Monday, 21 February 2011

Half term holiday

Well today is the first day of the half term holidays, not really relevant to us, as we don't do terms! But, the kids know it's half term holiday, so how do I make it special for them? We do so many activities, such as ice-skating, swimming, play areas, parks, museums, art galleries. Where can I take them that's new and not what we do anyway?

Do I give them a break from their 'work', from reading, painting, knitting, baking, bird watching, gardening? I think they'd be pretty miserable, if they couldn't do these things.

I'm glad theres no distinction between our everyday life and learning. Our learning is not contained in distinct bundles of time. I hope our learning goes on and on and never stops.

More Snow

Saturday 19th Feburary, We woke to snow again. I can't believe that last Saturday we had been sat in the garden in T-shirts eating smoothie lollies.
I hope all the beautiful flowers survive the snow!

Rosanna was really excited by the snow, pointing at the window and making her lispy sound. Geoff took Immy, Mima and Reuben to the big garden with a flask of hot chocolate and made a bonfire. I walked into town with Rosanna in her pushchair and had a look around the shops.


All was calm in the garden , when Mima started screaming, "Mum, mum, come quickly". I rushed towards the greenhouse area, not knowing what to expect. I found Mima pointing at the tiny shoots of newly emerging Rhubarb. She was so excited to find it, it is now her Rhubarb.

I really hope that my children can be passionate about the things they love in life and have a life long love of learning.
When Mima said "I love writing, it feels so good" and "I'm so proud of my knitting", when she had completed two bunny ears, it makes me so happy and confirms we are on the right track.

Wee, poo and nest building

I bought this 'Disgusting digestion' kit, which is part of the Horrible science range, from a charity shop for £1.40. It has experiments to demonstrate the kidneys, stomach, bladder and bowels. The only thing missing is the fart pot!
We started with the bladder experiment.
First we had to make 500ml of wee, actually cold tea.
100ml at a time, the 'wee' was poured into the bladder. When we got to 400ml, the bladder started to leak.
and at 500ml, there was a big whoosh and the bladder emptied completely. The human bladder can hold 500ml of urine.

Next came the bowel experiment.
First oil is poured into the tube and then the plastic poo is squeezed along the tube.
This is tricky to do, and the girls wanted to pull the poo, but I made them stick to the squeezing, to demonstate the action of peristalsis.
Earthworms use a similar mechanism to move along.
The poo finally emerged at speed and bounced onto Rosanna's head!
Then on to do more experiments.
A robin has been very busy building a nest in the conifer. Nesting materials may be gathered up to a quarter of a mile from the nest area. We love watching the robin, if it comes back with something heavy for the nest, it rests of the bench, before taking the final journey to the nest.
I've read that the nest takes 2-6 days to build, but our Robin had been building for about 2 weeks. The nest may be started up to two weeks before the first eggs are laid.
Our friend told us about an experiment, you put out different coloured wools and see if the Robin has a favourite.
So we placed;
Fancy yarn
garden twine
green wool
pale blue wool.
The girls chose to place the wool in the trees and bushes. We placed out some hay for the Robin on a bench, but it completely ignored the hay.
Will our Robin have a favourite wool or will it stick to leaves, twigs and sticks?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Immy's blog

Just found a very interesting blog!

Please take a look, it's written by my daughter.

Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday marks the day before the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. Traditionally it was the day that all the fat in the household was used up prior to fasting.
Pancakes were believed to be a symbol of good luck as they contain herbs and other ingredients associated with prosperity and longevity.
The ingredients, of the pancake, symbolise four crucial points of significance at this time of year:
Eggs -creation
Flour -The staff of life
Salt - wholesomeness
Milk -purity.
Our friends came round to our house to make pancakes. First they had to half all the quantities of ingredients on the recipe sheet.
We added grated orange peel for zesty pancakes, and golden syrup to the rest for luxury pancakes.
Pancake facts
The world's largest pancake was cooked in Rochdale in 1994, 15 metres in diameter, weighing 3 tonnes and containing 2,000,000 calories!!
The world record for pancake tossing is 416 in two minutes, not with our heavy frying pan!
American pancakes are thicker and sometimes called battercakes, griddlecakes or flapjacks.
Russian blinis are commonly served with caviar.
Old English batter is mixed with ale.
Together we wrote an acrostic poem;

Put out the toppings
Apples, butter, sugar, oranges,
Nutella, golden syrup,
Crackling frying,
Almost brown,
Kindly flipping them over,
Eating, eating, I want more,
Delicious, scrumptious, crispy,
Another, another, more,
Yummy, Yummy, Yum, let's eat more!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Valentine's Day

Valentines Day Meal
We usually celebrate Valentine's day as a family celebration, and we think of it as a time to think about how much we love and care for each other
Rosanna sorting out the drinks
Poping the bubbly

We had Chinese take away, Feburary 14th was also the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. We did craft activities linked to valentines day and Chinese new year at the Home ed group we go to on a Thursday too.
While we were eating our meal, Reuben asked me, "Mummy, what makes you smile?" and that started us all thinking. Of course, my first answer was my children, and then we wrote a list.

I love...
the sound of the trees
the smell of the chickens

skinny mochas

French fancies


reading the metro

Sunday morning bargains

reading books, playing with Barbies and going to bed early

Eating Sunday lunch on Saturday night.

Kids having fun!
Fondest Fancies and Thornton's chocolates.

We wrote an acrostic poem for Valentine's day, at first we started off writing a very sweet poem. Geoff thought it was too sugary and talked about how poems can start from a different angle and then change. So here is the second version of our Valentine's poem:

Very annoying,
Always think you're right,

Loving you is hard,

Everything is the same,

Never saying Thanks,

Time going by,

I imagine life without you,

Not the same,

Every annoying thing about you I love!

By The Holmes Family.

Lady Gaga -chicken, singing and table manners

On Monday we set off to the home ed singing group, as usual. Driving along the M1, we were singing along to Lady Gaga, Mima began reading out the acknowledgements part of the CD. There were two bits Mima particulary liked
'Thank you to my Dad, for always protecting me from monsters' and
'Thank you for teaching me the importance of family , and showing me the value of always sitting down together- and never taking a bite till everyone was present'.
We eat our meals together at the table, they are a very important time of the day, we chat for ages. The kids love our meal times, but it's now made it even more popular, and now Jemima is trying to enforce a new rule, that we all start our meal together at the same time!

I may not like all of Lady Gaga's lyrics, but reading further her acknowledgements
'...I need to say that every chemical moment of my life, every person i have spoken with, every street I have ever travelled, every museum, country, city, space or home that I have visited has been a profound instance and is mirrored, whether obviously or in some refracted way, in the work you see today'
and she's right these things shape our lifes.

Lady Gaga, the chicken, is behaving much better now she has laid her first egg. The day after we named our chicken Lady Gaga, the lady herself emerged from an egg at the Grammy's!!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Eggs, weeding, flapjack and French

I usually write our activities as single blog posts, but this post is a full week.
We started the week with some formal work. I always feel that on a Monday morning we have to do some proper work! For maths we looked at factorisation and composite numbers. Jemima then wrote some more of her story and Imogen did some on-line literacy activities.
Then off we went to the Home ed singing group. They are learning some new songs for a summer concert. Geoff met us and off we went to get the chickens.
We started Tuesday, with a picnic snack in the polytunnel.
Geoff was at work, so it was up to us to look after the chickens.
and we found our first egg!

The first egg!

Making pancakes with our first chicken egg.
After spending the morning and most of the afternoon in the garden, the girls had to get their French homework done for Wednesday. They had to write a letter in French.
Wednesday morning we spent ages watching a robin make a nest. The nest is in the conifer, just across from the flag.
Then out came the playdoh. Reuben has really been into Bob the builder this week. He's busy with the vehicles making cement and roads!
While Reuben and Rosanna played with the playdoh, the girls made flapjack. The reciepe is from the Flora website and is heart healthy. It's important that children learn from an early age about healthy diets.
Low in fat, but very sweet. In goes the golden syrup. The girls spent ages chatting about the density and viscosity of the syrup, wondering what it would be like, or if you even could, float on a river of syrup!

In go the ingredients.

Mima's Flapjack ready for baking.and Immy almost ready!
Two batches was just not enough.
Time to go and check the chickens...
but Lady Gaga had escaped and made her way through several gardens, to end up on the road.
We managed to get her in the polytunnel and leave her there until Geoff got home.
Back to the house, just in time for friends to arrive for our weekly french.
Problem solving with Daddy.
How can we make a chicken feeder out of these pots and saucers?
Rosanna's got the answer.
Thursday we went to the home ed swimming session and Friday was the monthly home ed meet at monkey buisness.
More flowers appearing in the garden, Primroses.

and loads and loads of snowdrops.

I thought it was very hot on Saturday, so I sent the kids out in T-shirts and gave them mango smoothie lollies. They were soon shivering and asking for coats. Luckily we've got the polytunnel, so we all went in there and it was so warm.
Group hug, well almost!
Past the barking dogs and down the hill.
I love this photo, is so tricky getting a photo of 4 children all looking the right way and smiling at the same time.
and then on to see the ponies and chickens at the farm next to our house.

We love the miniature ponies
Checking out the chickens at the local farm.

We returned from our walk, to find Geoff lovingly watching the chickens taking a dust bath in dry soil from the polytunnel. He had also turned over some of the earth and put in a log and some leaves, so they could have a good scratch around. It felt so nice to see the 6 chickens busy in their pen, foraging and bathing. They have rewarded us with 1 or 2 eggs EVERY day! I'm so glad we got them, we all love them, I even get text messages from Geoff checking to see if they are ok.At the weekend we met up with friends at the mining museum. The men took the older children down the mine on a tour. Mum's stayed above ground and had a long chat, great therapy!
The pit ponies were very popular.
Talking to Rosanna on the old mine phone.
Rosanna really loved the telephone in the mining museum.
Sunday evening, sat in the polytunnel listening to the rain, drinking hot chocolate.
My newly adopted patch of garden.
Geoff's newly dug vegetable patch.
Perfect end to a perfect week!


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