Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Trips, Robot Dogs, Shows & Home Days

We had a really busy week last week, and I am super proud of how the kids, especially DS, coped with it all.  For some-one who struggles daily with transitions and changes, this past week's achievements have been nothing short of remarkable.  I am bursting with pride.

Last week we had three different Home Ed trips with different groups of people, two of which were at places we haven't been before - and all of which were subject to delays on public transport!  Firstly, we went to a HE session on Archaeology arranged by a friend at a fairly local museum.  The kids learnt about Stratigraphy and got to do their own excavations. They also got to handle and sort genuine stone age tools, try and piece together a stone age clay pot and make one of their own.

Secondly, we visited an historic Tudor house and learnt all about Tudor life in the Tudor kitchen - another fabulous, hands on workshop where the kids, after listening to tales of life in Tudor times, got to choose their own activities within the Tudor kitchen.  They could dress up, solve a quiz with clues, sort ingredients, grind herbs with a pestle and mortar, decorate a prized orange with cloves and make their own herb bags to take home.

In between dashing here and there, I'd love to say we had an At Home day but in fact DD had a consultants review appointment on our only 'free' day, which meant we all had to go.  The kids behaved really well, and there were plenty of toys for them to play with, which they did. I had pre-typed notes of anything I thought they might ask that I didn't want to discuss in front of the children, so I was well prepared.  It went as well as these things can, but I can't deny I was knackered when we got home!

On Friday we went to another museum, to see an exhibition of Egyptian artefacts.  We aren't particularly studying Ancient Egypt as a topic at the moment, although we are doing Egypt as the country for our Geography Group this month the children have both chosen to do projects on modern day Egypt rather than historical. But we thought we would go, as it looked interesting, and it was :-)  And we met up with some friends for lunch after, which was a nice surprise.

Over the weekend, DS made this fab solar powered robot dog he got for his birthday several months ago, with a little help from DH (although to be honest it really was only with a very little help) - 

When the solar panel is charged, the tail wags and the dog spins around.  DS was very proud to show me.  He is looking forward to converting it to some of the other things you can make with the kit.  This particular set was from Avon, but I can't find it for sale currently or I would post the link. 

Also over the weekend, the kids appeared in a show put on by their Gymnastics club.  I was SO proud!  DD has always struggled with nerves at public performances and generally hides behind others, shuffles nervously, mouths the words or mumbles etc.  DS on the otherhand was totally traumatised by performances at school - we would have days of bed wetting, nose bleeds, head banging, wakeful nights, clingy distressed behaviour.  And yet he participated in this show WILLINGLY.  I cannot find the words for what this meant to us.  The noise was incredible, it was in a hall he had never been in, I forgot his ear defenders.  But he went willingly in, coped with it all and performed in 3 separate acts!  With a big smile on his face and lots of waving to me in the audience :-)  (Cue much sobbing from me!).    When I went to pick him up, he ran and jumped in to my arms, told me it had been terrifying but still smiling! 

Monday would normally be one of our days for Table Work but we are winding down now for the summer.  Also, there was no way I was going to ask DS to sit at a table and do maths and literacy after he had given his all in so many new things.  So I let the kids choose what they wanted to do.  For DD it was lots, and lots, and lots of drawing - and some watching TV!  And for DS, he spent almost the whole entire day writing Scratch programming on the lap top at the table!  He is so good at it - he wrote programmes for figures that moved, and spoke, on instruction!  I haven't a clue how it works, but DH has taught him, and he has definitely learnt!

Today we opened with Listening Time - the kids played Lego & Angry Birds (toys, not computer game) while I read them a book about Tudor Children by Haydn Middleton (their choice).  Find it here :- www.amazon.co.uk/ TudorChildrenHaydnMiddleton

I read the whole book, stopping for a 10 minute break in the middle.  Afterwards they played in the garden before we had lunch and then headed to the park on their scooters.

When we came home a couple of hours later, the kids sat and did a write up of whether they would prefer to be a child in Tudor times or modern times.  It's quite a task to get DS motivated about writing, but he gave it a go, and I'm very proud of the answers they came up with - 

I would definitely recommend, if you have fidgety, formal-work resistant children (like I do!), giving Listening Time a go.  It is working really well for us, and I am amazed at how much they actually take in, when it looks like they are just playing and not listening at all! :-)

After dinner, the kids did their tidying up and got ready for bed and I sat and read one of the Jack Stalwart books to them - 

These are a fairly new find for us, but we love them.  Very simple chapter books, plenty of action and lots of real facts to boot.  The premise is a young boy who works as a secret agent and travels to other countries to solve mysteries.  They are very pro-environmental issues and delightfully educational including facts about the country, language and history for each story as well as the Geography of where that country is.  We are learning loads and really enjoying the stories too.  The kids love trying to solve the mystery from the clues as we go along.  I would heartily recommend these if you have boys or girls that are on first, or early, chapter books.   Find them here:- www.amazon.co.uk/ JackStalwartbooks    They've got a website too, which I will definitely be looking at with the kids tomorrow:- http://www.jackstalwart.com/

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