Saturday, 11 October 2008

wow! How many weeks has it been since I blogged? Seems like ages. Well, here's a brief overview of what we've been up to...

Ds2 has been busy making working models. The one below is from the book, 'How Things Work: Cars, bikes, Trains and other Land Machines', by Ian Graham. We had to make it up a bit as we went along, but it kinda worked.

Continuing the theme of model making, here is a video of a 'wind generator' we made from a kit during a short break at Pontins.

We'd visited an Eon information centre in Great Yarmouth and had a long chat with the guys inside. They had some kits and information so we came back to our chalet with lots to do!

One of the staff was an ex-teacher, so our conversation about home education was interesting. He was very 'old school' so the conversation revolved around how dreadful school is now and how much better it was in the 'good old days'. I was surprised to find out that he had taught a class of 40+ students with no problems at all; large class size seems to be one of the frequent excuses for poor academic results nowadays, so I wonder how valid it is. At least the conversation wasn't confrontational, though when he started testing ds1 on percentages I figured it was time to change the subject!

And model-making of a different sort...

Also at Pontins, ds2 had a go at climbing. He's been climbing quite often at a local climbing wall, but has never climbed using a harness before. Dh had a go too. It's a long way up!

We all had a go at crazy golf. I have a limited concentration span for this sort of thing, and dd1 was quite 'flexible' about the rules (lol) so it was all a bit random!

And yes, it was my ankles that she managed to hit with the ball!
So what else have we been doing?
Well the music lessons have been continuing at a local Montessori school. I'm not sure how much the kids get from it: ds2 seems more enthusiasitc that ds1, but we'll see. Having cut out pretty much all the regular group activities, this is something I want to continue, at least for this term.
We've been spending a fair amount of time down at the sailing club, doing various activities and also some conservation/clearance work, spotting wildlife etc.

Above you can see ds2 lopping some bushes at the sailing club. Below is a willow kayak that I made using a scaled-down version of the willow kayak on (!/ )

I used a black binliner instead of tarpaulin.

We have ambitions (or perhaps they are just my ambitions) to make a larger version, or even a full-sized coracle using a framework of willow. There's plenty of willow to cut at the sailing club grounds. The children did some willow weaving and made some bows and arrows. I have plans to cut willow poles for my allotment beans for next year, though I'll be careful to let the poles dry out over winter before using them just in case they start growing.

And we've been continuing our indoor activities too...

Making a bird beak from paper

Next we plan to make some lanterns for bonfire night.

As for more fomal activities, well we're not quite in 'winter mode' yet. However, I have been encouraging the children to practice their handwriting a little and it looks like ds1 may have finally written a letter back to his penfriend in Australia. Writing just one or two sentences a day, it takes a while, lol! With this autumnal weather I have to resist the urge to start getting workbooks off the shelves as I know it will only send us all into a foul and stressful mood. There's something about the start of the new school year that is internally programmed into me ; I want to rush out, buy up loads of textbooks and stationery and start playing 'teacher'. Hopefully the feeling will pass! I have to keep reassuring myself that all the things I'm doing with the children are educational and that they are learning. Lots.

p.s. we're still waiting for the big fat brown chrysallis to hatch out into a moth (remember, the neighbour arrived at our door with a big caterpillar for us). It's been chrysallized for a month or so now; maybe it'll hatch out in Spring? It's sat on some compost in a fish tank on the windowsill in our lounge, right by the tv. I wonder if this is something that normal families do. I've been home educating so long now I think I've lots all perspective of what normal families do, lol!

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