Thursday, 23 February 2017

100 Days of Home Ed

This is a blog post from my other blog Home Educated Not Invisible and I decided that it is worth sharing here too!

There was a story in the media about home education earlier this month.  This particular family follow a philosophy that is called Autonomous Education which is also known by some as Unschooling.  There are some subtle differences between the two but that is not the focus of today's post.

As a result of this story, there came the idea to use hashtags things like #NotMyHomeEd and #100DaysofHomeEd.  There is a "challenge" on Facebook and Instagram to post a photo or a selection of photos each day of how home education looks for your family with the 100 Days of Home Ed hashtag.

I've decided not to do that on Facebook but to post a few of my favourite photos in a single blog post from the first of September until present day.  Home education for me is about much more than the three Rs,  It's about family, community, academics and more!

We learned that people appreciate things that you do.  This pair of earrings was a lovely surprise from a family who appreciates the trips and groups that I organise for home educators.

We go to a monthly Science Club and this is the project that we did on clouds.  We used cotton balls to make our clouds.

We also did a little experiment to learn about the water cycle.  We placed two of these in different windows to see which one would 'rain' in the cup.

 All work and no play makes for a dull time.  This is our favourite local playground!  :-) 

The next two photos are for a blog post that I did on extracting the colour from leaves.  Hop on over to my other blog, Tales of Education at Home, to read how I did it and how it worked out for me!

This is a photo from my Melting Ice Experiment blog post over at  Tales of Education at Home  we were testing to see what would melt ice fastest, table salt, sugar, or air temperature.

We visited a local Tudor Hall and this is a picture of the peacock pie which was very popular among the wealthy folk in those days.

This is a picture of the bath that they had in Tudor times.  This was a rich person's bath.

The boar's head or pig's head - again another popular food item for the rich.

 This is a statue in the garden.  It is a girl dancing with her cat.

We went on a workshop to a local Pizza Express and we got to make Margherita pizza.   We learned about the history of pizza.

Many people are not fans of Hallowe'en for their own personal reasons.  I grew up with the custom of it and M wants to do it too.  We decided to make a jack-o-lantern in the back garden.

We started a project on World War 1 and this is a replica of a tank from that time.  This was made by local apprentices who are taking college course.

We also learned about volcanoes and M made her own very simple and rough volcano with a paper towel roll and a piece of cardboard.

We went to a film festival and saw four films in four different cinemas!  This was the best photo which is Printworks in Manchester.

I believe in giving something to the community and I teach that to my daughters.  We went to a local supermarket and did some fundraising (playing Christmas carols) for a local hospice.  This was my box that I carried to the supermarket.

We all had t-shirts to wear and M even played a solo or two for us.  She also offered chocolates to the people who donated.

We spent two days going around to eight care homes to play Christmas carols.  In the care homes M and I played this duet on our recorders.  We also used this duet for our monthly Project Club.  Music takes a lot of effort to make.

We made an apple pie on Christmas Day.  It was superb!

M received a collection of nail polish colours for Christmas and she was giving me manicures every day!  This was my New Year's Eve manicure :-)

We went on a tour of the Manchester Central Library Archives and learned that the bee is the symbol of Manchester.  The next photo is the cotton flower as Manchester has a long history in the textile industry.

We celebrated family - a wedding anniversary and a special birthday!

We had a trip to a local Buddhist Centre.  This is a picture of the group getting ready in the main hall for the guided meditation.  The person in orange is the resident monk at the temple.

Music is an important part of our education process.  M plays the recorder and in November she played in a recorder festival and won a trophy!

We went to a local farm and had cuddles with Charlie!  Charlie is a cute little guinea pig.

We have started a theme of Science Club and Project Club projects.  We are doing Alexander Graham Bell.  This is the start of the liquid transmitter and the first prototype of the telephone.  We will make another style of  telephone and M wants to make a smart phone.

This is an experiment that demonstrates capillary action with water and toothpicks.

We went to Manchester Central Library (Archives) again and M wanted to learn about asylums.  This record is from 1891.  We were touching a very old book!

After visiting the Central Library, we went to a nice cafe for lunch and then to the Manchester Art Gallery.

We don't follow term breaks or school hours so our #100DaysofHomeEd will be different to 100 days of school.  We do things seven days a week.  We have more special trips coming up.    We are going back to the Tudor Hall and we will be visiting a mosque, a gurdwara, and a synagogue.  We will be returning to the farm in April to see some babies that are due to arrive then  šŸ˜  

I have lots of families booking on to these trips. This means that the children are seeing lots of other children and are definitely not hiding! ... Oops!  I mean invisible šŸ˜‡

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Four Seasons by Vivaldi

This week's topic on Unit Study Roundup is Spring.

I decided to write about something by one of my favourite composers and one of his compositions that happens to tie in with the theme of Spring. Antonio Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons which has music to represent the four seasons.  It is a group of four concerti.  Each concerto has three movements.  A concerto is a piece of music that features a particular instrument and has orchestral accompaniment.  It is different to a symphony which is a piece that is for the whole orchestra without featuring a soloist.  Whenever you see concerto for violin, that tells you that the violin is the feature or soloist instrument of the piece of music.

Vivadi composed The Four Seasons and also wrote some poems to go along with it.  Here is a link to the poems in their original Italian and translated into English: The Four Seasons Sonnets

Vivaldi's arrangement of The Four Seasons is as follows and I have included a link to each of the concerti so that you can listen to them idividually:

Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, "Spring"" (La primavera)
Allegro (in E major)
Largo e pianissimo sempre (in C♯ minor)
Allegro pastorale (in E major)

Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, "Summer" (L'estate)
Allegro non molto (in G minor)
Adagio e piano - Presto e forte (in G minor)
Presto (in G minor)

Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, "Autumn" (L'autunno)
Allegro (in F major)
Adagio molto (in D minor)
Allegro (in F major)

Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, "Winter" (L'inverno)
Allegro non molto (in F minor)
Largo (in E♭ major)
Allegro (in F minor)

If you don't want to listen to all of the concerti individually, here is a link of the Budapest Strings playing The Four Seasons  and their conductor is Bela Banfalvi,

Who was Antonio Vivaldi?    He was born on March 4, 1678, in Venice, Italy, Antonio Vivaldi was ordained as a priest though he instead chose to follow his passion for music. He died on July 28, 1741.  He is composer from the Baroque era.

His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was a professional violinist who taught his young son to play too.  Vivaldi sought religious training as well as musical instruction.When he was 15, he began studying to become a priest. He was ordained in 1703. Vivaldi was known as "il Prete Rosso," or "the Red Priest" because he had red hair.

Vivaldi's work, including nearly 500 concertos, have influenced subsequent composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, who just so happens to be another one of my favourite composers and yes, he is from the Baroque era too.

If you would like to read more about Vivaldi, go to the Biography website to learn more about this wonderful composer.

Here are the other blog posts on the topic of Spring for this week's Unit Study Roundup:

8 Spring Kids Crafts You'll Want To Do Today! from Playdough & Popsicles

Get Outside with a Spring Scavenger Hunt {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME

Nature Walks in the Spring - Books, Printables, & Activities from Faith and Good Works

Planting with Preschoolers from Bambini Travel

Children's Books About Spring from The Jenny Evolution

Spring Writing Prompts from Schooling a

The Four Seasons by Vivaldi from Tales of Education at Home

50 Spring Crafts for Kids from Look! We're Learning!

Hanami: Celebrating Spring under Cherry Blossoms in Japan from FrogMom

Spring Color by letter/ sight word worksheets from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading

If you want more great resources visit the home base of our Free Unit Studies and find 60+ topics and 100's of fun and informative blog posts.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone!

This week at Unit Study Roundup, our theme is Saint Patrick's Day.  My contribution to the Unit Study Roundup for this theme is a word search.

What is Saint Patrick's Day?  Saint Patrick's Day is the feast day of Saint Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland.

He was born in Britain, kidnapped and taken to Ireland at the age of 16.  He escaped and then returned and is credited with having taken Christianity to Ireland.  It is celebrated on the anniversary of the day that everyone believes that he died,  March 17, 461.   The first ever Saint Patrick's Day parade was not in Ireland but was in America on March 17, 1762.  It was Irish soldiers who were serving in the English military paraded through the streets of New York and this parade helped the Irish soldiers there to connect with their Irish roots and with other Irish soldiers serving in the army at the time.

Today at Tales of Education at Home, I am sharing a word search that I created with some words that have an Irish or Saint Patrick's Day theme.

The words and phrases you will need to find are:




I have saved this on my Google Drive and you can download it from here: Saint Patrick's Day Word Search

Unfortunately this time I was having technical difficulties and could not embed the PDF into the blog post, so I apologise for making another link to click on.   I hope that you have fun doing this.

Here are the other blog posts for this week's theme at Unit Study Roundup:

Super Cute Leprechaun Traps For St. Patrick's Day from Playdough and Popsicles

St Patrick's Day Nonsense Word Game {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME

Simple St Patrick's Day Read + Make for Toddlers from My Storytime Corner

Children's Books about Leprechauns from The Jenny Evolution

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Slime from Schooling a Monkey

Happy St Patrick's Day! from Tales of Education at Home

Shamrock Pretzels from The Usual Mayhem

St. Patrick’s Day I Spy Printable from The Moments at Home

St Patrick's Day Outdoor Fun for Kids from FrogMom

If you want more great resources visit the home base of our Free Unit Studies and find 60+ topics and 100's of fun and informative blog posts.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Penguin Videos

This week's Unit Study Roundup theme is Penguins.  I decided to share a collection of videos on penguins.

This is a really good documentary that we watched on TV.  It's called Spy in the Huddle and a research documentary team made penguin that had a spy cam inside of it.and so it gives viewers a penguin's eye view of life in the huddle of a penguin.  I hope that you enjoy watching  Penguins- Spy in the Huddle  This is the full length show.  It is nearly 50 minutes long.

Here is a collection of funny and cute penguin videos because it is always fun to watch animals doing funny and cute things :-)

Watch this adorable penguin called  Cookie who is a resident at the Cincinnati Zoo. :-)

This is a five minute segment about Emperor Penguins which is part of a longer documentary which was shot and edited for Lindblad Expeditions (

And of course no collection of penguin videos would be complete without including a link to my favourite penguin, Pingu!  Follow this link to go to Pingu's official YouTube channel:

Enjoy :-)

Don't forget to read everyone else's blog posts on penguins for this week's Unit Study Roundup:

Easy Penguin Craft for Kids from Playdough and Popsicles

Penguin Craft for Kids from Look! We're Learning!

Children's Books about Penguins from The Jenny Evolution

App about Penguin Lifecycle from iGameMom

Penguin High Frequency Words from Adventures of Adam

Do you want to make a Penguin? from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading

Penguin Activities: Penguin Dress Up from Schooling a Monkey

Penguin Videos from Tales of Education at Home

Slippery Penguin Ice Experiment from CraftCreateCalm

Penguin Books for Kids & Activities {Printable Notebooking Pages} from The Natural Homeschool

Friday, 11 November 2016

Making a Mountain Out of A Mole Hill

This week's Unit Study Roundup theme is Mountains.  We decided to make a mountain out of a molehill!  How does that work?

For our Science lesson, DD decided that she wanted to do the volcano experiment.  She made a simple mountain to use for experiment.

To make the mountain, she gathered up her supplies which were:

1) paint
2) a paper towel tube
3) a flat piece of cardboard
4) tape

She painted the mountain to look like the volcano had erupted and made orange paint.  She taped the cardboard to the flat piece of cardboard and then painted it.

She painted the flat piece of cardboard green and painted a blue stream or river on it.  She ended up not wanting to use it for the volcano experiment because it was so cute and it would get ruined.

Here is the finished product:

Aerial view :-) 

Side or profile view :-) 

Now for the molehill :-)

There is an expression that we use quite often.  We speak of making a mountain out of a molehill.  That means that you make a really big problem out of something that is really simple and small.

How many other expressions or proverbs can you find or think of with mountains in them?

I found a few and their meanings:

Have a mountain to climb
To have an extremely difficult, seemingly impossible task at hand.

Have snow on the mountain (also snow on the mountain - There is a lot of snow on the mountain)
To have silver, grey, or white hair on one's head due to aging.

Faith will move mountains.
Proverb. If you believe in what you are doing, you can overcome any obstacle.

If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.
something that you say which means that if someone will not come to you, you have to go to them

If you find any more, please comment and share them along with their meanings below :-)

Here are the other blog posts from this week's Unit Study Roundup:

Adventurous Mountain Books your Tween will Love from Crafty Mama in ME

Mountain Shape Do a Dot Mats from Look! We're Learning!

Children's Picture Books About Camping from The Jenny Evolution

Mountain Sequencing Puzzle from Schooling a Monkey

Making a Mountain Out of A Mole Hill from Tales Of Education At Home

My Side of the Mountain Survival Lessons from FrogMom

Friday, 4 November 2016

A Bird In The Hand

A robin in a tree at an historical site in England

This week the Unit Study Roundup theme is birds.  I decided to look into the proverb 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.    What does it mean? According to it means this:


It's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.
 This ties in nicely with the idea of Thanksgiving and being thankful for what you have.  Where does this proverb come from?

This proverb refers back to mediaeval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the bush (the prey).

In the the Czech language, it is  'Lepsi vrabec v hrsti nez holub na strese'  which translates to 'A sparrow in the fist is better than a pigeon on the roof. '  I quite like that one!

The German equivalent is the same: " Besser den Spatz in der Hand als die Taube auf dem Dach."

In French they say, "Un tiens vaut mieux que deux que tu l'auras." and this literally translates to: one that you hold is better than two that you will have.

In Spanish they say: MĆ”s vale pĆ”jaro en mano que ciento volando -  which literally translates to A bird in hand is worth more than 100 flying.

The Dutch saying is: Een vogel in de hand dan tien in de bush

What is your favourite bird?  I used to have a pet budgerigar (a budgie) and she was so tame.  She did not speak though because only the males speak.  I was so disappointed when I found that out.  I learned this AFTER I had her home.  We loved her so much.  She had free run of our apartment until we got a cat.  Then, she had to stay in the bathroom with the door closed for her own safety.  I only put her in her cage at night during the day she could go where she wanted.

A bird is a nice easy pet to look after.  I put newspaper in the bottom of her cage and had to change that weekly (as well as disinfect the cage bottom).  I fed her bird seed and made sure she had fresh water in the cage.  I also hand fed her lettuce leaves and other carrot shavings/peelings.  I would clean and peel the carrot and then use the carrot peeler to peel some more carrot off and I gave her those to eat.

This is an interesting proverb or pearl of wisdom.  Next week the theme will be mountains, and I will explore some other proverbs and what they mean. There might even be a craft for you to make with your child.

Take a look at the other links from the other bloggers in the Unit Study Roundup.

Bird Letter Matching Printable Pack from Playdough and Popsicles

Owl Books for Kids from Look! We're Learning!

Birds of Prey Books from Brain Power Boy

Children's Picture Books about Birds from The Jenny Evolution

Bird Identification Apps from iGameMom

Bird Unit Printable from CraftCreateCalm

Birds Nest Loose Parts Invitation from My Storytime Corner

Red Bird Multiplication Worksheet from Schooling a Monkey

A Bird in the Hand from Tales of Education at Home

Perfect Gifts for Young Bird Lovers from FrogMom

Friday, 28 October 2016

My Favourite Winter Holidays

This week's Unit Study Roundup topic is winter holidays.  I decided to share a little bit about my favourite holidays.  I used to celebrate several holidays with my eldest DD so that we both learned about different cultures and customs.

The first holiday that we would celebrate was Hanukkah.  It is a fun celebration which is the Jewish festival of lights.  We lived in a town where there was a pottery place.  We painted our own menorah together.  She painted one side and I painted the other.

Here is our Menorah with all of the candles alight.  This was on the final night of Hanukkah. 

Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil in the temple.  The short version of the story is that there was enough oil left to light the lamp for one day.  A miracle happened and the oil lasted for eight days.  Now, if you look at the picture above, you will see nine candles.   Look carefully at the menorah, do you notice anything?  One of the candles is slightly higher.  This candle is the shammus candle or the servant candle.  Each night, you light this candle and say some blessings.  On the first night you say all three blessings and on the other nights you say the first two blessings.

1. Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

2. Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

3. Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

One candle is added to the menorah each night. The first night, you light only the shammus (the one at a different height) and one Chanukkah candle. By the eighth night, you light all of the candles. Candles should be added to the menorah from right to left (like Hebrew writing).

For more information please go  I used to make Latkes.  Here is a recipe similar to what I used to make, I got it from Epicurious


1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce


Preheat oven to 250°F.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Traditionally foods that use or are made in oil are served for Hanukkah treats because of the miracle of the oil.

Christmas is of course another favourite winter holiday of mine.  Everyone is either really grumpy, or really cheerful or somewhere in between!   If you are a musician, Christmas is a really busy time of the year because you are either playing at concerts or playing carols in the shopping centres!

There are as many different Christmas traditions as there are people who celebrate Christmas.   One of my favourite things to do is relax.  Our family has a quiet day.  We celebrate Christmas over the evening of the 24th and of course during the day on the 25th.  The big thing is that the Christkind (Christ child) brings the presents and we open them after dinner (evening meal) on the 24th.  The Christkind brings the gifts in the German speaking world rather than Santa Claus because Santa Claus - St Nikolaus has already visited on the 6th of December!  On the first Sunday of advent, the children leave their letters for the Christkind on the window ledge and St Nikolaus takes the letter on the 6th of December.

On the 25th, while everyone else around us is having their Christmas, we are enjoying a quiet day and we have the big Christmas meal.  Each year it is always a different special meal but there are two things that are the same, Blaukraut and Kartoffleknƶdel.  Blaukraut is cooked red cabbage and Kartoffelknƶdel are potato dumplings.  

On Christmas Eve in the Church of England, there is a special service which is called a Christingle service.  You can make your own Christingle at home very easily.  You need an orange, some red tape, some toothpicks (or cocktail sticks), some candies and dried fruit, some tinfoil, and a candle.   You need to cut the orange at the top and then put the tinfoil inside that hole.  The candle goes in there.  You put the red tape around the middle of the orange.  Place four toothpicks around the orange and then put the candies on the toothpicks (just two or three tiny candies per toothpick).  After you have made your Christingle, you light the candle and can sing some of your favourite carols.

What is a Christingle and what does it represent?  What does it look like?

Here is a picture: 

The orange represents the world or earth, the red tape represents the love or blood of Christ and it is placed around the centre of the world or earth - this is of course the equator.  The toothpicks represent the four poles or four corners of the world, north, east, south, and west.  The candies and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations The lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.

In the church service, we hear the story of the birth of Jesus and the prophecies.  We sing some carols and then we go forward and collect our Christingles.  We return to our seats and then one person lights their Christingle from the Pascal (Easter) candle and then they pass the light on to other Christingles.  Eventually each person is holding a lit Christingle and we sing Silent Night. It is a lovely service and churches are usually packed full.  There is also midnight mass and so one year I went to midnight mass.  The service was done without artificial light and we had communion at the end.  I had never been to midnight mass and wanted to go at least once because I had heard about it on television shows.

Kwanaza is something that I taught my daughter about but it is not something we celebrate or observe.  I heard about it and researched it.  I read about it here.  I think it is a nice celebration.  It goes from December 26th to January 1st.  There are seven core principles of Kwanzaa - one for each day.

The principles are:

  1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Here is a nice photo of a Kwanzaa candle holder - and I linked to it from here

I think those are some nice principles to celebrate and live by.

New Year's Eve is another favourite celebration and in our family, we like to watch Dinner For One - this sketch is about 11 minutes long and it is about a lady 'Miss Sophie' who is celebrating her birthday.  Her butler James is serving her and her guests.  Every year on her birthday, she had four friends who would join her.  They had a three course meal - soup, main dish, and dessert and each course has an alcoholic beverage to accompany it.  

Unfortunately, Miss Sophie's friends have since passed on and so James, the butler, has to act like her friends.  For every course he asks her if it's 'the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie' and she always replies with 'It's the same procedure as every year, James!' This sketch is a cult classic in Germany on 'Silvester' aka New Year's Eve.  I hope that you enjoy it.

Please click on the other links to see what the other bloggers in the Unit Study Roundup have posted about:

Elf on the Shelf Stationary {9 Page Free Printables Pack} from Playdough & Popsicles

Festive Christmas Scavenger Hunt {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME

Favorite Children's Books about Santa from The Jenny Evolution

Holiday Learning Activities from iGameMom

Books about Christmas Elves for Kids from CraftCreateCalm

My Favourite Winter Holidays from Tales of Education at Home

Printable Christmas Cards to Color from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading

STEM Gifts for Kids from Schooling a Monkey

3 Christmas Tree Activities from My Storytime Corner

Winter Holidays Family Activities List from Planet Smarty Pants