Saturday, 31 December 2011

Woburn Safari Park


We scored some free tickets to Woburn safari park this week, that had to be used before new years, so we decided to go today.

We had a great time, despite appalling weather, because there's loads to do inside and out.

In fact, despite being there the entire day (seriously, we were the last car to leave and the ranger had to kick us out!) we didn't get around everything.

Lychee's favourites were no surprise - anything fluffy which could be petted. Weirdly she wasn't as excited by the marmosets as she was with the Russian hamsters at pets at home. I can only put this down to their lack of movement. She also gave us a new recognisable word 'tiger' which is funny because she says 'tiger - rah!' with exactly the same intonation that Cosmo did.

I was surprised by Cosmo's favourites though. He just loved the sea lions. Unfortunately we missed the show, but he still just loved watching them swimming around.

We did make it to the penguin feeding though, which he also loved. I was surprised to learn that Chilean penguins can only hold their breath for two minutes. Kind of lame for an animal associated with the ocean...

We got to see the lions really close, and a wolf was irritating a bear so close to our car that a ranger came and chased them away. Cosmo had been concerned he'd be scared of the lions, but when it actually came to it he was fine.

Both kids especially loved it when monkeys jumped on our car.

All in all - an awesome day out. To see all of our photos, visit our travel blog.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

2012 Seven Steps Curriculum Planner

If you haven't come across the newbeehomeschooler that is something I intend to rectify with this post. She's based in Texas, but her advice and support are beneficial to any home educator, particularly new ones like me.

She has a step-by-step guide on how to build/customise your own yearly planner which promises to make planning your home school experience run a little bit smoother.

This week she has posted some new designs which are just beautiful.

I don't know about you, but I know I'm much more likely to use something if I think it's pretty :0)

There's weekly planning guides, reading logs, child or 'class' scheduling, teacher scheduling and so much more.

So what are you waiting for? Go take a look!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Wonder Weeks

I haven't read the wonder weeks, but my friends in cumbria swear by it. It's a book for parents of babies, which helps to predict when developmental 'leaps' will occur - resulting in crying, clinginess and crankiness.

I think the idea is that knowing why your child is acting up (and that it should only last a short time) will help you have more grace and give you strategies for helping them through a difficult time.

Like I said, I haven't read it, but if you are interested, the wonder weeks are giving away the introduction and first chapter on their website Christmas Giveaway.

The Wonder Weeks

Saturday, 10 December 2011



We have joined up with a homeschool co-op where we live and now attend a 'musicianship' class on tuesdays. The teacher is brilliant, totally sensitive to our special educational needs, and the children are learning pitch, rhythm, conducting and having a great time.

The games they play often involve using their whole bodies to show variance in pitch or volume, and listening carefully, as well as having a chance to try out different instruments.

Afterwards there is a choir with some older children, but sadly we've not managed to stay for that so far. The first week we went Cosmo was overwhelmed with so many people and got very distressed so we left. This week some of the older children weren't being very nice to him. He didn't seem aware, but I couldn't stand by and let them bully him even if he didn't know it. I called him over and he suddenly realised something must be wrong. Incredibly embarrassed he demanded that we leave right away, so we did.

I'm really hoping we'll manage to stay for choir at some point before christmas (only one session left).

It breaks my heart to see him being picked on, but then I remember that this would have been ten times worse in school, and that I wouldn't have been there to intervene.

I'm so grateful that we still have the option to home educate in this country. If we didn't, I think I'd emigrate.

 Airplane pictures

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Joy of Duplo

We've always loved duplo, and Cosmo got a ton of it for his birthday. Any toy that can be enjoyed by a 15 month old and four year old at the same time is always good, but one that can be used in so many different ways is an absolute God send.

Here are some of the uses we have found for it:

  1. Building towers (obviously)

  2. Sorting (by size and or colour)

  3. Following instructions to build a specific item

  4. Social stories (using the characters to act out situations we might encounter)

  5. Counting/multiplication/subtraction/division

  6. Pattern recognition

  7. Building words (use dry wipe marker to write letters on blocks)

  8. Building sentences (use dry wipe marker to write words on the blocks)

And I'm sure there are many more too. Please comment if you think of any I've missed.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Space Party!

Cosmo loves to prepare for guests, much more than he enjoys having them. Take thanksgiving for example - if you spoke to him anytime from august to November you would have assumed it was his favourite time of year. He was desperate to help make a pumpkin pie and decorate the house, but when our guests arrived he spent most of the dinner in his room by himself asking to be left alone.

So when he wanted a birthday party, you can understand me having concerns. Having spent the weeks running up to his dinosaur party excited and preparing, he spent the hours before in tears because he was scared. It was all fun in the end though.

So this year he wanted a 'Space Party'. Despite spending much of the morning balancing between tears and giggling manically he managed to stay downstairs for the entire party. There were some tears and I was sad that he refused to be part of a group photo at the end, but overall I'm glad we did it.

As with the dinosaur party, Cosmo was involved in all of the preparation, from making the pinata's and wall decorations, to baking his own birthday cake. We learnt loads during the process and spent hours on youtube watching astronauts in zero gravity training and space shuttle launches. He even made a playlist that he wanted to have on in the background of the party.

If you want to see a video of the party it's here: