Friday, January 31

Merida and Lego

Up to 3pm it was creative role play, some lego, some quiet reading.

We finished up Merida's hair - painted paper cut into strips. With her bow and arrows and now the hair, she was Merida all the way!

Later in the day she tried the free version of TimezAttack but I think she got a little bored with sum after sum and not much game play. She announced that she didn't really want to learn Math. (! hmmm, after insisting she wanted to learn it and enjoying it for weeks. well it's all good by me.)

We watched together a 2-part video on gender bias in Lego toys. It's interesting that just a few years ago I wouldn't have thought it necessary to introduce these issues so early. Despite the amazing strides we've made in gender equality, it is only very recently, as little as a few years, that toy stores are distinctly pink and green/blue/orange orientated.

She sees it, she needs to be aware.

We are still coughing and nose-blowing, but on the road to recovery.

Thursday, January 30

Surgery, stars & archery

We now both have a cold, and mine turned into a stomach bug, so have taken it easy.

Miss5's interest in human biology has never waned. She has moved on to many other things but as she clarified for me one day after I asked her if she were interested in something or other related, "You can always find me things about the human body".

I found a surgery simulation interactive activity. One for knee surgery and another for hip replacement. Many words must have gone over her head, but she followed instructions and performed the surgery just fine. She was totally in her element and must have played them through 10+ times each. Her next plan is to perform knee surgery on her dad.

A Solar System notebook, using parts of various printables (abcteach, homeschoolingthem). Nice easy and fun stuff.

We read, National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space

There was a little Reading Eggs and a book on Australia, in which she's interested. Also an original version of The Nutcracker.

The highlight of her week has to be the cheap plastic mini bow and arrow set (you know the type of toy that come with children's magazines?), because now she can be a real Merida. Lots of creative play and dress-up around the Brave story, plus her own inventions.

I did field archery many years ago and absolutely loved it. I have never stopped thinking about doing it again one day. So now that she's interested as well, I have the perfect excuse. I found a local club and will wait until the warmer weather and when she turns 6. We're both looking forward to that.

Miss5 - "What would happen if you shot an arrow in space?"
Me - "Well, there's no gravity so what do you think?"
Miss5 - "It would just keep going."
Me (trying to be funny) "...and going and going and going and going and going ... until it hit Uranus!"
Miss5 - "No, that's a gas planet."

Tuesday, January 28

Maths and Planets

Miss5 has caught a cold and after a very late start to the day I thought she would take it easy and read books mainly.

She has other plans; a few Maths worksheets from MEP, creative play with her farm, and then after lunch a solar system interactive that I created for her. Not the photo obviously, but I added all the interactive bits.

I've got an idea for a solar system game, matching facts with planets. She likes small bits of paper she needs to organise.

Saturday, January 25

the week that was...

There is so much To Do for my Miss5 that every day could be spent visiting some thing, some one, some where. Yet we need a balance, of 'doing out there' with just 'being in here'.

So we have decided not to attend the 2nd Home Ed group. The group in Plymouth is where we feel most comfortable and they seem very active and eager to get together for visits to various places. Also, when the warmer weather arrives there will be more walks and the beach.

This past week we had our main library group meet up, a 1-2-1 with a local HE family, relaxed creative play at home, Reading Eggs, maths games online, lots of discussions, trampoline class, Spanish language learning.

I had been planning our next country 'to visit' but the subject of planets came up and I realised that she has always been interested - partly stemming from my own involvement with them through astrology. She has sat on my lap and pointed out the astrological symbols belonging to her family, and knows which planets belong to us.

We have also always observed the moon and she has known it's phases since she was at least 4 yrs-old. So in the car on Monday I asked if she wanted to do a study unit on planets and the response was an enthusiastic 'yes!'.

I researched info, but went with the flow of the week which included sleeping in (we neither sleep well), all the above, and ended in a much-enjoyed aquarium visit.

We didn't dwell on it but she learnt about the plastic in our oceans and that it's killing the marine life. She was very cross at the items (barbie, lighters) that were collected from one beach visit, and that her very favourite of the day, a sea turtle, are dying by the thousands because of this mess we create.

As the aquarium is local to us, it means that a day ticket is valid for the year. Excellent value for money. So we'll be popping in regularly.

So today we are staying in, doing some sorting of Stuff, and I've started by giving her a new book to read on the solar system.

Friday, January 17

Numbers and Dance

We started with Geography reviews by playing fun games on the continents.

During lunch I asked her to point out the country where our food was from, India. The new atlas poster is in our kitchen.

After lunch she played Maths games from the BBC site. Plus she then went ahead and chose stories and songs related to Maths from their menu.

We watched the amazing Maria Pag├ęs again. Then some flamenco classes with this playlist. She worked on a few vids on the feet, quite a challenge, so I joined in and helped her along. She actually did the whole hand and arm playlist last night. She couldn't wait to get to the noisy feet. She has a pair of noisy clogs she's using.

Don't think that I mentioned that I introduced her to the Nutcracker ballet. We watched almost the whole thing online a couple of weeks back, but it was very long for her age. She actually asked to watch it again today, which was a surprise. I bought her a children's version. Really nice as it has the more famous pieces plus some narration to guide them through the story. She's listening to it as I type.

Some Who Is It? together. She won :)

Thursday, January 16

Off to Espana

Today we flew to Spain, well, in our studies anyway.

I really enjoyed that as I put together some final pieces, she made up the story of flying to Spain. I had never suggested amy such thing. Other than her play passport. She used a ABC case as her suitcase, grabbed her passport and I added some aeroplane and airport announcements.

Then she came through customs where we exchanged some dialogue with a little Spanish. I 'stamped' her arrival into Spain, wished her a good visit and off she went to do some worksheets - basic map, colour in the flag, place Spain in Europe, name the capital...

Then we watched a few Flamenco videos off youtube. She learnt that Flamenco is a style of dance, music, and song. I'm looking around for ideas on Flamenco. I did find some 'learn to dance' vids which I'll try her on tomorrow. I had hoped to buy her a flamenco dress-up dress, but the car ate into that budget. And I don't sew like that!

After lunch it was a visit to a friend from her old school. Back home a lovely Fairy book arrived so that inspired some dress-up fairy play.

She hasn't worked on Reading Eggs for a couple of days. She mentions it but I put it off. She really enjoys the structured/formal work, but she needs unplugged creative play too of course.

Just another moment when we remember how different we all are - unschooling wouldn't fly with this kiddo.

Wednesday, January 15

Hamster and Herbs

Her first specific HE learning request was 'all about Spain'. Her first 'project', inspired by printing out info pages on the continents yesterday, is about her hamster. She asked last night to create a page all about her pet.

So this morning we began by thinking up ideas of what to include. I encouraged her to flip through her hamster book for inspiration.

While I was setting up the page she reminded me about doing her passport. Late last night I got the idea of a play passport to go along with her Geography studies. Don't you just love the internet!? Others have thought the same, so easy-peasy I simply downloaded and printed out a template from

I wrote out the words (basic personal details) and she copied them in. A nice exercise to have them learn their nationality and reinforce date of birth and so on.

The idea of copywork, or handwriting practice where the child writes a letter over and over, seems infinitely dull to me. Miss5 can practice handwriting by simply doing it. That is, as part of her topic/interest.

She picked up her herbal book last night so I thought to print out her Herbal Roots Zine. We've started with Ginger from the 2010 archive. I modified the pdf quite a bit as it has a lot of information that's a little dense for a 5 yr-old. When she's older we can add the rest of the pages. She particularly enjoyed the fictional story of ginger.

As I write she's returned to her continents notebook. She really likes playing with the labels.

A mish-mash of a morning! That's one great aspect to HE, going with the flow.

And now it's dress-up time it seems - playing Merida (Brave). After lunch we're headed to our Haberton HE group.

Tuesday, January 14


Monday we went along to a home educators get-together at the city library. Miss5 made a good friend and I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere.
In the evening we did a little Spanish together using Babbel.

Today started with a body organ placement game. She still loves the human body. Quite a challenge as this one requires that the organ be in the correct rotation. She ended up doing each game.
After lunch we had hoped to head up to a city park where the same HE-ers meet for a social. The morning sun had made me brave. But I needed to wait for the delivery of our new printer.


The new printer was so easy to set up that we started printing, and I created a notebook for her (although much of the print out is from lapbook ideas). We were going to start in on Spain but I realised it was better to grasp an overall 'bigger picture' of the world layout.

So today was about continents.

We looked at the continents on this interactive site. Then she played this super easy game. She wanted to keep going, getting faster and faster.

Then she tucked into her notebook. She stated that after the first page she would be done with her work. However, turning the pages and finding little pockets, and cut-outs, well, that's too intriguing to pass up! *wink*

In between, we cuddle, she bounces on her mini trampoline, dances to my 'moving songs for kids' youtube playlist, reads books...

Saturday, January 11

Where I am

We kicked off our Geo-adventures with discussion about maps and atlases.

We discovered what the word geography means. Then, we considered the most basic geography we already know and don't realise, that of our own room, and home.

We climbed her bunk bed and stood as high as we could looking down, which she thought was great fun of course. That led us to a big piece of lining paper and pencils, and drawing a plan of her room. I added the other rooms and she added the furniture.

It was a challenging spatial awareness exercise. It's not natural for a child to 'see' in aerial view!

She copied the word geography, and is still going for the easier capital A. *wink*

Then a splash of sun and shadows on a wall inspired shadow puppetry.

Quickly back to the home map to play. She got lots of creative play from the 'house'. A lovely spontaneous outcome.

Friday, January 10

geography... as a path to education

I had chosen Five In A Row (FIAR) as a sort of jumping off point for topic studies. I'm not one to stick to a set course of ideas, but I do like a foundation to work from, or to change completely. Despite the importance of literature in our lives, I was on the look out for something that felt more intuitive and organic to us.

Miss5 said one day, "I want to learn all about Spain." She has been doing very sporadic and informal Spanish language (which had been sparked by early Dora videos). A week later a light bulb went off, travel! countries!

As I had told Miss5 earlier, the world is our classroom. Why not learn from that exact premise?

The study of a country can be so diverse and be tailored to suit each child's interest. As I like an interdisciplinary approach, and Miss5 and I enjoy so many interests.... our Geography will begin with basic country info, flag, language, and people. It can then take us to art, natural science, dance, animals, and social awareness. Some children could include history and politics.

So, my basic ideas for Spain include Dali, Gaudi, flamenco, some of its endangered animals, and the famous queen.

I mean really, the possibilities are limitless. I so like the idea of the world becoming a unit, a whole, where every piece of learning ties back into it. Through place, people, and it's creatures. A web.

I'm still waiting on her atlas poster, although we have a globe we've looked at. I found a book, My World and Globe: A First Book of Geography. It's not as comprehensive as I had hoped, but it sparked off some ideas.