Category Archives: investigating

a setback

TBH, although i had nightmares about it for the last few nights, i had hoped to be back at work and getting going again, however difficult. i had an occ health appointment, and i did a few of the objective tests, and she recommended not. slightly too anxious to be reliable on good decisions, and as she said, as soon as i start, the job takes no prisoners. :( i imagine the managers are going to be ecstatic :( so have 2 more weeks then a short phased return. hmmm. so, with that, and then the visit to gp for sicknote and then the emailing and phoning ppl that i had said last week i would be returning… we were nearly at lunchtime

SB, bless her, spent the morning in bed with a hurty head and tummy [reading avidly, so head can't be THAT hurty!] . she is so imprecise that it is difficult to work out why things hurt, but they seemed to get better when i got home… SHe finished reading the magicians nephew and is most of the way thro the lion, the witch and the wardrobe anyway. She snuggled up to me and did grammar before going to her bikeability session with chris. She really enjoyed this, and told me all the accidents other people had had, what they did, in that breathless it was great fun speech, and she has new boots :)
I love having snuggles anyway :) After her bikeability, she snuggled up with her galore park science too :)

Whilst SB off for her bikeability in the afternoon, BB and i did some bunny care – the little bunnies do look all cute and little :) and it is amazing how much less food is eaten, and correspondingly how much less poop there is :) . BB is such a cutie pie, and so adoring of the rabbits. We then did piano practice. BB has a current like of getting the metronome going and then making a funky rhythm with her 3 note repertoire. i love it :) must surreptitiously iphone vid it sometime [she usually stops!] and then she will sometimes do a bit of jibbedy f, but its up to her. She has a fairly natural musician flow, so i am working on just encouraging her to play, whatever, with the option of looking at new notes etc if she wants. it is really lovely to do together :) we then snuggled in the conservatory :) to read a fact book - i wonder why the sea is salty – together, and then we did some fimo. BB was making a fimo rabbit for her secret santa, but liked it so much, she is keeping it… this is not a surprise, she has kept the last 2 birthday presents she has made too :)


SB coming back and snuggling with me persuaded BB to do something on her own, and so she played falconer to her peregrin falcon cuddly, and that was v cute to watch. i do love watching the imaginative games :) . we finished the day with tea in front of horrible histories, each girl choosing a box book for getting the required number of ticks – bb v happy with a dinosaur maze book, and SB with the georgian horrible histories – the box set seems partic cheap currently :)

And i have watched a grand designs in falmouth – fab house! and then looked at videos of sis. But it was also a day of all those weird home ed conversations where lots of things flow on, and yet when you come to blog, you just can’t remember any of them!

Changing science at latinetc

i have loved doing the science bit of latinetc. doing crazy fun experiments and seeing happiness and laughter on the faces of the children there, as well as talking, discussing and enjoying science really has given me a buzz.
Latinetc orig started in oct 2007 had had a freeform starting point. The families were slightly different, we didn’t do science each time, and children way way smaller! We did taste testing then!

the families changed slightly, and as the children got older, we grouped them, and made it a bit more formal, but we have covered such a lot! I am grouping the flickr set here, mostly for my benefit!


acids and alkali 2007,1
acids and alkali – 2007, 2
starch and spies – 2009
atoms and molecules – 2009
volcano experiments – 2009
polymers 1 – 2009
separating – 2009
more polymers – 2009
acid base 2 – 2009
working out the substance – 2009
making invisible inks – 2009
reduction reactions with copper sulphate – 2009
chemical flames – 2009
chromatography – 2009
crystal structure – 2009
microscope crystals – 2009
co2 – 2010
acids plus alkali – metal salts 2010
density – sugar rainbow solutions 2010
cornstarch gloop polymers 2010
acids and metals and testing for hydrogen – redox 2010


senses – taste 2007
heart – measuring and dissection 20082008
heart – anatomy and circulation 2008
lungs – physiology 2009
lungs – anatomy 2009
CPR and bones – 2009
fossils – 2009
anatomy craft – 2009
DNA – 2009
microbiology 1 – 2010
microbiology 2 2010
fish dissection – 2010
microbiology 3 – 2010
roots and shoots microscope – 2010
microbiology 4 – 2010
chlorophyll – 2010
choice chambers – 2010
pond dipping – 2010


floating and sinking 2008
cartesian divers 2008
magnets 2008
electricity – circuits etc 2008
energy – 2008
forces – 2008
forces 2 – 2008
forces 3 – 2008
forces 4 – 2008
optics – 2009 fieldtrip
heat/fire – 2009
waves 1 – 2010
waves 2 – 2010
optics – 2010 [no photos!]

yeah, i think that is a good list to be proud of! i have a few more ideas planned, but talking to group and then firming up, it is felt that perhaps having a going away and thinking about it, and perhaps formailising experiment write up may be helpful for some. SO having chatted a lot and discussed with other friends, we are going to do it slightly differently. i think i have used up lots of my top-of-head ideas, so we are going to be trying out real science 4 kids. level 2 chemistry for older group, and level 1 for younger. this has the advantage of being internet accessible, for a trying and not buying option unless sure is working for us. and also the interesting ‘cog’ add ons. not sure whether the levels quite right, as we are a bit age diverse, but can see… I am hoping they will have had the reading bit done at home, i can check with the questions, and then we do the lab work, and if i can find other speriments to fit i will, to keep the sessions fun and practical. If it doesn’t work for the group, we can think again.

a game of 2 halves

chris and i stayed up a bit too late with playing online agricola with the babs last night [i won - yay!] SB also had a late bedtime, having read a book she then got scared by, so had to have time to read a more comforting book, so was v tired today!

whe we got up, it was snowing – again! and quite hard, but a quick check suggested no snow at merry’s, so the science stuff was gathered and we set off. we were also the firsterers there!! actually, due to a number of circs we were 2 families down and one family up, and that worked pretty well! Did science in dribs and drabs, as it was basically setting it up and then watching what happens.

IMG_2370 IMG_2380

as we are on a ‘biology’ term, and roughly looking at microbiology, today we looked at yeasts. We have done a fair bit of discussion on and off about bodies, energy sources and then lungs, oxygen and carbon dioxide, so we did a bit of a recap. there was surprise that yeast might be ‘alive’ so this wasn’t a simple chemical reaction. that actually what was happening was the yeast would be using sugar to fuel the division into 2 [actually this is a bit of a simplification, as yeasts actually bud off rather than divide like bacteria] that they are single celled organisisms of funghi. we knew what it was used for, and i briefly touched on the krebbs cycle without naming and shaming it, saying effectively to make the energy, a gas was given off as a waste product. we had quite a talk about the various gas possibilities, but mostly settled on CO2, partly because this is something we breathe out as a waste, and partly because i had brought along some lime water to test for co2!! so we used my beautiful new erlenmeyer beakers and placed 5 spoons sugar, one heaped yeast and 250mls warm water and topped off with a balloon. soon enough this began to fill with ‘the gas’ and then each got a chance to mix ‘the gas’ with lime water – which rather fabulously went cloudy! and also to put a lit match into it – which v satisfactorily immed went out. so we learnt a bit about micro orgs, their needs, and waste products, and how to test for them. fab! this book suits this experiment pretty well, and we read it again earlier this week


I also did some of the sampler sewing – not as well as Merry! Kty did french, the children voluntarily did some music, and Zoe was pasta and tea maker – thanks! there was no snow at merry’s, tho it did snow on and off. we got back well in time for brownies – still snow here!

BB had her face painted and then decided she was tired [she fell asleep in the car on the way home whilst SB and I sang along to serge - above] and watched star wars whilst i snoozed.

SB was at brownies making valentines biscuits and then judo. this is the game of 2 halves, as this owl has a very brusque and brisk nature, and is just one of those busy women who perhaps SB isn’t so used to. so she asked to get changed in her toilet [it was at the big house for cooking] and j agreed, but whilst she was doing it, she was called for, and couldn’t hear so then got told off. then found someone else had taken her biscuits as they looked nicer, which she had made for me. SO loads of tears. Arrgh. I know she was prob stressed, but this isn’t the first time SB has cried. And yes Sb wears her heart on her sleeve and has no thickness of skin to speak of, but i do think that this being so a bit of compassion over the taken biscuits and actually, since sb had asked to change in the loo… oh well. we had a long discussion about different folks, and that j would prob be surprised that that exchange had made sb cry… btw Merry and katy, SB says she just isn’t used to shouty ppl as we and you don’t shout! Anyway, lots and lots of hugs on return, watching magic school bus inside ralphie episode, and to bed as a happy girl again.


today was for the girls a mostly sylvanianing day. they adore playing sylvanians! they tend to only start when SB has read her book for the day – she starts the day with a book and ends the day with the book. we are getting through loads!

i did want to do some science, as over a year ago won a very ancient kit on ebay about osmosis, and have been v keen to try it out!! today was the day! unlike newr kits, it has LOADS of actual science talk in it, explaining what you are doing, why, the scientific concepts etc – great! Anyway we had a thought about permeable and impermeable, and each selected a container of each and poured water into it. we saw we were right, but that some things were more permeable than others, and infact waxing a permeable thing [ie muffin cases] greatly reduced their initial permeability. We then looked at diffusion, to prove that the molecules moved around in the water [perpetual motion/ kinetic theory ] and that we don’t need to shake to mix up a solution we dropped a copper sulphate crystal into warm water and watched the water all gradually turn blue. Unfortunately we didn’t actually get to any of the osmosis experiments, as the girls were sylvanian needy again!!


other things done were some playdoughing, BB did more of her ‘secret’ , SB and I did a long recorder practice and some aurals [aargh!], SB wrote into her journal. I sorted out the science shelves abit, and chris turned the room of doom into a place where you might nearly be persuaded to go. Oh, and we spent a long time doing the RSPB gardenwatch – better late than never!


We finished watching tales from the green valley – the Jacobean farm series.


As ppl might have read below, on monday chris bought fish from the fishmonger at the market. Today we dissected them at latinetc! i was really impressed, particularly by the younger [and more sensible :roll: group] at how carefully this was done in the main. i think the younger group were aided by being on 4 wanting to do it and 2 adults, to the older groups impatient 6! We started with looking at the beauty of the mackerel, the camouflage elements, and how we thought these might work, at the shape and dynamics of the fish – muscled and bullet shaped, likely to be a fast swimmer we thought. at the various external features – vent, protected eyes and gills, the various fins and the fabulous mouth. Then we started cutting!

we started with gills, talked about their purpose and investigated them – they are v beautiful! then we did our eviscerating slit – careful mostly not to eviscerated! amazingly we found the swim bladder, gonads, stomach and heart. may have found liver! def found lots of muscle and spine. and then after discussing those, they merrily set to on destruction! actually, that’s not entirely true, E did a beautiful dissection in the littlies, BB was a bit wilder! in the older group i think J and J did well to hang in their, being uncertain about dissection [and i have promised that will be the only one this term - so no eyeballs yet!] and the smell got to chloe. SB and maddy really enjoyed gutting etc their fishes…

other than that, they did music theory and latin and for the littlies french. we stayed and chatted whilst katy went to baby music, which was nice, i like the opportunity for a good natter. i listed to M and then J doiing their violin practises. we brought Maddy home with us, and she did brownies and judo v happily with SB, watched charlottes web with tea, and now all is finally quiet upstairs…

A resting day!

we decided we were all needing one. SB was very definite about it, so stayed in bed reading until lunchtime! BB mostly watched cbbc, and i chased off a migraine and started sorting pics to catch up with so can get to centreparc pics! [our london pics going up right now]. however, having labelled the london set visiting london, it sits right with all the visiting little nanny sets. i miss little nanny hugely still, and can’t quite stop feeling that she is overdue a visit. SO i have looked at the sets, had a quiet weep at what we lose, but reminding myself that her life was lived to the full and filled with love and laughter as well as heartache and loss. I also plan to live similarly in length and in love!

Anyway, after lunch i suggested we should do a craft or science kit to get us moving a bit, and SB chose a science museum kit about flight, and made the helicopter [which we couldn't get to fly] and an aeroplane. BB also made an aeroplane and made a light circuit with her first electronics tool kit box – which she has loved for a long time! We then went head to head with cooking mama [banal game i can't see the point of, but they love!]. SB then did some recorder practice of her new grade 1 piece, and then we played it together on the piano. She very much enjoyed that, so played a new grade 1 clarinet piece too. this hurt her lip as she has a small ulcer, so i suggested we should defer clarinet prac till it healed! SB and i played ticket to ride whilst BB played a supplementary game on how well she thought each of us was playing. ALthough i won the train game [not by much] SB won BB’s game playing trophy! BB also did some earlibird 2a maths.

A bit more tv watching before tea, then book reading [absolute zero] and bed. both girls still awake at mighnight tho. sigh.

bacteria galore!

today was a latinetc day, always enjoyable for all of us. we were still late, because somehow our kids don’t get out of the house, and my poor sleeping is making me just want to curl up in bed unless matter transported! We started with SB doing some music theory, which apparently she struggled to do there, but at home raced through the sheet, so as gina says, prob due to arriving half way thro. BB similarly shy in french, doing opposites, but got going, and for the rest of the morning toddling about quite happily!

I like being in the kitchen with michelle, though think she may have been a bit more dubious about our proximity as we were looking at bacteria! i reassured everyone that they were actually dead! fixed on a microscope slide in fact, and we had a peer at some, but my microscope not really powered quite highly enough. we did a fun bacteria division game with peas and paper ‘cells’ obviously these were intracellular bacteria! and that was enjoyed. then i got out the petri dishes and swabs and we all thought of somewhere that might harbour bacteria, swabbed and plated it. now, with any luck, the petri dishes are in airing cupboards gently warming! the plan is to look every day and draw what you see. we may, or may not, have the older group try and make a microscope slide depending on how well it goes! unfortunately, it used up way more agar than i imagined! so i have had to buy lots more, and am waiting for it before we do part 2 – grow bugs and then put in something we think is bacteriocidal – what do you think? teatree, lavender, breast milk, alcohol gel, soap?? oh and an antibiotic and see if we can kill them! so we will dissect a fish next time instead. we had lots of discussions about bacteria, and it is always great to see what info kids already have and can pull together, we had a bit of evolution, yoghurt making, pasteurisation, ‘good and bad’ bacteria…

latin and music also happened, tho not clarinet – will happen 2moro. we came home, and sb did the clarinet and theory sheet whilst BB got going with painting a plaster of paris frame she had made. she really paints v carefully, and acrylic paints are so much better for this!! just as SB was about to get a kit to finish out, we had the deependers arrive after baby music, so supplied tea and refreshments. M very taken by that maze ball thing we all have! J,K and SB played bohnanza for a bit, and L and BB played together v happily. apparently the frame is prob for L, but don’t get too excited, as BB often keeps the things she makes for others…

Other things this week – SB had and really enjoyed her first golf lesson. she has done loads of maths on angles. BB done lots of crafting and finally starting to learn some letters!! chris put up the new bookcases, so looks fab in hallway, and currently he has started on room of doom! work been stressful as always, but have some time off coming up – woohoo!! oh, and it snowed – somehow that is no longer newsworthy, and i have hardly mentioned this prolonged cold snap in the blog, but it hasn’t really affected us, not like so many others!

wednesday science madness!!

before we get to today, i thought i would just like to say i went out to a restaurant both monday and tuesday! monday with chris, as girls at nanna’s so we made the most of the evening by going out to a local turkish, which was delish! tuesday was work night out at a chinese-malaysian – mucho yummy! had mock peking duck for the first time and liked it [have always steered a bit clear of the mock things!] must take chris there, it was near where the deependers live so would recommend it, tho a bit on the pricy side! mind you, the non veggies all had lobster as one of the courses, so i am guessing if i had been with chris it might have been half that price!

and so to wed, thought would raise christmas cheer with the science, and thinking hard for a good end of year finale, decided on crystal structure! went really well. we looked at crystals with SB’s rather fab microscope

now, this has mixed reviews, so anyone considering one, i think digital with usb port is a fab thing, it works quickly and easily and the laptop we run it on is our oldest one. the x200 doesn’t have enough light, so i agree there, but if you see one of these going cheap, snap it up, as far more fun than something you have to look down eyepieces for! all the children were v interested in it, from the v youngest, and it was quite some time before BB declared boredom! tho i notice that when they moved to slides, she was still watching!

we discussed crystals, how they form, and that if i had a powerful enough microscope [they don't do toy electron microscopes yet!] we could have seen the actual crystalline structure – which we discussed! then, whilst gina did music theory we them, i prepared my ace card – we made the crystalline structures out of maltesers held with royal icing. great fun! enjoyeed thoroughly by all, and hoping that they might remember some of them [i said them till blue in face!] simple cube, face centered cube, body centred cube, hexagonal close packed. and here are some examples!IMG_0143 IMG_0119 :lol:

actually it was a busy session and v much enjoyed by all. Gina also did bells with the big’uns and clarinet with the SB. Merry continued with sewing samplers with everyone – remarkably patient with all the needle traumas! BB also remarkably patient with hers. katy did latin christmas carols [well, latin translations!] and french and also boiled sweetie window biscuits. All went down really well, lots of happy laughing kids learning lots.

we were not only first to arrive [as hadn't seen any morning emails!] but also first to leave, as BB wanted to go to the rainbows christmas party. she didn’t join in any game, but when we ate, a girl sat with us, and they got on well, as she was really outgoing and friendly. not sure if bb will ever go to rainbows again, but she was much happier having had this interaction. i think she is just much younger than the others – prob directly due to home educating as we don’t push the outward facing thing.

SB had brownies party afterwards, which apparently didn’t have enough games. we watched doctor who, a crazy long bath was had, and the day was done.

steaming sunday

though unfortunately the steam wasn’t on!

we had a generally relaxing and pootling morning, having decided a 2 hour journey each way was just too far [i could say on eco warrior grounds, but actually we just didn't want the journey]. Sb did some non verbal reasoning, all the girls coloured, bb happy streeted and at lunchtime SB declared she wanted to go out after all, but something a bit sciency! google being our friend, we decided to go to to the cambridge museum of technology – which to be fair is mostly steam and printing!! As we drove out, we listened to a french cd whilst SB followed the activity book.

SB is also reading a few books in the car, today


BB meanwhile was also reading

SO thought that was a fair bit of reading! we had a bit of a stress finding the actual place, but did manage! we had a short while watching the rowers practice before we went in. It is one of those ’boutique’ museums – ie a bit haphazard and possibly not completely risk assessed!! great gisenormous steam engines [to quote BB] in the first hall, and we had a great look around. there was nobody to tell us not to touch, peer, squiggle around and generally interact – though it wasn’t a steaming day! we had lots and lots of round the houses discussions on various things. there was a printing room with a variety of old presses and sets, the girls did 2 diff kinds of printing, and then SB engaged one of the ladies into squirreling in all the various drawers to see what was in them, and generally had a grand time. in fact, i think we learnt far more about printing, as we monopolised willing voluntary workers!! A bit more wander round, But BB had had enough, so we wandered out [picking up some postcards for 5p for postcrossing!] and then wandered over the new bridge – which we thought was rather lovely.

Home, with SB reading about Aztecs

and bB about katie

and we consolidated at home a bit with ‘what the victorians did for you – steam engines’ [actually it was called something about speed, but all about steam!] followed by a slump with magic school bus!! We needed the roaring fire you see! whilst i put BB to bed, Chris and SB nearly finished her mecchano car, and then she did her consultation response. My Dad, lots of loving vibes, also did it -thanks.

blogging out of turn!

chris is blogging thurs and fri – hopefully – as they were really great days! so i am going to make a start on today!

i got up really late as work has had my nose most definitely to the grindstone, and i had some sleep deprivation to catch up on! the girls were playing beautifully together, and although it is prob the KOD to blog it, they seem to have gone through their grumpy with each other patch and are enjoying each others company again. i *could* worry that this means SB is playing lots of ‘baby’ games with BB, but I like the games they play together, and i am not in a rush to push her game playing older!

We had some postcrossing cards arrive – woohoo!! so put them up on our display. this is gradually encouraging sb to remember continents, and what countries may be found where. OK, so we have not had any arrive from africa, antartica, australasia or asia, but we have sent one to taiwan and australia! SB has started writing more of them as well.

will start the day and perhaps rewrite as i recall! oh i think we started with SB doing recorder prac, and then duets with me as i had got a yamaha recorder treble to match hers. we love duetting. though gina says sb practiced stuff she has been able to do for ages rather than the new things! whilst we were doing this, BB got out a science kit – first electronics, and worked through the book making all the circuits [they are v simple, but i was still v proud as this includes putting batteries in!]
SB did some verbal reasoning and then galore park science – which had an experiment-recipe to make, so we got ingredients. SB fancied crafting before that though, and BB and chris went outside to mend her bike :roll: burst tyre from too much skidding!! SB made some dried flower pics which we laminated. unfortunately we seem to have destroyed the laminator when tried to laminate a sweetie wrapper pic. hopefullly chris will take apart and it will work again? we did a short piano practice, concetrating on rhythms.

we then made the rock cakes – these show sediment being laid down over time and creating dinosaur fossils. good fun to make and eat! might remember that idea for a group geology session one day!

so we collapsed infront of tv to cuddle and snuggle, and sb broke the video – it has been a breaking kind of day! so i read rome in cross section to her and bB and we looked for and spotted things and related them to the roman mysteries books. finally watched some mickey mouse dvd, had dinner and then it was bedtime.

my evening work, again, has been home ed politics. making sure i have done as much as i can, writing to mp, dscf, select committee, filling out consultations etc and asking others too.

please, if you haven’t

the petition

the review