I’ve become really bad at blogging regularly. I think it’s partly because it’s so much quicker and easier to post snippets of our days on Instagram, and then it seems silly to repeat it here. Also, I’ve got out of the habit of keeping my camera handy and tend to mostly use my phone camera instead. It’s more convenient as it fits in a pocket and I usually have it with me, but of course the quality isn’t as good and a lot of the photos turn out blurry! My main reason for blogging has always been to preserve memories, so I’d like to get back into the habit of posting more regularly.
We’ve been making an effort to include more exercise in our week. Living in a maisonette with no garden and no soundproofing for our downstairs neighbour means that we can’t exercise at home, but we’re fortunate to have a big park just down the road. Aaron, Tabitha and I have fun using the exercise equipment at the park, pushing ourselves a bit more each time. Then Aaron and Tabitha run laps around the outside of the playground, trying to beat their personal best. We do some aerobic exercises and then finish off with some stretches, which Esther does her best to copy, before heading into the playground for a while.
Not having the car means we have to walk everywhere, which is a great way of getting some nature study in. It’s getting a bit too cold for butterflies now, but we saw loads on our nature walks in September. We didn’t know what this first one was so looked it up when we got home and discovered it is a comma.
Lately our nature walks have been focused around leaves and seeds. Esther loves both and can now say “conker” very clearly!
Aaron spotted a kingfisher a few moments before this photo was taken!
A microscope has been on my wishlist for ages, and I finally got round to purchasing one. I spent a long time debating whether to purchase a stereo microscope (light source from above means that it can be used to look at 3D objects), a compound microscope (light source from below means that it can be used to look at thin slices on glass slides) or a duo scope (two light sources so it can do a bit of both). In the end I went with this Brunel DM6 stereomicroscope for now, with the plan of buying a compound microscope later. These photos were just taken with my phone but we may eventually get a proper camera device. I did a lot of microscopy at university so microscopes are something I get excited about!
Aaron bought a triop kit while we were in France. We used the microscope to examine the detritus containing the triop eggs and were able to identify water flea eggs (the light brown semicircles with two dark dots). We did see initially see some tiny creatures in the water, but unfortunately they disappeared after a few days. We’ve still got half of the detritus left so we can have another go and hopefully get some triops this time.
I’m so glad I bought these Playmags when they were on offer back in the summer! I had been tracking them on camelcamelcamel so was able to grab a quick bargain, and I’d like to get another set if the price ever drops again. I was worried that Aaron might be a bit too old for them but all three children have played with them loads. If I had to get rid of all but a very few toys, these would definitely be on my keep list.
Tabitha’s aunt and uncle took her horse riding for a very special treat!
One of the cousins celebrated his 3rd birthday at the end of September and Auntie Jennifer threw a fantastic party with lots of fun games!
Tabitha caught the knitting bug again. She spent days working very busily on a scarf which she is planning to give to one of our neighbours for Christmas.
We came across this Crayola Easy Animation Studio and Aaron was really keen to try it. There is a colouring book to design and scan your own skins and backgrounds. Then you can pose the mannequin to create animated videos. It’s faster and easier than stop motion animation because you don’t have to take lots of photos or move the object in small increments. He has made some great karate videos! Sadly our home ed karate class has come to an end after two and a half years, but for now Aaron is continuing to attend the normal evening class.
Esther is very much into trains at the moment. She can build a track by herself (although the two ends don’t join) and gets upset when her “choo choo” runs out of battery.
I’ve been intending to write a proper post about our curriculum and resources for this term, but it has been sitting in the drafts folder for weeks. Our days always start with Bible reading.
Our main English resource this term is How to Write a Paragraph. I read a review by Angelic Scalliwags back in the summer and thought we’d give it a try. We haven’t really done any formal writing before and I was expecting it to be a bit of a battle, but actually both Aaron and Tabitha are rather enjoying it! It’s a 12 week course which builds up skills very gradually. In some ways it’s rather easy for Aaron, so he tends to be a little silly with his answers, but it still manages to keep his interest as many of the concepts are new to him.
Tabitha still insists that she can’t read, but recently she’s reading a lot more words that she sees in her everyday environment. I got out our old pink series Montessori work to boost her confidence a bit, which she really enjoyed.
Some hands-on maths with Tabitha to check her understanding of certain concepts.
Esther is at quite a tricky age to keep occupied while we are doing our schoolwork. She wants to see what we are doing (preferably from the viewpoint of my lap!) but also likes to wriggle, destroy things and climb all over the table! I’ve been making some activity trays to try and keep her busy, with varied success.
This week we went to a seminar for Christian home educators about fossils, dinosaurs and the flood. We could only stay for two of the three sessions as we had to get back for Tabitha’s ballet class. Aaron found it particularly interesting. He said afterwards “I always knew evolution wasn’t true, but today I saw the evidence!” He bought a cast of a fossilised baby Coelophysis footprint as a reminder of how easily all the animals could have fitted on Noah’s ark. (Sidenote: yes, I believe in a literal 6 day creation, a young earth and a global flood. I also have a degree in bioscience so I like to think I’m not a complete crackpot. No, I’m not teaching my children fairy tales. I want them to question everything and be able to back up their opinions with science.)
Today we played in the park on our way to a friend’s birthday lunch. I made an effort to take my camera with me for once!
When we got home, a parcel was waiting for Aaron and Tabitha. A few days ago I came across Happy Little Explorers on Facebook and Etsy. Sophie is a home educating mum who puts together amazing boxes of items to inspire children’s curiosity. I asked her for a box of natural items that we could look at under our microscope. The children were thrilled to open their parcel and unpack the contents!