Thursday, 21 July 2016

Our first year home educating

The academic year is drawing to a close and the summer holidays starting. This means we have now completed our first year home educating. Way back in September Sebs peers began their school journeys in reception year and he stayed at home with me.

The year has gone incredibly fast and we met lovely people, visited so many fun places and read so many books. We have grown potatoes, watched the butterfly lifecycle take place, ridden in a fire engine,  visited museums, walked for miles noting the changes in nature as seasons pass. Alongside that we have read countless books, worked out endless sums, made sculptures at The Hepworth and pizzas at Pizza Express, learnt about dinosaurs and wind power and farming. These things are just off the top of my head, there is much much more.
Seb is happy, thriving, full of curiosity about the world and amazes me with the things he absorbs. I am so proud of him and the lovely boy he is. He currently has no desire to be in school, he knows what school is and what happens there and that the option is there.

Along the way I have found myself changing.  I started the year with a terms worth of carefully structured weekly plans but have ended it far more autonomously. I have learnt that we work better at our own pace, that some things don't go as expected and that is fine, we can change tack, come back to it another day or time, i feel we are lucky to have the freedom to do that after all we all learn best when we are interested in engaged.
I don't think we will ever be fully autonomous, I still have ideas of topics we can look at and I like to ensure we include reading and maths most days. The reading can be anything from a lego magazine to a recipe to a chapter book and the maths can include using a tape measure, playing games and sharing biscuits out equally alongside more traditional looking work. I always have lots of worksheets printed and available and things like that go into a file along with other work which I am planning to keep for when Sebastian is older. I have also taken endless photographs this year even more than I usually would take as a blogger.

Now Seb is obviously of school age we have had lots of people when out and about asking us about school and lots of conversations about home ed. People are interested, many don't even realise home ed is an option and I have been asked the same questions again and again but I enjoy talking about it. Mostly people are positive but of course not everyone agrees with it, over the year I have only had one really negative experience towards myself and that was online.

We have said we would take our home ed journey one year at a time but to be honest we haven't even considered changing things at the moment and it hasn't been discussed, Seb will continue being home educated and we haven't applied or looked at nurseries for Alex. One year in and going strong!

Our first year home educating

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Clay Dinosaur Fossils

You can't learn about dinosaurs without learning about fossils and that is exactly what we did. From our books we learnt what fossils are and how they form and then we made some clay dinosaur fossils.
We use air dry clay for crafting, I have a big tub under the sink and don't get it out often enough, I think last time was back at Christmas when we made some tree decorations.
Clay dinosaur fossils

To make our clay dinosaur fossils we took balls of clay and worked them into rock shapes. Clay is quite hard for the bous to manipulate compared to soft play dough so it gave them a bit of a workout! We then pushed our plastic dinosaur figures into the clay to create an imprint, the boys found that you have to push the figures in quite deeply to get a good detailed print.
Omce happy we removed the dinosaurs and put aside to wash and then left our clay to dry on a sunny windowsill. Air dry clay takes around 24 hours to dry out fully.

Clay dinosaur fossils

Once dry the boys chose some paints and decorated them. I was going to leave them natural but the boys do love to add a splash of colour to things.

Clay dinosaur fossils

Clay dinosaur fossils

Clay dinosaur fossils

Clay dinosaur fossils

The boys enjoyed making these and have been matching up the dunosaur figures to their fossils. I can see them being added to some play sand over summer along with the dinosaur story stones I made.

Check out our other dinosaur activities including our dinosaur small world complete with erupting volcano.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Our weekly meal plan 18/7

Happy Monday Meal Planners! It's the start of the week again and it looks like we are in for a scorcher!
Yet again last week we missed one meal off of our plan, boo. Must do better! However our homemade pizza was amazing, the warmer weather definitely helped the dough to rise.

Our weekly meal plan, homemade pizza

This week we are eating out of the freezer, it is so full and needs defrosting so I did an inventory and we are on a mission to get it empty so every single meal has something from there, at least it means less cooking for me! We have quite a busy week planned so it works out well. The other bonus is that we didn't need to buy all that much shopping, just fresh bits so I had a fairly cheap weekly shop.
I don't usually write what we'll be eating for lunches but this week those will be from the freezer too, so a couple of soups, pitta pizzas, pasta with homemade sauce and banana bread. We are also out for a picnic one day and lunch at Pizza Express another day.

Our weekly meal plan 18/7

Monday Fish Finger sandwiches, potato waffles and veg

Tuesday Pork and Apple burgers with sweet potato fries and mini corn on the cob for the boys , chicken burger for me

Wednesday Fish Pie for the boys, Omlette for me 

Thursday Toad in the hole with cheese and onion mash

Friday Chilli with pasta

Saturday Cheese and bacon crispbakes for Phil and me, chicken nuggets for the boys

Sunday Roast Chicken, rosemary potatoes, stuffing, yorkshire puddings, peas, carrots and gravy

Unfortunately the Meal Planning Monday linky is no longer running, but the good news is the meal planning is carrying on in the form of a blog hop. Why not join us?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Dinosaur Stomp Painting

You may have seen that we are currently learning about dinosaurs and of course that includes getting crafty! Dinosaur Stomp Painting is a fun, messy process art that is great for developing motor skills.

Dinosaur Stomp printing

The day we painted was rainy so instead of doing this outside as planned I let the boys loose in the kitchen. I cut out long sections of white paper from the newsprint roll we recently received from Baker Ross and laid them in the middle of the kitchen, the boys gathered their toy dinosaurs and I popped some brightly coloured paints out. I also added some simple dinosaur colouring pages from Twinkl for the boys to use.

Then the stomping started, the boys dipped the dinosaurs into the paints and walked them along the paper, sometimes gently and sometimes banging them down ferociously, some of the dinosaurs even skidded along the paper. They both used the colouring pages, I noticed how Sbe very deliberately kept his inside the lines whereas Alex was much less bothered about that. I encouraged them to make their best dinosaur roaring sounds at the same time. They started out by keeping the colours separate but soon began mixing them and looking at what the mixed colours became.

Dinosaur Stomp printing

Dinosaur Stomp painting,

Dinosaur stomp painting

Dinosaur Stomp painting

Dinosaur Stomp painting

Dinosaur Stomp painting

Dinosaur stomp painting is definately more about the process than the resulting artwork! Interestingly dinosaurs actually all walked on their toes so probably didn't really stomp at all!

Check out our other dinosaur activities including our dinosaur small world complete with erupting volcano.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Aquafresh Brush Time App

Getting children to clean their teeth can be a real chore, so many children really dislike it and it can become a real battle yet we know how important it is. The Aquafresh Brush Time App is there to help parents and children to make toothbrushing fun.

The app features Captain Aquafresh and the Nurdles who entertain with catchy songs and dances as well as a tutorial demonstrating the correct way to brush. The timer counts down from the recommended 2 minutes brush time so they know when times up.

Children can even customise their brushing routine as they can choose from various characters, dances and even link up a playlist to provide variety and keep things interesting. The more brushing they do the more content they can unlock.

Of my two boys I have one who is a reluctant brusher. Sebastian is 5 and has never been keen and although he is getting better with age, he would get away with a 10 second brush if he could. I have never really thought about using an app before. I wanted to see if the app would keep his interest for a bit longer as well as show him the right way to clean his teeth in a fun way. 

We downloaded the app which is available for FREE on both the App Store and Google Play and gave it a go while using some Aquafresh Little Teeth toothpaste. Needless to say the boys loved the app and I had no issues keeping Sebastian brushing for the full two minutes. I really like that they are shown the correct way to brush, with Sebastian wanting to be more independent it is good to know he knows how to clean his teeth the correct way. We will definitely be using the app reguarly to keep teeth cleaning fun and I will humming away to myself as the music is ridiculously catchy!

Alongside the app we used Aquafresh Little Teeth toothpaste. The Aquafresh kids toothpaste range has been developed with dental experts to give a helping hand at each stage of children's development. My eldest children are 3 and 5 and currently use Little Teeth; with a child friendly mild flavour and sugar acid protection Little Teeth is available in retailers nationwide with an RRP of £1.55 

**We received products for the purpose of the post,  all opinions are my own**