Harry also had his swimming lesson and after that Harry and I went to the church where we meet our friends on a Tuesday morning. One of our friends had organised a children's Christmas craft event so Harry enjoyed making tree decorations, cards and decorating biscuits. It was really nice to have some time alone with Harry and Stuart and Peter had a great time too, at home and out riding Peter's bike.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
We had a lovely morning at The Sage today watching the end of term ensemble performances from the children in the foundation strings programme. This is a three year course and Harry is in his first year. The second and third years performed some more advanced pieces as a group so that was also nice to see what Harry is working towards.
Friday, 6 December 2013
We had a lovely morning watching a show based on the Nick Butterworth story, One Snowy Night with our friends from French today. Harry and Peter know the story very well and they both chuckled lots. We went to a playground afterwards too where the children had fun exploring the icy leaves and slides.
We did some maths based on fractions today too. I knew Harry understood the concepts of halves and quarters well from talking to him so we did the related Conquer Maths lesson and a workbook page, which also covered thirds. It is possible to communicate a great deal of learning and understanding verbally when home educating, which is great for us as it minimises the amount of time spent filling in pages of worksheets, which I do not find the most inspiring way to learn something! I use worksheets more as a testing tool and they can at least provide some reading and writing practise too. Harry enjoys maths based work and it comes naturally to him, so he is working through year 2 Conquer Maths lessons at the moment (he would be year 1 at school). This is also a huge benefit of home education and one of our initial reasons for the decision - the child can move at his own pace and that isn't just beneficial for working ahead of school age, but equally (if not more important) where the child is working below school age in something. They are able to revisit several times and over a longer period and fully understand something that is difficult for them by trying different approaches. I believe that primary age children develop at different ages in different things and I do not want my children to be told they are behind or failing at something because they do not tick a box of when they 'should' be doing something and for that then to become self-fulfilling. In my experience, Harry has picked up topics he has found hard in reading and maths very easily simply after leaving him for a few weeks or even months and then going back to them. That turned into a bit of a ramble, sorry!
Anyway, Harry also had his enjoy-a-ball class this afternoon and he worked really hard and concentrated well today. Before we went the boys played with some bricks and Lego, making deliveries to each other and building garages for cars.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Harry took himself off to listen to his new audio book - Prince Caspian, the latest instalment of the Narnia series - for 1.5 hours this morning so I did some number work with Peter. He is really keen on counting and numbers at the moment and loves having some 'work' to do alongside Harry!
I printed these number posters from Activity Village recently and I set out the numbers 1-5. We counted them together then I asked Peter to put the correct number of Lego men onto the sheets. I also wrote the numbers on sheets of paper and asked him to match them up. He did all this with no trouble. We then sang number songs - '1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive' and '5 little men in a flying saucer', using our puppets. Peter and I then went to read books for half an hour too.
We had to go out in the very bad wind and hail as I had a dentist appointment. I gave the boys the iPad and they watched some CBeebies programmes while I was treated in the same room.
We usually have French on a Thursday afternoon but it was cancelled today due to the bad weather and driving conditions. After lunch we read Harry's latest reading book, The Lost Voice again and I wrote some of the words from the book on post it notes. We call this a word wall and he loves jumping around to take them off when he has read them!
He also did a long cello practice. We did the activities from his lesson and he made some of his own sounds. He is counting to 8 here, hence the strange expression!
We did some jigsaws. Harry made a start on his 200 piece Christmas jigsaw and got the edge finished. He did some more with Stuart when he got home.
We also did some French of our own. We used the transport page of a French sticker book. I gathered all the vehicles shown and they each chose one from the box before finding the matching sticker (and word in Harry's case). We listened to the words on Google Translate then watched a YouTube video featuring French transport words. They also watched a couple of episodes of Peppa Pig in French and we discussed and pronounced some the words we recognised - soirée, pyjama, bonsoir, attendez and petit frere.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Harry and Peter both slept until after 7am this morning, which is late for them so I thought a relaxing day was in order after our busy Tuesday. They played with Lego for an hour, then we baked chocolate buns and jam sponge cake this morning. Harry weighed his own ingredients and practised some estimating, after doing it in his maths lesson earlier this week. I gave him 50g of butter and asked him to estimate a further 100g to make the amount we needed. He also had to divide the mixture equally between the 2 tins and we weighed them afterwards to see how close he got.
We give Harry a sticker each time he makes a good effort at reading and when he collects 20 he gets a reward, usually some money for his piggy bank but this time he asked for a sweet treat so after lunch the boys rode their bikes to the local supermarket and chose some chocolate from the Christmas aisle each. We went on to our local playground afterwards (with the chocolate!) so were out for most of the afternoon. The weather forecast looks pretty horrible for tomorrow and we won't have chance to be outdoors so I wanted to get us out today.
Spurred on by Toblerone, Harry was keen to start his next collection of 20 stickers so he read me this book.
He also practised cello before we all watched the new episode of Hero Squad on CBBC together after tea. I have downloaded my new audio book tonight, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, so I am planning an early night to get started with it!
We met with our friends yesterday morning in the local church room we hire. We practised the carols we are learning as a group first. We have been singing them at home too and are about half way there with the words.
We then did the Crest Star science activity, Be Safe Be Seen. I planned this as the late afternoons are dark now and we have been out walking or riding bikes so it is important to understand how to be seen. We looked at a variety of coloured fabric in the light, dark and then with torches in the dark to see which were easiest to see. We saw the reflective strips on fluorescent vests shine in the torchlight. We also talked about different colours of fluorescent fabric and how people who work around water wear orange as it is a good contrast to the blue water.
The children also coloured some more Christmas cards, we read some books and then used some white dough (a recipe like this one) to cut out some Christmas decorations. This was very popular and Harry loved it. I am going to make some more to use at home. It has dried out well ready to paint or colour.
Monday, 2 December 2013
I love productive Mondays and we had one today. It always makes me feel ready for the week ahead. We were up and out very early this morning to take Stuart to the airport for a work flight to London, so we also started work early and had done maths and reading by 9am.
Harry completed two Conquer Maths lessons. One on ordinal numbers, which I thought tied in well with the current opening of advent calendars and talking about dates and one on estimating. We will do some follow up on estimating using dry beans and I will get related workbook pages ready too.
Harry also finished his reading book, Gran's New Blue Shoes. We then played with the sound cards I made, showing some of the current phonic sounds in his reading. I set them out and said a word including one of the sounds. Harry then removed the correct card. I like this as he thinks it's fun but he has to work quite hard to isolate all the sounds of the spoken word to decide which sound it includes.
I also set out some of the cards together and asked Harry to throw a beanbag at particular sounds.
We then moved onto painting some Christmas cards, using Christmas themed sponges I bought recently and shiny paint and pens. Harry and Peter also did some of their own painting designs. I love Harry's tree and shop window (with helpful octopus holding up the boxes of baubles, of course!).
Harry and Peter are both really good at cleaning their pots and brushes after painting (except for the squabbling over who will go in the kitchen sink first!) so they did this and Peter loved squeezing the paint and water out of the sponges.
The boys watched some TV together while I cleaned up the table then Peter had a short nap after lunch as it had been a long morning, so Harry played some CBeebies games on the computer and practised his cello. We went out to the park for a couple of hours this afternoon, where the trees and the sky were looking decidedly wintry! Even I had to join in with a bit of running around just to keep warm! We do still try to get out every day for some fresh air and exercise when it is cold, even if it's just a walk or scooter ride around the local streets.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
We started a wall display of Newcastle last week. We went on the open top bus tour in the summer and had taken photos of various landmarks along the way so we used these and matched them to the tourist map of the City Centre.
Harry coloured an open top bus and Grey's Monument for the display from this colouring book. We read more about Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey too, who also has a street in the City named after him. Harry remembered that Abraham Lincoln was the American president who abolished slavery when I read to him that Charles Grey was the British Prime Minister who abolished slavery. We will take some more photos to add as we visit places.