Friday 13 February 2015

The Week before Half Term

We usually follow school terms so next week is a half term holiday. Personally, I think that half terms are wonderful inventions: not too long to forget too much but a break when a rest is needed. Yes, I'm looking forward to half term.

This week, the younger two started a project on Wales. We listened to a Welsh male voice choir singing traditional songs, looked at maps and made a gingerbread map.
I told them the story of Mary Jones and her long quest to buy a Welsh Bible. We read R.S. Thomas' poem The Tramp and watched a programme about Snowdon. Younger Daughter painted a picture of leeks and daffodils. We are hoping to do more work on this project after half term.

We have worked on the different parts of stories using the concept of a story mountain and reading several of Julia Donaldson's books: The Smartest Giant in Town, Zog, Tiddler, Highway Rat and the Snail and the Whale. This lead onto some story telling partly the long running Saga of King Ethelburga the Saxon (my husband tells me that Ethelburga was a woman's name but this has been running so long that I can't change the name) and Younger Daughter telling a fascinating story with strong allusions to Narnia.

Sadly, the end of the week has been a bit of a struggle with illness. One reading lesson had to be curtailed as the child concerned lost their voice. 

We did manage to get out to two home education group meetings. One was about Henry VIII, for the younger group. The children painted portraits but Youngest Son decided to paint a tree. There are times when I think that I have been too open ended about art.

The other group always includes cooking which is very popular. We also read a Five in a Row book and do activities related to that. I sold my manuals some time ago so the activities are probably nothing like those in the handbook! Today, we read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge. The children made bridges using spaghetti, elastic bands and tins. 
They also produced a collaborative painting of a river using poster paints and a length of lining paper.

There has been a great flurry of taking cat photos. I think the children want to enter the local veterinary surgery competition.

Apart from the Julia Donaldson books, we have also been reading 
Children's Story Bible by Catherine Vos
Jake the good,bad dog 
Katie Morag
Pirates of Pompeii.
The Adventurous Four
Oscar's New friends-New Bridge Farm
One tiny turtle
Tracks of a Panda
Ice Bear
The Emperor's Egg
Growing Frogs

This probably sounds more than it really worked out to be. The Julia Donaldson books, Katie Morag and the last five books are picture books so quick to read. The last five are from a set of Nature Storybooks that I purchased from the Book People ages ago and are firm favourites with Youngest Son.

My personal reading has been rather less:
I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.
Road to the Dales: The Story of a Yorkshire Lad
How to teach story writing at Key Stage 1.

The latter is, as you have probably guessed, a teachery book but so far has some very practical tips. I hope to write about this later..

Over half term, I hope to think about how to store sample work and how to make the places where the children do most of their learning more attractive places. These are weak areas for me. Please do share any tips!

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  1. Haven't the cats grown?! I'm smiling about your youngest son's art endeavour. It sounds very familiar to me, as a mother to a boy who prefers to be very open about interpreting art instructions. :-)

    1. Yes, I think (hope) the cats are now fully grown. They are still young and lively although that sometimes involves them fighting each other.
      I'm glad I'm not the only one whose son has his own ideas about art!

  2. Cat pictures around here, too. Our orange kitty has been hanging out in the sunbeam that travels across our school room while we homeschool.