January a month with core hours of 9 to 10 ish. Sleepy hibernating days. It’s also been a month filled with un-wellness, namely mine. Thus, it’s been a month of very little forward planning and more about ticking over on a daily go with the flow basis. Slow paced January.
Despite illness we accomplished a trip to the new WWF headquarters in Woking, “The Living Planet Centre“. S has been adopting a Snow Leopard for about a year now and we have participated in Earth Hour for the past four years which connected nicely with our visit to the new building. We had fun and learned much from the digital gadgets and the screens in the interactive exhibitions positioned in the entrance. Very knowledgeable and helpful staff who were kind enough to show us the Education room and the Panda display behind the scenes. The Pandas were a collection of the old donation boxes now made into a display whereby all of the Panda eyes follow you around as you walk. We were very lucky to be allowed back there to see them. All of the children were given magazines and soft toys to take home. I’m in touch with the education officer there now so we may arrange a workshop this year for anyone without our home ed group who fancies a *Save The Planet* style learning day.
On the same day we popped over to The Lightbox to take a peek. Lots of great art and creations over there. Lots of giggling from our girls at the naked bronze statues. The museum room holding the history of Woking inspired questions about psychological conditions, Queen Victoria wearing black and the religion of Islam all on the back of some of the display items.
Locally we tried our hand at some Circus Skills with A and W loving the Trapeze and Twin Dad wanting to master the Unicycle.
Regular meets and clubs still on the agenda with Wednesday Playground, Gymnastics for A and W, extra rehearsals for S at her Theatre Group and a monthly social group for L complete with Nerf Guns and robot type toys plus a home ed Ice Skating trip. There have of course been trips to the park, seafront and time for roller skating.
One of the reasons we were grateful to leave the school system behind and all that comes with it was the after school and weekend clubs. It wasn’t that we did many but the ones we did on the back of a full school day/week always felt so rushed and unwelcome despite the activities ticking the interests of the children. It’s far nicer to pursue our interests with the use of clubs because they are a keen and a main interest opposed to an add on to school work.
Instead of Theatre and practising and perfecting acting skills as a second to Maths and English, it is a first, it is the priority. For S this is what she wants to do right now so it makes up a huge part of her education. It is her choice, child led. Watching TV shows and movies, listening to Audio’s with a narrator taking on board a range of different characters all helps and counts toward her interest led education.
Likewise, with L. His passion is video games so he spends hours playing them and learning how to play them. Minecraft and World of Warcraft are the two favourites but with this interest comes a whole range of learning. So much of it is social as he skypes and messages and collaboratively builds and solves problems alongside his friends. Many of the problems are ones of communication and whilst it’s frustrating at times we work things through and move on. Then of course there comes the technical learning that comes hand in hand. How to install various Mods and applications. Watching You Tube Tutorials to discover fix it’s and how too’s. Running the server requires a certain amount of coding too and various tasks such as daily maintenance and back ups. We have handbooks and manuals and more arriving soon to help this journey along it’s way.
There has of course been the regular eclectic viewing taking place for all of us. We learn much from the programmes we watch. A few I’ve remembered from the month:-
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli)
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2013 *Life Fantastic*
Move to the Countryside
Monster High DVD’s
Adventure Time DVD’s
Giant Panda Documentaries
The Restaurant Man
Horizon – Fat v’s Sugar
A and W have read Funny Fish, Snowman, Zak and the Vet to me as we continue the journey to master the skill that is reading. Asking how to spell and type words on to the Tablets is a daily occurrence too. We’ve undertaken some new workbooks providing some sit down structured time of ooh about 10 minutes so that we can practice more writing/reading/maths. Actually these books are proving useful to me from a minimal effort and time saving resource. We’ve labelled body parts, answered sums using our glass beads, laughed at the drawings provided in the Phonics book and A has drawn lots of Willies over the page! You couldn’t get away with that at school.
S and L have been reading the weekly Phoenix Comic and First News paper plus various books on a range of topics. Actually I rarely keep up with exactly what they are reading because it’s such a regular and mixed bag. I do know that Zelda is on the menu at the moment for L as he had some new volumes for Christmas. I know S has been reading her script over and over.
Reading aloud has been from Roman Mysteries but only the 3 girls are interested.
S and myself have been creatively sewing vines and jungle flowers for an Animal Themed sleepover she wants to have. Materials have so far been free from the Materials Bank. Very pleased. A and W requested felt animals to be made so between us we have accomplished that. A has a chicken and W a Giant Panda. They contributed about 10 stitches each. S also made several little mice. She is a neater stitcher than I.
Chinese New Year crept in with the Year of the Horse (S’s and L’s year). Chinese food by way of marking the occasion. A couple of year’s back we did China as a topic and thus covered heaps and I must get around to bringing the old blog post over here.
Monster High’s are still the main source or creative play. Jinafire Long is actually a dragon from China which does tie in with W’s interest in all things Chinese. We must be in our third full year of this interest and have seen the gradual build of available dolls and merchandise increase in the toy shops. Actually we still have a better selection than Toys R Us and Smyths here at home!
When it’s not MH it’s Gorillas and Giant Panda play. A has taken to walking around the house like a gorilla. Very informed so she is about the Gorilla.
Cells have been on the agenda for Science. S and L answered a pile of questions from a science book plus we’ve used various video clips and the Life Fantastic episode from the Royal Institution. A and W had fun with some Jelly Cells. The plate representing the Membrane, the jelly representing the Cytoplast and Grapes for Nucleus.
And that is just about all my sketchy memory, scraps of jotted paper notes and shoddy phone photo’s can muster up. Blogging daily is far easier.