Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Home Ed Forest School

One of the things I love about home education is the opportunity to spend as much time as we like outdoors, and so far this summer the weather has lent itself nicely to this cause. We've been spending most of everyday (at least 4 hours and often more) outside. Children learn so much from being outside with nature, their observation skills and knowledge of the world around them forms the foundations onto which science is built. 

Yesterday was our first visit to a nearby home ed forest school. We had a brilliant time map reading, number hunting and clue solving to find our way to the park's fairy doors and hidden treasure. Along the way, we made new friends, observed the ducklings, paddled in streams, threw forest floor over ourselves, jumped in muddy puddles (glad I brought the wellies!) and had a wonderful time! Can't wait to do it again very soon! 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Are you taking part in the Big Butterfly Count?

This nationwide survey needs your help! It's a great summer holiday activity and simple enough to do with kids of all ages, taking just 15 minutes of your time. You can complete the survey anywhere - your back garden, fields, woodland, the local park..

The results will help the organisers, Butterfly Conservation Trust, to understand more about environmental effects on butterflies and wider wildlife, for example butterfly declines can be an early warning sign for declines in other wildlife in an area.

To learn more, and to take part in the count which can be completed anytime from 19th July - 10th August visit

I'm planning to complete the survey with the kids sometime over the next week and will let you know on the blog how we get on!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Toddler Sand and Glue Artwork, making sensory birthday cards

It's my grandad's 94th birthday tomorrow, he's partially sighted and today we made him some sensory birthday cards. Over the last few years his sight has deteriated significantly, due to age-related macular degeneration. He delights in Eden and Asher, his great-grandchildren. Every week we see him on a Saturday, he laughs as they dance around the room to YouTube videos, and Asher brings him endless cups of tea from the pretend tea set. I'm always trying to think of creative ways to involve him in the kids drawings and artwork, even more so when it's his birthday or Christmas. 

Today while Eden was at preschool, Asher and I made him a tactile handprint birthday card using glue and sand from the sandpit. I'd imagine this would look even better with coloured sand, but I had none to hand ('scuse the pun).

Asher loved putting the gloomy pva glue on his hand, and totally 'got' the concept of doing a handprint - very carefully placing it on the card. He then followed the instructions to cover it in sand, and was delighted when we shook the sand off and were left with his handprint! 

When we were done, I left the materials outside to re-do with Eden later when she was back from preschool. However, she beat me to it! While I was tying up a few loose ends with jobs inside she found everything outside and with no explanation made her own card, dealing with the glue bottle herself and looking at Asher's dried artwork to copy what to do. She made the top card in the picture, with the swirly glue patterns. I'm so proud of her using her initiative in this way :) 

I hope Grandad likes his sensory birthday cards tomorrow. 

#100homeeddays Nature Walks, Sand and water play

Day 34:
I'm loving the weather at the moment and all the outdoor-time we're having. Everyday I'm so grateful to have fields and woodland right on our doorstep to explore. We love discovering new things on our 'nature walks', every one of them is different and enjoyable in their own way, like today there was much excitement finding (and eating) raspberries growing in the wild! Today we also learnt about oak trees and a new flower, the poppy (picked from our allotment plot).

Day 35:
I don't plan our days at home I just see where the day takes us depending on our interests on that day. I don't think this will change in September when we 'officially' (in the eyes of the law) begin home ed. We don't plan to follow any set curriculum, although Charlotte Mason's principles on education will be followed to some extent I think. Today turned into a sand and water play day. We did mark making in dry sand, manipulative skills in wet sand, used creativity making art with sand and glue. We covered science: floating and sinking, reflection, filling and pouring skills with water play. Kids are learning all the time and they learn best when they're interested. I love that home ed will enable us to follow their interests.