Saturday, 30 June 2012

Winterfest 2012

Today we jumped a few hundred years forward in time from the Greeks to the medieval  period with a visit to Winterfest. We saw many fights, jousts and bird displays. The children got to have a go at archery and sword fighting along with chucking wet sponges at a thief in the stocks. Here are some pictures from the day.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bicycle Education

Today we joined our friends from Home Education Penrith for a bicycle education day at Campbelltown  Bicycle Education and Road Safety centre. We learnt about road signs, road markings and helmet safety. The the children had a go around the huge track with real traffic lights.

Learning the road rules
Helmet safety talk

Greek Warriors

We have just started reading about the early Greeks. The children made these foil swords and shields. Here's how.

First they drew their design onto thick card from an old box.

R's Minotaur design

Next we went over the design with glue gun to make a raised line.

L's monster design

We then stuck on foil making sure to smooth it over our raised design. We stuck 2 loops of card onto the back for the handle. The swords were made the same way.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


The children have been working with Dad for several weeks on a Claymation movie. Here is the final production.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Term In Review

The term is coming to an end and before I begin planning the next one I thought I'd look back over our successes and failures for this term.

Ten out of ten

Firstly we've had some fantastic group learning experiences; aboriginal camp, art, basketball, music, museums and roller skating to name a few. This coming term we have a road trip and camp at Dubbo to look forward to and lots more besides.

Assigned reading of topic books has worked really well and I have found it is a fantastic way to keep the kids quite in the car! The library books actually get read and R gets a wider perspective on topics by reading from a variety of authors.

Phonics and tricky words with Jolly Phonics has worked it's magic with L who is now confidently reading Oxford Reading Tree books for year 1 children.

We have purchased the Maths-On-Line curriculum (home school discount), which seems to be more in-depth and challenging than StudyLadder. The children really like it.

We are still following the Mr Q life sciences curriculum and we have made this more comprehensive with nature study, trips and extra experiments.

We are still enjoying using The Story Of The World history curriculum. We've made some great models, recipes and art works and performed some cool experiments from the accompanying activity guide.

The children have cooked every week and, whilst not always healthy, at least they have made something.

The children have made excellent progress in swimming, R now swims about 10 lengths of the 25m pool and is learning breaststroke whilst L can swim the whole of the training pool and is getting the hang of breathing to the side.

Must try harder

One of the major issues we have is that we are doing so much there isn't time to slot in extra activities or random projects that the children request. So next term I plan to do 4 weeks "core" curriculum, just like we have been doing, followed by a week of project. Then another 4 weeks core and a weeks project. I plan to base the projects weeks around whatever the children are interested in at that moment. Currently it's taking apart the car to see how it works. Eek!

Our artworks this term have mainly been done as part of other topics and we have not completed much in the way of directed art and experimental art, I hope to remedy this next term when we will concentrate on the human form in art.

Whilst R has worked through lots of spelling and grammar activities we still have not done a great deal in the way of writing. Poems and stories here we come!

The kids have made excellent progress in music lessons but we have not actually listened to many different types of music. Another idea for the car next term.

Whether any of this will actually happen, who knows? Check back soon to see...

End Of Term Concert

Today R performed at the Dynamic Rhythms end of term music concert. Here he is playing "Driving Round".

The incentive

Friday, 22 June 2012

Australian Animal Tunnel Books

Recently the children have been studying an Australian animal of their choice. R has been researching Brown Snakes and L has looked at possums. Here are some notes they have made:

Information about possums by L

Information about Brown Snakes by R

Today we made tunnel books showing the animals in their environment. For a tutorial see Teach Kids Art. Basically the different layers are held apart by concertinaed card.

Brown Snake in its habitat by R

Possum in its habitat by L

Next week I hope to get the children to write up their notes in a PowerPoint presentation.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ancient Crete

Today we have been learning about Ancient Crete and the Minoans. We read the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. We used some clay and a model farm cow to create our own monster.

Minotaur by R

Next we made a maze for the Minotaur from air dry clay.

Labyrinth by R

Labyrinth by L

We discussed the possibility that the Minoan civilisation ended abruptly due to a volcano erupting on a nearby island. Then we constructed our own volcano with bicarbonate-of-soda, washing up liquid, colouring and vinegar.

The volcano erupts so L runs away!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon

In history this week we have been earning about ancient Babylon. Today we made our own version of the hanging gardens of Babylon. We used a strawberry pot to give us the different terraces. We planted up with pansies and a succulent and added rope ladders for the Babylonian Queen to enter her garden.