Everyone survived...

NannyO and I really enjoyed our time in the US recently and the family survived without me for 12 days! After a week of inspired learning (see my other blog post about it here), on my return I decided to forget about the book work for the rest of the term and just enjoy doing fun stuff with the children. Of course we still do lots of reading about Australian history and geography, Bible studies as well various fiction books (Animal Farm is the one we are on now!) and we usually fit in our new spelling curriculum, All About Spelling.

Henry practices the violin every day and has a lesson once a week. Lily is also still going to choir once a week and practices singing all the time! Along with all of that, we have been doing the following...

This is the ancient art of kiumihimo. I have been practicing kumihimo for more than a decade (for those who have seen my website you would have noticed that I make sageo using kumihimo) and it wasn't until I spent some time with a few master kumihimo practitioners that I realised I could easily teach the children. I also realised how little I actually know about the art! Henry was frustrated after about five minutes but the girls have been doing a little each day and have produced some lovely braids. For now I really like that the children are enjoying the process of making art and not thinking about any utilitarian end products. Perhaps they may come up with a way to make these beautiful braids to sell but that is not the main reason for making them. 

The children spend so much time playing and sometimes they come up with some interesting games. One morning they were pretending there were giant spiders in the house and turned the playroom into a giant web which they had to climb through without touching the strands. It was great for their balance development not to mention interpersonal relationships and teamwork! Then they all found scissors and it was gone in a moment! I am not sure what happened to the spiders...

We also get out to the park at least once a week when the children have Spanish in the Park on Tuesdays. They have discovered a really cool stream that we can watch as the seasons change. Nana and Papa make sure all three do their part in the garden (good thing too as I am not much of a gardener) and we have some lovely new lavender to admire in the front garden.

While I was in Seattle I collected some money and maps to show the children. It was fun to show them where NannyO and I walked every day we were in the city. We sure did cover some ground! The money provided the children a new image for rubbings. They also really enjoyed my photos from the trip not to mention the FaceTime call from me when NannyO and I were at the top of Seattle's Sky Needle! We really do live in an awesome time in history. 
Of course there is always Lego to play with - here Henry was challenged to create a bridge for a marble to cross. He didn't quite get it until I told him he would have to use gravity. Then he changed this design to have one end higher than that other. It was all taken apart and used to build something else before I could get a photo of it!

This year we are studying colour as I am going to report on the children's visual arts learning for the year. The activity on the left was about using water based textas and watching them melt together. Initially it was an exercise in colour mixing, but then we were all more interested in the way the colour would leach out of the coffee filters into the water. Again, the end result was far less important than the process. One dreary day we used fairy lights inside a glass tumbler to make some interesting line patterns to draw. I loved this activity but unfortunately they children were not that interested in it. Pretty typical! The activity on the right is actually a maths activity about circle division cleverly disguised as an exercise in pattern making. This one we have done quite a few times but we still enjoy it.

This was a blatant maths activity but the children didn't seem to mind as it was lots of fun! We took the numbers of pi and created some cute graph art. Firstly, each number was assigned a colour then squares on the grid paper were coloured according to the number. Henry and Zoe decided to do the easy bar image but Lily, the ever stubborn rebel, wanted to change it up a bit. Each of her numbers were assigned a colour but with every number she changed direction. She says she made a few mistakes but really liked the way it turned out. Me too! It was also a great opportunity to tell them more about the numbers of pi and their significance. 

Another maths activity that was fun was studying the multiples of four using paper plates. Henry was surprisingly frustrated with threading the yarn so he used a sharpie to find the next multiple. We experimented with different patterns on the plates and probably exhausted the activity for an other multiple learning. I will have to search Pinterest for more multiples activities...

This activity explored the molecular properties of plastic under the pressure of water. Well, that is not really why we did it, I just wanted to show them that they could poke holes in a bag full of water and it wouldn't leak! It was fun but perhaps it would be a better summer experiment as they all ended up jumping on the bag to see the small jets of (cold!) water cover their feet.

Here is an activity that I actually had nothing to do with aside from taking a few photos and notes for my report. Henry and Lily had all the crayons out and were dividing them into their colours and giving them all names! They were even able to discern differences with each major colour - there were three blues for example; sky blue, sea blue and ocean blue. The different pinks were fuchsia, pig pink and lavender (which was kind of purple they told me). It is this kind of incidental learning that happens all the time if they are given enough time to discover things. I love that they are allowed to have this time and I don't feel at all guilty that they are not in front of a work book doing sums.

This month we are also a part of an equine studies class. A fellow home educator is running these classes from her amazing home near Samford. The class doesn't involve riding as a feature, though they may get a little ride on the last day, though they are learning everything from equine physiology to the costs of keeping a horse. The course is aimed at 8-15 year olds and I was dubious about Henry's interest but he has really loved being a part of the class with his sisters and new friends. The girls are horse mad so it is not surprise that they are really enjoying our time on the farm. The two horses in the class are so amazingly gentle and patient and even I have loved getting close to them. Here is a little video of Zoe learning to lead the horse, Smokey.

With all of this going on it is no wonder that we had to put the workbooks away for a while. I have been researching a new maths curriculum and I think I have found a good one. We will get started on that next term. For now we are working on some good habit training and by the time we get the books out again in a couple of months, we will all be refreshed and ready to learn. 
That is the plan anyway!

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