A trip to the capital

Colin’s agency job finished on Monday so we took the opportunity to go up to London for a few days to visit his grandparents, whom we haven’t seen for a year and a half. We loaded up the car and set off early Tuesday morning, stopping to visit my Granny in Yeovil on the way.

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The Travelodge where we were staying had nine floors and a brilliant view. Once we had unpacked our stuff and set up Esther’s hammock, we went over to Great-Nanny and Grandad’s house for the evening.

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On Wednesday, after Nanny cooked us a fried breakfast, we took the overground and underground trains to London Zoo.

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There was a petting area where Tabitha enjoyed feeding and stroking the donkeys, alpacas, llamas and goats.

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It didn’t take long for Aaron to find water and get soaking wet!

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There were several walk-through areas where we could get up really close to monkeys, birds, spiders and other animals.

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This pelican had the letters “AAR” on his ring, which we decided must be short for Aaron.

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Tabitha loved the butterfly house and Aaron was amazed by the huge Atlas moths which were as big as his head.

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Watching the penguins swimming through the glass was great fun. They almost seemed to play with the children.

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Aaron was very excited about seeing the Komodo Dragon. He has been interested in them since we used Komodo Maths a few years ago and has watched lots of videos about them.

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Colin found the aquarium very interesting.

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One of my favourite animals we saw were the giraffes.

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On the way back we walked through Regent’s Park. According to Colin’s phone, we walked 22 km in total that day! Aaron and Tabitha did amazingly well but we were all rather exhausted by the time we got back to Nanny and Grandad’s house for a late dinner.

On Thursday we drove across London to go and visit Colin’s aunt, uncle and cousins. They took us to Brooklands museum where we saw cars, bikes, planes, buses and more. We went on Concorde which was very interesting, and Colin pointed out the engine part that his Grandad made.

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Afterwards we went back to their house for dinner, where Tabitha had a wonderful time with the two cats, five dogs and collecting eggs from the henhouse.

We spent Friday morning with Great-Nanny and Grandad again. It has been really lovely for the children to get to know them better, as they’ve only met them a few times. We set off around midday and finally got home just before 9 pm, after lots of stops and traffic queues!

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Curriculum and resources 2014/15

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I can’t believe it’s November already, this post has been in my drafts folder since August! I always enjoy reading about what resources other home educators are using, so I thought I would share some of our curriculum for this year.

Bible

We begin our morning by reading a lesson from Leading Little Ones to God. Each lesson includes a Bible story, questions to talk about, memory verse, suggested Bible reading, hymn and prayer. We are also using the free character lessons from Kids of Integrity.

Handwriting

We are still working through Scholastic Literacy Skills: Handwriting Reception-Year 2.  Tabitha loves writing her name and other words, so my focus for her will be learning the correct letter formations, whilst Aaron is showing an interest in joined up writing and needs to focus on neatness. Other handwriting resources include sandpaper letters, wipe-clean workbooks, pegboards and tablet apps.

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Reading

Aaron reads aloud to me either from Biff, Chip and Kipper books or from his Minecraft handbooks. He also uses an app to practise high frequency words. Tabitha knows most of her letter names and sounds, as I discovered a while ago at a visit to the optician. She is also starting to decode some CVC words, so we are using the level one Biff, Chip and Kipper books and Montessori pink series materials alongside other resources. I may resubscribe to Reading Eggs at some point, although I wish they did monthly subscriptions as the children tend to lose interest after a while.

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Maths

As usual, a lot of our maths learning is what I like to call “conversational maths”. We discuss mathematical concepts and problems as we come across them in everyday, real life situations. We also use the materials from our maths shelves for various activities, challenges and games. Aaron uses Komodo on the computer or tablet to practise mental arithmetic. Tabitha hasn’t done much formal maths yet but has a good grasp of numbers, so I have introduced some of the Montessori maths activities to her. She also enjoys doing maths workbooks. We will continue using Miquon Math with our Cuisenaire rods, although we haven’t done any for a while as our printer is playing up and I can’t print out the lab sheets. Aaron has lost interest in the orange book lab sheets, so I have decided to leave it and skip straight onto the red book which will hopefully be more challenging for him.

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Science

Until now, we haven’t done much formal science. Plenty of time outside in nature and lots of inquisitive questions have allowed us to cover the basics informally. However, last week I decided to try out AIG’s God’s Design for Science curriculum, starting with The World of Plants, The World of Animals and The Human Body. We will be able to combine many of the lessons with nature study and additional hands-on activities.

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Other subjects

Colin usually has Fridays off, so we do a four day week and keep Fridays and Saturdays free for days out. Bible, handwriting, reading, maths and science doesn’t take much more than an hour or so each day, as many of our activities are only 5-10 minutes long. That leaves the rest of the day free for play, outings or other subjects such as art, music, French, geography and history. I have no formal plan for other subjects and we tend to cover them in blocks depending on what else is going on. For example, at the moment we are learning about Paris because my parents are on holiday there and the First World War because Remembrance Day is coming up.

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