While mooching around the internet for inspiration I hit this fabulous website called Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica, whose site it is has been home-schooling for a while now and therefore has some amazing resources. Most of them are free but she has some pay for ones as well, including a complete geography curriculum.
We also use her Daily Journal and Pre-R Daily Learning Journal (for Anna), both of which were free and I’ll do a blog about in the future.
Now I was always terrible at geography and I never got to really learn about where places are, their cultures etc., so I thought this is not only brilliant for Elsa, but also for me to learn more as well.
So I downloaded it, printed off the first 5 weeks of it and away we went.
Firstly, we made a passport to add the stamps of the flags of the various countries we will be visiting. (COAH is an American site so I downloaded the inserts from there and the front and back cover from Twinkl so we have a British passport).
We continued with week 1, which was learning the different continents and oceans. We also made a salt dough earth and labelled it with the different, oceans, continents and countries we would be learning about over the next year or so.
We are missing out some parts of the curriculum but are following most of it and have done several countries so far and we will be blogging about them soon.
Elsa is loving this curriculum.
We have mentioned lapbooks a couple of times on the blog so far and I thought I’d explain what they are.
They are a creative way of displaying informational mini books, or a space for displaying drawings, worksheets, photographs etc.
They are called a lapbook as they fit on the childs lap. Simple really 🙂
We use a square cut folder to create ours (we bought this many folders as they are really useful for keeping work separate/together, for sorting topics which I don’t want Elsa to do yet but I want to be organised and ready for).
We have done a couple so far and we have used the Homeschool Share website for both.
We downloaded the pirate one as a complete lapbook, but we only used some of it. We added our own mini books and paperwork to it. Elsa wrote a captains log, created a map and also did a wanted poster.
For the Longest Reigning Monarchs lapbook we created all of the mini books ourselves using the templates we downloaded. This way Elsa could decide on what she wanted to research and she then decided on which mini book would be most suitable for each part of it.
Did you know that Great Britain have their first astronaut flying to the International Space Station this December? No? Well until recently I didn’t either.
Tim Peake is the lucky man who will be living and working there for 6 months.
The Unlimited Space Agency are running a series of space missions for children aged 7 – 11 which is perfect for Elsa as she wanted to learn about space as one of her topics. It is aimed at schools, however HE children are able to do it too, (Hooray), so we have registered her to the Astro Science Challenge where hopefully she will learn about space, space travel and the ISS among other things.
It starts on the 2nd of November so I’ll post about it again after Mission 1….
As I’ve said previously, we are semi structured and therefore, we do some indoor learning and some outdoor learning. Recently we went on an organised foraging trip at some local woods.
This was really interesting (to me particularly as we live in a very rural place, so there are loads of mushrooms and berries around).
N, who took us, along with a few other HE families, showed us different fungi, some of which we could eat, some of which we couldn’t because they don’t taste nice and some of which we shouldn’t because ‘they can make you dead and that’s not very nice’. I quote. LOL.
It was a very wet and miserable day but actually in the woods it wasn’t so bad, both Elsa and Anna enjoyed the walk, poking around at the different mushrooms and even finding ones which you’d think would be impossible to see.
N collected different sorts of edible mushrooms on the walk around the woods and we were able to stop in a little opening in the wood, where she cooked them on this fabulous little cooker. She had also brought along some crab apple slices with cinnamon, some fruit jelly and oat crackers, and some berry fruit sticks, which she let the children (and adults) all try.
It was a very interesting and fun, if wet, day.
Elsa has always been one for being creative and crafty. She loves drawing, painting, sticking, colouring etc. I knew that homeschooling her would give us the option to help her try new creative ideas.
Therefore, after we had a problem keeping the door to the Harry Potter study open properly I asked if she’d like to make a doorstop (I also needed to make one for another door – we live in an old house so what can I say).
“Yes, yes, yes please mummy”
Well, there was our answer.
We had a quick look online to see if we could find an easyISH one to have a go at making and we found this chicken one.
I wrote down the instructions and off we went to get the things we needed.
- Stuffing (which is cheaper if you buy a cheap cushion and use the stuffing out of that as opposed to the ‘proper’ toy stuffing)
- Rice/cous cous for the weight
We started by cutting the parts of the chicken we needed from felt and then pinned them to one side of the material. We sewed the two wings on using a zig zag stitch (green wings on Elsa’s chicken). We then sewed the two parts together making sure we trapped all of the edge parts of the felt in the seam. We left the back seam so we could change the angle (watch the video 🙂 ) so that the chicken sat properly then left a gap so we could stuff it.
We then turned it right way round and put in the weight (bagged), and the stuffing. Finally we hand sewed the gap and added some eyes at the top.
Tadah. How happy does she look?
The finished articles.
The instructions by Debbie were so clear on the video that this worked really well. Elsa did a lot of it without too much help.
One of the topics Elsa showed an interest in learning about was Pirates. I’d always thought this was in interesting, if somewhat gruesome topic, however with great age related resources from the library we were able to learn all sorts of information about them including some of the gorier stuff. We decided again to create a lapbook for this topic. Lapbooks are a fun, colourful and easy way of collating and displaying lots of information. We downloaded the Pirate lapbook from Homeschool Share and used some parts of it and created our own information mini books as well using the templates which can also be found at Homeschool Share.
First of all, both Elsa and Anna designed bandanas so they could look like a pirate.
I downloaded a pirate game from Twinkl, which the girls both enjoyed playing A LOT.
We researched various topics including crew, found information about 3 real pirates, food and drink, learned pirate speak and we made our own pirate flasg.
We also made a map, which was fun and came out really well.
We ended this topic by watching the Aardman film The Pirates – In an Adventure with Scientists, which both girls thought was funny (and of course it was totally historically correct 😉 )
Elsa’s Auntie asked me back in the summer whether Elsa would like to try a crochet lesson. She knew of this quaint little shop near where she lives who offer workshops.
Well it’s craft related so obviously ‘yes please AM’ 🙂
Off they went to have a lovely little lunch, an interesting crochet lesson and a cake and drink afterwards. Lucky Elsa. All I did that day was my cleaning. 🙂
Since she’s been home she’s continued to do this and has even tried to teach me (failed, but I blame it on being a lefty, but I’ll keep trying when she does it).
We are working towards making a little rose…. watch this space.
When you homeschool, you have the opportunity to do things, you would be unable to do if you went to school and one of those is go to the theatre during the day. When we decided to homeschool, I looked around for things of ‘educational interest’ for Elsa to do and coming to Norwich in September was Ministry of Science. Woo Hoo explosions 🙂
Elsa, Anna and myself went along with one of Elsa’s friends.
There was explosions, there was a human cannon, there was lightsabres, there was liquid nitrogen, there was history about inventors. It was brilliant and very noisy. Shame my camera was rubbish that day 🙁
We have officially started home-schooling. We are semi structured which means that we do some sit down schooling and the rest of the time we learn other ways. Elsa has a little desk area, which we lovingly named the Harry Potter Study (due to it being under our stairs). She sometimes sits in here but mostly we use our living room table.
I had a quick look at the Year 4 curriculum online (which is where Elsa would be should she still be in school) and decided that I would not really stick to it at all, however, most days Elsa does Maths, English, Science and Geography plus topic work (which we can do when Anna is at home as I collate age stuff appropriate for her to do).
We have an set of organisational trays which Elsa has labelled herself. I put the subjects I want her to do each day on the left hand side of the drawer and when she’s finished them, she moved the velcro subject indicators over to the right hand side of the drawers. She doesn’t have to do all of the subjects each day. She has also chosen subjects she would like to learn such as more in depth Senses, the Romans, Space, Diwali, Pirates (the list is endless and to be honest I’m not sure how we are going to fit it all in).
There are some subjects which are at certain times of year (such as Diwali being in November) so we will be doing those around then.
The first thing we decided we would do was learn a bit about Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II as this month coincided with our Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch in history. Elsa decided what information she’d like to research and after a discussion we thought we’d try a lapbook. She got going using books and the Royal website along with images found online. We finished with writing a letter to the Queen congratulating her on this amazing achievement. We received a lovely letter back from a Lady-in-Waiting which has taken pride of place in her study.
I saw this article today and it was enough to make my blood boil.
On the one hand, I can see that if you are going to choose to send your child to state school, you really ought to abide by their rules of engagement, but their rules are a one-side contract which have never been negotiated by the parents of attending children. We certainly never agreed to accept fines if we chose to take our children out of school for a week or two.