We have been very busy recently; keeping up with school work, meeting friends, visiting family, attending Summer School activities! I’ve become a bit of a taxi service for my girls.
At our local Forest Centre, we went pond dipping and identified the creatures we found using their spotting sheets. J and I returned the following week with a friend and took part in a minibeast safari – sweep net insect collecting and tree shaking. Again, we identified what we found and shared it with the others in the group!
I have made the decision this year to join English Heritage. We have a beautiful site just down the road from us and they offer so much in the way of activities for the children. We have been three times now and still have not seen everything there. We’ve taken part in Awesome Archaeology, where the girls got to take part in geophysics and metal detecting, a Victorian fun and games day when we used lots of period toys and saw a couple of fantastic demonstrations, and a day on Queen Victoria where the children took part in a play about our longest reigning queen.
A talk about the history of jigsaw puzzles
How Electricity Works – electrocuting the children!
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Last week, K was out at a drama workshop for the week. in just five days the group learned and performed a full length musical play. They worked so hard over the week and the two performances at the end were a joy to watch – so much fun and enthusiasm from the cast and all the helpers.
K as a rat
The Whole Cast
Having a week alone with me meant that J got to dictate some of our activities (OK, most of them!) and we had lots of fun of our own. We went to to our library a couple of times to take part in craft sessions and to complete the reading challenge for the year. J made a wish list of activities, which included the following:
*go for a walk
*go to the playground
*have a drink in a cafe
*help with the gardening
And other wonderful requests that we did, of course, manage to include!
Watch A Film. This is how J watched TV.
Paint Mummy’s Nails
Have a milkshake in a cafe.
Make a smoothie
Be a cowgirl
Trivial Pursuit played in pyjamas after bedtime.
At the top of a large maple tree in our back garden, a pair of pigeons have built a nest. You would think that this would be wonderful for the children to watch, and indeed they have had a lot of fun seeing the parents collecting sticks and flying in and out of the tree. However, pigeons are apparently not very good nest builders! We had two eggs fall out into our garden and break before they hatched, which was very sad.
Last week we returned home after a morning out and something caught my eye out of the window.
Holly the Pigeon
Luckily, I noticed the little fella before our cat did!
This baby had fallen out of the nest, probably in the gusty winds we have been having, and was clearly too little to survive alone. We locked our cat indoors and watched the baby bird through the window. It hopped around a bit and eventually hid in a far corner of the garden. Mummy and Daddy bird were nowhere to be seen, even after a couple of hours.
K wanted to keep it, hand rear it and release it once it was old enough. However, the practicalities of hand feeding a bird up to three times an hour with mushed insect soup, while keeping bird and cat separate, were just too complicated. I was resigned to the fact that nature may take its course with the baby but had a quick scout in the internet to see whether there is anyone nearby who will hand-rear abandoned baby birds and, to my astonishment, found a local wildlife rescue that did A phone call later and they agreed to take the little one as long as we delivered it to its new home about 20 miles away.
By now the pigeon was named Holly. After the large and very spiky bush that I had to climb through in order to catch it (I was less keen on the idea of wildlife rescue at this point, I can tell you!). We drove to the address given and handed over the baby. K asked a lot of questions about how they are fed (through a special tube), with what (mushy insecty grainy soup. Yum) and what it’s chances of survival are (pretty good, apparently!).
We also learned that this one rescue centre has received around 25 pigeons in the last week! A combination of bad parenting and nest-building combined with windy weather is disastrous to them.
We did our good deed for the month and saved a life. Very happy children and very relieved pigeon.
We have been asked a lot by friends and family whether we are schooling through the summer holidays. We have recently returned from a whole year away spent travelling – a whole year of holiday during which we learned loads but didn’t do a whole lot of structured school. When we returned to the UK we decided that we would not take more time out.
However, we have quickly realised that, during the summer break, there are a LOT of activities available to take part in and a lot of friends around to hang out with! So we’ve changed things around a little and, for the remainder of the six week break, we are half-time schooling and half-time having fun!
Here are a few of the summer activities we have been taking part in over the last few weeks.
Out for lunch
Loom banding with friends
Meeting in the park with friends
umm… I enjoyed the park, too!
Miniature garden designing at the library
Sweet making at the library
Learning about geophysics at our local English Heritage site
Metal detecting to find Victorian ruins
Geophysics in the sunshine
We have been terribly busy with Egyptian things over the last few weeks. Here are just a few of the things we have been up to.
We made our own papyrus and drew Egyptian Art
Made notebook pages about different Pharaohs
We watched a documentary about Howard Carter and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb
… and made notes while watching!
Made a cat-mummy sarcophagus
We mummified a (toy!) cat
We have used different preservatives to see which will work best to preserve apple slices
The girls spent hours excavating Egyptian artefacts and playing an Egyptian game.
We are really enjoying our unit on Ancient Egypt!
I have a truly wonderful friend who, as well as being a fabulous person, is also my Home Education guru. She has taught all four of her kiddies at home since forever, and her oldest is now 12. All the children are delightful to be around, intelligent, polite, outgoing and wonderfully happy all the time.
Usually, when she gives me a Home Ed suggestion, I take it and run with it, knowing that it will probably be absolutely the right thing to do.
Last week K and I spent the morning assembling a flat-packed desk and then had to run out of the door to make it on time to an event in the library. While there I mentioned to the Guru that we still had to clear up the packaging. Her response was, “You’e a Home Educator now. Embrace the packaging! Let the kids play with it and see what they come up with. What an awesome opportunity for their creativity!” So, I duly let them play.
This is what happened.
It was a creative mess!
We have embraced the wonderful British summer weather we have had over the last few weeks, with lots of outdoor fun!
Podding fresh peas
Meeting friends in the pub garden!
A friend’s fourtieth Birthday
Reading. Everywhere – even in the supermarket.
And a day spent with some good friends at a country park. Den building, sliding, climbing and swinging. This is what summers are for!
As part of her Birthday present, K asked for her bedroom to be re-decorated.The girls and I managed the painting on our own (and they did most of it), but K wanted a feature wall with wallpaper – not something I am good at! So it was time to call for reinforcements… in the form of my Dad!
The girls helped to measure the wall to find the centre, and cut the paper to size. J spotted air-bubbles while K brushed them out.
Granddad to the Rescue!
So the next room that needs wallpapering, I’m expecting the girls to do it on their own!!!