Thursday, 24 April 2014

Learning letters and salt tray

Peter did some alphabet activities this morning using this nice printed alphabet from Activity Village, whilst Harry completed some Conquer Maths lessons. I also prepared a salt tray for him to practise forming letters. This was just tin foil in a roasting tray covered with a thin layer of salt. The tin foil shows up when he draws in the salt so it looks nice. He loved 'writing' the letters himself and was really excited to see it looked like the real thing! I gave him the letter cards to guide him and showed him the formation of the letter in the salt first.

I also gave him three cards and asked him to find a letter from the choice of three.

I set all the cards out in the hall and asked him to collect the ones he knows. He enjoyed this too and I have found that any activities that get the boys moving are usually popular. He knew more than I expected - 16 - so I will start to focus some activities on the letters he doesn't know yet.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Viscosity activities

We enjoyed some science activities today based on viscosity. These ideas came from An Ordinary Life which is a great blog sharing lots of science and other activities. I saw the idea a few weeks ago and made a mental note to do it soon!

We made some viscosity bottles by adding four different liquids to plastic bottles - treacle, syrup, hand wash and oil. We then taped another bottle to the top, so the bottle could be turned to allow the contents to drip through. By doing this, we could observe how long the liquid took and compare viscosity levels. Harry and Peter both really enjoyed this. Harry correctly predicted the order of viscosity from most to least and we timed the bottles and discussed how we could show the results on a bar chart. I left these on the table for the afternoon and they were turned several times. The treacle never fully made it into the other bottle! 

We also carried out another viscosity experiment. Harry put a tablespoon of hand wash and a tablespoon of syrup onto separate paper plates. We timed 30 seconds then he drew a circle to show where the liquid had spread to. This showed that the syrup was more viscose than the hand wash as it spread slower.

We used these two activities to talk about variables in a scientific experiment and how we could make it a fair test. Peter contributed to this discussion by banging some of the viscosity bottles on the table to make the liquids drip through faster, thus demonstrating one unfair variable!

Board games and superhero football

I am pleased that the boys have rediscovered a love of board games this week. They go through phases of activities and we haven't been playing games recently. Today we have played Crazy Chefs and Insey Winsey Spider by Orchard Toys. Peter won both and gave a very impressive bow - I think he has learned from Harry's music bows. I like these games as we can play them together and we all have an equal chance of winning so it is enjoyable for all ages. Harry and I played Trilemma, a maths based board game, while Peter was in the bath and again when he had gone to bed.

Harry has been doing maths on the iPad this week using the Mr Thorne Maths Universe app and some Conquer Maths lessons on shape and parallel lines. He has also been playing cello every day as lessons start again on Saturday after the Easter break.

It was really sunny today so we went to the park for an hour. Harry and Peter wore their superhero costumes and we played football, which was really fun. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Visiting family, jobs and a trip to Gibside

It's been a lovely Easter weekend here. We haven't been doing any school work, although Harry has been reading himself, playing Shut the Box and writing notes with his cousins. I think he has enjoyed the break and has been very busy with other things. I am going to start planning for starting back properly next week.

We spent two nights with Stuart's family near Lancaster on Thursday and Friday. The boys had a great time playing with their bigger cousins on the beach and at the park and flying kites. The weather was lovely and we had a barbecue and visited all four great-grandparents.

We spent yesterday very busy with a variety of jobs. Harry and Peter love helping and I think it's very important that they get involved to learn life skills and understand what is needed to run a home. We spent a couple of hours at the allotment, where we planted peas, watered and weeded. I also hid some chocolate eggs around the site for them, which they loved! We cut the grass at home and planted some summer flower seeds in the garden. We also washed the car, inside and out - Peter couldn't resist getting in the bucket, and hung up several loads of washing.

Harry had a friend over today from our NCT group and we all went to Gibside to do the National Trust Easter egg trail, with a chocolate egg treat at the end. We were there for almost 6 hours and my feet are aching tonight! The boys all had a great time and it was so sunny - I really need to buy sun cream next time I am shopping! We took paper bags to collect nature treasures in, which was really popular. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Easter crafts and park

We met our friends for our usual Tuesday morning group session today and did Easter crafts. The children decorated ceramic hanging eggs with tissue paper, made Easter cards and pictures of blossom trees, using wool for the branches and tissue paper for the blossom.

They also made chocolate nests for snack time.

It has been a glorious sunny day so we went to the local park for two hours afterwards with our friends, which was very busy! Harry had his first ice cream there this year and we took bubble blowing wands.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sports camp

Harry has spent most of today at an Easter sports camp called Gamesweek. It is run in one of the private schools in Newcastle which has good sports facilities and he really enjoyed it, apart from swimming, which is not his favourite activity! He has done gymnastics, crafts, climbing and team games as well. This is the longest Harry has spent independently somewhere, including being responsible for his belongings, lunch box and swimming kit and I am really pleased he has the confidence to go and that he enjoyed it. The school holidays are a great time to access this kind of large group activity, which children are not exposed to daily in a home education environment. He is also going on Wednesday.

Peter and I had a day to ourselves, which is rare! We went to the park after dropping Harry off, where he fed the ducks and had a very long and high push in the basket swings.

We came home to hang washing outside and make pancakes.

We also read lots of Richard Scarry books (Peter's current favourite) and went to the allotment to water all our seed beds and seedlings. It has been very relaxing just having one boy at home today!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A day out at Cragside

We had a super trip to Cragside today. We don't go very often as it's quite far but we always enjoy it. Harry knows a lot about William Armstrong, who built the house and who was a famous North-East engineer so he likes it too. 

The rocky areas around the lake provided some good scrambling.

We spent a long time in the labyrinth. Father and son jostled for prime position in the forest throne!

There are lots of winding paths and wooden sculptures to explore.

Stuart and Peter had a good chat to the wizard (voiced by Harry!).

Harry took some photos too - this is a selection of his - I always find it interesting looking at his photos to see what has drawn his attention. I love the one of Bert, his toy dog!