Saturday, 19 July 2014

Our Week

 After our workboxes on Monday morning, we headed out into the woods to climb some trees.
Miriam had collected a large pile of twigs to make her own imaginary campfire, so Granny suggested we brought them home to build our own fire in the garden.
We were not experienced (or brave) enough in these things to build a proper campfire on the grass, so we built it on a metal tray on the patio!
We cooked our beans for lunch on it
and toasted marshmallows for pudding. Such fun!
Throughout the week I have been having a sort out of the piles of work and drawings that have been produced this year, recycling a lot, but choosing the best pieces to file away into their individual box files for storage.
It was lovely to look back at the different things they have produced.
On Wednesday we had a really interesting and enjoyable family day at Eyam in Derbyshire. It was here in 1665 that the plague struck, carried by a flea infested bundle of cotton that was sent from London to a tailor in the village.
The cottage where the plague started.
 We looked around Eyam Hall, a National Trust property, that was built in the Jacobean style after the plague had ended.
On Thursday we had our normal morning routine of workboxes and Nathanael wrote his own Psalm, based upon Psalm 100 which we have been studying.
Tabitha showing her English literature book. Her current theme is Homes.
 The children looked at the work of Vincent Van Gough and Georgia O'Keefe and had a go at creating their own still life drawings using charcoal.
Whilst in Stockport Market on Friday we saw BBC Radio Manchester being recorded live. We stopped for a while to watch, and we were taken by surprise as Nathanael and I ended up getting interviewed by Mike Sweeney!
 Nathanael attended his Maker Fun workshop on Saturday morning and he had the opportunity to learn how to make animation with a real life animator, Paul Claessens using a Raspberry Pi. He had been looking forward to this for weeks.
Can you see how excited he was?!
Nathanael chose to make an animated Robin Hood from one of his drawings.
I hope to be able to share with you the video he made when it has been edited.
If you are from Manchester, MakerFun will be at the MOSI Maker Faire next weekend and we would highly recommend that you go and try making your own animation with them.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Maths Musings

I have always enjoyed maths myself and imagined my children would be the same. My husband, however would describe himself as a bit of a maths dyslexic, and it seems some of my children have inherited his maths genes and not mine! I have experimented with different approaches to try and engage the children in maths, starting with maths games and challenges when they were younger,
visual demonstrations,
 data handling activites 

and introducing some workbooks such as Schofield and Sims as they got a bit older


 and then giving up on maths altogether and waiting till they were a bit older and trying again!

We then got an iPad and tried a few good maths resources on it. This interactive approach definitely helped engage the children in this subject.

But to be honest, using lots of different maths resources left me feeling all over the place and not sure in what direction we were going and how to build systematically on what the children already knew. It was stressing me out and I didn't know which way to go next. I decided that I needed a solid curriculum, so I could make sure everything was covered and so I could then supplement it with additional games/activities/iPad where needed. The question was which one to choose? I had ruled out an American curriculum, because of the differences with money and measurements. The ones that we had already tried were Schofield and Sims, which I found confusing as there were so many different books, and Mousematics  which I did like initially but became too costly and time consuming as it had to be printed off from disc. These also lack colour. We had a short try of MEP maths, but it was far too academic and the pages were dreary to look at, which did not engage my already disinterested children.  I spent a lot of time asking different people their advice and my mum gave me the best suggestion, one that I had never thought of - Heinemann maths, the same maths curriculum I had used at school as a child! I didn't realise it was still in print, but I have managed to buy the workbooks from Amazon at a reasonable price and I have located some textbooks second hand.

A page from Year 1 Maths
A page from year 2 Maths
Year 2 Maths
 The pages are colourful and fun, and there is a lot of repetition and reinforcement. And guess what? The children are enjoying it and making notable improvement. I love it so much, I have purchased enough workbooks for all five of my children to complete primary level maths, just in case it goes out of print!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Our Week

The weather has been beautiful and whilst we have been continuing with our morning workboxes, we have spent most of our days outside. On Monday we had a musical start to the week,
playing on the percussion instruments at the park! 
Shaking the shakers!
On Wednesday we visited a new to us park in Glossop and the children and I had fun paddling in the stream. Even though it was a really warm day, the water was freezing, but the children were not deterred.
 With Granny's help we made a den in the woods at Lyme Park on Thursday
and ate our picnic lunch inside it.
As the weather was so lovely, we made a last minute decision to go camping that evening at a local campsite. It was the girls first time camping, and excitement was running very high so we didn't get much sleep but a great time was had by all.
The children enjoyed playing on a park near the campsite, way past their bedtime!
Another day, another park, this is one of our favourite places, Tittesworth Reservoir, Leek.
We were there for our annual Postal Bible School BBQ. Tabitha was pleased to be awarded with a certificate for completing 12 lessons.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Our Week

We started our week with a lovely walk at Lyme Park, delighting in the beauty of God's creation.
It is mornings like this that remind me what a blessing it is to educate our own children. It is a privilege to spend so much time together as a family.
There is a great adventure playground at Lyme Park which our children love (and its fun for adults too!)
Later on that day we had our annual trip to the dentist
and harvested some fruit in the garden, which was made into a delicious rhubarb and blackcurrant crumble for tea.
We have been out in the garden a lot this week and have had an impromptu snail race. Tabitha's snail won, sadly Abigail's snail was trodden on by Elisabeth walking over the race track.
I found a climbing frame for sale for £20 on a local sale or swap site, so Paul and I went one evening to dismantle it and bring it home. As it was so old, we had a big job trying to undo all the nuts and bolts, but we managed it and the children are delighted with it! They helped clean it down and rubbed some of the rust off with wire wool.
Miriam turned 3 this week, so we had our Birthday tradition of breakfast at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Yum!
And as a Birthday present we had a family day out at Blackpool Zoo.
Sadly my camera got a drink spilt on it, so these are the only 2 photos I managed to get of the zoo, but here are last years photos if you are interested!
We have been continuing with our morning workboxes, but are taking a summer break from Science and Geography lessons. In History the children studied the War Poets including Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. The children love to hear poetry and were very inspired to write their own War Poetry.
The War is Coming - by Nathanael, Tabitha and Abigail
The war is coming,
The battle of death,
The guns are setting,
Banging and Blasting,
In the war.
People get killed,
Rats are scrambling,
Over our feet.
The war is coming,
The shells are shouting,
Our ears have gone deaf.
There is no such thing as,
Dulce et decorum est.
We are enjoying learning Psalm 100 together and we are also focusing upon memorising a hymn a week. The hymn that we have been learning this week is "Power in the Blood" by Lewis E. Jones.
"For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:5