I think september is a good resolution time. I have been obviously institutionlised by school to feel that september is the start of the new year [as an aside, isn't it odd how many different year starts we have - 3 official ones, with the january date new year, the financial year - argh must do tax return!, and the schooling year]. Anyway, my resolution is to blog. It doesn’t matter that I am going hell for leather writing stuff and answering work emails etc when the girls go to bed [or alternatively falling asleep on the sofa!], even if it is a ‘micro blog’ I must write something.
Summer has had some fabulous high points to it, not least the olympics and paralympics, but also a great camping holiday, visiting friends, visiting family. My girls are growing up. SB def has the figure and attitudes of a teen, if somewhat precociously, and I am all too aware that she is in the final phase before fledging. BB is still a snuggly child, but at 7 this won’t last forever either. I have loved all stages and all incarnations of my girls, but if i don’t blog, i might just miss out on remembering them.
SO yes, I am starting a blogathon! please cheer me on!!
BB got a new top today, a hoody with dinosaurs on the front. She does really adore dinosaurs, and it made me think of all the dinosaur resources we have, and decided to do a resource post! I realise from twitter that it is non-fiction day today, so really should have done this a bit earlier, never mind! [in my head friday is the resource post day!] So, where shall i start! Well, since it is non-fiction day, I guess that is where i should start
So I have started with assorted fact books, all of which BB likes, and all have a slightly different angle on them. The dk book is very vivid, with lots of imagery, facts and BB particularly likes it because she won it! SHe can’t read yet, but she has memorised many of the dinosaurs, and their diets, ferocity, size and postulated behaviour, and the pictures in this book allow her to jump in her imagination, and she does sometimes let me read too! The usborne book is also v fab, with some overlap with the DK book, but is far more geographical, placing the dinosaurs both in the pangaea gondwanaland etc of jurassic/triassic but also the modern continents where they are found, leading us on imaginary dinosaur hunts. We have particularly taken note of the fossils in england section! Again a beautifully designed and illustrated book for your dinosaur mad child! [and lots of facts for the older child too!] the dinosaurium book i am not so fond of, tho BB is. This is because it has those little books in the middle that get lost round the house, and it seems to be too bitty for me! Clever tho! We do like the final book though, with the 3d pop out and dinosaur sounds
we also like some of the stories about fossilisation and dinosaur finding :). The monster stones book is ideally pitched at BB, with a very cartoon/graphic approach that she appreciates, often making her own story to go with it. The various Mary Anning books are lovely, and we enjoyed visiting Charmouth too. the next book is a little bit more gritty about dinosaur hunters and their rivalry. The last book is again ideally suited to KS1 learning, and is part of a much wider and great series of books, and takes you through the process of finding and piecing together a fossil. great
Dinosaurs books in story form – particularly astrosaurs as well as colouring and games books are also important to BB, and she has enjoyed all the books here. The colouring one does keep her pretty quiet as well! She also subscribes to the magazine dinomite for regular dinosaur updates
And she has loved these DVD’s too.
Thus ends my quick round up of dinosaur resources, tho it has to be said, we have quite a few more, these are our favourites!
This is one of my, hopefully monthly, resource update blogs!
We have 2 main strands to our history provision in our home ed. The first is the planned chronological approach to history, with Story of the World as our main text. The second is the ad hoc watching or reading something or visiting somewhere that then fires the imagination and we look into it.
Story of the World
I have very much liked using this as a chronology backbone to history. We are now working our way through book 3 with SB . SB snuggles up and listens as i read the stories to her, and we often but not always supplement this by looking at other books we have for more details for that chapter, particularly if it grabs our fancy. She rates Story of the World as one of her favourite things, and I tend to think that that is a great recommendation for a history core book! It is written in an easy read aloud style, with short chapters, further subdivided, making a chapter per read pretty easy. What we then do depends on our level of interest, for example, after reading about Louis XIV we then looked at pictures of Versailles and thought of French chateaux we have been to and their different architecture, but you could springboard to all sorts of different options. This is our ‘first read through’ of the book, in Classical Education terms.
I imagine there are lots of ways of using this book, and certainly a quick google search brings lots of options! we are prob going for a fairly common approach! we started when she was 5 – a fairly common start time! we have done less of the activities than i planned tho! The History of the World is divided into 4 main sections, with a core text and activity book.this series is ‘designed’ to learning spiral around, and read 3 times in total in the classical way, but doing slightly differently on each turn, as the child is correspondingly 4 years older.
my youngest is 5 already, and so we have started reading book 1 to her, SB often reads at least one part of the chapter and does more of the narration answers with the activities, and actually working it with one older and one younger child is going really well, as they are both enjoying it. We read story books and look at other reference books to go along with it for both children, according to their interest and the focus of the other books. SB is also working at the corresponding chapters of galore park junior history, to add additional material in on this second run through. We are still snuggled together, and it is a great family centric approach.
one of the other parts of the activity books are suggested crafts, and we have set up a home educators group to come together and have fun doing 3-4 chapters worth of crafts and discussions. This is in its infancy, but working really well, with some whole group activities as well as separate. We have also done some cooking in the period, and clothes design, and hope perhaps to have the opportunity for the older children to recreate some of the fiddly technology crafts. [this is quite a mixed age group]. History 1 prehistoric, first writings, early Egypt History 2 Egypt of the Pharoahs, Sumer, Assyrians, Babylonians
I think I am quite excited! [again a good thing to be for a home educator!] We are hoping to tie in more visits – grimes graves, stonehenge, british museum, various roman bits and pieces whilst we go through the books as well!
As a side note, we are an agnostic/atheist family using this book, and know of many other christian, agnostic and atheist families using it, but there are some subtle ‘christian overtones’ in places – most noticeable with the use of some old testament stories and in the crusader bit, and although we haven’t got to book 4, this is a world history with not a uk nor europe-centric approach but an american one. We therefore spend additional time going sidewards to explore some things from more angles – ie when we looked at the crusaders, we found Crusaders (Usborne Young Reading: Series Three) had a different base viewpoint and discussed a little bit why this might be so. We also step aside sometimes to look at British specific interesting history. I don’t think there is a core text perfectly suited for all families, and i am quite happy, since this is a read aloud, to sometimes read it differently phrased, or have the alternate viewpoint ready as required . I am not sure that this series would work so well with significantly different base points though.
Where the Whim takes us
We have a lot of books in our house, and the library has a lot of books. We watch interesting programmes on DVD and TV, and we visit interesting places. Some, but not all of these spark a desire to read more, and so we then aim to provide the facilities for reading more . Here are some of the books we have used when we looked at Vikings in more detail as an example:
last week i was lucky enough to swan off to a conference to lake como. we ate at goodrestaurants and learnt a lot in a good conference. the hotel was way out of town though, and getting back from the station, it was safest to walk along the railway tracks of the goods yard… not something you expect really to do! the only day out trip to belagio was lovely. I did, however, spend the entire conference getting more and more worried about little nanny, she had seemed to be getting better monday and tues, but by thurs things were not rosy, and on fri i knew active treatment had been withdrawn, and i just wanted to get home.
so having travelled all sat, i was welcomed home by a fantastic hug and cuddle from my girls. migrainous and travel sick on discussion with mum, i was encouraged [tho didn't need much] not to set straight out. so we snuggled, watched dr who, ate curry and made an early night.
not too quick off the mark to go out, and was rung to say i was too late after all. i feel dreadful that i didn’t re-prioritise things and see little nanny that last time to kiss her goodbye. prob silly, as she had slipped into a morphine sleep by saturday. but… so as no longer visiting, imposed on the manor borns to keep me sane.
we had a lovely, tho v lazy rspb walk, and have had to promise C i will do better next tine the kids appeared to have fun anyway, and bb was being particularly gorgeous really. all 3 played together without any major kerfuffles throughout the evening too, and after a lovely relaxed meal we went home to pop all of us straight to bed.
and so today, we were going to norfolk, and then not as it was a getting documents day [i have 2 days compassionate leave] and instead going tomorrow. [later and later]. so we decided to do fun things, like baking. we all got up v late, had brekkie v late, and then sb made brownies from *her* recipe book, and bb and i made a yummy choc sponge. the girls then played with silly string until it ran out. BB wanted to read a french book Lucy Cat at the Beach: Lucie Chat a La Plage (Lucy Cat) falls off perch in surprise, but agreed! SB did a verbal reasoning book and then read It’s Elementary: Putting the Crackle into Chemistry (Dk Reference) and wants to try and turn her urine into phosphorus now.
more playing, and we made pictures with light reactive paper, Sun Print Paper, which i remember enjoying as a child, and we did today. SB off to ballet, and BB and i did some pond dipping, and then retired to watch donald duck. on SB’s return, we made another cake from her recipe book Marie Claire Kitchen and had ken hom vietnames stew for dinner [SB's favourite dinner in fact]
SB and I then looked at some tiny pond bugs that i had captured with her digital microscope. slightly tricky as they kept whisking about, but she did manage to take some photos. No idea what they were. very speedy though!
anyway, tomorrow to norfolk. thanks everyone for your good wishes and thoughts, I have REALLY appreciated it.
Chris has loads of half written posts that need finishing!
I obviously worked a lot last week, but also tried to do as much as poss at home – playing games with SB after BB in bed a consistently good thing, and we have felted and hama-ed.
Errm, keeping going with violin, and she did some spontaneous piano practice tody – woohoo! musical instruments are gradually tuning in her brain too – she is much better at singing a tune, so hopefully wont be as tone deaf as Chris.
Maths and handwriting regularly done, we are nearing the end of first story of the world. DO I think she remembers it – not a lot, but hopefully setting the scene as it were! Quite a bit of crafting and arting. Read about pompeii -buried alive, and ring of fire from sonlight. and also the leap ahead volcano, and read through a volcano book. More playing with the ello and ds. Jump ahead and zoombinis on ‘puter, and watching various natural history progs. SB reading loads – fairy books, felicity ewishes, horrid henry and anything she can get her hands on.
girls and chris swimming at the weekend – we’re trying to get back into the habit of going on a sunday as BB loves it
Girls and chris went to see oliver twist yesterday – SB found it too scary, and had difficulty getting to sleep. we talked about our visit to gressenhall, and the rellies that were born there, but she was still unhappy – doesn’t want to learn about victorians! then playing with firends and shoe buying. SB eventually got some felicity wishes boots. they sparkle along the side!
SB is rather frighteningly gaining a waist and indefinably ‘older’. PANIC!!
BB is also getting small girlish. She counts and pretends to read alot. SHe is great at switiching on her ‘puter, finding the kids downloads and choosing one to watch – scary! Her drawing and painting is very careful,, often with a story to it, that she chats or sings along with. BB excellent at singing. I think she may well have inherited my perfect pitch. She is also getting careful with hama beading. Her vocab is excellent – prob due to having SB as an older sister. Still well into her numberjacks addiction!
My Mum seems to be OK post surgery – phew. Unfortunately found today that my godfather has been admitted to my local tertiary hospital neuro unit and not at all well. intubated and ventilated for th last 5 days – so I would appreciate any positive thoughts.
hmmm, there have been loads of things I thought I should blog from both girls – can’t remember them for toffee!! Hopefully chris will [subtle nudge!!]
Main desktop has been showing the copy of the blog on it’s new host since this morning. Laptop, was still seeing the old one, which Helen has just posted too – all sorted now though
Reason was (I think) that they were using different name servers, I run Treewalk DNS on the main pc as our local server (from the days when the then ISP had dodgy DNS), but the laptop seemed to have lost the setting and was just using the automatic setting – the routers I think