Wednesday, 21 March 2012

LUTT Blog Ring

I am now part of a home education blog ring and the ring is called Learning Under The Trees. I had to learn how to put the code on my blog in order for other people to follow the ring and read other members' blogs.

Welcome to any new readers who come here via the ring! This is exciting and now means I will need to be blogging more regularly :-)

We've been taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and hanging around outside, under the trees and it's been wonderful.

The girls have enjoyed it and so have I.

We have our flat travellers here from Hawaii, and my visiting flat travellers have their own blog and you can find them here. We have been learning a lot about the United States because we have been swapping flat travellers with people in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and now Hawaii. It's been a lot of fun.

L is going to be starting a GCSE in History within the next couple of weeks and we will be enjoying that. That will obviously take priority because there is a deadline of an exam at the end of it all.

M is reading so well, this morning she came down wearing her dirndl and had a book in her hand. She said she was Gretel and had the story of Hansel and Gretel and proceeded to read me the story. It had a lot of complex words for a five year old that you can't just sound out by using phonics.

Thought and though, enough and rough, Slough (a place in Berkshire, England pronounced to rhyme with the word for a female pig [sow for those without a farming background]).

She has discovered Zoodles which are free games that children can play and there are the characters from Sesame Street on there. I also took out a membership with Grid Club those are games that she needs me to sit with her for as they are beyond her level but I teach her as we go along and so she's learning skills that are for an older child (in the school system that is).

I have had to completely re-think my ideas on what education is and I have now successfully deschooled myself! We continued to do structured and curriculum based work during that process but now we are doing things very differently and I don't actively separate things into subjects (except the History because we have to as it's a course with an exam at the end) and we are now working on themes and doing unit studies. Unit Studies are something that you do which uses skills and knowledge from various 'subjects' across a curriculum.

For instance, if you were enamoured with the Victorians, you would study that period of history, you would be studying more than just 'History', it would include Geography (how big the Empire was then and what it looks like now and all the country names then and now), reading literature written by Victorian authors (that's your English Lit and discussion), looking at technology that was available back then and how it compares now (many of the systems that we have in place in England today are from the Victorian era) and that would be Design Technology and more than likely would include some element of Science. Listening to music that was popular back then along with new music composed in that time period incorporates another 'subject'. Looking at paintings from the era adds another component and school subject to your experience. We even tried our hand at learning handwriting the way a Victorian child would have learned in school and it is very elegant I have to say!

We have been doing things differently again to that, and L has been studying a lot of science-based things such as Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Caves, Quicksand and the Periodic Table of Elements to name a few subjects. M has been studying the various days like St Patrick's Day, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and we've studied food and farming, plants and their needs and animals and their needs. We also do a bit on the seasons and have learned about clouds (a unit study not just standing outside and gazing up). Obviously L is older than M and so her themes and units are more complex.

Once again, welcome to any new readers from the blog ring and I look forward to reading your blogs as well. Now would anyone like a cuppa?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

March; In Like Lamb

I sure hope that our expressions about March aren't going to be true! Today was March the first and it was a glorious day. It was practically warm enough to go out without a jacket on.

It was also World Book Day and so in honour of that, I did what any self-respecting home educating parent would do and went to a book store and bought my daughters some books.

M got Little Miss Twins and L got something that 13 year olds are into and then we went to the health shop to get a few bits and pieces and then to the stationer's to buy some bits and pieces from there, like cardstock (which the British call card, I found out) and then home again.

Before we did all of that though, we went swimming for 10:30 in the morning and we spent an hour and a half in the pool. It was fantastic and we walked to and from. Then we came home and ate our lunch and then L got ready for her violin lesson. I am fortunate enough to have found a violin teacher and a piano teacher who both come to my home to teach the lessons, which suits me down to the ground, then I don't have to drag two children out to a lesson and entertain one while the other has a lesson.

M is now working on learning about animals and we learned that the only animals that don't lay eggs are mammals and all other animals are born through hatching and laying eggs. She thought I was making it up when I told her that fish lay eggs (because all she could think of are the ones that we see from chickens and she knew there was no possible way a fish could make something *that* big!). L is working through the periodic table and starting to learn about DNA. We are also going to start an American history course. M will get the story form of British history called 'Our Island Story' by H E Marshall.

Today we got Toto, our flat traveller, ready and he flew through cyberspace to Hawaii today and we are so excited about that. Hawaii is a place I'd love to visit! So Toto will get to do the rounds while we host his family's travellers, a rabbit and a sea turtle :-) and yes, Toto is the dog from The Wizard of Oz :-)

Usually when M colours him, she colours a yellow line coming from his tummy ("he's peeing", she'll tell me) but this time she didn't [she must be maturing] and the other thing she always does is to colour him to look like a dalmatian. In any case, he's in Hawaii now, the mom from the other family told me that, so I am really looking forward to all the adventures he will have there!

Well, originally I said something about the weather, where I come from we say that March is in like a lamb and out like a lion, which means if you have good weather on the first day of March, you can count on the last day of March being a blinding snowstorm or something! Thankfully where we live, we don't get much snow, although there are exceptions to that.