Friday, February 23, 2007

Things I love ....

I love the architecture in the area we live at the moment. We have a lot of Victorian and Edwardian properties close by and some houses have delightful features which you just don't see on modern housing.

These beautiful Edwardian chimneys, which belong to a nursery school, can be seen from B's bedroom at present, although very soon the building next to us (not the nursery) will be pulled down to be replaced by a block of flats. Thought I'd take a photo before (1) we move and (2) we won't be able to view the chimneys anymore, we'll only see bricks out of B's window.

The nursery was previously a photographic studio. When P and I got married we had our wedding in Peterborough, although at the time we were living in London, and the photographer's studio was in this building. P also used to go to this building for scouts when he was a child. We never, for a moment, thought we'd be living so close to it in the future. In fact one of our HE group members had a friend he used to visit regularly who lived in our house. How strange life can be.

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After the groans from K and B about doing more maths posters I brought out the maths workbooks for them this week to hear yet many more groans and grumpy faces! They've asked to do the angles poster next week now! Actually, B did very well with his maths this week. We are following an old CGP Year Three Book which is brilliant and B picked up the fractions section really easily (to add to Ks grumpiness - she was doing fractions too and still has a mental block with them). We'll get there eventually, she's good at lots of other areas of maths and has a logical mind when she puts her mind to it.

We have started our study of Galileo in preparation for a visit to the museum with the local HE group to "meet" him and also to learn more on light and optics. We've done more experiments for energy, dropping balls of mixed weight and size from the bedroom window and also dropping stones of mixed weight and size, tied together loosely with string, to see the outcome. Very surprising actually, we all thought the smaller stone would just trail behind when tied like that, but when you actually think about it (which is was Galileo did alot), it shouldn't do that at all, and didn't. Anyway, lots of writing and some very impressive work from them both, especially B. Although it sounds like I'm praising B more than K at the moment, I'm not taking sides. These last few weeks he's really changed his attitude to work and is listening and understanding so much more and therefore producing a lot more of his own work rather than me having to keep reading details out to him over and over until it's fully sunk in (which makes the work become rather tedious and uninteresting).

Other learning that they're doing really well and thoroughly enjoying is the cursive writing. B has finished all his lower case letters and K is nearly there. They've both been putting this beautiful style of letter formation into practise when producing their new books on the months of the year. We've looked at February, reading about folklores and history of the month from this site, and they've written bits of information of interest to them in their books with illustrations. We also came across these lovely poems for the months.

K has done some more to her horses lapbook; B has designed a poster all about the computer game he'd like to write. He's also done a bit more BASIC learning "goto", "if" and "then".

We seem to have been in the car alot this week too. Lots of visiting friends (K went for a sleepover and B has a friend over tonight to sleep), picking up valuable free stuff from our local recycle store, swimming, horse riding, group session, etc., etc. The kids find it a good opportunity to ask questions during this time, although I can't remember what they were typically - one was on steam trains, another on power stations I believe.

On Wednesday, K started her level 2 in swimming and, for the first time ever, she came out and told me how proud she was of herself. So she should be, I was really proud of her too. You'd think she'd been in that level for the extra 5 weeks, like the other children. The teacher worked them really hard during the 25 mins. and K's confidence in the water is just building and building.

Today we had a group HE session on recycling which was really well thought out. K enjoyed making stables from junk modelling and B particularly enjoyed making a grass seed "head" using old tights, sawdust and grass seeds (with eyes etc.) There was lots of information on recycling (and it was interesting to find out that different counties use their coloured bins for different types of rubbish - just to confuse everbody!) and some quizzes for the children to do at home to help complete the RSBP Action Awards that we're all working towards.

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A lovely social week really. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bit late on blogging this but ...

we had a lovely Chinese meal on Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Cooked a few dishes including a vegetable stir fry, spring rolls, shredded duck and a variety of lovely sauces. By far the best dish served that evening was this one cooked by K. We've never had it before (usually stick to curry rather than Chinese) and it certainly is a meal by itself. Absolutely delicious and very simple and quick to make.

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K and B made these and we found some wise words for fortune cookies which we placed inside along with a little dosh!

Kung hei fat choy! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Well the schools in our area were on their half term break this week and I intended to continue with a full week's work for K and B seeing as how things ground to a halt a couple of weeks back when we decided to put the house on the market. However, having said that, we only managed two morning's of work, but they certainly were full mornings!

We have finished looking at the USA for our "Around the World" lapbook, finding out some unusual information on the White House here together with a recap on the Declaration of Independence (which we'd covered about a year ago). We've nearly finished this whole topic now. It seems like we've been studying it forever, but I believe it's just over a full term really. Anyway, next week we're going to briefly look at the Reform Club in London (as this was the start and end of the Palin series) and the oceans and seas that he travelled on.

As our HE group visit to the local museum to "meet" Galileo fast approaches, and because it was the anniversary of his birth on Thursday, we've started our little project about him, his life and work. Enchanted Learning has a good section on Galileo, and for more indepth information, shown as a timeline, and some experiments I've found this site. So far, we've checked out his birth place, Pisa, reading about the leaning tower. We've also read about his early study on pendulums which lead to him making a clock. As Galileo investigated potential energy, we did a simple experiment dropping heavy marbles from different heights onto soft clay (and recording the indent diameter, which gets slightly bigger the higher the marble falls) to gain a better understanding of forces and energy.

On the maths side (which I must admit is beginning to get a little tedious for K and B) we've finished the poster on circles which include pi, working out the circumference and also the area using formula. Perhaps I should leave it at that for now and return to the work books as I'm beginning to hear groans whenever they see a fresh sheet of A3 paper appear in preparation for a new maths poster! Would like them to do an angles poster - perhaps I can get away with just one more!

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K has been updating her website with pictures and information on her new models. She's decided to try very hard to save up for an original Julip model horse that she's been after for a while. It's pretty expensive so K's agreed to put her pocket money for the next 5/6 months into her bank account rather than her purse so she can't be tempted to spend it - wise girl. She was lucky enough to find £5 lurking in her handbag yesterday. Why can't that happen to me? Talking of websites, I really must start to update mine. I was thinking of letting it lapse as it's hard work just keeping the blog up to date, but I came across a blog this evening that has put in an entry about my website (which naturally was great to read) so I guess I should keep it going.

B has started his BASIC programming course learning very quickly a simple program to work out VAT. Having learnt this, he wrote a program to work out the area of a rectangle (with a little help from me) and then, by himself, one to do the circumference of a circle. Cool. He's itching to get on to the section for making a simple game.

Finally, K had a fabulous time at Butlins in Skegness on Wednesday with some friends to celebrate a 10th birthday. A long day (8.15 - 8.30) but full of lots of fun things like swimming, gaming and fair ground rides. Thank you C and family!

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Clay horse produced by K

Monday, February 12, 2007

So, apart from a day playing in the snow we've done a few other bits and bobs work wise, although must admit, not as much as I'd like due to the numerous phone calls, form filling and serious clearing out of unwanted items, all associated with a housemove.

We've done more to our maths posters, mainly on area using templates of the layout of the new house to make it a little more interesting. Reading "More Murderous Maths" has helped to sink all this new stuff into our brains as it makes for funny and educational reading. The kids are able to tell me and P the definition of a formula, the formula for the area of a rectangle, square and triangle and the formula for finding the circumference of a circle. Thanks to the aforementioned book, they've also learnt how to estimate the area of a wibbly shape and an unusual shape like a foot (by putting it in a bucket of water, catching the spilt water and measuring it!). They wanted to try this out with Allie (the cat), but luckily he wasn't around at the time (only joking)!

Continuing with the USA section of our "Around the World ..." and have read and written about the Krabloonik Dog Sled team in Colorado which Palin used during his trip, Statue of Liberty and the Dollar Bill with George Washington's face on one side.

K and B have finished off all their Flat Traveller's stuff ready for posting. They've enjoyed hosting the Flats, as always, but we'll probably take a break for a while as it certainly takes up alot of their time. On the literacy front, the children continue to practise their cursive writing using this, and have produced some written work about the play we'd seen last weekend at the theatre. They also wrote lovely poems titled "Brrr!". I'd found this poem when sorting through K's old school work - it was something she completed in year 3 and I wanted to see what descriptive and imaginative work she, and B, could produce this time.

On a cold day,
On a really cold day,
On a really, really cold day
On a really, really shivery, frozen, dazzling cold day ...
There is nothing I like better in the whole world than
Going sledging on big snow covered hills,
Sitting by a firey fire,
Throwing wet, freezing snowballs,
Crunching through a fresh white snow blanket. (K)
On a really, really breezy cold day ...
There is nothing I like better in the whole world than
Snow on a gusty, blowy day,
It is raw, cold and bitter,
Sitting by the camp fire! (B)

We got a good lot of exercise on Wednesday as, without the car for the day, we had to walk to K's swimming which took us a good hour each way. After her lesson she was really chuffed to hear so is to go up a level after just 5 weeks. We talked about global warming as we noticed buds appearing on the trees and flowers appearing - really Spring like (strange that the weather changed so much overnight). We also chatted about religion. As we saw the minerets of the mosques ahead of us on our walk home, K started to compare the inside of a mosque to that of a modern and old Christian church which made for a rather informative and interesting conversation.

B has been building new Exo-Force men as his new one turned up from e-bay. He's also asked to do some computer programming so I've found this course on Basic (which I learnt at school) to start him off.

And finally .... Is it really so cold in our house that Allie has to end up sitting on the gas hob to warm himself? Rather a foul look too, perhaps he'd had a tipple from the red wine by his side

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"

I peeked out of the curtains around 3ish this morning to see a heavy frost, no snow, but woke up at 7 a.m. to a decent covering of the lovely white stuff and it was still falling! YIPPEE!

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No, this isn't our back garden ... though I wish it was!

Kids were out more or less immediately doing those fabulous fun whooppee noises as the children were trudging past the front of the house on their way to school. After breakfast we headed off to town as I had some errands to do and it was wonderful to scrunch through the fresh snow. B managed to aim perfectly with his first snowball and it landed on the back of my neck and trickled down my back and arm - yuk!

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After a warm lunch and dry clothes we rescued the sleigh from the loft and headed off to the park for lots more fun. Here's some pics - the smiley faces say it all really. Snow on the trees just looks so magical. We made a snow, mud and twig snowman and managed to pull it all the way home from the park on the sleigh with his head and middle body taking a tumble once we'd reached the front door!

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View in the park

Let it snow more ... please! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

B's animation and a trip to the theatre

As promised, here's B's animation that he'd produced recently. It has taken me a while to track it down on our system (he can never remember what he names his documents).
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Also, on Saturday we went to see a production at the Stamford Arts Centre called "Shh! A Story about Stories", a play by The Rhubarb Theatre Company. It was absolutely brilliant, even P was pleased he'd joined us. The play, made just for kiddies, was 50 minutes long, with a 10 minute question and answer section at the end but was so well put together we'd certainly recommend it as a fun afternoon out.
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kids are loving this ....

Keep forgetting to put this up. K and B really enjoy making a sled run for this little chap. B's into it more than K but it's been a good source of amusement and it's educational too. Thanks to "D" for this one!

Here's one of B's drawings showing what can happen.

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Review magazine is ready!

Right, I've sorted it all out now and fiddled with it as best I can! It doesn't look anywhere near as brilliant as it originally looked, but at least you can all read it now.

Just click on the Ellesfuntimes Home Education link on the side bar and then on K and B's Review Magazine to see it.

Hope you like.

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