Saturday, February 28

February Reads

Thea Stilton 4 Catching the Giant Wave

Thea Stilton and the Star Castaways

I think I forgot to mention last month that she joined our local library's Book Track scheme. It's for children aged 6+ to read 100 books. Hardly a challenge for Miss6 but a fun scheme. They borrow books, and on returning them chat about them to a librarian. Only the ones they chat about get added to their list.

So not just a scheme about reading, but also about learning to discuss books with others (although we do that at home anyway this is a chance with another person). She only ever seems to choose 1 or 2 from the 5-7 she has borrowed, so it will take longer than I thought to complete!


The School Trip (Hello Kitty and Friends, Book 2), Linda Chapman
The Beach Holiday (Hello Kitty and Friends, Book 6), Linda Chapman
Matilda's Cat, Emily Gravett
Camille and the Sunflowers, Laurence Anholt

Monster Things to Make and Do, Rebecca Gilpin
Rainbow Magic: Madeleine the Cookie Fairy, Daisy Meadows
Prince Charmless, Jeanne Willis
Where My Wellies Take Me, Michael Morpurgo (shame the font made it almost impossible to read some sections)

Dr Xargle's Book Of Earth Tiggers, Jeanne Willis
Dr Xargle's Book Of Earth Hounds, Jeanne Willis
Have You Seen Who's Just Moved In Next Door to Us?, Colin McNaughton

She's also started to re-read the Beast Quest series, and read around 10 this week. Also she's read a pile of Middle Ages books which I'll list separately.

Tuesday, February 24

Musical Instruments - handmade

Monday Club was good and noisy as the theme was making our own musical instruments.

Miss6 made a kazoo from popsicle sticks, a whistle from a straw, a rattle from popcorn and a bottle and another from mung beans and a balloon. Finally a whistle from a carrot!

She also tried out a 'guitar' from rope and a bucket that a parent held for them all. The organiser also brought along an electric tuner so that they could see the change of notes with each instrument. And they experimented with different lengths of straw or rope to hear how notes change and maybe why.

She had woken during the night and not had her full sleep, so she was tired and asked to head home early. The level of noise was also a little much. Overall though she had fun.

A peaceful home day today, with lots of books, and perhaps a little Joan of Arc learning...

Monday, February 23


Well it was a little too much last week and I'm looking forward to a better balanced one this week. Miss6 was needing cuddles just that bit extra by Friday night, and by Saturday afternoon she mostly wanted only to sit and read.

Saturday morning we had gone to our local library. A young person from the town (age around 14) comes to hold the group which I thought was great. He read to them some of Hansel and Gretel, they then attempted to build Lego gingerbread houses. Most children took turns reading out loud a little. Her best friend came along so the two mamas chatted and (obsessively) tried a large jigsaw puzzle while they were busy. Miss6 helped a little, but the library closed before we could finish

you can see how bright the sun was that day

Sunday was lovely and quiet - film, hot chocolate, books, cuddles, mama managing to get the first bit of work done all week. She asked to know more about Joan of Arc, but I put it off over the weekend so she could just relax.

After an unhurried start to our day, we'll be off to Monday Club.

Friday, February 20

The Week

Well I'm exhausted! And not a photo to show for any of it.

Monday - a visit to the home of some new Home Ed friends. Three sweet sisters all the way over from Australia. There was trampolining, crazy running around, playing Cluedo, hot chocolate and crumpets (Miss6 even had a try - fail, but still a try!), and dress-up.

Tuesday - a visit from her dad, big talks between the parents and soft-play gym for her.

Wednesday - the three of us visited the aquarium. It was half-term in the UK so it was very busy. It wasn't manic or overly-crowded though and we did have extra shows on because of the school holidays.
Miss6 was even picked out from the audience for one show, she had to shout as loud as possible to a diver in a large tank. She beamed with pleasure. That night, she went to bed very satisfied.

a busy board to reflect the week

Thursday - a visit to her best friend's house for general play. It happened to be Chinese New Year so I took print-outs to make lanterns. However, the girls hadn't seen each other - due to illnesses - and so play was all that was wanted.

Friday - today, was going to be quiet at home, and I know that she was more than ready for it. This morning, despite sleeping her full 9.5 hrs, I could tell she was still a little tired, and then she asked if we could have a home day. But it was a friend's (from HE group) birthday get-together so we wanted to be there to help her celebrate.

Saturday - and tomorrow morning we have a Lego story day at the library!

This is very unusual for us. We normally have a better balance between social days and quiet days.

The rest of Saturday and Sunday will be 'cosy home days' as she calls them.

There's a pile of dishes and a load of washing needing attention, but right now I'm going to sit with a cup of tea.


She said...

chatting to her grandfather on phone
He: (asked about the weather)
Miss6: It's a bit chilly.
He: (probably something along the lines of, oh no)
Miss6: Well, it is Winter. The earth is tilting away from the sun so it's chilly.
(said in the most matter-of-fact-talking-about-the-weather tone)

"I love Britain."
"Do you?"
"Yes, there are some really fun things about it. Like the way words are spelt. They can make good jokes."

Monday, February 16


As part of our Medieval studies, I bought her National Geographic Kids Everything Castles. We are big fans of these books in general. This one didn't disappoint.

Included was an explanation of shields and the meaning of some symbols and colours, as well as an activity encouraging you to make your own. She was started before I had even realised. Using the packaging that the book had come in - that's my recycling girl! haha

stripe = defence
red = warrior
tridents = master mistress of the sea

She's off on adventures with her dragons and shark.

I had a lapbook template saved for later, including a 'design your own shield' part but doing it off her own initiate is even better. I'll probably still print out the other elements, like labelling a knight and so on.

Almost a year ago she watched Jane and the Dragon, and I found the books too. After all this 'work' and role-play, I let her watch a new episode that evening.

Friday, February 13


This week we started to learn time officially. Of course, being organic learners, Time has been an indirect topic for at least a year.

Besides the obvious, reading time from a clock, we have looked at time as a concept. Our new curriculum book is all about change, of which time is integral. How things change quickly or over a long period - a sudden action, seasons, evolution. The latter being one of the topics that often comes up in our natural science learning rather than in the curriculum.

I brought out the wooden clock that I've had for months. I had recently taught her to count in 1s, and realised that for time she needs to count in 5s. She picked it up immediately.

Later she played time games online.

wipe-clean monster time activity book

"I really enjoy time mama. It tells you about almost everything."

My favourite was her relaxed play time with her wooden clock. The numbers had personalities and such, and I even herd her count in 5s at one point. So it was a combination of just a toy, but also back to a clock sometimes.


She also started a new online site Sumdog this week. She's been doing basic addition mostly and really enjoys it.

Thursday, February 12


While mama was trying a new stitching method, Miss6 decided to do a few more rows of her cross-stitch cat. We actually started this a few weeks back. Even I don't cross-stitch! But since my adventures with fabric and thread, at least it's no longer foreign terrain.

Marvellous work for the hands and brain. And jolly good fun to put a jumper on a cat of course.

Wednesday, February 11


If we haven't mentioned Wilbur properly for a while, well, that's our mistake. Wilbur is in her top 3 essential Beings (the other two being Mama and Cookie/Snowball - the cat and hamster apparently come as a pet bundle).

You wouldn't believe this is Winter light!

shark + shark book

Wilbs is her bed buddy, but also generally hangs about the room, reading books with her.

Said during and after photo shoot...

"I wonder how all these words were invented. From grunts to billions of words."

"I hope we live in this apartment forever."

"I love Wilbur so much mama."

"May I have some buttered bread?"


Unfortunately, our aquarium annual pass has run out. A few weeks back though, we stopped into a pet shop in Plymouth. A shop assistant could see how much Miss6 was interested in the fish and could over-hear her various questions. Miss6 went up to her to enquire something about the fish and they struck up a friendly conversation. The young girl let Miss6 touch fish that nibbled one's fingers. What a treat! She encouraged us to return on Wednesdays, when apparently the most fish were in store.

I told the girl about Miss6's interest in work experience at the aquarium when she's older, and mentioned that she was home-educated. The girl responded, "Ah, that's why she's so articulate and responsive." What a lovely thing to say.

Tuesday, February 10

Appreciation Day

She created an appreciation day for me - Autumn's Appreciation Day to be exact. (My name rather than 'mama' to also celebrate it).

There were flags around the room, the sweetest note, and then playing a board game together.

giggling at me forgetting to turn camera on

Note: Autumn's Appreciation Day.
for all the good things she has done for me By: HerName


We popped upstairs to Rose's apartment to offer a pile of lovely lift-the-flap books to her grandson F. They invited us in and Miss6 had a little play with F.

Miss6 has a generous nature and I've always sought to encourage that. There really is no better way than in our actions towards others.

I'm hoping to find a volunteer situation that we can do together. She is keen on joining Brownies but that won't be for some time. One of my favourite things about that group is their focus on being of service to others, to their community.

It can be too easy to be generous and open-hearted only to family and close friends, but true generosity comes from also being open to strangers and the wider world. She already understands this.

So much so that she asked if we could adopt a poor child to give them a loving home!

Monday, February 9

Crystal Tree

Mama caught a virus, so unfortunately we've had to skip our Monday Club. Lack of sleep (night coughing) and recent stresses make it difficult to heal. Everything impacts a child doesn't it? But as long as Miss6 remains healthy I'll take it!

I'm making sure she is getting all her Vitamin supplements and burning eucalyptus and tea tree oils around the rooms to clear the air. The support of friends has been gratefully received.

I've posted about our crystal learning before. On our last trip to the Marble Museum with her (now) home-ed buddy, MissB (which I think I forgot to blog about), I picked up one of their crystal tree growing kits. Super easy and works fast. She kept an eye on it and checked it every 5-10 minutes for a couple of hours!

This is the tree after 7-10 days.


Last night we needed to pop out for milk after it had gone dark. As it was a totally clear night (the recent weather has been clear and sunny), we had a lovely opportunity to spot Orion.


A couple of weeks back I had dental work. Her natural way with people and enthusiasm for learning caught the attention of the dentist and her nurse. So Miss6 was shown the x-ray machine and x-ray results were explained. She left the dentist's saying - I think I might want to be a dentist. She has loved medical things and bones for the longest time. I was very careful about her not seeing my distress while in the chair, and I'll keep my dentist phobia to myself!


Film night is Sundays. She chose Madagascar, much to my surprise. She hasn't seen that one for over a year I think. This morning was a long hour of animal play. She's currently at the kitchen sink. Her stories, that I can over-hear, include; water, a lion, and Black Holes.

Friday, February 6

Changes - cycles

Following on from our Changes theme...

She coloured-in and labeled the cycle in her workbook. We then cut it out and cut out a flap from cardboard box. We chatted about changes and cycles again.

Then I suggested she create her own and she went with dinosaurs. So she has bacteria > fish > first legged creatures (lizards) > dinosaur.

Thursday, February 5


Yesterday was 4 hours of play with her friend B, over at our house.

Piano time one evening with our music teacher friends upstairs.

In the last week we've watched together; BBC Meerkats: Secrets of an Animal Superstar
and BBC Winterwatch. Both great documentaries. The one on meerkats followed a tribe of them led by their matriarch. The winter one was based in the highlands of Scotland.

Free posters from Grainchain. The Cereal Story - cultivation, harvesting, production. As well as a 'Breakfasts Around the World', which she perused again when her HE friend was around for a visit and they sat down for snack.
She remains a die-hard porridge girl.

New pre-loved jigsaw map. The little children added an extra fun element.

Tuesday, February 3

Orion Class

Today we finished the Orion Class at FutureLearn, that we started early January. We managed about 50%. The rest was way over a 6 year-old's head, even this clever one. We learnt plenty about nebulas, stars, suns, the potential of telescopes... Really very well put-together classes.

We took the quiz together, and managed 18/30 (all her answers really). Not bad considering we only took half the lessons!

The 60-second Adventures in Astronomy series is great fun for young and young at heart.

Monday, February 2

Monday Club

We so enjoy our Home Education group's Monday Club.

This week we were joined by her best friend B. B had started HE but then for various reasons returned to school. Now they've taken the plunge and re-started their HE adventures. I think that in small part to our own wonderful HE journey (and how much Miss6 is learning and exploring). But it's something they've always wanted as a family.

B and Miss 6 are only 6 months apart and play wonderfully together. So Miss6 is over the moon for her 'bestie', who also lives just minutes down the road, to now be more available.

January had a human body theme. This month is more general. Today board games and next week arty-crafty.

rare to grab a photo without other children's faces in it!

As usual, there was a quick run around in the field afterwards. Trip to a charity shop, where a wooden marble run was found for under £3! Then a quick trot to the car to escape the rain.