Friday 19 February 2021

Inspiration for Winter Days

This week, I was looking round the house for a book when I found the autobiography of Patricia St John.

Patricia St John wrote Christian fiction for children. Her most famous books are Tanglewood Secrets and Treasures of the Snow. Miss St John was the child of missionaries to South America. After Patricia was born, they decided that Patricia's mother would stay in England with the three young children while her father would return to the mission field. Patricia was mainly raised by her mother and grandmother. She recounts tales of a happy, boisterous childhood which was the inspiration for many of her stories. Her mother courageously took her young family to Switzerland for a year. This was a time which later led to the writing of Treasures of the Snow. Patricia grew up and trained as a nurse, during the Second World War. This was followed by many years of serving the Lord as a nurse in North Africa. There were many trials and many answers to prayer.  This book is joyful and points to Patricia's Lord and Saviour. The photo is of my old edition but there is a newer edition available. The autobiography is written for adults but would also be suitable for teenagers.

My podcast diet recently has been Mended Teacups and Life more extraordinary. 

Mended Teacups is the podcast of two UK home educators. It is friendly, helpful and applicable to where I am as a UK home educator. 

Life more extraordinary is quite different. It is the podcast of an academic coach with episodes about revision methods, learning differences and how to achieve your academic best. I haven't listened to every episode but have found some helpful ideas and links. While we are on the subject of academics, I recommend Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski. This is written for teens and explains how to learn using some neuroscience on the way. 

A couple of maths sites which are free and useful. Topmarks isn't just a maths site, although that is all that I haven't used anything beyond the maths. It has a teaching clock and number frames as well as games for number bonds, multiplication and division and more. Ideal for primary aged children.

 Corbett Maths has a primary and a secondary site. Both sites have five maths questions, at different levels, for every day  of the year (plus answers!). There are also videos. I haven't used the videos much, or the primary videos at all, but the questions are helpful for revision. Unless you have a maths whizz kid, I don't think the questions are suitable for KS1!

More winter activities!

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Tuesday 16 February 2021

Activities which work in an online Home Education Group

 As promised in my last post, these are some activities which have worked well in an online group meeting

  • Presentations by children. We have a weekly slot for these and strangely, they often work better online than in person. Have you ever sat in a meeting where a young child is trying to talk to a group without a microphone? It is so much easier to hear when a computer microphone is used and additionally, there is no peering round heads to see pictures.  The use of quizzes after the talk has also increased.
  • Book clubs- are easy to run online. We run four different, fortnightly, book groups for different ages. . The only group that we haven't taken onto the internet is that for the preschoolers. Sadly, loans of books between families which were very frequent and popular don't work. However, we have been able to continue to have book recommendations and plenty of enthusiasm. Not sure that I ought to allow the renaming as the Bookwork, the Bookiest Bookworm etc another time though! For anyone who needs to know, it is possible to disable renaming on Zoom.
  • Science for older children. We run a fortnightly chemistry group for children in upper KS2/lower KS3 and also groups for older children with topics from biology and physics IGCSE. Obviously, these aren't good for practical science although the younger group can be asked to do some practical science at home e.g. growing salt crystals or chromatography.. Quizzes are easy to run using either Powerpoint or Google slides. Google documents make it easy to share slide shows and suggested practical activities with parents.

Kitchen Chromatography
  • Scavenger hunts work are popular with younger children

  • I do miss meetings for mums, sitting someone's house, drinking tea and eating cake, while handing round curriculum but meeting over the internet is the next best thing. So much of this isn't perfect but is so much better than nothing. It is possible to encourage one another in lockdown!

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