Friday, 25 March 2011

Highs and spies

Saturday at the climbing wall with friends

Wednesday, a WWII spy training day for the two boys:

While I sat in the van reading Raymond Carver and spied some sunshine for several lovely hours.

Proud moment

Chief Scout Silver Award

Saturday, 19 March 2011

My Laptop Ate My Soul

Despite good intentions and a positively pressing pile of photos to put on my blog my soul has been consumed by other laptop things.

The first (and possibly most pressing, though deadline-less) soul-sucking project has been a new new NEW new new magazine for our county of home educators. It was a great idea. It still IS a great idea. But like all good ideas it has grown from teeny to massive, and now feels rather like a monster looming from my laptop screen. Of course the blame could be placed on me, but instead I am blaming technology. Software that is great at dealing with graphics, but crap with text (when I say crap I mean refusing to word-wrap, persistently stripping out any web links or email addresses, randomly enlarging font to illegibility etc etc) is not helpful. At all.

But I am winning the battle. I have cut, pasted, edited and proofread. Now just the final corrections and a (non-religious) prayer and perhaps all will be well.

The next - and equally pressing - soul-sucking project is my writing assignment. 2000 words isn't a lot. Unless you can't think beyond the paragraph that ends at word 474. A story without an end might succeed in off-beat literary mags, but a university assignment winner it is not.

And so. My laptop ate my soul. It has nibbled it all away, except for the bit that is posting this blog message while procrastinating about actually doing those very pressing projects.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Resources and freebies

Some of you may have noticed that my list of resource links on the right has been growing recently. In my explorations for plant science resources I've come across some fab new websites, some of which I would never have found otherwise.

I urge you to try some of them out. I don't put any old links there in that little section on the right, only the ones I think are any good (most are tried and tested) and none of that advert-loaded worksheet/weird colouring-in tat.

I particularly recommend the Ellen McHenry's Educational Inventions website which has a whole load of excellent and inventive free downloads - printable 4-stroke engine models, photosynthesis formula game etc in all subjects. The direct link to the freebies is here I was so impressed with the freebies - and the first chapter that you can download - that I've just ordered the CD for 'The Elements' in their curricula section. I may have 'A' level chemistry, but apart from some vague recollection of the periodic table and our religious chemistry teacher who thought he could play the guitar and ended up marrying one of the students, the rest is rather fuzzy. I'm not sure how this will fit in with our semi-autonomous, eclectic, chaotic education, or my tight budget, but I'm interested enough to give it a go.

In time I'll organise the links a bit better, but most are cross-curricula (that's a technical schooly term for what home ed families do all the time) so it's difficult to pigeonhole them according to subject. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Or any excellent top-notch sites that I am yet to discover.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Soul of sunday : A well oiled machine

Life should be a well-oiled machine.

I'm sure someone famous said that. Or they should have.

In my case life goes along in a sort of grindy-crunchy-stop-start-rattly-lets-hope-noone-notices-the-bits-that-are-falling-off machine. My well-neglected and frequently sworn-at sewing machine is an ongoing metaphor for my days. I call it THE BEAST. (Anyone who knows me knows that I call all machines that frustrate me THE BEAST). This weekend I finally took the time to take it apart and oil it.

So this is my Soul of Sunday photo:

(linked to soul of sunday post on ordinarylifemagic blog here)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Plant Science: Photosynthesis AND The Sandpit

Chocolate cake helps with all educational (and not-so-educational) tasks

Constructing the Photosynthesis Formula game. [Download this for free from Ellen McHenry's Basement site here]

Other similar free downloads here

All the best games involve eating sweets

Oi! You've just eaten a hydrogen!

Once you've completed the top part it's a race to turn your carbons, hydrogens and oxygens into glucose, oxygen and water.

Man may have risen up from the primordial soup, but he's only a few steps from returning to his evolutionary roots:
The secret stash of yummy things held in the treasure chest of pinkland.

Arrrrgggghhhhhhhhh (or something like that)



Is all I can say.
Wellies, hoody and skinny jeans is obviously the new look.

By the way, I've found a home-made shampoo recipe here, on the Here We are Together blog.
Might solve that pre-teen limp locks issue.
Or maybe not.

I await the scowling verdict.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Wednesday: Flowers, dinosaurs and holograms

We are going to dissect flowers.


i.e. not stab them repeatedly with the scalpel and slice them with the scissors until they are mashed.

Because if you do that CHILDREN you wont be able to see all the parts that I'm going to make you LABEL on an educational printout.

See. It's not that hard.

A trip to a hologram exhibition at a museum.


My personal favourite:

Quick, get the camera. Child doing something educational at museum!


dd finds a new use for oven gloves:

Stripeysaurus on the loose:

Just humour your mother. You know it makes her happy:

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

REME Museum of Technology

REME stands for The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

And so we went, to look at army thingimagigs. And I tried to look interested. I did. Honest.

There were uniform thingies. And gun thingies. And vehicle thingies. See, I was paying attention. And ds1 was so intrigued and distracted by machines of death-thingies that I even got him on camera. The lesser hooded pre-teen finch. Need to mark that down in my spotter's guide.

Photos of thingies:

I feel that the photo below should have a funny caption attached to it. But I'm not witty enough to think of anything.

Then we had lunch and we ate hula hoops and cheese and onion rolls for lunch and I drunk coca cola and I really liked the Penguin finger biscuits we took with us and we had fun and it was good and then we went home. The End.