Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Great Outdoors wk 17: 14 hours

The lovely spring weather continues. We spent Tuesday with lots of home ed families at Sandwell Valley, which has such a great set up of park play equipment, sand pits, a splash pad, woodland to explore and a farm. 

We took Viking for some good behaviour training at a park nearby. 

After 4 years since we relocated to the Midlands, last weekend we re-visited Southampton and had a lovely weekend catching up with friends, and showing the kids our favourite places in the city. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Nature study in the garden

"Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ants, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way" 
Charlotte Mason, 19th century educator. 

I am absolutely loving the Charlotte Mason approach to home education. It really clicks with us as a family. As the kids are under 6, the Charlotte mason approach involves much of our days filled with outside-time, the weather at the moment is certainly lending itself to this! There are lots of ways to spend time outside, often I leave the kids to decide themselves. 

Today, Eden was excited to find an ants nest! I decided just this week that for the time being (until the summer or longer) I'd like us to focus on getting to know insects better, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to run inside and grab my Handbook of Nature Study to look up ants. We made a nature journal entry answering some very simple questions on the ants' activity around the nest, and if we find another nest this year we'll add to our answers. 

A little while later, the kids found 3 snails on a plant pot tray. They were very friendly snails! The kids spent ages this afternoon observing them close up and looking after them. They really grabbed their attention. I love the photos I took, capturing those special moments. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Great Outdoors wk 16: 22 hours

A big total this week! The good weather has continued and after the busy Easter holidays finishing, this was our first week back into our home ed routine, and we made the most of the weather! We've had an intentionally-quiet week for seeing people, instead choosing to have some space, and enjoy family time together. We've had our first bbqs and picnics of the year. A highlight of the week was visiting Witley Court and Gardens. It was a beautiful day, and such fun to explore the grounds and ruins, the place has such a tragic tale to tell, which both of the kids took an interest in. 

Read alouds in the garden:
Exploring Witley Court and Gardens:

Monday, 13 April 2015

Summer home education

Back into our 'routine' today after Easter. I'm excited for our first summer ahead of 'official' home ed. We've made a great start this morning (it's just after 10:30am at the moment). When the kids wake up they have a bit of tv time. At the moment they're both really enjoying Dora the Explorer and learning some Spanish! Then at breakfast time we usually have some bible time and say a prayer. Today we've started bible verse memorisation using the Simply Charlotte Mason system for remembering scripture. I'm pleased that even Asher at just turned 3 can join in with this. 

Usually after breakfast the kids choose to stay at the table. Sometimes I have something seasonal planned that captures their interest, but usually they'll find something of their own to do. This morning, they both wanted to add to some paintings that they'd done last night. Eden drew people and animals to her background scenes that she'd painted. Asher had mixed blue and yellow paint last night to turn his white paper green, he'd then announced that he'd 'made a jungle'. When they got their papers this morning, I found some jungle animals scissor practice pictures off Twinkl (love it!) and we added these to his background. He then went and found all his animals to match to the pictures and did some brilliant imaginative play! I was so proud :) 

Eden is really enthusiastic about helping with chores today. She's made her bed, plumped all the pillows in the house (her idea!), dusted and loaded the washing machine. Asher joined in too. I'm glad they enjoy this and it teaches them great life skills and the value of everyone in the family helping out around the house. 

Before snack time we got the spielgaben out. So far this school year we've been using the MEP curriculum to cover maths, but we finished the reception year's work before Easter, so we'll now switch to using spielgaben until September. It comes with 1000s (literally) of pages of fantastic learning ideas that get progressively harder, and I'm sure will stay used for many years to come. 

After snack time, Asher's having a nap and Eden did a page of a reading practice lesson with me and some spelling, she loves to write but it's got to the stage where some spelling would help with deciphering what she's written! She's now having a quiet time in her room. 

After lunch we still have the day ahead of us, planning on lots of garden time! I love when we have days where there's lots of hours to fill and we get lots done.

The Great Outdoors: week 13-15, Easter, 31 hours

We've had a busy few weeks over the Easter period! There's been some really lovely spring weather, warm and sunny. We've installed a new trampoline in the garden, which the kids are loving! (So am I!) We've been away to a church event called Spring Harvest, held at Butlins Minehead. We took the scooters and spent lots of time outside and on the beach. I've had quite a bit of my freelance work keeping me busy, so the kids and Luke have been on their own adventures while I've been working. 
Spring bike rides:
First bounces on the trampoline (finished just before bedtime and going on holiday the next morning!)
Minehead beach:
Planting seeds:
Seed collages, making use of very old seeds that I found:
Finding bat boxes at a community gardens:
The cats enjoyed the sunshine too!