Saturday, 30 April 2011

Plum and Raspberry Cobbler

Today was sweet week cookery day. The kids cooked this yummy warm dessert with scones in a raspberry and plum sauce.

Tickletown - Part 3

We've been working on mail to send to the residents of Tickletown (our junk model village). A while ago R made some stamp designs inspired by stamps we have collected from various countries. We are members of Postcrossing so we have cards from all over the world. We also used pens to design some more stamps for Tickletown mail. I printed these out as a contact sheet so they were just about stamp sized.

We looked trough our postcard collection and the children particularly liked the cityscapes. We made our own cityscape designs using permanent markers and watercolours. R wrote a message on the back for one of Tickletown's residents. We stuck on airmails (free from the post office) and our own stamp designs.

Postcards - top by R bottom by L
Postcard message to Daisy Duck from Tom (Beastquest) by R
We had lots of fun improving our cutting, sticking and folding skills by making parcels. A bit of maths crept in too as we discussed 3D shapes and measured our paper.

We get lots of junk mail at home so we decided to make our own too. We looked at examples of special offer catalogues. The children used the Internet to down load pictures for their catalogues. R unsurprisingly chose "chocolate" and L chose "fruit"

Making junk mail

Chocolate specials by R, Fruit specials by L
 The children used number stamps from Learning Resources to add the prices to their catalogues. R was able to write over these with pens.

Using number stamps

Very expensive chocolate!
R used Word to make a gas bill to send to the Icky, Sticky Frog.

We still have some more things to make before the mail is delivered. Check back soon!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Today we visited the newly renovated Trainworks Rail Heritage Museum at Thirlmere. A whole new section of the museum has just been opened. We made sure to have another look at the mail van carriage whilst we were there as we are currently learning about the way our post is delivered.

Parcels ready to go inside the mail van

On-board sorting office in the mail van

Monday, 25 April 2011

Tickletown - Part 2

We discussed how streets are sometimes named after features nearby and then decided on appropriate names for Tickletown. R chose Bank Road, Bridge Street, Riverside Park, High Street, Church lane and Pond Circuit. He wrote the names onto lolly sticks and then stuck these signs onto the model. Then the buildings were numbered, odd numbers on one side of the street, even on the other.

Pond Circuit and Church Lane

Rowan used a compass to find which direction is North and marked it on out town.

We read the Jolly Postman story and talked about different kinds of post. We than looked at our book collection and decided which characters would live in each house. The 3 Owl Babies are so wise that we decided they should work in the library.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Tickletown - part 1

We have started our maps and post office project by constructing a model town from junk. The kids have named it Tickletown after a game they play with Daddy.

First I stuck a huge piece of paper to the play table and drew on a grid.

Next we used sponge rollers to paint on the rivers and roads. We also added a lake and some car parks.

The kids used junk to make houses, including some fab cereal packets which were already house shaped.
We painted them and stuck on clip art windows. We also made a few models from Owl & Mouse.

We added the models to the base map along with some toy cars, road signs, trees and farm animals.

The kids have enjoyed playing with it today.

The next part of the project will be to name the roads and number the houses. We had a look around our neighbourhood today to see how houses are numbered and to look at different street names. Once we have our houses numbered we will have to decide who lives in them. We will be reading the Jolly Postman, a wonderful story with "real" letters inside it, for some inspiration. We have a free DVD and educational pack from  Australia Post and we have learnt how post is sorted and delivered. Soon we will make and address post to send around Tickletown!

Drop by soon to see how it goes.

Pasta Bake

This week's cookery was a delicious pasta bake recipe chosen and cooked by R and L. Yummy!

Friday, 22 April 2011


Well I've spent the whole day planning for the next 3 months home ed. But how do I decide what to cover?

At the beginning of the year I decided what skills I wanted the kids to work on for the year. How? Well I looked at the government targets and decided what they already knew, and what they needed to cover - not necessarily at their year level but tailored to their own individual learning needs - unlike school. But it didn't stop there. The beauty of home ed is that we can follow the children's interests and add in extra things to study that may not be on any government curriculum, or spend extra time on things they find fun or that they need more practise with.

I keep a diary of activities we have done and things the children have learnt. So today I went back to my year plan to check what we have covered so far, what we need to revise and what we need to progress onto. This term we are going to be working on:
  • counting, number bonds to 20, measuring, recording data
  • phonics, sight words, writing sentences, reading aloud
  • scientific investigation, using science equipment, hypothesising and testing
  • drawing, making 3D art
  • experiencing different types of music, singing
  • vocabulary of history and time
  • map skills
  • swimming, ball sports
  • life skills
  • fine motor skills
As well as subject specific projects we are going to work on 3 topics that integrate many subjects. These are "ourselves", "maps" and "the post office". Check back soon to see how we do.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Little Fish

R and L's intensive swimming lessons are going well. Today their teachers moved them both up a group. L is now a tadpole and R a sardine. Of course this was a logistical nightmare for me to reorganise their time slots and levels whilst trying to keep the same teachers. I didn't quite manage it and R will have a new teacher next term, he's looking forward to it as it will be a man. I have threatened that he will go back to (strict) Kylie if he messes about.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cookery day

Today was cookery day. R chose a really unhealthy recipe called "snow queen" which is made from meringue, cream, sugar and fruits. Yummy!

Only 100 billion calories a slice

Home education is not for the house proud!

The house is in a continual mess. Currently I have dripping wet junk models on my kitchen counters and clay fish residing by my kettle. The washing machine is covered with paintings and foam models. The whole laundry room is an explosion of art works, materials and scraps. Books litter the bathrooms and living room, and I have mushrooms growing under my stairs. The computer I write on is adorned with number lines and half finished board games. Whilst the dining room is an explosion of toys, games and educational materials looking for a home. The dinner table itself is decorated by permanent ink and paint, with embellishments of PVA glue.

Home educating is not for the tidy or house proud!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Swimming Lessons

Today the kids began 2 weeks of intensive swimming lessons. R was with his usual teacher Kylie, whilst L had her first lesson ever with Margaret. Poor thing screamed the place down terrified, not of the water, but of her teacher.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Camden Show

On Saturday we attended the 125th Camden Show - Still a country show.

After quickly skirting the fun-fair we headed for the duck and pig show, featuring very well dressed ducks.

Then browsed some of the displays where the kids enjoyed petting the animals and R challenged himself to the Scouts assault course.

After the obligatory ice-cream we made our way to some arena shows including the young farmers challenge, sword play, mini stunt bikes and jousting.

Evening was drawing in so we headed to the main arena for the nights events, pausing for the dodgems and bumpy slide en route. The camels lined up in the starting pen, ready, steady, go ... and they're off.

The loud lawnmower racing scared L, but we all enjoyed the brumbly run, where the wild horses were rounded up. Wheelie bin races turned out to be more exciting than expected, especially when runners were brought down in the mud right in front of us. The crowd were a bit cruel in their laughter though! The firework spectacular began eventually after a bit of manual lighting of the 125 years sign. L sat through the whole thing with her eyes screwed tightly shut!

The event had a different feel to last year as we mainly concentrated on seeing the arena events rather than the displays like last year. I think you need 2 days to really see everything.

Making a Blog

Well I've thought about it for a while and so here goes.... my blog!

Creating at home

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lewers Gallery

We joined our friends at Home Education Penrith for a trip to the Lewers gallery to view the Aboriginal artworks and try our hands at clay sculpture.

We had a tour round the gallery and examined the colourful artworks. The kids used the map on the gallery floor to find out where abouts in Australia the paintings had been made and which tribe had made them.

Our guide explained how the artists made paints from crushed up rocks. We also found out that the Aboriginal people paint a picture first and then cover it with a second picture. This protects their secrets and traditions from outsiders.

R and his best friend study the picture

Moving on to the clay workshop we all had a try at sculpting our own clay fish.

L and Mummy's fish (left), R's one-eyed fish (right)

The gallery also had a nice garden which the group roamed around in for a while before we headed off for lunch.

Once at home we used various sponges and our fingers to make Aboriginal style paintings.

Painting by R