December is finally here and we are happily starting the festive season with our advent calendar. I made a DIY calendar years ago when our eldest was tiny and each day the boys take out a different activity to do. So far we have had decorating the house for Christmas, but there’s lots of other fun stuff to do too, from making mince pies to visiting Santa himself!
We have been busy as usual during the last month, meet ups with other home educated families and various groups to attend. It’s been hard trying to find a free day to fit things in! I completely forgot to keep this post updated in draft form this month, so it may be missing a few items that we’ve been learning. But hopefully I’ve captured the majority of what we’ve been doing in November.
Home Education Activities
Every week we’ve been meeting friends in the woods or at country parks for several hours of outdoor play. Free play outdoors, without adult intervention is important for children and we try to include it in our week as often as possible. Of course it’s not as easy in the winter when it can be wet and cold, but with the help of a fire or shorter periods outside we can still manage.
Our children’s favourite topics seem to revolve around science and this month it included listening to many Wow In The World podcasts that discuss amazing science topics in a child friendly manner. They both enjoyed dismantling various pieces of broken electronic equipment to find out what was inside, including stripping the wires and finding out how they attached to the plug. They also took part in a home educators group workshop on light and fire, looking at light diffraction and properties of fire.
We visited a local space themed event to learn about why dark skies are important, enjoy a trip to the ISS in a pop up planetarium, study the moon via telescopes outdoors, dress up as astronauts and explore space using VR headsets. He’s also been learning that there are black holes in the centre of every galaxy and it will swallow up our solar system one day.
A visit to a local wetland area was a great way for the children to spot signs of beavers using the area. Plenty of old and fresh trees cut down and bark peeled off others lying in the water. No sign of a beaver lodge, so we hypothesised where it could be located.
Our 7 year old’s reading is certainly improving again, he’s now voluntarily reading short words and can write sentences with help for spelling. Although reading and writing are important, we don’t focus on them separately, instead he can choose to work on it whilst doing other tasks and in his own time. I hope this helps him take ownership of his learning and enjoy it.
We read to both boys every day, both fiction and non-fiction, depending on what they feel like. Littlest is particularly enjoying re-reading a book about the evolution of life on earth and stories from the latest Storytime magazine. Whereas eldest has finished the second Harry Potter book and onto the third, he’s also enjoying the Rosie Revere Engineer book series.
A visit to Aberdeen for a weekend gave us the opportunity to not only see the Christmas market, but enjoy a visit to the Maritime Museum. I preferred the early history of Aberdeen and how it built up from small fishing communities, but the kids were more interested in the oil platform and ROV higher up in the museum.
Both boys have also had their usual groups that they enjoy, for the 4 year old it is swimming, gymnastics, drama, multi sports and ballet. The 7 year old enjoys swimming, drama, multi sports and Beaver Scouts. It definitely keeps them and me busy running round to everything!
Art and crafts this month have consisted of small sketches, fire work paintings and various Christmas crafts in the run up to December. They also drew pictures of their dream bedrooms, which were rather interesting and included rivers on the floor! This month will be a bit more craft’y’ as we always do lots of Christmas craft activities!
I really struggle to remember what we do each month when I don’t write notes every few days. So in December I will definitely be making sure I actually keep track of what we do!
Have a great Christmas and New Year! 😀