Ok, if you've come here looking for electronics stuff, scroll down. First I'm going to ramble on about the rest of our day a bit. My mum likes to know ;) And it's a good record for me to look back on when I think, "Where the heck did all that time go?!"
Violin. Sigh. We needed a new tactic. This week I'm trying this: violin practice has to take 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we stop flogging the proverbial dead horse. If the practice is not complete (scales and tunes attempted) then story tapes are Banned. Banned, I tell you. They've been banned for two days now. I've taken away the cable from the tape recorder. That's how mean I am.
So, we did violin. And Francesca spent most of the time flouncing and huffing and generally anything but playing the actual violin. After 25 minutes (see, I even gave her a bit more slack but don't tell her that) we gave up and The Banning occurred. Again. I do hope she gets the message.
It's just that she's finding it hard. I said, "Of course you are! It'll get easier when you actually play it!" but that didn't go down too well. She can concentrate perfectly well for ages on things she has decided to do.
Like English. She worked for more than half an hour before looking up to see if she'd done the requisite 20 minutes. Her little re-telling of You Are Special is coming along nicely. The book has prompted some discussion about labelling: how it's wrong to go round labelling people as 'stupid' or 'lazy' etc which has raised Francesca's understanding of the book to a new level. (We've had the book for a few years without plumbing such depths). It's like Literacy and PHSE rolled into one.
Whilst Francesca did her writing, Elizabeth and Sebastian and I gathered around a Big Book of Jolly Phonics that I have borrowed from a friend. We read all the way through the book, singing the song for each sound and finding words that began with each sound. They both enjoyed tracing over the letters, following the arrows, to learn how the letters are formed. There were some questions at the end which Elizabeth completed with enthusiasm. We had previously covered these first few phonics (s, a, t, p, n) but it's been a while so I was keen to revisit them. We might do another whole phonics book tomorrow but it's a playgroup day so we might not get chance.
Maths fitted in somewhere. Francesca took out her Heinemann book and did a couple of pages. Then I revised number bonds to 10 with her because she's not remembering them and it's really slowing her down. She also practised her 2x and 5x tables on the Mental Maths app. I'm able to set it to the most basic level, specify which tables she's doing and give a time limit for each answer. Time limits work well for Francesca because they help her to focus, otherwise we might never get there...
The Electronics Bit
After lunch, we did Science, using Elizabeth's Christmas present electronics workshop. We made the first circuit in the instruction booklet (there are 72 to make, apparently) which was a simple series circuit connecting a battery, a switch and a motor. The motor spun a coloured disc, which blended the colours to make white.
I explained that the electricity needs to go out of one end of the battery, all the way round the circuit and back into the other end. I used an analogy that I remember from school. Think of the battery like a house, with a front and back door. The electricity comes out of the front door, goes down the garden path and round, into the back door. They got it.
We disconnected the switch and tried other materials - eventually learning about conductors and insulators.
"What about the pepper shaker?" (metal)
Francesca shakes her head. "No, because it's full of pepper. Oh!"
"What about a pan lid?"
"It's too big! Oh."
"What about a paper-clip?"
It was all quite surprising.
Then the girls had a go at designing and making their own switches. They used stiff paper, aluminium foil, paper-clips and sticky tape. With a bit of prompting and a few heavy hints, we got there. It was quite a fun thing to do, to reinforce what we'd been learning.
Aside from 'lessons' there was also a lot of colouring in going on today. Francesca finally finished her snow globe from pre-Christmas, with a lovely drawing of Santa Claus. She's also been doing some of her colouring book. Another marble run was built:
The girls have got all their toys sitting in rows in their bedroom, with books, playing schools.
While I was cooking dinner, they decided to do painting.
Dinner was delayed by two spilt water jars (thanks, Sebastian!) so we did Tidy Up Time before the meal instead of after, which worked out ok.