Thursday, 21 February 2013

Academics In Hard Hats

Well, one, at least. Hard hat, that is. And many of the pictures of the egg and spoon race are unpublishable due to the fact that Elizabeth was only wearing a top and knickers. Still, each to their own and all that.

This post is about today and yesterday, since yesterday was date night and I had Important Business to take care of with my husband. No, nothing like you're thinking. A financial meeting, if you must know. Does that even count as a date?! Had to be done, anyway.

Home school has been good! It's getting better, folks. We're finding our way.

I think the main improvement is due to violin being better. This one, simple thing means that we do not start the day with a fight, there's no ill-feeling, there are fewer strops and we all feel good about the music. Apart, perhaps, from Elizabeth, who isn't cute enough to get away with playing base notes beside me on the piano and singing along. She can't even be baby-minded by the telly, since the piano has become involved in violin practise. She has a new diversion, as of today though, so things are looking up even for her. More on that in a moment.

Since I can't remember exactly how we filled all of yesterday and today, let's just look at the pictures and I'll tell you what's going on in each case.

Here's Elizabeth doing some dangerous phonics, by the looks of things. I mean, is a hard hat really necessary for working in our dining room?! Apparently so. Anyway, we've done all the Jolly Phonics from the big books, with the songs (available on You Tube) and Elizabeth has made herself some cards with the phonemes on.* In this picture, she's spelling out words with her phoneme collection (this one is 'playing') and writing them on a piece of paper. Her writing is coming on nicely though she still likes me to draw the dots for some of the letters.
*In some areas of the internet, the merits (or otherwise) of teaching reading using synthetic phonics are hotly debated. Francesca learnt to read at school, with Jolly Phonics and she a) enjoyed it and b) learnt to read really quickly and very effectively, hence we're using the same method with Elizabeth.

Here's Francesca doing some far-too-easy English from a book she found she hadn't finished last year. And Sebastian who couldn't wait for lunch.

Here's Francesca writing a letter to one of her myriad of best friends.

Elizabeth had a go of her counting ladybirds game. She's getting better at handling the mouse pad. The hard hat is still near by, just in case.

Today we had an egg and spoon race. It was Francesca's idea. We used Sebastian's toy wooden eggs and real spoons. We made a route through the lounge, from the arm chair, over the red rocking chair on its side, round the piano chair and back to the arm chair.

The children went one at a time and I timed them on my phone. "Oh!" said Francesca, "Then the person with the shortest time wins!" Bingo. You got it.

Elizabeth's turn:

Francesca starts the race:

It takes a lot of concentration:

And round the piano chair:

Sebastian's turn, making the rooky mistake of holding the egg on. Oh, that old chestnut, Becca ;o) Luckily the girls didn't know the word 'disqualified'.

"Badin's turn again!"

Elizabeth found Ben le Chien and asked if we could do another French treasure hunt like we did once or twice before. I think she was remembering the chocolate prizes. So, Ben le Chien helped to revise some French songs, basic conversation and the vocabulary we had been learning about rooms of the house. I made a new chasse au tresor and hid les indices really well. The prize was sticky taped up inside the fusee. Smarties. Worth the hunt.

The girls both wrote to their auntie. Elizabeth drew a picture of a dolphin:

And I helped her to write:

We've spent more time studying electronics - circuit diagrams, components, series and parallel circuits.

Also, we've checked our seeds a few times and kept the 'wake up little seeds' logs up to date.

Ah, and Elizabeth's new diversion. While I do violin with Francesca, Elizabeth does her new Maths App.

It's called Math age 3-5 and it's too easy for her, really, but she feels a huge sense of achievement because she gets lots of stars and even, today, two certificates. I don't mind that it's easy because it's in levels and I know it's going to get more difficult as she goes through it. I like that the process is guided by a teacher-figure who, despite the name of the app, has an English accent, which is a nice change. It's very self-contained: the teacher lady explains it all to Elizabeth without my having to be there.

The other maths app we're loving today is Hungry Fish which is more for Francesca but even Sebastian has enjoyed number matching on level 1. Basically, you have to feed your fish numbers. The fish only eats one particular number so, at level 1, you just have to spot the correct number and offer it to the fish. At higher levels, you have to combine numbers to make the correct number to feed the fish. The sums get more difficult and the game moves faster in the higher levels. It's great!

And the day ended with Gymbobs! What more could you want?!


  1. I meant to comment on the 'wake up seeds' post - clearly Francesca should serenade them with the violin (a la Frog & Toad).

    As for Sebastian and the egg - I had to laugh!

  2. Good idea Bec.

    If French is on the agenda at the moment maybe it's a good time to learn "A la claire fontaine."?

    Really busy day there and lots of fun!