We are always thinking how we can do science at home and one day Elsa asked if we could make crystals. So…. we popped to our local library and found a at home science book which had it in.
It looked too easy to be true as you only needed 5 things (eggs, water, alum powder, pva glue and food colouring). First of all we emptied the egg shell of the eggs (we made cupcakes), then washed them and left them to dry.
Then we painted a little PVA glue to the inside of the shell and sprinkled it with alum powder, then again we had to wait for them to dry.
We mixed up 2 parts warm water to 1 part alum powder and then added different food colouring. We stirred it for what seemed forever until it had all disolved.
We put the eggshells into the different mixtures overnight. The next day we removed them and placed them on paper towels to dry out.
As part of our Italy topic the girls found out that Michelangelo was an Italian artist. They researched a bit about him and found out that he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which took 4 years to complete.
I thought it would be a challenge for them to try to paint how he would have had to paint this ceiling. They would also see why it took so long to do.
They soon realised that painting lying on your back is very difficult and they did say their arms hurt a bit after a short while, but they both managed to produce a painting. 😀
We watch a programme called The Great Pottery Throwdown, which we love and one week on the latest series, they made tiles. We decided we wanted to have a go at making them. So we bought some air drying clay (as we don’t have a kiln 🙂 ) and used the tools we had already from our old playdough days.
First we had to warm the clay up to make it easier to roll out. We then rolled it out until it was about 3 or 4mm thick then we cut a square ish shape out of it.
We then used different tools to make indents and marks into it, we added clay to make the clay more 3d. The results were good.
We left them about a week on the window sill to dry, then we painted them.
One day while Elsa was busy elsewhere, Anna and I wondered around our local City and came across a craft fair offering free activities for those who attended. Anna tried several of the activities including Monoprinting. Monoprinting is where you place black ink on a plastic sheet then place a plain piece of paper on top of it then you score in a picture.
In this case Anna traced a floral design which was already there. Once she had finished she picked up her piece of paper and turned it over. There she could see the results. Where she had scored was a print. It’s a really effective and easy to do.
We hadn’t done any work on artists for a while, so I asked if the girls fancied learning about someone else. Of course they did because what we do is we chat about the artist, find out some information about them along with a few interesting facts and the we have a go at their style of art. This time it was Jackson Pollock who is well known for his drip painting style.
The girls added water to the paint so it was runnier than usual and either dripped or flicked the paint onto the canvas sheets we had. This was messy and fun (so they tell me).
The finished products
Jackson Pollock’s style of art is interesting. The big black blob on Anna’s picture was an accident, but she decided that she wanted to make sure it had lots of blobs of other colours on it so when it dried it would be ‘more colourful’.
At the beginning of every September, I ask the girls if they have anything they would like to achieve by the end of July. Anna (who was 5) said she’d like to learn to read.
I helped with this by teaching her blending sounds and split digraphs which we worked on until Christmas last year. This was to give her the basics. She already knew that letters have a sound and a name (ay or a, bee or b, etc).
After this, we started reading simple books. moving on to reading programs such as Oxford Reading Tree which we bought, but also got different ones from the library (one of our favourite places to go). By July she was on Level 5 books.
I have no idea the ‘comparison’ with schooled children, but this child has pretty much taught herself to read fluently. As of now (August) she is reading Liz Pichon (Tom Gates) and Andy Griffith (13 Storey Treehouse Stories).
To continue with her gaining confidence in reading alone, we now all read for half an hour a day (or more if you want to). So far I have found that instead of picking up a gadget or putting on the television, they have been picking up books to read.
My conclusion after this year, is that if a child wants to learn something they can do it anywhere, given the right encouragement and facility to do so. 🙂
As Home Educators we are very lucky that we have lots of parents who will organise lots of interesting topics for the children to study. One such topic was forensic science taught by real forensic police. 🙂
When we arrived at the venue there was a ‘crime scene’ set out. After an introduction about the day and what would be happening, the children were first shown different ways of getting DNA samples from a scene. These were in little sachets and the children had to guess what these might be.
Next it was taking fingerprints and using a magnifier to look more closely at them. They talked about the differences in peoples prints (these include simple loops, double loops, arches and whorls).
Next, it was get suited up so as to not contaminate the scene and then they were given a CD with prints on. They had to find them using a special brush with the fingerprint dust on. They were told and shown how to do this. They had special tape to lift the prints and then using the magnifier they were to compare the fingerprints with the suspect list and then decide which suspect was guilty.
This was a fascinating subject and Elsa enjoyed it immensely.
As Elsa gets older I worry about the fact she’s not doing 30 hours a weeks school and 5 hours a week homework. I mean we do stuff, but it was getting the point that she was becoming difficult about doing English with me (her least favourite subject).
After several weeks of this behaviour, I suggested maybe having someone else teach her this subject. She wasn’t happy about it but agreed to give it a go.
I found a tutor who came and tested where she was at so she knew where to start teaching her and my goodness, she was classed as being where she should be age wise for comprehension and maths and ahead for reading. This was a bit of a surprise as we had only been doing a small amount each day.
She continues to have the tutor once a week for 2 hours and is given homework to do. This will hopefully keep her on track for the future.
So while I may have felt at the time I had given up. I didn’t. I just passed some things over to someone who could help me. I now focus on other subjects, which at present include Geography, Ancient Egypt, French, Art, Cooking, Sewing, etc.
We still have a varied education and now our tutor is part of this.