Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Ooh New Stuff...

I know its nearly Christmas but some things you just can't turn down, so when a friend decided to sell her unused Montessori Geometry Cabinet, how could I turn it down!! Anyway it arrived today, while we were out of course, but was unpackaged by this afternoon. So now I need to print and laminate all the bits to go with it tonight. Oh and learn about the shapes, as my geometry knowledge is about on par with my geography!

Hettie had a good go though and measured and compared angles, which is something we've done very little on. Don't ask me why she's wearing her coat indoors, we have got heating now!

Issy drew round shapes and named them all.

I've been having a look at Living Math for Issy to run alongside the Montessori math curriculum and it looks pretty good. I've got a couple of the books, although not nearly all of them, but think I can use some of it.

Off to laminate and find somewhere to put the cabinet which may mean clearing another bookshelf !

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Counting, History and Christmas!

We were up and about early today and so got on with some work! Hettie made a good start on her new history project on Ancient Mesopotamia. We started using some notebooking pages and she produced some lovely work. She started making a Sumerian coracle out of clay, and after a bit of maths work got on with making her Christmas Tree decoration. I've bought a lovely book - The Christmas Craft Book from Myriad.

OK, so we may need to change it from a tree bauble to a ceiling decoration, but at least she made most of it with no help! I may need to check dimensions on the next project.
And Issy faffed about all morning and played on the laptop, but we did manage to get some maths done:

Christmas countdown begins soon, so I must sort out some shopping over the next week and get organised, and I'm hoping to make an advent hanging decoration at the weekend. And I've just put my cuppa on the side and missed completely so off to wipe up tea!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Change of Template and Wool Dyeing...

I've been having a bit of trouble with blogger this weekend, but all sorted now, thanks go to CJ for her help late last night!! Anyway I changed the template again in an attempt to get it all going again. I've started a new blog to show our planning for anyone who's interested. Its not perfect and it doesn't list everything but its just, well, what we're doing - at the moment anyway!! Its here at Boyceview Planning.

Amidst a fair bit of time spent on the computer today - I haven't indulged for ages - and cleaning the house from top to bottom I maaged to find time to supervise Hettie dyeing some wool from a kit she got last Christmas - OK it's probably about time we got round to it!!

White wool - soaked

Dyes mixed

Poured over the wool, then wrapped in cling film and microwaved.

Rinsed and hung up to dry 'til tomorrow

Actually Hettie did most of this herself with minimal help, except from getting it out of the microwave. It worked pretty well and hopefully she can roll into a ball tomorrow and knit into a scarf.

And Issy, well she watched Kung Fu Panda and practised with the piggies - don't ask!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Brownies and Visual Timetables....

... Brownies is great isn't it? The girls have been gone nearly all day and had a lovely time, coming home with pressies from Santa (apparently not the real one 'cos you could see the strings holding on the beard), made cakes and generally had fun. Dh got called to work and has had to go miles away so we won't see him again til midnight. That left me and the piggies and the dog, bliss, I mean it was really quiet round here.

The cakes were pretty yuk, very, very sweet!

I cleaned all through downstairs and no-one made a mess behind me, sorted out the girls schoolwork boxes & a heap of school stuff I had hanging around, whilst watching Columbo. I know its old but I love it!

There's been a discussion on the Structured Home Ed Group about a variety of things but visual timetables cam up, so here's the pics of Hettie's. Issy's are a bit different and more focused on listening, sitting still, as well as subjects.

Basically its a Tesco display folder to start. Then I laminated 7 A4 day tables, I think from Do 2 Learn get organised section. Then I used sticky velcro and added 2 strips on each table.

Then I printed a whole heap of little cards and laminated them, and backed them with sticky velcro, got cheap from the local market. The cards are available from Do 2 Learn and Meyer-Johnson Boardmaker, they have a free trial. You can make them for older children/teens to fit in a filofax type folder. I pull out the box of velcro pics and set out what that day's work is, or sometimes Hettie sets out her own.

Then they have a coloured A4 laminated sheet with 12 pics on (see above) and a strip (see below) which they can use for any communication needs. It works quite well with Hettie, because she uses this as a memory prompt, and it usually has hungry and thirsty on it most of the morning. Issy has more emotions on her board, and a 'I need time out' card.

I also make A5 cards, just printed - no velcro -for when we go out on trips for Issy, eg first we're getting a train, then we're getting a bus, then we'll get to the museum and so on until home again. Its all in pics with simple words and she says it makes her feel much better about going out because she knows exactly what is going to happen. Only problem is she wants to stick to her plan rigidly, so if it says we're getting the tube - then we are getting the tube!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Its been a Busy Day...

I rushed around all morning at work and then rushed off to take the girls to their science course. It's called Mad Science and the guy who does it is called Professor Kaos. The kids love it, as its all hands on - no reading and writing! Also lots of experiments. It was quite amusing to hear lots of the kids saying 'cool we can do this at home' and poor Prof Kaos explaining it could be dangerous and so they couldn't. We (parents) explained after that as we all HE we probably would repeat a lot of it at home and he was pleasantly surprised, because when he'd encouraged school children to experiment at home their parents had complained!

Hettie & her cousin

Issy, not looking too impressed!
(They got to keep the rainbow glasses, great after a glass or two!)
I had arranged both the girls separate work stuff into a plastic box with lid, but as I can't lift them off the floor I think there's a tad too much in each. Fortunately both girls are off to Brownies for the day tomorrow and dh is at work, so I could sit on my behind all day reading or I could sort the school stuff and do some housework. Lets face it, it'll be ten times quicker doing housework if I'm in on my own!! So I should have time to sort the school stuff in peace, well except for the squeaky guineas!
Edited to add: This template is driving me mad - none of the gaps will save, maybe I'll do that tomorrow instead of housework!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Piggie Pics & Sonlight!

Today we have been to our home ed meeting at the library, which had a great turnout today. We went off into town to check the Works for any cheapy books and got a few bits. There was a huge truancy sweep which coincided with our HE meeting day, but they were nice enough to those HE'rs they stopped, although the girls and I zig zagged up the high street and deftly avoided them:0) This afternoon I went off to work for a few hours and the girls went to nan & grandads. Piggies are thriving and re-named.

This is Ginny Weasley

And this is no longer Ruby, or Mrs Squeak (her 2nd name) but is now Hermione Granger!

As for Sonlight, after a comment left here I feel I should explain a bit further. The things I love about SL is it comes in one big box and the book titles are great, both fiction and non-fiction. The whole curriculum is well laid out, easy to organise and above all you can just pick it up off the shelf and carry on from where you left off. The language arts programmes was good and the girls got on well with it, and we love the timeline book and geography mapwork. Issy loves the bible reading and I wouldn't send anything back.

My problem with it is a) it is an awful lot of reading, and then more reading. We didn't find we had much actual 'doing'. b) When we added more 'doing' ie a lapbook or project we got behind with the reading. c) I didn't like the science curriculum.

Having said that I think Issy will come back to it, as I think she will be able to work through it better next year and as she begins to work more independently. So I would recommend it with reservations that you need to be quite dedicated to keep up with it all and it is mainly an American curriculum not a British one.

I hasten to add this is only my humble opinion and I know many UK HE'rs who love using SL!!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Gee thanks...

... for all your nice comments, I'll be reading round later! So some of you may have noticed a slight change in education round here. Waldorf worked fantastically with Hettie for a year, with the exception perhaps of maths. Home edding two children is very different to one, especially when the new addition can be a tad difficult a times - well most of the time actually :o)
So I had decided Sonlight was the way ahead, unfortunately 8 weeks in we were all falling asleep from all that reading, its a little bland tbh. I ended up adding so much in that we were nowhere near on schedule. However the books I bought are great and so I began to tweak it a bit, well a lot actually. So I have a new schedule.
A friend mentioned that maybe Montessori would work well for Issy and its one of the few curriculums I haven't tried yet. So I set about gathering some materials etc. The maths equipment is great and is working well for both girls and we're making some good solid progress. Hettie is following Galore Park Maths and using Montessori equipment as she needs and for extra practice. Issy is following Montessori Elementary maths.
So today we threw in some Montessori zoology work and looked at Living and Non Living things, which proved quite an eye opening while they tried to decide whether a planet is a living thing!
More on the new schedule next time! The piggies are thriving and very well cuddled!

Monday, 17 November 2008


.... I'm not over keen on lapbooks myself but the girls seem to like them - and if it gets Issy concentrating on anything its worth the effort. So she has completed a Guinea Pig Lapbook and Hettie completed a Volcano one. Here's the results:

Hettie asked me what the banking crisis is this evening, so I gave her a brief explaination about it and she decided it would be easily sorted out if the Prime Minister gave each bank fifty pounds each !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

New family members........

.......... Ok so I gave in! And we have two new baby piggies. I have to say they really are sweet and despite being new to our house, and being only 7 weeks old, they are putting up with an awful lot of mauling, sorry I mean gentle handling to tame them. Issy has not left them alone for a second unless forcibly removed from the room. Hettie was out with her friend, so Issy and I went to get them. Fortunately they only had these two girls so no choice - we could have been there for a week deciding otherwise. Presumably they actually are girls because I haven't personally checked.
They have been carried around since early morning, Isobel was the first up today and I don't think that's ever happened before. In fact I thought she was Hettie. They may meet an early demise from over indulgence of carrots and they have spent a large part of their day being carried around in dressing gown pockets, so suffocating is another possibility. Then there is a very probable chance we're going to loose one.
Fortunately the dog isn't taking too much notice of them - he's about the only one, even dh seems besotted by them. I, however, am not enamoured by sweeping up piggie poo all day and scrubbing piggie wee off the sofas.

Issy's first cuddle!

This Issy's piggie called Ruby, well she was last I heard. Strangely enough Ruby is blonde, jumps and skips and wriggles, and constantly talks to us - mmm just like her owner.

This is actually Hettie's piggie, which as yet has no name at all. She is content to lay on the sofa, eat and grunt occasionally and has fluffy hair - mmm just like her owner.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Wow - Its been a while...

...since I blogged. Why? Well I stopped in summer 'cos we were away a lot and then it sort of drifted and drifted and so on, and on, and on...

But we're back, can't promise to be as regular, as things are all a bit hectic here as usual. So what have we been up to? Lots and lots actually. Too much to list.

As far as school work goes we're definately of the 'eclectic group now, using a bit of everything and after over two years now of home education, I think I've bought everything! OK maybe not everything. Our most recent buys have included a lot of Montessori equipment, in particular for Issy who is a very visual learner and some lapbook packs for both girls to back up work in Hettie's case and to form the main part of Issy's work.

Spelling cards!!

We made a model Tudor Town with Modroc.

Hettie with the Montessori multiplication and division boards.

Issy with the Montessori addition and subtraction boards.

Issy made a rainbow on the back window, she actually covered both after this and I didn't buy the cellophane sheets for this - but it made a lovely indoor rainbow.

Someone recommended montessori for Isobel and I'm really pleased with the bits I've bought and the bits I've made, which I'll post at a later date. She's mainly working on Montessori for maths, some worksheets I made based around Aesops Fables for English and lapbooks for the majority of her work. Her current obsession is Guinea Pigs. 24 hours a day is talking about Guinea Pigs, reading about Guinea Pigs and on and on, until Hettie and I both dreamt about them last night!! The deal was a great project about them and you may get some. So tomorrow we're off to get some. Hettie's out for the day with her friend so I get to pick hers. I decided probably not good for Santa to bring them down the chimney! Not surprisingly Issy managed to produce a lovely project within a fortnight.

Hettie is working well and I'm really pleased because at long last we're getting some progress.

This week the boiler packed up - on Monday! So we've been living with 2 fan heaters and the woodburner all week - and yes I'm married to a heating engineer! Still the new boiler is on the wall, not connected, but its up there. So tomorrow I've got friends for dinner in the evening, a boiler being fitted, Hettie's out for the day, and Isobel, well its Guinea Pig D-Day!
Oh yes and we've also acquired a couple of African Giant Land Snails, Sponge bob and Gary...

... guess who's looking after those now!