Our Unschooled Week #6

Someone asked me this week why I run these weekly reports from Sunday to Saturday.  The simple answer is that, in theory at least, I have a little bit of time on a Saturday to finish writing it.  But of course life is never that simple so, for the weeks that I get it done for 5pm there will be at least three that are late on Saturday, sometime Sunday, or even Monday as last week.  Ah well, I'm only accountable to myself, I suppose.  So, what have we been up to this week...

On Sunday we were looking at chemistry and talking about matter and changes of state.  We went through the usual ice-water-steam demos for reversible changes, then moved on to cake batter as a great example of irreversible change.  The combination of ingredients that change from a liquid to a solid but can't be changed back again is a cracker, plus you get to eat it too!

Then Lara remembered making stained window biscuits at play group, using boiled sweets that melt then re-solidify in the gaps.  Sophia had already asked to make gingerbread, so we combined the two by making gingerbread stained glass window biscuits.  Above is Sophia's photo of the stained glass window train she made, and here she is displaying it below (not sure what Tatia is having a - possibly fake - strop about in the background though!)

Making the recipe, Lara also made some observations about Ordinal Numbers, so we looked at those after we had baked, and then talked about instructional language and how it is different to commands, but follows a very set format, particularly in recipes.

On Monday morning, Lara was very busy being a vet.  She was called out on an emergency: a pug was having puppies and in some difficulty.  Luckily, vet Lara was there to help and all three pups were born successfully.  She then had to return to the surgery where various other cases were awaiting her assistance.

In the afternoon, we walked along the sea front to Felpham, where we saw a sandpiper and several cormorants, talked about seasonal tides, the power of the moon etc.  On the way back we stopped at the playground, propitiously it was school chucking out time, so the girls found several other children to play with and had a good run around.

At home we watched a Timewatch documentary about Captain Cook, which led to conversations about mapping the world, the missing parts, dark continents, the geography of the Pacific, the (known) history of Australia, Maori customs and traditions and much more.  Needless to say, the globe was dragged out, piles of books grabbed from here and there, websites found and more.  This continued well into Tuesday, and had other topics such as Pangaea, colonialism, changes in transport, navigation and more added to it.

Later on Tuesday, I had the following conversation with Sophia:

Sophia: "Mummy, can we do some more learning today?"

Me: "Yes, of course. But you are learning all the time, every day."

Sophia: "I know, but I love doing the sit down stuff.  It's fun."

So we promptly did some more phonics, reading and maths work at the table.  We do this most days, but interesting to see that Sophia thinks this is the learning bit, not necessarily all the information she had absorbed the day and morning before!

On Wednesday morning the girls were up super early (well, in our terms: 7am), so I did the lazy mama thing and chucked a DVD on, I'm afraid.  We watched The Lorax which prompted a big conversation about environmental issues, climate change, pollution, recycling etc etc.  With that in mind, we took the recycling to the tip, some bits of food to the food bank and some boxes to the charity shop on the way to soft play.

At soft play, we bumped into some old friends, so Lara happily went off to play with them whilst I caught up on some work.  Steve was there to entertain the smaller ones, but they soon paired up with other little people too.  After that we hit the excitement of the supermarket.  The girls had lists of ingredients they needed for baking, so they trotted round and picked up whatever they needed, then decamped to the toy aisle for a browse while I did the rest of the shop.

Thursday was a big baking day, with all three girls on a bit of a mission.  The results were mostly great, and Steve was certainly impressed when he got home to see all our creations.  I think they wore themselves out a bit though because the late afternoon and evening was a big chill out time, with lots and lots of being read to and quiet play.

On Friday, with renewed energy, the main topic of interest was geology, fossils and dinosaur bones.  So again the bookshelves were raided, YouTube hit, and knowledge obtained.  We were pleased to find lots of Walking with Dinosaurs programmes on Netflix, and each one sparked a new discovery session afterwards.  (Have to admit I'd not heard of Argentinosaurus till then!)

Today has been pretty full on too, starting with an early morning beach visit, followed by 'learning time' (phonics, reading & maths), then the younger two went for a big hike to and round the park, meeting various people and dogs, and disappointedly discovering their favourite and best blackberry bush removed on the way.

Then we gathered a picnic and headed over to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Arundel where we met the usual motley crew of feathered friends.  Shame about the human friends though! Lara tried to play with some girls in the playground but got the "you're not my friend/from my school/the same age as me" shtick.  Thankfully, it was one of those strong days so she only got a little upset, and later found a lovely little girl called Kitty to go exploring with.  It makes me so cross when school kids are like that - and people ask about socialisation for home ed kids!

Lots of fun, new bird names to learn and things to see and do.  By the time we got home, they looked like this watching CBeebies bedtime hour:

Poor exhausted little monkeys!  Even ever-ready Lara finally had to admit defeat after an hour of LEGO.  So now they are all asleep and I can finally finish this!  Another crazy busy week; how was yours?

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