Our first home education diary of 2019! We’ve begun the year well in my opinion and there has been a lot going on here! Surprisingly there still hasn’t been any snow so we haven’t managed to go skiing yet, much to the kids annoyance! They’ve been asking about skiing for months. At least we’ve managed to keep busy with various other things. As it was littlest’s 5th birthday at the beginning of the month there were plenty of celebrations and cake to enjoy.
But back to home education and what the boys have been learning about in the first month of 2019.
As always science pretty much dominates our home education. Which is not surprising as most other topics can fit in and around science. For littlest’s 5th birthday we visited Dynamic Earth, where we seemed to be the only people there! The boys understood a little more about how the earth was formed in the big bang and how life began. Their favourite section being the volcanoes, partly because the floor shakes and the lava spews out! The films included one called ‘We are stars’, basically discussing how we’re all made from stars as hydrogen formed at the start of the Big Bang is the building block of life. The second film ‘We are aliens’ was equally interesting and the kids learnt that water is necessary for life as we know it. After watching the aliens film we bought a book about Curiosity Rover, mainly because the kids enjoyed learning about the rover in the film.
They have continued listening to Wow In The World podcasts, as usual they are fun and engaging stories including many facts about space and oceans as well as strange facts such as exploding ants! We have also tried a couple of other science podcasts, but they don’t seem to be as engaging as Wow In The World, if you know of any good British science podcasts for kids then please let me know, it would be great to try them!
Other science activities have included testing the children’s proprioception by trying to trick their brains. They also made brain hats with some help, which did turn into a zombie game, but still useful to come back and look at every so often! Building towers using cups and craft sticks was useful for their engineering skills and has our eldest has come back to the activity many times to try and improve on previous towers by making adjustments to his techniques.
We bought the Magic Schoolbus books months ago as I remembered them from my childhood and thought they would be something my two would enjoy. They definitely do, plus they have a TON of information in them on science topics. Recently we have found the Magic Schoolbus programmes on Netflix, so the children have had time to enjoy a huge variety of topics from how breathing helps the muscles work, formation of the fetus in chicken eggs, ecology of cocoa bean production, digestion and how electricity is conducted.
We were kindly given some large hard back books that are separated out into Earth, Planets, Universe and Science. They are meant for adults to read, but the children have enjoyed us reading various sections to them, as well as looking at the pictures. The particular favourites appear to be the planet pages where you can see each planet as a cross section to find out the different layers that make up each planet. We’ve also been combining this with knowledge from Dynamic Earth about the temperature of the planets, the order they are in and how supernovas help create new elements.
As much as the kids love their toys, imaginary games seem to feature highly in their every day lives. They play together pretending to be foxes and other animals, superheroes, snipers and various other ideas. They certainly do have good imaginations!!
Of course they also spend a lot of time playing outdoors with friends, cooking on campfires, playing games in streams and climbing trees together. It’s always good when they go off to play for several hours and we I no longer have to watch them every minute in case a fight breaks out!
Reading and Writing
We’ve begun a new reading app called ‘Teach My Monster To Read’, it’s taken the children’s interest and they do enjoy playing it. However, the problem with this app is that they can often guess answers until they get it right, but don’t actually know what the correct answer actually was.
Our eldest has all the tools ready to read, he knows his letters and sounds and can put them together to sound out words. However, he will usually only do this when we ask him to read something out, he doesn’t yet have a desire to read by himself. I’m hoping that he finds the confidence in his abilities to read by himself soon.
Littlest has been recognising more of his uppercase and lowercase letters, matching them together. He’s also started playing I-Spy using letters rather than colours, he seems to often understand how words are sounded out and can often get the first letter or sound correct.
Writing has included creating pictures with a few words for friends and family, plus writing a few thank you cards (we have plenty more to write yet!). They have also begun writing letters to their new penpals, eldest is writing his himself and youngest has begun drawing and getting me to write for him. Hopefully littlest will take more interest in writing things himself soon too, he’s VERY enthusiastic at having a penpal.
We have been reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire to our 7 year old (this may be the last of the series for a while, as it gets more intense!) and youngest has worked his way through Dick King Smith’s Sophie’s Snail series. Additionally we’ve read the Storytime magazines we have collected over the past few months and listened to Purple Rocket podcasts about the Winglings series.
It’s been a little while since either of my two have used a maths app, they have been focusing more on reading apps at the moment. However they have been working on mathematics through other things instead.
For our youngest’s 5th birthday they helped me to make two different cakes (one for his birthday and one for his party), this included checking measurements on the scales whilst I poured in ingredients. They are also surprisingly good at cracking eggs, although that doesn’t have much to do with maths!
Youngest also loves to count everything, sometimes he counts too fast and misses out numbers, so we are working at slowing him down so he remembers each one! He’s also beginning to understand the pattern of numbers above 20, but needs help remembering which order the tens are in.
Of course we have been playing multiple games, the Stirling edition of Monopoly is a favourite, which required a fair bit of counting, addition and working with money. Both boys are getting better at working our change from this. Eldest was given battleships for Christmas, which is still a frequently played game, learning tactics and it will also help with map reading in the future.
Every day the kids spend a lot of time running around and playing, both outside and inside. However, they also have various classes, including mulit-sports, swimming lessons and gymnastics (for little one only). We also booked our 5 year old into two extra 1-2-1 lessons for swimming to help with his confidence and putting his head under water. It definitely has helped and would recommend 1-2-1’s whenever your child is struggling with swimming.
We’ve been to soft play a few times this month, partly due to freezing weather and partly because it was littlest’s birthday party at a soft play. They always leave exhausted which is great, but not so good when they fight instead of play later!
We haven’t been out on bike as much as usual, the ground has been slippy and icy, but we did manage a cycle to a local village and back again at the very beginning of the month.
Our tiny bit of snow we had this month was just enough for sledging, so the kids spent the morning outside sledging down a hill. I’m glad we did as it melted and then froze later, so at least they had the opportunity to use their new sledges!
Littlest has also continued his ballet and tap lessons as well as try to perfect his skateboarding skills with his new birthday skateboard!
As mentioned earlier, eldest has enjoyed playing Battleships, which will help him with map skills in the future. He’s also been spending time colouring in and identifying flags and countries on a giant colouring map he was given for Christmas.
The magnetic foam map of Europe now hangs in eldest’s bedroom, he ‘s now quite quick at putting all the countries back in the right places, although needs help remembering which is which.
We’ve had some discussion over volcanoes and where they are located along tectonic plates after visiting Dynamic Earth. They both seem rather interested in volcanoes so I hope they enjoy visiting Mount Teide on Tenerife later this year!
I’m not personally musical, but both our boys do enjoy listening to and singing various songs themselves. The joint gift of a keyboard went down well at Christmas and both our children have improved over the month. Eldest is learning the Harry Potter theme tune with help from his musically talented dad (no point coming to me for help!).
Although few of my photos ever show other children, this is to protect their friends identities rather than my children not socialising! It’s actually fairly rare during the week to have days without meeting up with friends, they have plenty of opportunities to socialise in different groups as we’re out the house every single day and find it difficult to squeeze other events into our busy weeks!
So, that’s our month in review, with regards to home education anyway! I think we’ve done pretty well considering that it often feels like we’re doing nothing!