Saturday, 2 May 2015

Making Music

Our family is a musical family in that we all play an instrument and in some cases more than one.

We play guitar, recorder, piano, percussion (too many to name), trombone, baritone and flute.  We have also had a couple of violinists who stopped playing.

I enjoy making music and sometimes I find it frustrating. I have recently had to take an enforced break from wind and brass and it is hard to get back into it again. My embouchure is weak because of the break.  Practice and discipline are key to making progress in your instrument.

How do you do it when you have lost your routine? We have two people getting ready for exams (recorder, a theory exam and a music theatre exam). 

I have never done an exam but I have played and sung competitively when I was younger. I now fall to pieces at the thought of playing a solo. I am not practising as much now as when I was in my teens that is the reason for my nerves.

I would love to hear from other musicians about your routines and how much playing and practice you do each week.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Catch Up

We have been busily working and settling into a new routine. We have been reading some literary classics of bygone days and M has been enjoying them. We take turns reading to each other and then I have her narrate or summarise the story in her own words. Sometimes I ask her comprehension questions if she doesn't seem to be able to retell the story.

We have been doing a mixture of lapbooks, and unit studies as well as using the resources from Ambleside Online. Ambleside Online is a Charlotte Mason Method curriculum. It is a free online curriculum and many of the resources are available for free as they are in the public domain and if they aren't available for free, they aren't generally too expensive. I pick and choose the resources that we use and tailor things to suit M. We tried using AO when she was younger and she didn't like it.

Sadly, I had to put it on the back burner because there is no point to using something that your child doesn't like. A few weeks ago, I decided to try again and she absolutely LOVES it :-) I am very happy.

I have used some unit studies from School Expess. You need to sign up for their newsletter and each week you can have a free unit study delivered to your inbox. I ended up buying the entire bundle which wasn't too expensive. There are lots of free resources on that site.

We get a lot of our lapbooks from either Hands of a Child or from Currclick. There are often sales throughout the year and you can get lapbooks and unit studies for good prices. Hands of a Child has membership packages and Currclick has both free and paid resources. They are all downloadable and it is your curriculum in a click - Currclick. See what they did there?

I have found a few good Facebook groups for getting wonderful free resources that I can use and I have started a Facebook Fan Page called Freebie Education Resources where I share freebies that I find. I have also liked a few other education pages and you can see that in the 'liked pages' section.

This year so far I have organised two Science Fairs and I set up a board called Science Fair Project Ideas on Pinterest. I put quite a few ideas for Science experiments for various ages. We did two different experiments, one was called 'Walking Water'and the water 'walked' from one glass to another up some paper towel because of capillary action. This means the water moves or 'walks' up the paper towels into the empty jar. Capillary action is the action of the water being drawn up going against the force of gravity.

We also did dancing raisins and used carbonated (fizzy) water and put raisins in that and also in tap water. The carbonated water made the raisins appear to dance. The carbon dioxide bubbles made the raisins float to the top and when they reached the surface, the bubbles burst which caused the raisins to sink. They accumulated more bubbles on the way down and floated back up again. In the plain tap water they didn't float to the surface until they were fully bloated.

We have one more Science Fair to attend this year and they were so popular that people would like to have them every six months. I am on the search for a free venue that is large enough to host everyone!

Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Summer Fun

We have been enjoying the summer sun and having some fun. We have gone to park meets with other home educators in the area and we even went to a National Trust property. We went to Dunham Massey and really enjoyed ourselves. We had a lovely picnic with some friends and we found nature's climbing frames to play on (fallen trees). We have done butterfly counting, had a birthday party, gone swimming at the local pool and went to some museums.

This year I ran two local groups one for people interested in doing lapbooks and a music group. In the music group we learned the recorder (and can play five notes now!) and guitar. M is going to go to a local recorder college in September and L will continue with the local youth brass band. The two local groups will start back up in September.

Here is a list from another home educator of summer fun ideas. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sadly Neglected Blog

I have been neglecting this blog because I have been very busy with both of my daughters' education.

This year is an important year for L with all of her exams that she is doing and so I have been driving her to and from school each day. I've been supporting her with her exam revision and making sure that she gets to the right activity on the right day for the right time.

I've also been supporting another young person with an IGCSE that they are working on in addition to attending school full time. It's very intense!

M has moved on from the Solar System and now we are studying Oceans. We did a lapbook from In the Hands of a Child called Under The Sea. It's a multi-level/age/ability project pack. It is for Grades K to 2 (K = Kindergarten or Year 1 [5 years turning 6] and Grade 2 is Year 3 [7 turning 8]. It covers the types of sea creatures, the four oceans and acknowledges that some people consider there to be five oceans [Southern Ocean is not classed as an ocean by some scientists/oceanographers].

We are studying another type of ocean unit study by Simple Schooling called Let's Learn About Oceans which is a unit study that I found on Currclick. It is for multiple ages and has 19 units which have reinforcement activities for reading comprehension. We will move on to In the Hands of a Child's Ocean Habitats project pack. I think Under The Sea gives a good starting point to studying about the oceans and the next one takes it farther.

We are enjoying the sunshine and going out to play while the school day is on.

We attend music group and lapbook group each week and it's really nice to have those activities.

Until next time :-)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Solar System Lapbooks

This term we are working our way through the Solar System at the lapbook group I run. We have a few new people coming this term which is nice for us. We are working our way through 15 lapbooks starting with the Sun and working our way to Pluto and other dwarf planets. It's a short and sweet entry today. :-)

Friday, 20 December 2013

Lapbooking, GCSEs and College Places

This school year I am running a weekly lapbooking group for M and other children around her age. The group is free because I found a free venue and the parents stay with their children and work with them. It makes it a learning experience for the family.

This term we covered the human body and did 11 lapbooks on various parts of the body. The final lapbook we did at home which was on the body systems. I thought it would take longer to do than the others as there was more cutting out to do and writing.

We worked our way through this bundle: Human Body Bundle by homeschool bits.

We did them in this order:

Human Body: Skeleton

Human Body: Joints

Human Body: Muscles

Human Body: Brain

Human Body: Heart

Human Body: Lungs

Human Body: Senses

Human Body: Stomach

Human Body: Intestines

Human Body: Cells

Human Body: Body Systems

In January we will be working on the Solar System Bundle which has 15 lapbooks in it.

We have not been using Easy Peasy very much as M's preferred way of learning is with lapbooks. Even when M isn't at lapbooking group, she still does lapbooks at home.

L is now working on more GCSEs and is at school finishing the last few off. She has three offers for college places next September. She chose this particular school and the staff there have been enthusiastic about working with three formerly home educated teens. She and two of her friends started there in September. They said that these three really want to learn and it is nice to work with people who have such a positive attitude to learning.

Today is the last day of term for the schools but we all know that learning never stops.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Blessed Yule (whichever you celebrate) and all the best for 2014.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Laugh and the World Laughs With You

I think jokes play a very important part of education and life in general. There are many types of comedy and jokes. We've learned about satire, parody, slapstick, and hyperbole to name a few.

Jokes are a wonderful tool for teaching literacy skills because some jokes have to be said aloud to be understood and some are best read or seen, as I found out this morning.

Let's look at this joke:

A man moved to Ireland because he got a job. He needed a new clock and it was a special kind of clock.

He went to the first shop on the street and asked if they sold potato clocks. The clerk told him no.

He went to the second shop, asked the same thing, the clerk told him no.

He went to every shop on the street and word started to get around.

He walked in, and asked if they sold potato clocks. The clerk said they didn't but then asked him why he was going into every shop and asking for a potato clock. He said we sell cuckoo clocks, carriage clocks, grandfather clocks, alarm clocks... what is a potato clock?

He said, "I don't know, but I start my new job at nine tomorrow, and my boss said 'You'd better get a potato clock."

A few people didn't get it because this joke needs to be heard to be understood. I had to type out the the other way of saying the punch line and then they got it (You'd better get up at eight o'clock).

This joke is joke that is funny whether it is heard or read:

Joe was driving through a little town and lost his way. He stopped someone and asked them for directions.

Joe said, "Can you tell me the quickest way to London from here?"

The man replied, "Are you walking or driving?"

Joe said, "Driving."

The man said, "That'll be the quickest way."

I enjoy a good joke and my favourite type of joke is of course the pun. I love playing with words and hearing how people react (or reading in the case of a Facebook share).

I will leave you with The One Ronnie to give you a good laugh or groan :-)

Now it's your turn to go and find a funny joke to comment on my post. Let's see who can come up with the best groaner. A joke a day keeps the doctor away because laughter is the best medicine.