Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Great Outdoors Week 4: 3hours55

We were expecting heavy snow this week so I was anticipating lots of snow play. Sadly Tuesday night we had an hour of lovely thick snowflakes before the temperature rose and the snow became rain all night instead :( 

This week we've been out on our scooters. We discovered a hidden garden at one of our local parks. And we've cleared our back garden of an overgrown hedge, reclaiming a fair amount of space ready for the spring. 


Monday, 19 January 2015

Our Gruffalo Day! A Gruffalo Collage and Homemade Gruffalo Crumble

I love having themed days with the kids. They don't have to take too much planning (I only decided on our gruffalo day yesterday), but I find them a lot of fun and I'm sure the kids get a lot out of them. I mentioned before bedtime last night that today we'd have a gruffalo day, and it was lovely hearing the first thing Asher say on waking up this morning 'is it our gruffalo day?!' 

We started with reading the story over breakfast, and stayed at the table to do a quick pen-control worksheet from Twinkl. It was only Asher's second-ever attempt at something other than scribble, it was just last week that he got our wipe-clean alphabloks cards out of the cupboard to write on. Today I was really proud of his writing, just goes to show his fine motor control is there developing through other activities that he's interested in. Then it was time to get the scissors and paints out and start our collage. I love the kids' copying of the wood scene from the book. 
Asher's writing:

We played abit with our gruffalo toys and magnet book and sat down to watch the short film with a snack. Eden did a gruffalo doodle on my ipad. 

After a snack, Asher helped me make gruffalo crumble. It's nice to spend a bit of 1:1 time with him, explaining what we're doing a bit more slowly, he really understood what the ingredients that we were adding represented and said making the crumble was his favourite part of the day. We used carrots for orange eyes, kidney beans for purple prickles, spring onion for claws, potato for terrible teeth and peas for poisonous warts. It turned out to be really tasty! 

This afternoon we finished off our collage and stuck it up in pride of place to enjoy on our piano. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Great Outdoors Week 3: 5 hours

We started the week looking for signs of flower fairies, following the arrival of a new book which really captured the kids' imaginations! We had a cold wintry walk accompanied by Viking over the fields by our house, practising our observation skills. I love that Asher often finishes these walks proclaiming 'That was fun!' - long may his enthusiasm continue. Eden would happily spend longer out on these walks, which bodes well for the better weather. 
Mid-week saw the arrival of our first snow of the year. Sadly it didn't last longer than a day, but was enough to cause much excitement first thing in the morning and lots of outdoor time on Wednesday playing in the snow, and a walk tramping through the snow to the local pub for lunch. 
The week finished with time in the garden helping Daddy clear the hedge which has slowly been creeping out taking over our garden. Plans are underway to reclaim the space for spring. We've also had a scooter session at the park. Motivation has been quite low this week as Asher and I have both been fighting off colds/flu making me particularly very tired. The weather forecasts more snow later this coming week so fingers crossed for some more snowy pictures this time next week! 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Enjoying the Great Outdoors Week 2: 2 hours 15

After last week's great start, I thought this week would prove to be more of a challenge to get outside and I was right! Our normal home ed activities have restarted following the Christmas break and this week has made me realise that I need to be more creative, and organised, to fit outdoor time into our day, particularly with the shorter and colder days over winter. 

Monday, is our 'free' day - I like a slow start to the week, we potter at home, or out and about doing our own thing. The day was really sunny and I'd planned for us to go to Clent, some local hills, and do some stick activities. Unfortunately I was expecting a delivery, ironically a new pair of wellies for Asher, and it unfortunately didn't arrive until early afternoon, so we'd waited in for it. We still managed to fit a trip to the park in afterwards though, squeezing the visit in before Eden's opticians appointment. 

As I was really disappointed not to have made it to clent on Monday, on Tuesday first thing, as soon as it was light, we headed over there, and set up camp in the natural play space. The kids loved the early start, as did I! We made bird feeders, drank hot chocolate, squelched through amazing mud (Asher testing out his new wellies) and watched bugs scuttling along logs, they really captured Asher's attention, which was great to see. While there, we bumped into a tutor setting up a forest school activity for his pgce students. The activity looked intriguing (coloured wool hung on branches) and he took the time to explain to the kids what he was doing and asked them about the feeders they'd made for the birds. 

The early start on Tuesday had been such a success with the kids that we did it again on Thursday. This time taking our guide dog pup with us for a wet and muddy walk in the rain over Walton Hill, which is the adjacent hill right next to Clent, and always much quieter. I wasn't sure how the kids would like the cold and wet first thing in the morning, but they didn't complain once and again seemed to love the experience! 

Total time this week has been 2:15, much less than last! However the positive is that we've all discovered we like being outside first thing, whatever the weather, and the benefit of this is that we have the rest of the day ahead of us, not affecting our other home ed activities. Intending to be organised enough to keep this up in the coming week. 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Enjoying the Great Outdoors Week 1: 11.5 hours

I love Charlotte Mason's approach to education. One aspect is plenty of time spent outdoors in all weathers. I try and include some enjoyment in the fresh air everyday whenever I can. Some weeks more so than others depending on what else we have planned. Inspired by the families over at 1000hoursoutside, I thought it might be interesting this year to keep a record of how much time each week we spend on activities outside. This week Luke was off work so we did some extra visits which clocked up our total time spent outdoors. 

Last Sunday we visited Croome, a National Trust owned house and gardens. We took Viking, our guide dog pup, with us and enjoyed a sunny afternoon walking around the grounds. 

Monday we had family visiting us for the day for Christmas. It was a great opportunity for us to blow off the cobwebs and go for a family walk across the fields by our house. It was fab to watch the cousins enjoying each other's company having not seen each other since the summer. 

Tuesday was another sunny but cold day. We visited Warwick Castle with my folks, making use of our annual pass that we won recently in a competition. I especially enjoyed watching the kids playing with the ice in the pond in the peacock garden. 

Wednesday, New Years Eve, we took our scooters to the park, Luke and I now have our own too (to keep up with the kids - beats running after them) and they are sooooo much fun!

Thursday, New Years Day, Eden and I popped to the park with her new bike to get some cycling practice in - she recently learnt to cycle without her stabilisers. Later that day we enjoyed a visit to Hanbury Hall, another National Trust owned property. We had a very interesting tour of the house, learning the story of the families who owned it, and a hearty lunch in the restaurant before a walk around the gardens. 

Friday afternoon we took Viking for a walk across the fields nearby, then straight into the car with the scooters for a scoot and play at our local park. The kids played desert islands on the climbing frame there, Asher's idea. 

It's been cold but sunny and mostly dry week this week. Yesterday was the exception - it was very wet. Our enthusiasm for being outside was dampened too, so dashes between shops and front doors was enough activity for us! Luke being off work has given us a good excuse to get out and about this week, especially as our usual home ed activities haven't restarted yet after the Christmas break. But I'll try and keep up momentum next week.