Friday, 16 March 2012

This week- at home and often not

This week has been really good and not quite so good. Probably, I'm over complicating things.

The good:
Two more cultural exchange packages-this time from Texas

 and New Zealand.

Both parcels contained much more than I have shown, including activities. One of my children will love making the cowboy! The children have been very excited when the parcels arrive but we need to make time to explore their lovely contents and learn about the countries involved. I'm hoping to start that next week.

We had a great afternoon today at the Royal Albert Hall for the Classical Spectacular.The music was fun and made accessible for the children-laser effects plus fireworks and canon helped. The concert finished with the 1812 Overture with full effects and very excited children.

Life of Fred is, amazingly, a maths programme. It covers most ages up to US college level but we have just begun to use the Elementary level. Fred, a precocious five year old, explores maths in everyday life and then there is a very short exercise at the end of the chapter. The idea is to show how maths is actually useful in daily life and avoid needless repetitive drill. So far so good and quite amusing. I do have doubts about whether once topics get more complex  short exercises would be sufficient and of course, it isn't geared for the UK exam system. Having said that it is fun to read with a five year old. In some ways the books would be great to use to supplement a more traditional book but are probably rather expensive to use in this way.

The not so good:
We were out three afternoons this week, all for good reasons related to education. Yes, we managed to get work done in the mornings but it did feel like a lot of late afternoons with tired children and mornings rushing to make sandwiches and get everything together. Do other people struggle with the balance of groups and outings and managing home education and home management?

We are looking forward to reading  from our other exciting parcel. This contained the Katy booksThe Book People are selling 10 books from this collection by James Mayhew for £9.99. In these books, a little girl visits galleries with her grandmother and explores the paintings by getting into the frames and meeting the subjects. A great way to look at art with little ones. Many of the paintings are in London although others are in various places around the world. I'm looking forward to reading these with my little ones. There is the odd thing in a couple of the books that I don't like but overall, I think, a good buy.

Finally, a bit of a surprise, seen in our front garden, this week.

This is linked to the Weekly Wrap-up at Weird, unsocialized homeschoolers.


  1. What is the cultural exchange? Looks interesting! I think most homeschoolers struggle with the balance of being home and out and about. There are just so many good things to do, and so many times they end up falling on the same weeks. Looks like you had a fun week.

  2. Sorry, I should have put in a link about the cultural exchange. There is more information about it here:

    Basically, 5-6 families from different parts of the world make boxes for one another containing items which are typical of their country's culture. It has been interesting both to put our boxes together and think about what is typical of our culture and to receive boxes from other places. A rather different way to learn about the earth.

  3. Is that a pheasant ?? How interesting. My yard only gets black snakes, raccoon, and an occasional bunny.

  4. I think it was a female grouse-quite unusual in town. Snakes, now that's something!

  5. I'm just starting Life of Fred. (been doing Math U See and have loved it for my oldest...but I hope my youngest will get ENGAGED with Fred and, perhaps, inspired.) We are reviewing and laughing...and also hoping that there is enough repetition as they cover more difficult concepts.
    Visiting from WUH.
    The cultural exchange is a fascinating concept!

  6. A grouse- in london. Wow Sarah! Your cultural exchange looks fantastic.
    Yes, other people do struggle with the balance you mentioned. I've discovered something about busy weeks - its only taken about 11 years. If there are lots of activities and outings planned, I have to let go of 'school work' and count the trip as work in my mind (which they actually are anyway) otherwise I become horrible to everyone. For me being over busy makes it much harder to love my children (and to be happy)!

  7. Lisa-so true about being over busy and its consequences.