Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Crafting

This week N has painted some christmas decorations

 made drinks coasters for christmas day by cutting out circles from old christmas cards
 and laminating them
she has been colouring christmas pictures, listening to christmas songs, playing the piano, watching christmas movies and playing with friends.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Christmas Decorations, Bourton Lights and Grandma's Birthday

It's the beginning of December and that can only mean one thing - time to put up the Christmas decorations. Hubby had kindly kept the day free of work so that we could put them all up together.

 The tree is my favourite part.
 The dogs were very good about all of the change happening in the house and the excitement. I am not sure what they made of the singing santa!

In the evening we drove to Bourton On The Water for the switching on of their Christmas lights. It was very magical, much better than the Witney switch on. They had people dressed in period costume, owls from Birdland and even a snow machine.
 The christmas tree is stood in the water, there was a real ooooh factor when the lights came on.
 Today was grandma's birthday and she came to visit for lunch, afterwards Grandma and N played cards while Pepper and Ralph made sure nobody cheated.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Sledging, Ice Slides and Xmas Lights

Yesterday morning we went along to Xscape (indoor snow slopes) in Milton Keynes, after the initial stress of getting up early, realising I had forgotten my wellies, turning around and coming back to pick them up, finding our way there (putting all my faith in hubby's sat nav), finding a helmet that actually fitted each of us, (we must both have extra large heads), we had a really fun time.

The first couple of goes down the slope on the little plastic sledges were a bit scary, I seemed to be picking up top speed, and screaming louder than the kids.The travelator to get you up the slope seemed even more dangerous, especially when you had to get off it at the top, but we managed the session without any breakages! The ice slides seemed much safer, wedging yourself in a huge rubber ring before being pushed down the ice slide.

N wants to go back for her birthday she enjoyed it so much.

 Last night we walked into Witney for the Xmas Light Switch On, there were literally hundreds of people wedged into the market square. N was very annoyed that moments before David Cameron came on stage to switch on the lights - someone with a child on their shoulders pushed in front of her and she couldn't see a thing. She made sure she moaned about it loud enough for them to be totally aware of her disapppointment!
 Never mind, there were reindeer
 an ice sculpture,
an Elvis impersonator with a gospel choir singing slightly Bollywood, Caledonian bagpipe players and lots of lights.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Making Chutney at Cogges

We met up at Cogges today for a chutney making session over a campfire!

The children set about collecting and chopping wood for the fire, lighting the fire, peeling and chopping the vegetables and.....
 making spice bags - N donated hers to the chutney

 Each child had a jar of chutney to take home
the end of life for N's spice bag!!

We all had a lovely day, considering we are near the end of November the weather was very kind, and we agreed that the Outdoor Learning sessions at Cogges had been one of the highlights of 2011 and we hope we will be given the opportunity for something similar in 2012.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Passing on a love of Twilight

Now, I am not afraid to admit that I adore the Twilight Saga books by Stephenie Meyer. There have been many times where I have realised I'm an hour late making dinner (much to N's disgust), because I've had my head stuck in one of the books.

I have been saying for while now that N is at the stage where she could read the first three books - Breaking Dawn is a little too graphic for a 10 year old! So yesterday I passed over my much loved (I bought it 2nd hand and I've read it twice!) copy of Twilight to N. She started reading it at 9.30pm last night and finished it at 3.30pm today, with 434 pages that is pretty good going. Needless to say she loved it. I think it hurt to put it down long enough to get washed and dressed and eat!

She gave herself a 10 minute break before she delved into New Moon. Bless, perhaps vampire love is genetic.

I managed to coax her away from New Moon and out of her room for dinner this evening, although it was to watch the Twilight movie. She reminded me of myself watching the film after reading the book and criticising what was missing or changed!

N always loves watching the bonus features on dvd's; finding out how the film was cast, how the wardrobe was chosen, which scenes were cut etc, so of course we had to watch the extra documentaries this evening too. I hope Stephenie Meyer's own story inspires N, after all it was the first book she had ever written.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

AWOL for a month!

I cant believe how quickly the last month has flown by. I keep meaning to catch up on the blog, but the longer you leave it the more you time you have to find as you have so much to say. It has been so long now i struggle to remember most of it!

Aside from chasing balls, this is what the dogs have been doing........

 We have been throwing ourselves into English and Maths and had the wonderful lightbulb moment last week when N really understood division and the fact that she can work the sums out quite easily when she wants to.

We had National Schools Film Week and N went to the cinema for free to watch Rio and Cars 2. N spent a week at a Creation Theatre workshop 'put on a play in a week', she had a fabulous time and the play was truly wonderful. She has been to two birthday parties and had her own Halloween party.

We went along to a 'Whodunnit' crime solving workshop at Science Oxford and N had first prize for solving the crime first.

We've been along to card club with N's Nanny and we made a coach load of christmas cards. N has been practising the piano on her own, as we can't afford to restart the piano lessons at the moment.

N did a little mini project on Helen Keller, we subscribe to  the School Express free themed workbook a week. They are not always age appropriate but I tend to save the ones that I think would interest N.

The binoculars are out along with the bird spotters guide, now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees at the back of the garden. We even took the binoculars to Blenheim Palace this afternoon.

We went along to see their winter wonderland display.....

 I was shouted at as I stupidly photographed the christmas trees inside the palace - oops naughty me - no cameras allowed. The display inside was actually enough to get me in the christmas spirit though, it was all white and sparkly.

Niamh had fun outside as usual rolling down the moat.

We came home and N made some dough for home-made pizzas.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Geffrye Museum, London

We went to the Geffrye Museum in London, it had been kindly suggested by another home educating family on the Yahoo List as a good place to visit for our Georgian period project.

The building is beautiful and built at the beginning of the Georgian period.

 Inside the museum are various 'rooms' set up as they would be in different eras. We felt spoiled as three of them were Georgian and there were lots of things to look at.
 N's favourite Georgian chair.
 copies of Georgian period newspapers
 We had a lovely time at the museum and I would thoroughly recommend it to any history loving family.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Getting back into the swing of it...

Okay, we have been away in Devon, we came home and we had a glorious week of summer-esque weather, but there comes a time when we have to slip back into our schedule!

We are still working through our Georgian project, yesterday was an excellent opportunity to discuss the voyage of the Beagle. Any excuse to talk about Charles Darwin and i'll take it! Next week is Dr Edward Jenner.
These are the things I love about home education, the freedom to play, make or learn about whatever we choose. Helping N to understand how clever and inspirational people throughout history have helped change the world is very important to me.

I am loving Education City (http://www.educationcity.com/) at the moment. Yesterday we were identifying Protagonists and Antagonists within stories. This morning we discussed it again in the context of some of N's favourite shows. After a quick reminder of the definitions of protagonists and antagonists she could quickly identify both (with good arguments to back up her opinion if challenged!) N loves watching television and I don't discourage it. In fact when she was diagnosed with Aspergers, they commented that it had most probably helped her a great deal.

Glorious October Sunshine

We have been busy enjoying the glorious sunshine that we have been so lucky to have. Picnics, water fights, conker hunting, every opportunity to be outside we have taken.

 We even put up the pool in the garden (for the first time this year!), N had great fun with her friend all weekend cooling off in that.
Here is a good example of what happens if you dare to relax on a sun lounger in our garden.......

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Ploughing Championships

We went along to the local ploughing championships at the weekend....

 We had been really looking forward to it, so we could put Ralph into the terrier racing. He is the fastest dog at the park after all! (and he really wanted to win me a bottle of wine, he told me so!) Just look at how excited he was at the prospect of chasing a small furry thing across the field....
 Sadly for poor Ralph, the only thing on his mind when the stalls opened was - where is my mum?! He didn't chase after anything! Never mind.
After a trip to the hospital on Monday, N had her cast taken off and as long as she is careful doesn't need another one on. No cartwheels for 3 more weeks!

Living Coasts - Torquay

Living Coasts in Torquay is a coastal zoo, and definitely the best aquarium type attraction we have ever been to.

The macaroni penguins they have outside are amazing and N even said it is the best penguin enclosure she has seen. At feeding time the ropes were pulled back and the penguins came out to be fed.

They also have an excellent seal enclosure outside and the seals were very willingly sitting up on the rocks close to us posing for photographs.

Inside is where the magic began. As we made our way down through the mangroves (which was too noisy and dark for N), we came across a 'bubble' which you could sit, stand or lie in and it put you underwater in the seal enclosure. The seals were playing with N while she was there, coming up and laying alongside her. Living Coasts was quite quiet at the time so N could spend a lot of time interracting with them.

It was a very magical time that I don't think any of us will ever forget.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Pennywell Farm

We took a trip to Pennywell Farm . We had a really great day, there lots of things to see and do and everyone was very friendly.

N always loves to see the farm animals and although her mum (me) ALWAYS feeds the goats (my favourite) and the sheep, she has never been brave enough. Until we visited Pennywell! She loved feeding the animals and was thrilled that she managed to do it.

 She even stroked an owl.
 Cuddled a piglet....
 How adorable!

Becky Falls - Dartmoor

We visited Becky Falls in Dartmoor, the woodland park was beautiful. Peace and Nature.

 We enthusiastically followed the stamp nature trail.....
 N told us all about the money tree
 we left a coin each on the tree to ensure safe passage..

Friday, 23 September 2011

Babbacombe Cliff Railway

We are back from our holiday to Torquay, we had a lovely time. It was probably the first time we have been on a seaside holiday without playing on the beach, paddling in the sea and using the caravan park swimming pool...(all out of bounds to poor N with her cast on her arm)
However it meant we had time to have lots of fun elsewhere.

 Hubby is an old pro of cliff railways but N and I were newbees!

The cliffs were 400 million years old.
 large rockfall..... think of all of the fossils in that, I mused.

Afterwards hubby very kindly drove us to here.........
The first 'chip shop' fish and chips I have tasted in almost 10 years. It was magnificent!

Next Post - Becky Falls