Every Monday Audrey has an outdoor art class at Jupiter Artland, a big outdoor sculpture park with grass and woodland. When Robin and I come along we spend the afternoon in the woods.
Audrey has never been a great fan of art but she loves how physical this class is and that they get to be outside. It’s a home ed class so she makes new friends from our community. It’s a bit of a trek to get out there and back on public transport but for the above reasons it’s worth it.
This week we’re learning about our senses. We read some pages in our science books and went for a sensory walk where we thought about what we could smell, hear, see, touch and taste. Then we watched the sun set, and came home and painted watercolour pictures with poems in our nature diaries.
In our geography study we’ve been learning about East Asia. We spent some time on China and now we are learning about Japan. As well as the ojami we made the other day, we have been watching youtube videos about the daily life of kids in Japan, making Japanese food, making paper dolls and reading lots of fun books. We looked at this photo of terraced rice fields in our book “The Earth from the Air for Children” which shows big beautiful arial photographs of the Earth.
We read the folk story of Yoshi the Stonecutter.
And we read a book in the Thea Stilton series (which Audrey LOVES) that focuses on Japanese mythology, and the beautiful book ‘My Neighbour Totoro’.
Audrey has loved this subject. She’s had the idea that we should eat our meals kneeling on the floor at a low table, like they did in the video she watched. She’s also keen to go to a Japanese restaurant we like to try some different food. And she’s started watching an anime series – in Japanese! (With subtitles). Also, she is just about to lose her first tooth so we looked up what traditions there are around losing teeth in East Asia, the equivalent of our tooth fairy. We found in some places children try to throw teeth onto the roof of their house! Audrey was delighted by this. Definitely one of her favourite projects.
Robin has been very excited to get to sit in a grown up seat on the bus lately. We’re venturing out more and more without a buggy.
He loves any form of sensory play. For instance, last week visiting the Polish play rooms at Summerhall with a home ed group. There was a lovely dark room with soft blankets and pillows and twinkly lights. Robin lay on his back and pulled a pillow onto himself, I think he likes the weight, and spent aaaages putting little glowing balls into a plastic bottle and tipping them out again.
He’s not so keen on books, though he tolerates a bed time story – especially if there are buttons or lift up flaps.
He takes great care of things. Here he is spoon feeding his toy bunny.
He likes quiet time and hugs, and if you are lucky enough to be one of his favourite people he will come find you and take you by the hand and drag you over for a cuddle.
He loves music. Especially instrumental.
But most of all he loves being outdoors.
One of the things people worry about when they think of home ed is socialisation. I personally don’t think school is a particularly good social environment in most cases, but that’s by the by.
Our home ed social week looks like this:
Monday: Art class at Jupiter Artland. This is a class specifically for home ed families and lots of Audrey’s friends go. It lasts 2 hours but there is also an hour or so of free play time that usually follows it.
Tuesday: Creative writing group and an ongoing play date with a home ed family with two kids roughly Audrey’s age and one roughly Robin’s.
Wednesday: Kindergym for Robin in the morning. Then Early years group. Each week we go out somewhere different with this group, usually outdoors. There is a range of ages from birth up to 7. We spend the afternoon playing together.
Thursday: Creative writing group (alternate weeks), Audrey’s ballet and tap classes with other kids her age.
Friday: Home Ed children’s club, a big group with a wide range of ages, we meet in a hall and parents take turns to organise activities and crafts. We have lunch together. There are toys and games, and parties for occasions like Christmas and Halloween etc. On Friday afternoons after children’s club we have a standing play date at our house with some home ed friends.
Saturday: Tiger Tales stories and activities at the local library.
In addition we have extra one off events, for instance this year we are putting on a home ed Christmas show with around 20 participants. In the early summer we went to weekly workshops at the zoo. A few weeks ago I organised a Moon Festival for our home ed friends. Things like that.
Our social week is pretty full, the kids have lots of great friends. Home education is a bit of a misnomer, as we don’t tend to spend much time at home!
Today was a science day. Audrey spent the morning working on her nature diary, painting watercolours of mushrooms. We’ve been fascinated by all of the different types of fungus in our community garden recently, which is the nature spot we use for our nature study.
Then we got kitted out and headed to the garden to study the different bodies of water – the pond and the river.
We tested the temperature of the water, and observed the wildlife. We saw our friendly local moorhen on the pond and said hello. We took some samples of the water and went home, after a brief pause for some tree climbing.
Once home we looked at the water samples under the microscope. We found that though the water looked clear, it was in fact full of STUFF.
We tested the ph of the water. As with the temperature, Audrey found this interesting but she had no real context for it. So we spent an hour investigating the temperature and ph of some household items! We found that frozen peas are -10 degrees c. The hot water in the taps is 41 degrees. But the inside of the fridge is about the same temperature as the stream!
We found a fresh lemon had a very low ph. The oven cleaner had a very high ph. But milk was in the middle, just like our water sample.
We finished up our day with Thumbelina for a bed time story, which heavily features waterways and their wildlife.
We’ve had a lovely day, so I thought I’d share it here. Last night I set out some work for Audrey to do today and she went right to it when she woke up, before even having breakfast! She picked up the fractions very quickly, as she tends to do with mathematical concepts
Then we took Robin out for a walk in the buggy to get him to sleep for his nap. The weather was lovely. We collected some leaves for a craft, and when we got home we drew around them and then glued red lentils, yellow split peas, dried rosemary and dry pasta on to make the leaf shapes.
Then Audrey’s home ed friend M and her mum came to visit and we had a group knitting lesson where they tried knitting for the first time, and we got the guinea pigs out to play. A home ed mum I do a childcare swap with dropped her two boys off and we all had lunch together. Then the children all looked at books and read to each other.
When Robin woke up from his nap we all went out to the community garden to play, climb trees, eat wild strawberries and paddle in the river.
Then we went on a walk to the Braid Valley Park and collected wild flowers to press and leaves for leaf tapping – put the leaves under paper and tap with a hammer to transfer the colour. Now we’re on our own again at home, reading about castles.