Thursday, 30 May 2013

Literacy and nutrition

I'm passionate about early childhood literacy, and also about nutrition.

Head on over to my main blog today to see why these two things are linked:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Boys Brigade and Awards

This weekend was Cosmo's first ever Boys Brigade awards night and it was brilliant! 

The boys had some fun drama sketches for us, involving dressing up as super heroes and he was proud to be the only 'black lightning' amongst so many batman's and mr Incredibles.

The awards section was hard for him as the bugle and the clapping was very loud, I haven't decided whether next year it would be less distracting to have him in ear defenders or whether that would be worse than having him cover his ears each time. 

He enjoyed receiving his one year service badge, but much to his (and my) surprise he also won the arts and crafts trophy! 

You may recall that we had some trouble getting him to engage in arts and crafts, particularly anything involving paints or glue because he didn't like getting sticky. Well, in the last year or so that has all changed, so much so that he has now decided he wants to be an artist when he grows up. 

He had actually announced that to me when we were working in Grandy's birthday card that morning, so it was really affirming for him to receive that arts award that evening. 

I love how boys brigade challenges him and affirms him in such meaningful ways. Belonging to a club has been a real confidence boost to him. I think he thrives in an all male environment too, and once a week I don't mind indulging that. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Illustrating a Book

I have a hard time getting Cosmo to enjoy art work, but this project grabbed his attention immediately.

We had picked up an exercise book that has blank space at the top of the page and lines for writing underneath. I'd hoped he might like to write a story book or something, but he had an even better idea. 

'Let's make a book to teach my cousins about Shavuot and we can give it to them!'


He wasn't keen on the idea of doing the writing himself, he didn't think they'd be able to read it, so I agreed to do that part if he helped me remember how the story went. We ended up using a video to remind us from YouTube - how did people homeschool before google? 

His illustrations are brilliant and I'm so pleased he had the confidence to do it. 

We are going to take the book around to his cousins this afternoon so they can enjoy it this evening. 

Happy holidays! 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Learning by Colouring

I write a lot about what I'm doing with Cosmo, and sometimes is can seem like Lychee is just along for the ride. That's only about 50% true. Half the time she really is just watching what her older brother is doing, but I'm okay with that - in fact she learns really well by watching him!

Other days I am intentional about what I'm doing with her, but the reality is I've already done it and blogged it once before with her brother, so it doesn't often make a post.

Today I decided to write about her though. Yesterday her brother was entertaining himself nicely with Reader Rabbit, and she asked me if we could do some colouring together.

Yes, together.

I didn't watch her and tell her she was doing a good job, I joined in and we coloured each page together, because she likes it better when we do a project together like that. 

I wanted to work on reading and following instructions, so we chose a book that tells you what to do. She's not free reading yet, but she is capable of having a guess at a word if she's given some clues, for example seeing the "L" at the beginning of the word threw her because she wanted it to say "truck" and she'd never heard "lorry". 

I read the instructions to her, deliberately pausing and asking her key words, for example "colour my body... What colour does this say?" running my fingers under the words. She only knows one colour that begins with "R" so she answers "red".

This method is great because you are setting her up to win and reinforcing the sight words. Where just showing a flash card with the word "red" on could have been any word, limiting her options to 'it must be a colour' encourages critical thinking, as well as reading.

Lysh is also into numbers right now, in a big way, so we counted things on the pages and practised writing their numbers next to them.

It was fun, and she loved showing them to Cosmo and telling him how hard we had worked on it. I love her team spirit. My son just wants to do everything by himself with, no help, so that he can say "i did it!" when he achieves something. My daughter really wants to work together on everything, and the doing is so much more important to her than the outcome. Every child really does have a totally different nature in built! 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Stable Day

Yesterday was stable day with our homeschool co-op. The children had an amazing time learning about how to care for horses, in fact Cosmo's favourite part of the day was mucking out the stables! They learned about feeding and grooming, caring for tack and they also got a riding lesson.
Photo: Serious concentration required for trotting!
I was so proud of him, because he had been really worried about taking part, but despite initial nerves he did do it and really enjoyed himself.
Photo: William riding Todd
Photo: Starting to enjoy riding :0)
I think this is also the longest time I have ever left him anywhere (10am-3pm) without an adult he knows well. It was obviously helpful that his cousins were in the class and he knew some other children too, but I was so pleased with the way the owners of the stable made an effort to make him feel comfortable too.

Lychee was insanely jealous (the stables only had insurance for children over four years old) and spent most of the day pretending to ride horses.
Photo: Someone is very jealous that William is on 'stable day'. She is practicing horse riding on logs...
But before you feel too sorry for her, she did get to spend an afternoon playing in the woods with me and Cooper, and in the morning we took her to the Japanese Koi Company aka the free zoo. If you haven't been, and you live locally, you are missing out.

They have raccoon dogs, armadillos, spiders, snakes, bunnies, frogs, birds, all kinds of fish and turtles etc... it really is both fun and educational.
Photo: A red snake at the Japanese koi company

Here's the video:

Thursday, 2 May 2013


Yesterday we spent the morning at the woodland ways bushcraft centre - it's awesome.

I was totally impressed with the way the guy handled a large group of 2-6 year olds, kept their interest and even let them use his fire steel!

Then we had a picnic in the park with friends.

So glad the sun is coming out again!
Lychee using fire steel
then admiring her tiny flame

My mum was really horrified that the children were allowed to use real tools and have open flames, so I made her this video :o)