Home schooling
January 28, 2016 posted by littlewhitecottage

The weekly roundup 18th – 24th January 2016

Monday the 18th was a really busy day!

We continued our work on the human body by starting the week with looking at joints and muscles.

The boys brilliantly demonstrated (with appropriate zombie like impressions with their arms!) why we need an elbow joint and they were then asked to construct an ‘arm’ and muscles using cardboard and elastic.



During this activity they learned that muscles work in opposing pairs and that while one muscle is contracting, the other is relaxing. I’ve written in more detail about this activity and also the other resources we used -here.

As they were still very enthralled by the split pins I quickly wrote a creative challenge on a piece of paper and gave it to them.


I like to give them open ended tasks with little rules of a creative and problem solving kind to develop their confidence in ‘having a go.’ I noticed with my elder son that they further he moved through the school years the less confident to ‘have a go’ he became. I believe this is a huge skill that’s neglected and children are often judged on how well they got near to the original rather than developing an idea and extending it.

H produced the little man completely by himself. He was very pleased with it!

At the weekend we’d visited a fabric shop and the boys found some lovely brushed cotton that they asked if they could make some pajama bottoms out of. They’ve seen me rustle up pairs so they know they are quite easy and quick to do.


The fabric is a lot (lot!) brighter than I would have chosen for them but H loved the American football on his fabric and T was very happy to chose any fabric if it meant he was going to sew!

Here’s T getting his to a point where he just needed to add the elastic and hem them.


Now I understand my boys are a bit more handy with a sewing machine because I’m a sewing sewing and they actually have their own machines that they do use. Having said that I wouldn’t want to take away any of the credit for their interest and hard work when it comes to sewing. It can be fiddly even for the most adept adults and I’m so pleased to see that T is not just inventing his own projects and going ahead by himself only asking for help when he needs it (see his sword here).

There’s lots of learning in a sewing project that suits both boys as T loves the designing and constructing of a project and H needs to practice his fine motor skills so we are always on the look out for projects (not just sewing) that can help him with this. It’s not just a case of ‘practicing your cutting skills on a bit of paper’ when you’d 8 and a half and you know your hand will hurt after a while.

Here’s H using the pins, scissors and the sewing machine. (This one is Rosie a 1960 Singer 99k). This activity is also good for H as his upper body is ‘locked’ and he cannot perform tasks that require him to have each arm/hand do something separate. He often ‘drives’ (uses the hand wheel) while I ‘steer’ (steer the fabric).


H now uses his right hand for cutting (he writes with his left) as his Occupational Therapist advised him to switch as he finds it easier to cut with his right hand. We’ve also experimented with different surfaces and he now cuts on the floor so he’s able to extend his arms, balance himself better and rest the blade on the solid floor so his blades aren’t in the air as they were!

We rounded off the day with a bit of an experiment. The boys are very into making smoothies at the moment so are inventing all sorts of recipes. This one is a chocolate and pear smoothie. I have to say it was delicious! I am writing down their recipes as H wants to put them all together to make his own cook book.


Tuesday 19th January

Today it was all about the measuring!

I gathered together some different ways I use to measure to show Tobes. The previous week he was using non standard units to measure with so this week we moved onto using cms.


He needed to measure to finish the waistband of his pyjamas and also do the turn ups.


We talked about how you start at the 0 and not at the beginning of the ruler (a common mistake children make when first learning to measure).

I helped him to get the right measurement and then he used the sewing machine to stitch round the waistband – leaving a gap for the elastic.

I then showed him how to make a quick label – so he knew which was the back and which was the front and he used the pinking shears (they are very stiff and hard to use even after 8 years!).


He did a fab job and was very desperate to wear them.

He didn’t wait ’till bedtime to put them on!


For lunch the boys learned how to fry their own eggs. I have to say I was expecting crunchy eggs (T asked if he could cook mine and I said yes) but they both did really well cracking the eggs and then using their thumbs to pull the shells apart.


Here’s T doing his.


After lunch we popped to the local DIY shop. We are moving and the boys are wanting to plan their bedrooms so we looked at colours – T chose the colours he’d like in his room. F loved all the switches and T has also asked if he could have a bit of the garden to have as his own so he had a quick look at the seeds. I think we’ll do a week on planning the garden as he is so keen and has fond memories of Grandma’s garden which is lovely.


To end the day T then had a drawing session. All the talk of his new room had him all fired up and he wanted to draw some pictures as whilst at the DIY shop I bought 2 frames for them to make something for their walls.


Wednesday 20th January

I set up a quick activity for the children to play with after breakfast. I just used old butter tubs and put them at different heights and labelled them with number (sets of 10). I left a tub of money and a pen and paper.

F loves money and will happily spend hours picking it up, putting it in things (shoes mainly!!) so this was right up her street!


The boys had a quick go and had even devised a scoring system (it was up to them, they could chose to add the money or the sets of ten or both or do something else!)

The post came and H’s certificate arrived for his level 2 touch typing course. He’s been working incredibly hard on his typing and achieved 15 wpm for the first time!


Stickers had also arrived so T spent a good while decorating his Toe by Toe book.


And then he did some of his maths work. He’s still looking at measuring.


Meanwhile we’d all noticed that it was a beautiful day and that there was ice in the garden so the boys wanted to go and investigate.

F was quickly out of the gate and onto the common!


We took rulers out to see how long things that we found interesting were.

I gave F a plastic ruler and although (obviously) she wasn’t measuring she did copy what the boys were doing which was lovely to see!


We arrived at the duck pond and saw that it was virtually frozen over. Seeing ducks slipping over the ice was quite funny.


Everyone was fascinated by the ice and set about trying to some out of the pond. H used his axe that he made as part of his prehistory work. I was really surprised at how strong it was!

Have to say I do love a little person’s muddy hand.


Little Miss F perfected drinking from her cup by herself today too.


Thursday 21st January

Thursday was a bit of a free day. I work for 2 hours in the morning teaching sewing and the boys had time to do their touch typing and they then have a Lego building session. Thursday is our Sunday really in that the boys can really chose what they would like to do.

Friday 22nd January

Friday started like most days with the boys doing their touch typing. We’ve finally sorted out T with the old family iPad so he is able to type using something actually fits his small hands. He’d used my laptop but we found he was having problems stretching to all the keys so this was the best solution.


H had asked if he could have a week on Star Wars but needed help with ideas as to what to do. I’d spent Thursday evening with Hubbie brainstorming ideas and I’d shown them to H. He immediately wanted to start the Star Wars coding (www.studio.code.org) so did and stayed at the computer until he’s finished it! T joined in using his iPad too and the two of them had a fab just over an hour chatting about what they were doing, and helping each other when they got stuck.


It was then time for the highlight of H’s week – snowboarding!


H’s OT said that snowboarding was very good for him so he now wants to go anytime he can. It’s lovely to see how enthusiastic he is about it and he now often uses his computer to search out helmets, boards and other things about snowboarding. He needs 1 more item ticked off and then he’ll have passed level 3.

Little Miss F loved watching the other skiiers (it was packed!) and boarders come down the slope.


And while she was waiting she did a few doodles.


Saturday 23rd January

The boys are keen to ski (or board) like Hubbie so Saturday is T’s time to have a lesson this week. To say he was excited is a bit of an understatement! He loved having the ski boots on and all of the equipment and spent a very happy hour in his group learning the next stage. He needs a couple of things ticked off to pass level 2a.


Sunday 24th January

Unfortunately Sunday was a total right off as we had the sick bug. H started at 3am and then Hubbie and I joined in. Strangely F and T weren’t affected – I hope that just doesn’t mean they’ll get it another time.

We lounged on the sofa under blanket watching episodes of ‘Operation Ouch!’ and other programs. I did draw the line at American Football though as I just have no idea what’s going on!

Next week is Star Wars week and H is really looking forward to all we have planned. T isn’t so much a Star Wars fan so he’d like a Toy Story week for the week after.

I’ll leave you with a favourite feature in our family – bum or boobs? It tends to be mushrooms that they find but H found this crisp and asked…


…bum or boobs?

What do you think?

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