Thursday, 26 November 2015

Autumn term

This season is always super busy, so I rarely have time to blog, but we have certainly done plenty! 

This term the children have been to the west end to see shows twice (most recently "Elf - the musical", which was brilliant, although Cosmo claims he still prefers Phantom of the Opera), spent a day learning to ski and snowboard, had a historical fun day pretending to be pirates with their friends, as well as all the usual activities like parkour, swimming and sports classes. 

Speaking of swimming, Lychee swam five metres with swimming aids last week, and if she can repeat it this week I think she'll be getting her badge. 

We've got up to the Egyptians in our mystery of history curriculum so we made a "daddy mummy" which was a lot of fun. 

We've also bought Cosmo a kindle, which has been brilliant for keeping up with enough books for him to read (we're budgeting about £20/month for him and it's still not nearly enough even at kindle prices!) and lychee is still enjoying weekly trips to the library to max out her card.

This week they had whiteboard pens out again, which she loves so much.

Although it's obviously very tiring!!

Today we're celebrating thanksgiving and tomorrow we will be decorating our house for Christmas (super exciting). 

The children have been playing "mayflower" on the blanket in the living room, pretending there's a crazy storm and throwing themselves off their "ship". 

That's all for now, there's loads more, but I have to go finish making a pumpkin pie before our guests arrive. 

Happy holidays! 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

In your image...

This week we've started our mystery of history curriculum again. Lychee is now old enough to join in and get something from it, which makes it a whole lot easier than it was last time around!

To be honest, we stopped because we moved house and taking our timeline off the wall meant we would have to reconstruct everything we'd done and I couldn't face doing it at the time. Starting again means rebuilding slowly, which is a lot more manageable. 

Today the children are using play doh to create men in their own image... Which quickly descended into creating their own "beasts of the field" and "birds of the air".  Cosmo is enjoying it so much more having a sibling to encourage creativity. First time around he wanted to make everything look perfect, exactly like a real person. 

Second time around, with a little encouragement from his sister, he's created a six legged, long necked, mammal that swims and has a number on its back which changes each year to tell you how old it is. 

I love how they inspire each other and learn from each other in ways that I couldn't teach. 

Family learning is the best! 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Water sports day

Cosmo had great fun at Caldecotte lake yesterday, building a raft and then canoeing with his friends from our home ed co-op. Lychee wasn't old enough to go (for insurance purposes) so I had to stay home with her, but some friends kindly sent me pictures. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Simple things

We've been super busy the last few weeks, with surf school, ice skating, swimming lessons, parties and more; sometimes it's really nice just to slow down. 

A friend brought us a box of wooden counters that a school she works at were throwing out. The children love them. We are spending a morning making pictures whilst we listen to an audiobook. 

Cosmo is making a suspension bridge. Lychee is making people. 
They are so happy and chilled out. 
This is the side of home ed that I love most. Just quiet playing together. It's always the simplest toys that bring out the most inventive games and inspire the most creativity. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Not Back to School trip

This week is Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish new year, and generally when we would restart our homeschool after a loooooooong summer break hanging out with daddy. It's a fun day of starting out with fresh curriculum and books; and eating lots of sweet things (we have fruit, yoghurt and honey for lunch!) to remind ourselves of how sweet and good God is.

Our home-ed co-op. however, prefers to start a little earlier, and this year, we decided to join them on a trip to Prestatyn in Wales. It was so much fun to go with our cousins and the kids had a fantastic time.

We went to surf school at Surf Snowdonia, to great Orme copper mines and on a fossil hunt; we played on the beach, in an incredibly mild ocean; we went to Conwy castle and on an audio tour of an Edwardian house.

It was great fun to catch up with old friends, as one of Cosmo's favourite buddies who left our co-op last year made the effort to book in to the same resort and hang out with us all.

On the way home we stopped in at Stratford-upon-Avon and visited the MAD museum. It was incredible and the kids loved playing with all the exhibits, particularly a typewriter that was attached to fishing wires, which tapped glasses that had been tuned to different pitches.

You can see our video of what we did below:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Butterfly World

Today we went on a trip with our co-op to Butterfly world.

The kids had a great workshop where they got to hold different insects and even giant snails (both my kids refused to touch anything "Mummy! That's absolutely disgusting!") but really enjoyed the leaf cutter ant exhibit. 


They also loved being in the butterfly house with all the butterflies floating around. Lychee and her cousin Bon had a lot of fun seeing who could get closest without touching one.


The musical garden was a great play area too and inspired me to get some larger items for ours.

Everyone was exhausted on the way home, especially having spent the weekend at Alton Towers already, but we had a really fun time.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Human Microbiome

We've been talking about bacteria again (seriously, Cosmo is obsessed)!

So if you have a little one who'd like to understand more about the human microbiome, we found this video which is a great overview.

Monday, 20 April 2015

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

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:

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

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

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

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).