter holiday in South Africa visiting family, but it's also been a crazy fun learning experience.

dissecting fruits and seeds
It turns out that Little Lychee had no idea lions and elephants were real animals (she had imagined them to be like dragons and fairies) so that was a big surprise; and it was the first trip that both children can remember flying on an aeroplane.

Some of my favourite home ed experiences though have to the children collecting and dissecting seed pods, just to see what was inside, and then googling to find out what they were (admittedly because they wanted to know if they were edible). They loved trying out all the new fruits that we hadn't really seen in England - even though several of them were the same, they just look different because of the climate they grow in. A green grapefruit that's three times the size of any grapefruit you've seen before is essentially a new fruit to a four year old and a seven year old.


Another favourite was recreating a game park with sticks and leaves, and then building a house for little animals like geckos, complete with a braii and benches outside of it.
Gecko shelter
Mini game park with watering hole
Excitingly Cosmo took it on himself to write a travel diary, journalling what we did each day, so that he could share it with his cousins when he got home. This is a great achievement for someone who generally dislikes written work. 

It was also really interesting to watch the children at a bird park we went to in Montecasino. Obviously Little Lychee loved all the pretty birds and wanted to collect their feathers for her collection. Cosmo on the other hand, barely gave them a glance. He wanted to read the signs at each enclosure carefully, more than once, to learn the facts about each bird, then he was ready to go. Personally I feel that he could have got that information from a book, so it seems an odd thing to do at the park, but he was happy and thought it was a great trip. Just goes to show, you never can tell what your child is going to find interesting until you let them decide for themselves!

You can click on the video below to see more photos of our adventures.

Monday, 2 March 2015

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Flow Rider Fun

It's been a super busy weekend! Wiggles was in a boys brigade bowling competition down in Dunstable this weekend, and placed really well, and then on Sunday he was lucky enough to get the opportunity to have a go at climbing and learning to surf at Flow Rider this weekend.

Here's the video:






video

Lychee and I went to the park and made friends with another little girl and chatted to her mum about Home ed. Turns out she was interested in doing it, but didn't know there was anyone locally, so I was able to give her contact details for our co-op and Lychee looks forward to her new friend joining our sports class soon :-)

We also had some fun with Perler beads and she made a lovely horse which she has uploaded for a new DIY badge. 


Saturday, 14 February 2015

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Making Chocolates


 We had a great time making raw chocolates this morning and can't wait to taste them a little later on when they've set. We even made our own instructional video to share for Lychee to earn a DIY skill for her 'Chef' badge.  You can watch the video below:




Friday, 6 February 2015

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Valentines Activity

 Looking for a fun activity for valentines day? How about learning to make genuinely healthy, organic and fairly traded chocolate? That's what we are going to be doing. I'm told it's easy enough for the kids to join in with too.

You could also do a study on fair trade, it's a little early (fair trade fortnight starts on the 23rd of February) but personally I think they've missed a trick because everyone will be marketed nasty commercial not fairly traded chocolate for valentines day without giving it a second though just nine days earlier.

The fair trade website has tonnes of free resources aimed at all age groups which look great and I will definitely be looking at these both with the teenagers I work with and my own two.

And if you are looking for links to buy the ingredients you need, you can find them at the bottom of yesterday's post on my other blog. :-)


Thursday, 22 January 2015

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You Are There - Lamplighter Theatre

We love audio books, not only in the car, but Cosmo is really enjoying listening to them at bed time. Audible credits are a cheap way to get regular audio books and we've really enjoyed the Inspired by the Bible Experience audio with Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington and some other really big names. We also love the Adventures in Odyssey series for fun and light hearted entertaining stories.

By far and away though, my children's favourite audio we've ever bought has been the Lamplighter Theatre plays. The stories are incredibly engaging, with fantastic truths hidden in them and really inspirational heroes. They are exceptionally well produced and every child (and adult) I know who has listened has loved them. So I was super excited when Lamplighter brought out the 'You Are There' Series.


It's a dramatisation of Bible stories for young children. The bible experience is word for word scripture read and acted, which is fantastic; but this is something different, so I don't mind investing in both. Thanks to YNAB we had some money in our 'homeschool: Curriculum' budget, so when I saw that Lamplighter had a half price deal on I jumped at it. We got the MP3 downloads (shipping to the uk is pricey!) and I can't wait to start listening to them with the kids.

Here's the promo video:

And some longer interviews about the series:


If you order them quick, they are down to $99 for the entire set (that's about £62 in English money).
Enjoy!

Friday, 21 November 2014

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Parkour

Cosmo has recently discovered his new favourite sport - Free running.

There's a club near us in Milton Keynes and a friend has set up a day time class for home educated kids and it is so much fun.

Two hours every Tuesday of this:






video


video

During which time Lychee and I get to go shopping together, which is nice. It's always fun to get some time 'just the girls' too.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Making Candy

We made our own 'pulled taffy' the other week using pure honey and just adding a few essential oils for flavour and it was so fun! I'll be honest, my kids did not particularly like how it felt on their hands, but I had a lot of fun and they were so proud of their finished products.

If you want to have a go it is super easy. Just boil some honey with a candy thermometer until it reaches 140c for at least five minutes. Then tip it out on a non-stick sheet and use spatulas to move it around until it's cool enough to touch.

At this stage you need to grease your hands with butter and then you just pull and fold, incorporating as much air as you can. When it's only barely warm add a few drops of your favourite essential oils (we used, peppermint in one batch, lemon in another, orange in a third and left one plain). Essential oils are volatile, so it's best to add them as cool as you can get away with if you want the flavour to last.

When you've twisted and pulled as much as you can and the candy is pretty hard, you can cut it into shapes, wrap it in waxed paper and store in the fridge.

Even though they didn't like getting messy (there were tears over butter on hands) the kids enjoyed watching the process and learning how candy was made.




The second time we made some honeycomb. I adapted this recipe I found, but boiling the honey again, but I added a mix of 50:50 bicarbonate of soda and ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder). The acid in the vitamin C ensured we got a good reaction from the baking soda and we had a slightly chewier than I'd have liked honeycomb. I think next time I need to boil the honey a little longer.



Still, the kids really liked this one.