Our Unschooled Week #8

After our kind of non-week last week, the past seven days have been back to our usual level of crazy busy-ness.  The sun has finally made a reappearance, most days, and we've been dashing about here, there and everywhere, as well as doing plenty of learning and answering the usual 101 questions per minute!

Last Sunday we watched the second part of the fascinating She-Wolves documentary series on BBC iPlayer.  We had learnt all about the near-queen Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitane the day before, and Lara sparked a long conversation about the difference between how women and men were, and are, treated.  We remarked on girls being called 'bossy' whilst boys are 'assertive' and 'born organisers', the way she has seen other parents speak to and treat their daughters and sons differently, and other factors such as the spurious idea that there are 'boy' toys, TV shows, characters on clothing etc, and 'girl' ones.  (Not in our house of course!)  I was amazed - and proud - of how feminist a 7 year old can be!  Part two, focussing on Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou, was equally fascinating.

It was one of those kind of occasions where you sit back and think, crikey we must be doing something right!  I had one of those moments two or three weeks ago too.  We switched the TV on and it was on Channel 4, just at the end of Hollyoaks.  A man got down on one knee and proposed to his boyfriend; no-one here batted an eyelid, in fact there was even an 'aw'.  Very proud of my little modern citizens!

On the Sunday afternoon, we headed round the coast to Bosham, where we fed the ducks and sea birds, examined and discussed the different types of seaweed, requested sushi again next time Uncle Paul visits, found tiny shrimp left behind as the tide receded, shared knowledge about the pull of the moon and the tides, and had our first ice creams of the year.

Monday morning we headed to soft play to meet friends, had a quick lunch then went across to the base of the South Downs to the lovely farm we visit during lambing season.  You can read all about that, and see some of Lara's photos, here, but suffice to say that was science covered this week!  First-hand knowledge of birth, including all stages and anatomy, animal welfare, farming etc, all from observation and/or chatting to the farmer and a trainee vet we met.

On Tuesday I popped to London to see the Russian art exhibition at the Royal Academy, leaving Steve in charge.  The girls made my Mother's Day cards, apparently, and did some other crafts.  Sophia made this Tudor rose using some lottery tickets she had nabbed, and practised drawing circles on squared paper.  Then she and Tatiana whizzed through their phonics work before playing lots of maths games.  Lara was not so keen!

There were lots of questions about the exhibition I'd seen on Wednesday, so we did a potted history of Russian art, looked at the postcards I'd bought the girls and found more paintings by those artists on the Internet (Petrov-Vodkin and Malevich).  Ironically, we spent some time planning our next visit to London, now postponed.

Lara spent time teaching the construction of 2-digit numbers to her sisters, and we did the usual kitchen table phonics and maths.  It was absolutely freezing cold in the morning, so we talked about the seasons and weather patterns being affected by the position of the Earth, distance from the Equator etc.  Other conversations included dragons, floods, toucans and international food.

In the afternoon, we headed to the park to make the most of the warmth and sunshine - typical spring: bleak midwinter in the morning, May temperatures and sunshine by early afternoon!

Thursday and Friday were funny days, with Lara declaring she was 'off maths', but then spent ages teaching her Lalaloopsies 2-digit numbers in a makeshift play classroom, and practising writing and calculating money when playing shops.  Definitely 'off maths', eh?  I guess with all this focus on 2 digits she is consolidating her knowledge independently.  Fascinating stuff.  Formally, she is doing lots of reading practice and spelling instead.

Sophia on the other hand is very interested in data handling.  We looked at Venn diagrams recently when we did some colour sorting, then watched an episode of Sid the Science Kid where he made charts.  We made a simple chart, then went on to constructing and recording in tally charts, which she really enjoyed.

On Thursday afternoon the girls didn't feel like going out, so played at home, and yesterday we headed to soft play again for a dash about, where Lara bumped into some friends.  Today we made the most of the beautiful sunshine and went up to the Weald and Downland Museum.  We visited lots of the buildings and saw how they were built, used and saved; learnt about the furniture and other items from Tudor and Victorian times; played with old, traditional toys; and met some of the animals that live there.  A lovely end to our busy unschooled week.

Hope you've had a good week, and at least some sunshine!  Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas reading this.  See you next week. Lx

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