Friday, 31 October 2014

Pack up and keep going...

That's basically what our life is all about at the moment.  Yes, we are ever so busy recently due to this moving house malarkey but (apart from filling boxes and cleaning) we have managed to squeeze in...

Finishing off that Greek vase...


  
That was a worthwhile mission!

This weekend I spent most of my time thinking 'what do I pack that I won't miss!'  That's the only thing with moving isn't it:  one is bound to pack something that is going to be really needed and it is bound to be at the bottom of a box which is on the bottom of a stack of boxes!  Gah!  It needs to be done though.  

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Learning to spell through play...

We were looking for a way we could learn to spell a bit better and turn it into a game.  This is what we came up with and it turned out to be a lot of fun.  There are free printables included for this game...  



First you will need to choose which Spelling Bingo boards you want to use, these are all ready to print out and play:

  • Hard level - click here for the printable hard Bingo board
  • Medium level - click here for the printable medium Bingo board
  • Easy level - click here for the printable easy Bingo board

I filled them with some common letter sounds to help with spelling: fl, ou, oi, ph etc. I filled the grid so there was 20 in total.    

Find a box full of buttons, each player will need 16 buttons for this game.

Now click here for my list of words to read out for the Spelling Bingo games.  This list was made to work with the boards I have made into printables. You could either read the words out or, alternatively, cut them out and draw them out of a hat or a bucket if you want to make it more like Bingo.  

How to play the game!

It works out similarly to regular bingo except instead of numbers we are using letters.  You can either play:
  • first one to make a line and shouts BINGO wins 

or 

  • first one to fill up the board and shouts BINGO wins.


For the Easy bingo I made the rule that it was always the beginning letter we look out for. For the Medium and Hard level I said the sound could be from the beginning, front or the end of the word. 

I read each word out and put the word into a sentence so the children could be confident of which spelling due to homophones.  If they had the letter sound they got to cover the square with a button.  If they missed a letter sound on their board I left it for next time and said nothing, if they put a button on the wrong letter sound, I informed them it was incorrect and asked kindly, for them to remove the button.  

I gave them 30 seconds or so to look at the board each time a new word was called out.  With my youngest, aged 4, I helped her a little more by repeating the phonic and, when she got stressed, helped her to find the letter that went with the sound.  Soon she remember which sound went with which letter and needed less and less help.

I hope you have as much fun as we did playing it!



Sunday, 26 October 2014

Science Friction: Get a Grip

This is a simple and inexpensive experiment.  In this experiment we are learning how friction works and how it can be useful to us.


I did this experiment with my seven year old but my four year old was desperate to join in too, so she did a bit too.

All you will need are these three things...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Aren't you keeping them out of the real world?

Aren't you keeping them out of the real world? 

This is a question I was asked yesterday during a conversation on Home Education started by an acquaintance, my inner thoughts went...


THE REAL WORLD! I cannot believe how many times I have heard it and how many more times I am sure I will hear it. Why do people think that sending their children to school will teach them about the real world, about real life challenges?  



SCHOOL IS NOT REAL LIFE.

Being in school does not teach a child how to deal with trials in life...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Headstands, Steamboats and things...

Well, we didn't have the most exciting weekend due to tummy bugs but Sunday evening, when we were feeling a bit brighter we did go for a walk and check out the new area where we will be living.

The sun was so beautiful and bright and I was reminded of all the good things to look forward to with this move, the area has so much to offer really, despite not being quite so close to town.


We've been as busy as ever.  I think I'm trying to squeeze as much fun time with mummy in before the big move.  We only have a few weeks now.

Here's a little peek into what's my girls have been up to...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Science: How to make a Steamboat

This was a great little science project this week. All my girls asked the right sort of questions so it was easy to fill them in with the scientific facts: the hows and whys.
 


Another reason I love this project so much is it's another of those MAKE YOUR OWN TOY moments!

What we used for this project:

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

We have a new home!!!!

We have a new home!!!!

I was so worried as we had just over a month left to find somewhere to fit all my four girls but we did it and, although there is plenty more going on in my life at the moment, that is a HUMONGOUS weight off my shoulders! Phew!  Now for the massive packing and cleaning frenzy!



After that stress was out the way we had a lovely family day on Saturday.  Naomi and Honi had gone to their swimming class with their dad before I managed to get out of the house, I promised to go but I was on the drag so followed on a little later as I wanted to see how they were doing.  Honi was thrilled to see me when I turned up - it was quiz day in the pool she told me later.  

I am glad I was running late that day because on my way there I bumped into a man who pointed out that one of the churches in town were having an open day.  They had some lovely miniature church bells on pulleys for the kids to have a go safely and a tour inside the church.  I took the girls later on that afternoon...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Science: The Soil pH Test

The reason that we need to know the Soil pH is because the pH level of the soil affects the availability of nutrients that plants need.


Nutrients must stay soluble in order to be absorbed by plants, acidity causes reactions that can enhance or reduce nutrients' ability to move.  The more acidic the soil the easier it is for the plants to absorb, this is mostly a good think but too much acidity can lead to over consumption and toxicity too.  The pH of the soil can also make nutrients more difficult to absorb too - alkalinity in soil can lead to deficiency of nutrients in a plant as the plant will not be able to absorb all it requires.
 
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or the alkalinity of the soil.

A pH below 7 is an acid

A pH above 7 is an alkali

A pH of 7 is neutral.
 
The best soil pH for plants ranges between 5.5 and 7.  However, plants have adapted to thrive in levels outside this range.

Nutrients needed in large amounts by soil are known as macro nutrients these include:
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulphur
Nutrients that are known as trace nutrients or micro-nutrients are not major components but are still necessary for healthy plant growth, these include:
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Cobalt
  • Molybdenum
  • Boron
Both Macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients availability are affected by the soil pH.  In some soils if the pH level is out of range the soil can become toxic, for example soils rich in manganese-containing minerals become more soluble as the pH lowers below 5.6 (becomes acidic) this leads to Manganese toxicity symptoms in plants like crinkling or cupping of leaves - this is because Manganese is an essential plant nutrient that the plant draws up from the soil to its leaves, however, like all things in life too much of anything is a bad thing and high acidity in soil brings it to a toxic level.  However, if the soil is alkaline this can cause Manganese deficiency in the plant, Manganese is used in chlorophyll production so the plant can't produce the energy and food it requires very efficiently and the plant with gradually die.
 
Alkalinity in soil can also cause deficiency of:
  • Zinc 
  • Copper
  • Iron - a deficiency in iron can make the leaves go yellow.

Equipment needed for this experiment:

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Upside-down days and other things...

Normally our mornings are spent at home, waking up slowly and doing more structured educational things, however yesterday it was not like that at all.  Sometimes change is a good thing...



I have no photos of my girls playing in the park simply because I was far too busy socialising with friends over coffee.  It was really nice though, for a change, to be at the park in the morning; it was lovely to socialise and be out and about first thing.  The girls spent most of the morning playing with my friend's dog which absolutely shattered them out!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Found YOU!

So, what a week we've had!  Here are the highlights...

Monday was quiet, we enjoyed working through our workbooks and pottering about the house doing things that needed to be done.  Honi made biscuits with me and then we prepared a science experiment we had done previously but wasn't successful, something I call the Rocket Blaster...  



We had friends over in the afternoon and so we waited for them before we had a go at the rocket blaster!  It worked although I still want to work at perfecting it - any excuse for another go.

Tuesday among other things, Harmonie wanted to do some crafts so we got out the paint and the Cbeebies magazine and learnt about squids and Octopi.  She loved it.



Wednesday was our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  The highlight of the day for the girls and I was this experiment...

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Science experiment: What is soil made of?

To go with our Ecology project at the moment we are looking at soil and what it is made of as well as what lives in it. This week we covered the first part.  What is in soil made of?





This is a really simple experiment that is hands on and requires little to no help from an adult but it does take a few days to complete.

For this experiment you will need:

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Spelling Bingo: Learning to spell through play!

We were looking for a way we could learn to spell a bit better and turn it into a game.  This is what we came up with and it turned out to be a lot of fun.  There are free printables included for this game...  



First you will need to choose which Spelling Bingo boards you want to use, these are all ready to print out and play:

  • Hard level - click here for the printable hard Bingo board
  • Medium level - click here for the printable medium Bingo board
  • Easy levelclick here for the printable easy Bingo board

I filled them with some common letter sounds to help with spelling: fl, ou, oi, ph etc. I filled the grid so there was 20 in total.    

Find a box full of buttons, each player will need 16 buttons for this game.

Now click here for my list of words to read out for the Spelling Bingo games.  This list was made to work with the boards I have made into printables. You could either read the words out or, alternatively, cut them out and draw them out of a hat or a bucket if you want to make it more like Bingo.  

How to play the game!

It works out similarly to regular bingo except instead of numbers we are using letters.  You can either play:
  • first one to make a line and shouts BINGO wins 

or 

  • first one to fill up the board and shouts BINGO wins.


For the Easy bingo I made the rule that it was always the beginning letter we look out for. For the Medium and Hard level I said the sound could be from the beginning, front or the end of the word. 

I read each word out and put the word into a sentence so the children could be confident of which spelling due to homophones.  If they had the letter sound they got to cover the square with a button.  If they missed a letter sound on their board I left it for next time and said nothing, if they put a button on the wrong letter sound, I informed them it was incorrect and asked kindly, for them to remove the button.  

I gave them 30 seconds or so to look at the board each time a new word was called out.  With my youngest, aged 4, I helped her a little more by repeating the phonic and, when she got stressed, helped her to find the letter that went with the sound.  Soon she remember which sound went with which letter and needed less and less help.

I hope you have as much fun as we did playing it!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

An encounter with Prince Charming...

Seriously, we met Prince Charming, Cinderella, the horses and the carriage too.  But more about that in a bit, First I will tell you how Friday went...

Thursday, 25 September 2014

House hunting and some special moments...

Today I just wanted to share with you one moment, a moment that made me smile so hard it hurt!  On Monday we had an appointment to view a house.  It was just over a mile stomp with four children! But when we got there...

Lisa White's photo.


The house had already been Let.  The Letting Agents tried frantically to let me know but I hadn't seen their calls and I ended up finding out by meeting the new Tenants -  yes, that was slightly awkward - I managed to sort things out without any real upset.
Also, thanks to a very reasonable Letting Agent I was able to ask all the questions I was hoping to ask about that wasn't so much to do with the house but more the nitty gritty stuff.  I suppose he had to be so obliging after the giant blip; they ended up being very helpful indeed because they were trying to make up for the unfortunate circumstances with the house viewing appointment.

THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON

It was a beautiful day for a walk though like a summer's day. It was so nice, in fact, that I bought the girls ice-cream.  That moment that made me smile so hard?  Well, that was the moment Harmonie willingly and happily held out her ice-cream for Honi. So sweet!

As for our home education...

Monday, 22 September 2014

A readers Question: Home Education - how do I keep everyone occupied and focus on individual educational needs?

This post I have written to answer one of my readers question.  It is a question I am frequently asked.  It comes in many variants, basically:  How do I keep all my four girls occupied while educating them and still be able to focus on and give the support needed for each individual child's needs.


It is a challenge at times having all the different ages and very different personalities.  All I can say is a matter of trial and improvement mostly.  Do remember if you are home educating and doing your best you are giving your children the best gift ever, your time.  Here are a few of my thoughts on the subjects and some tips I have learnt from my own personal journey, I will share them in the hope that it might be helpful for others too...