Monday Soon came around and after the weekend I had (explanation to follow ), I was ready to just chill out but as usual, there was no time for sitting down , the children were all ready for their learning and lessons and I knew just what to start them of with .
Last week, a friend of mine posted about how she was going to enjoy the movie Braveheart and although the movie is a little far from the true history of the real story of William Wallace , I knew this would be a great subject to share with the children, especially as it was my most loved film , ever and the fact that when I had mentioned it to them, they had no idea what I was referring to.
We spent the morning watching the movie before turning to the written work I had prepared for them thanks again to Twinkl .
I had been in touch with Twinkl just the night before asking if they could add some resources and low and behold within minutes they were sending me all the necessary links . Absolutely love their customer service , they really do go above and beyond at any time of the day .
Another lesson I had decided to do with the children was regarding Lent.
For some reason , not one of my children knew anything about it or even what it was which I found rather surprising and shocking coming that it is something I remember talking about a lot in school .
They know all about recieving Eggs at Easter and some even knew a little about Jesus being placed on the cross and the resurrection but not the full story of Easter so I taught them all about the 40 days , the Palm leaves, the Promise, some Bible readings and prayers and enjoyed some fantastic crafts .
I tink our best part of the day had to be making the Blessing Jar. Each child wrote a blessing, a nice quote or saying about someone else on a colourful piece of paper and placed it inside the jar, they've decided to keep this jar and do this when they feel they want to tell someone something nice, they're hoping to add one thing at least once a week and I think it's a wonderful idea.
They also learnt the Lent Prayer and we even incorporated sweets for each colour to make their own treats to celebrate.
The smaller one even joined in again , he loved the painting a little too much as you can see , we were even more impressed with his work when he even said his first colour 'PURPLE', so proud as it is my favorite colour.
I had totally forgot that this week was Comic Relief, in fact it was only last night at around 8pm I remembered after seeing someone post on social media about a school doing their bit and so I printed of the necessary things again and woke the children this morning telling them what day it was .
We usually join in and do our bit, a few years a go I got gunked and we loved it and I could not believe this year we had totally forgot but we had been very busy with other things and it is never too late to join in .
The children then decided at about 10 am that they wished to help raise some funds for charity and decided that they wanted to do a sponsored walk around the Village to help and so that is exactly what we done.
They dressed up as best they could in what we could find last minute and made some Masks to incorporate the animal theme that seems to be a favourite with people this year . They looked brilliant after a little face painting and we were soon out the door before 10.30 am , sponser form in hand and walking our miles for charity.
After a long walk , the children were amazed to find that once they had counted all of their pennies and pounds up they had made a wonderful £84.70 in such a short time .
We were shattered, we got home , counted the pennies up and are now ready to send it to the charity and they are feeling very proud of themselves and so am I.
I told you earlier we had had a rather hectic weekend and I was not far from wrong . With hubby working on Saturday which he does once a month , I decided to paint the Toilet walls . I felt really on the ball and was just doing my second coat when the children seemed to be getting a little boisterous.
No sooner had I got down form my ladders to go and tell them to calm down did I hear a clash bang and a scream from the younger daughter followed by a cry for help form my son just in the next room. Literally within less than 30 seconds , I ran to the go to the bedroom not making it to the toilet door before seeing my son walking towards me covered in blood holding his head.
I am a nightmare, literally freak out at the sight of blood and my children very rarely get a scrape let alone anything else so when I seen the huge gash in the back of his head measuring around 1 inch wide and a quarter inch deep, I just panicked.
The children were great , one ran to grab a towel, the other rang their dad on the mobile , the other all tried to calm Kaiden down , while I nipped the skin together applying pressure to the wound as best as I could.
Shaking in fear that the bleed would not stop I tried carefully to carry my son downstairs to sit him on the sitting room floor while we waited for someone to come the house to help and whilst holding the towel to his head ,luckily by the time my husband and their grandad arrived, it had stopped .
My son seemed a little shocked , scared but otherwise fine in himself, no sickness or dizziness and told me that he had climbed up onto the Keyboard that we had bought his baby brother at Christmas and it had detached away from the stand it sat on . This is what resulted in him falling back to back on the wall and slicing his head open on the corner of the Plug Socket.
Withing just 1 hour of the incident we arrived at the walk in and he had been given 4 staples to close the wound. A very brave boy and not one lesson learnt as he still proceeded to climb allover , having me in complete panic at his every movement.
We have to return on Monday to have them removed and they gave us the removing tool in case we could get into our local doctors but unfortunately we wait weeks for any sort of appointment there .
So we have had another fantastic week , what have you been learning this week?
It's been a wonderful week of learning this week.
I'm not sure if it's the mix of having the house all decorated nearly or the fact that we all feel a little calmer it's getting tidier in here or both but it feels like we've been all rather chilled out, although looking back it looks like we've had a busy week still.
I just want to start with how today went as we seem to have been working a lot on St Patrick's Day and done so much in such a short day.
I wanted today to be fun, we tend to make Friday's all about winding down for the weekend so usually either go out for a walk somewhere in the Village, play on Just Dance and have a exercise day or spend it crafting and so with us having one of a great theme to play with we decided to try and do plenty crafts with a little baking too.
Trying to keep with the St Patrick's Theme, all Leprechauns, Rainbows and Shamrocks, we decided that the only thing for a sweet tooth was a Rainbow Brownie or two (OK, I made three , just so when the kids went to bed I actually had chance to ave some myself).
Covering brownie in mint chocolate then sprinkling pretty sprinkles and cheerful colourful smarties made us all smile. I'm actually surprised we had any left after Drew decided to eat most of the mix before we even got it in the oven.
We needed some thing to wash it all down with so only a Green drink would do for St Patrick's Day and the best I could come up with (child friendly ) were Leprechaun lime ice cream sodas and Mint choc chip milkshakes (luckily I had a few milkshakes cartons kept from our previous treats ), kids loved them and they tasted gorgeous. I've promised the husband that I am making him an Irish cream one when he returns from work and the children are in bed.
It was not long ago we were celebrating St Brigid's Day so Saints are something We've learned about previously. There were some beautiful Poems and Rhymes that we rehearsed and sang to each other. It was rather funny hearing them trying to copy the Irish accent .
Making little Shamrock men, Leprechaun top hats, masks and artistic clovers , the children got very arty and crafty in their area with all sorts of materials . I have to say I preferred seeing them concentrate hard on trying to put together the jigsaw puzzles and mosaic drawings, they were very pretty.
This week our littlest one Joshua seems to have taken a very big interest in the children's work also . He most certainly wanted t wear his very on top hat to join in and celebrate with us while drinking his milkshake.
Being that Joshua was wanting to join in with the other's I went and bought a few resources to help start his journey in learning and bought some flash cards which I was able to write in dotted numbers , letters, shapes and short words, some clear zippy file and some wipe proof markers . He done really well learning to hold his pen and got straight to doodling , not on the lines but just enjoying himself which was the whole idea , I felt very proud that by Wednesday and the rest of the week he took it upon himself to go to his storage box and pulled out his little zippy bags asking to get started.
As you may have seen we also joined in on Science week and so there was soo much to learn in the week and we literally filled our files with investigations, researching, and experiments like the Lava Lamp and the Stink bombs , it was so much fun .
So it has been busy but I have to say between seeing little on joining in with learning with the children and our celebrations today it's been another great week. Next week we will be looking at William Wallace , obviously there is a much Favorited movie I adore that I will get to watch but I'm looking at more child friendly ways to help them see in to he story so Twinkl has offered to share some of their wonderful work with us .I swear this site is the savour if our Home education and learning for all the children .
We're no strangers to Schleich Toys and it was only a few weeks ago we were enjoying the 'Farm world starter set' . This time however I 'm a little more excited as they've now introduced the New Smurf Play set which includes a little mushroom Smurf Home and comes with Papa Smurf and Gargamel and his cat Azrael.
The Play set is available for £29.99 and is aimed at ages 3+ although I personally would advice to keep an eye on smaller children as there are small chokeable pieces in this set.
This is where you may start to feel old if you remember the Smurfs, but believe it or not The Smurfs were first introduced in 1958 in the form of the comic (I was not yet born ) but in 1981 they hit the screens and it was 1996 that I took notice when they released that wonderful Smurfs Go Pop album with that fantastic tune of Got a little puppy . I have no shame in telling you that as soon as we received this , I have literally blasted this song out loud to share the fun of it with my children and even showed them the oh so amazing big fish little fish dance that we all bopped frantically to along with it . Like I said no shame at all, in fact, I'm listening to it right now.
So needless to say I was very excited when this arrived .
Everyone's favorite blue little characters are embarking on a whole new adventure this year in Smurfs and 'The Lost Village' and Schliech's Cute collectible range are the perfect way to recreate the new upcoming Smurfs blockbuster movie .
The play set contains a large Smurf house, Papa Smurf and Gargamel with his loyal cat Azrael and even a key to fit the little door on the little mushroom style house. and is a wonderful size of 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inch (W x D x H).
With working door and window shutters, you can catch a glimpse of Papa Smurf hiding inside as the Horrible villain Gargamel and his cat sneak by.
My daughter has had great imagination play with this and is waiting on her bedroom to be designed just to make a special place for it along with her other characters she likes to add into her role play .
As with all of the Schleich play sets and figures this is remarkably well made and excellent quality with amazing detail that make the characters realistic and this inspires the child's imagination along with the brightly coloured shades.
Schleich have brought out some great sets of characters which I know would be a fantastic addition to this playset .
If you could choose a Smurf to be like, who would you be , maybe you could make your own up ?
Disclosure - All opinions are my own
So I have to admit , it feels like the time educating the little ones has flown over and after just 8 weeks I'm already being asked to provide the Local Authority with my reports of how things are going.
First of all I just want to clarify that this is not a necessary requirement but being that I actually enjoy my role as teacher and take it pretty seriously , I think I owe it to myself , the children and those wish to follow our venture to share our experience so I have no argument to write one up and let them know that we're doing just grand on our own without any help from anyone other than ourselves and those resources I've already shared with you.
I feel we have covered quite a large area of learning in such a small time frame .
I was advised in the beginning to do a thing called de-schooling which basically means the child settles into their environment and takes a time out from education/schooling or just learning them in general although learning can be done in your sleep apparently , did you know that?
Seriously , I don't mean to sound out of hand here but if your OK with your child sitting in front of YouTube , TV, Computer game consoles 24/7 and feel thats OK then that's fine , you know your child best but personally I had no interest for de-schooling and wanted my children to get into the swing of a routine at home straight away so not to disrupt their train of thought.
I wanted them to work at their own pace , not feel pressured by others who may or may not be doing better than them and I wanted them not to worry about tests or exams that I felt unnecessary to their learning.
I felt rules were being thrown left right and center and that they were being made to feel they could no longer share their independence or self worth anymore.
I had a son who was close to leaving school and being told that he had no prospects in life as his level was not that of their expectations and so he felt no need to even try and as a result ended up in trouble most days leading to exclusions or detentions.
Another child was slowly showing signs of depression, stress and anxiety and another neither wanted to be there nor did they feel it was fun .
Not all the children suffered from a School education but we have found in just 8 weeks that our family have benefited from taking the time out to Home educate, giving them a chance at learning the way they want to and surprisingly it went better than I had thought it would.
I expected the children to lie in bed till late hours and be up watching TV till even later, I expected them to ignore the plans of following a routine and not doing worksheets, workbooks or even have any initiative into trying to learn .
We could not have been more wrong and in fact the children actually wanted to learn. I found they were waking themselves up , going into the living room taking their work from the draw and sitting themselves down to work on their own and they didn't need me to tell them they needed to do it, in fact they were asking for more work on occasions.
They have took the opportunity with both hands and soured through everything given to them .
We visit the library every single week and they love reading now , they bring around 2-3 books home and read them each week. We encourage them to join in on the community centers activities and nearly all of them have signed up to join the Brass band which they are so eager to start.
Their attitudes to wards each other have become more friendly, and kinder and they are getting on so much more than they were and I can see their independence and responsibilities are thriving each day .
Things are even better than I expected them to be .
Kaiden Aged 7yrs -
Over the past 8 weeks Kaiden has shown enthusiasm in his work and is developing a great interest in history especially when he chose to learn about 'The Great Fire Of London' after taking a book from the Library. He has proven to be a very thoughtful young boy after he joined in on 'Kindness week' and an anti bullying campaign activity which encouraged him to be kind and he shared how peoples feelings were very important. During his science lessons, Kaiden found he wanted to learn about Astronauts so with his brother he made his own Space Diary which was part of 'Principia's space mission with Tim Peake'. He has also learned about the life cycle of a plant and talked about how exercise helps the heart to stay healthy. He was particularly interested in our Lava Lamp experiment and how the LED lights worked. Kaiden enjoys reading a lot, watching how to videos, visiting the library and at the end of each day he chose's to go onto Study Ladder to which he is signed up to and does his Math and English lesson's, he is doing so well now that he has already gained a silver certificate. He loves hands on activities and he showed a lot of zeal when we took him to the Wingate Nature reserve where he found a big interest in the Donkeys. Kaiden is rather smart with numbers and I feel if this is encouraged then this could be used to his advantage as he grows later in life. He loves to run around and loves cooking in the kitchen and playing games. He is currently interested in learning about time and we are looking at ways to encourage more writing for Kaiden, he is very smart and just needs a little encouragement to get him started but once he is involved, he is a bit of a leader.
Leon Aged 8 yrs -
Leon is such a loud character now, he loves to take over and be in the center of any activity. He loves to work on projects where he can really sit down and learn about something but he is not so enthusiastic at maths. We are trying to encourage this through online resource games which he seems to be enjoying without realizing he is learning. Leon has taken part in 'National Heart Week' where he took a deep interest in learning about how the heart works and even went as far as making a special gift for a little boy around the corner who had a heart defect. He is a very shy boy around others but this showed me that he is feeling a little more confident. He has been part of the 'Principia Space Mission' with his brother and enjoyed learning about how Astronauts stayed healthy and learned about Tim Peake and the rockets. Leon enjoys working on Study Ladder and has reached a bronze certificate. He loves to write and be creative and is a great reader. Each week Leon reads two teenage level books now and it seems to be something he is really enjoying more. Leon was fascinated with our cornflower experiment and he loved to learn about solids and liquids, he also enjoyed visiting our local refuse center where he gathered many crafts for his building sculptures. Leon wants to learn and is always the one who asks for more work so we encourage this when asked. He loved our Day Trip to The Quarry where he learned about Limestone.
Libby Aged 10 yrs -
Libby is doing well but it has become apparent that she has not been taught well in school. We are having to take Libby backwards to KS1 work and build her up due to her finding even simple work difficult. I am having to give Libby one on one help to encourage her concentration every day and she constantly asks for reassurance with her work but her work is improving and she is working well now. Libby loves to visit the library and loves hands on work and enjoyed our Science projects on solids to liquids. Libby has a bronze certificate on Study Ladder and loves watching YouTube tutorials. I was very proud at Libby's enthusiastic approach to learning about 'St Brigid's Day' and she loved making a mosaic of 'The Cloak field'. Libby has also been involved in the 'Valentines day project', 'Story week' and has been trying to build up her English work through reading as she loves visiting the library each week. Libby needs to build her confidence to make her appreciate that she is able to achieve the results she needs.
Drew Aged 11 yrs -
Drew is very smart. She is especially gifted in her maths and she loves to help others learn her methods and we are working on fractions as she sees this is an area she needs work on.
Drew has had a very busy few weeks and through her options chose to learn about 'WW1', 'Goodnight Mr Tom' , 'Charles Dickens' and also took part in 'Valentine's day' and 'Story week'.
Drew showed great interest in Goodnight Mr Tom and spent nearly two weeks covering all areas of the Film, book and researched well, she even role played a drama routine with her siblings.
Drew loves to watch YouTube tutorials and even gone as far as making her own science tutorials of her making Lava Lamps. She has also found a couple of Pen Pals which encourages her creative writing skills.
I found Drew was developing anxiety on leaving her at school and am pleased to see this has since vanished and she is enjoying learning .
Sian Aged 12 yrs-
Sian has adapted very well into Home education and needs no encouragement to pick up her work and get on with it. She is always found reading and loves to read many at a time. Sian has been working on her fractions after realizing this is an area she needs to build on and even excelled and surprised me when I surprised her with a random test on other areas. Over the past few weeks, Sian has worked on some wonderful projects such as 'WW1', where she researched books and watched documentaries. Sian also joined in on 'Epilepsy week' where she learned what it was and how to deal with someone having an epileptic fit if ever needed, She loved working on the first aid especially. Sian has also researched 'Charles Dickens' and the 'Revolution' as well as 'The Scream by Edward Munch' where she worked really hard on making a self portrait of her own version of the Picture. I was very impressed with Sian's encouraging attitude on our day trip to the local Nature Reserve where she found a Newt on the side of the pond and spoke about the life cycle of it developing from an egg mass to an adult form. Sian loved our cross country and is working hard on her writing and comprehension work. Sian loves science, she loved the cornflower experiment and also enjoyed making a video of her putting a mobile phone into balloon by learning about pressure and air .
Philip Aged 15yrs-
Philip was struggling in school but since finding he has no one to be compared to in his learning he is thriving and building his confidence back up. We had struggles with his reading and writing but we feel he is at a level where he is able to understand the process of his work. He is quite clever with his maths when he puts his mind to it and although needs help in some areas, his basic maths skills will help him as he grows, he is just learning to expand his progress. Philip has been involved in some amazing research work. He loves to watch movies and documentaries, he loves watching YouTube tutorials and especially enjoys gaming and art. Philip works better when he is working hands on and so we encourage him to be creative, encouraging things like decorating (which was a family activity ) which could lead to a possible trade skill for when he leaves home as he seemed to really enjoy it. Philip worked really hard on both the 'WW1' and 'WW2' work he was assigned to and even made some fantastic points in his 'Gandhi' work as well as his 'Atheist' views. Philip takes a lot of persuasive attitude to get him to work but once we have him involved he puts everything into his work and it shows. He loves visiting the library and we often find him reading in his room no which we never thought he would be doing.
All together the children have been really enthusiastic in their Home Education.
The children also play their own part in reviewing toys which they are sent freely from some of the big brands and TV shows which they love to get involved in , they've done this for a few years already and love it.
We visit the library every single Saturday and as well as the learning above, they are encouraged to do chores and life skills activities on a daily basis.
We take regular trips out to Nature Reserves, parks, Museums and other areas of interest where we feel the children are benefiting and learning from and are having a wonderful time with our experience together.
We're having a wonderful time learning .
Home schooling outings can be difficult with a large family, especially if you don't want to take a lot of children alone on buses like me due the previous nightmares of just managing a pushchair to get to the nearest town last time, let alone another 6 children as well . My husband works during the week and so the weekends are the only time we venture out of the Village and so looking for something to do outside only seemed to consist of walking to the shop, the local community centre or the park , well that was until we realised we had a beautiful little treasure right on our doorstep. Well nearly.
Wingate Nature Reserve.
The reserve is said to be a 40 minute walk from our home but of course you can double that when you've little legs and a few stops to make along the way and for us it was a little further than we would be used to going on foot especially as it was only half the distance to their school to which they used to go .
I was not sure of how easy we would be able to get there , if we would even get there at all and even when we did arrive I thought it would be a wasted journey and especially having such little ones so close to the road which was the only route available for us with a pushchair , I had to carefully research our options .
See when your mum to so many it becomes second nature to do all the necessary checks , safety , organising just to get out the door. It definitely is not just a case of putting our coats on these days and see where our legs take us , not with such small feet coming along .
We have a local shop on the way where we could stop to grab some supplies such as bottled waters and in our case a few things we needed like snacks (any other time I would have been stocked up and made a packed lunch but we were waiting on our grocery shopping to be done so I needed a stock up.
I wanted to make the day out not only fun but also educational so I made and printed some work for them such as Scavenger hunts and Discovery sheets and Nature Inspired work ideas.
I ensured we had hats, gloves,coats and rain cover (for the pushchair), suitable footwear, snacks and drinks and our file with worksheets, scissors, glues and chalks and pencils for working with and of course some first aid in case of any falls or scrapes . We took a small cardboard box and a bag to carry our finds and treasures in case the children wanted to bring anything home and took a deep breath before setting off.
As soon as the door was open it was like a release of Doves, they legged it into the fresh air and I could instantly see they were excited to go for our walk .
I had told them as much as I already knew from my research about the Reserve but to be fare I could not share much as I did not know the full extent as we had not been before so for all I knew the research could be out dated or even wrong. I held on to hope that I was right and my eyes focused on their movements.
They're all very good and well behaved , they know to be careful and stop at roads and stay away from the road edges so I'm a little calmer now they're a little bigger and understand the dangers . Luckily I had the smallest who is not so clued up in the pushchair who coincidentally fell asleep for the majority of the time out until he woke for food.
So here is how our day went-
Because the children were used to the start of the route they were happily running in the muddy puddles before descending into their unknown territory, we love a puddle , easy cleaning when we're home , just throw everything in the washer and jump in the shower and who cares how dirty we are, more fun right?
Well first of all we had to reach the outskirts of the Village so we stopped at the Entrance and took a picture , The children were telling me that their friends shadows were in this created with help from pupils at Deaf Hill Primary School to commemorate the village's mining heritage, the school the children used to attend.
We made some scavenger Hunt worksheets , the older ones had a standard look for all the things in nature to tick on the list and complete but the two smaller boys had their very own Pirate themed ones which encouraged them to look for things like a leaf to make an eye patch , a stick with two handles to use as a sword , stones for precious stones and jewels and so on , they loved it .
It was a long walk so we stopped to rest and get a drink and rest our legs. Obviously Kaiden had found the largest of swords (I mean sticks) and so we ended up leaving it before the wind wrapped it in someone elses face on our way to the reserve as it had mine quite a few times.
It was great to see them smiling and having fun .
We arrived at the Wingate Nature Reserve and found some very interesting information on our walk further into the area.
Wingates very own Nature Reserve was in fact a disused Quarry , The quarry was worked for Magnesian Limestone until the 1930s, when it closed. a Site of Special Scientific Interest,Open Access Land, and is UK Woodland Assurance Scheme certified. Habitats include grassland, woodland, wetland and scrub and it has its very own pond as well as its very own Nature Reserve.
We were greeted by the animals as soon as we walked into the area . A Llama, Quite a few lovely looking Donkey , Horse, Chicken, Billy Goats and Geese. We could not quite get through to see if there was anything else to see but they all came trotting over to the fence where the children wowed and stroked them.
We would love to have been able to feed them but without seeing anyone to speak to we thought it best not and the children fed the donkey straw knowing he was enjoying that . Maybe next tie we could take something tastier for them now we know they are there.
I was absolutely fascinated by the fact I had seen my first ever Llama but the children were adamant they loved the Donkeys more and even asked if we could take one home to which I swiftly moved them along .
We walked past the Pond which was fenced off (gladly) but we were stopped briskly by one of the children spotting something scurrying along the footpath rubble in front of us . To our astonishment, it was a lovely , cute little Newt obviously looking to find the waters edge after a stroll . We watched it find its way and from that point realized we had to watch more carefully at where we were going in case there were any more of natures wonders walking the same path.
Walking further through the reserve , we stopped to have our dinner. There were no seats, toilets or anything where it would be classed as an attraction so we sat on the gate and the children later decided to do a little cross country running up and around the hill
I was so impressed with how enthusiastic the children were , they were loving their day out and worked so hard , I made a little challenge for them and said that whoever collected the most different types of leaves and pieces of nature, who worked their hardest at their nature written work, ran the best on their cross country exercise and behaved and enjoyed their time most , I would reward them with a large chocolate bar from the shop on the way home . I decided that they had all done amazingly and not one to leave any one out they all deserved a nice bar of chocolate for their zeal efforts. Sian the second oldest especially put all her effort into the day, I was very proud , even when she twisted her ankle she still tried her best.
We were having so much fun we totally forgot about how long we had spent there but realized it was getting rather chilly and so we decided to say goodbye to the animals and headed of back home.
We still had quite a few treasures to find for our hunt and so we looked for them on the way home and by the time we got home we had some lovely looking pieces of nature in our collection.
We returned home worn out but they finished their work, completed all of their sensory worksheets and talked about what we saw, felt, smelt, tasted and heard and finished the day with a hot cup of tea before descending into the hot tub and into a clean bed.
We were so happy and lucky that our day had gone even better than we had expected, no struggles, no money spent, no one seriously injured or hurt (other than a twisted ankle) , educational yet fun and even better exhausting . I will definitely be taking them again and next time take our own picnic and food for the Donkeys.
Have you ever found a little treasure on your doorstep that you never knew about ?