This month I have been trying to fit in lots of fun stuff and I had to take lots of photos so I can remember everything! We finished off the unit on time we have been working on this term with the creation of a water clock or clepsydra. Our favourite neighbours, Olivia and Jemima, were over that afternoon after school and enjoyed helping me create the clock. Zoe and Olivia timed the water falling in the bottles and were happy that it made it to two minutes. The others were just happy to run around the house so I am not sure how much notice they actually took of the experiment. After we checked the time a few times Zoe realised that if she closed the lid on the top bottle the water would stop dripping. Everyone thought it was hilarious when she exclaimed 'Look! I can stop time!'. The girls completed their first lapbook and I found it was a great way to gauge how much they have leaned on the topic.
A couple of weeks ago one of the chickens became sick and Heath (the chicken expert of the family) recognised that she was egg-bound. The children spent a stressful morning helping their dad soak poor Rainbows (otherwise known as Chicken Lily) in warm water then drying her off. They watched and waited for her to get better but when she didn't Heath took her to the vet. (Yes, these chickens are pets and the children love them. Not my pets of course but I do like the eggs!) The vet gave her an injection and we hoped for the best. In morning she was lots better and seems fine now. One of the lessons for the children was a discussion on the life span of chickens (7-11 years) and their laying life, which is only about two years. Then we talked about the 'retirement' scheme at City Chicks and what it actually means. The website doesn't actually mention where the green pastures are that the old birds retire in and the children are concerned that it is a chopping block! Regardless, our old birds are nearing their third birthday and the eggs are not as frequent as they used to be so I think we will be getting some new layers very soon. Check out Lily showing Henry what it is like to see like a chicken. She told him that they can't see at the front of them that is why they turn their heads all the time. In the photo on the right, the girls are waiting to see if Rainbows is going to lay her egg. I was giggling quite a bit watching all of this go on!
I have been doing some research on how best to teach maths and science. I have discovered lots of very cool sites such as nrich where I can use free resources for our learning. Of course I have learned so much on the way! Interestingly I have learned I really like maths even though at school the main thing I learned about maths at a very early age was that I was rubbish at it. I now understand that the maths I was taught is not really maths at all and the real world of numbers is so much more creative and so much less assessable. Which is why it is not taught in schools. The children are reaping the benefits of my learning and they are enjoying the increase in game playing as well as the cool construction activities like building with lollies! I am finding all the STEM (science technology engineering maths) activities I can because all three children seem to learn better with hands on tasks. Check out my Pinterest board on homeschooling for stuff I found recently.
The activities below are:
Building with toothpicks and lollies - they had to build a self supporting structure about 20cm high. They were allowed to eat the lollies but they had to think about how many they needed for their structure first! We actually did this activity twice and the first time Lily persevered for over an hour to figure out how to make a large pyramid. She eventually figured she needed two, one inside the other, to be able to stand on its own. The second time we did it with our homeschool friends, she built the two pyramids really fast then was bored so did something else.
Number chart jigsaw - this was just a quick cut and paste activity to see their strategies for putting the numbers in the correct place. Zoe zoomed through it and Henry liked it too but Lily wasn't too interested. I think she prefers to deal in the concrete and looking at numbers usually annoys her!
Fake snow doh - corn flour and shaving cream. It smelled amazing and we played with this stuff for hours. Yes it made a huge mess but I didn't care because it was so much fun! The texture was really interesting and unique and really worth the mess.
Cloud bottles - we put shaving foam on top of water in a bottle and the children dripped water colours on top. It shows how rain clouds can hold only so much water until they start to drip. Well, that was the science behind it but really I did this one because, again, it was fun!
Hover crafts - this was wasn't as dramatic as I expected. I punched holes in some drink bottle lids then glued them on to a few old CDs. After blowing up a balloon I put it over the lid and the CD skimmed gently across the floor. It was actually more fun on the table but none of the children were that interested in it. We may come back to that one.
Chess and playing with the money jar. I try to play chess with Zoe most days and I have only beaten her once! Lily has only recently become interested in playing but she doesn't like it when she doesn't win. This is certainly something we are working on as most of the games we play someone has to win and it is not always her. UNO is fast becoming a favourite game too and Zoe loves adding up the losing hands and I love to watch her add up in her head. The money jar came out to see how much we have saved for our planned family holiday at a farm stay. They don't bug me as much now about it as they know we are about half way there.
Of course most days we have some kind of creative art activity. This week we tried suminagashi - the Japanese art of marbling. I had SO much fun with this one! It requires a very light touch and a steady hand which made Henry really frustrated. Lily and Zoe really enjoyed it but NannyO and I stayed after all of them went off to play. Like most of the creative activities we do, the end product was less important or impressive as the process. We only used a tiny amount of the dyes from the pack so I left them out on the table in the paint (muffin) tray. They are water based so the next day we had some fun doing some water colour paintings. I had a few pencil drawings that I was intending to paint one day so I gave them to the children to see how they would go. They all enjoy collaborating with me and they would paint a little and hand it to me and I would paint a little and hand it back. Zoe painted the kangaroo and only asked me to paint the sky. Henry helped me with the koala and did his own abstract picture. I love how they are all learning not to be precious with their works and to really enjoy the process. Clay is one of the favourites in this house and they spent quite some time out on the front deck (easiest place to clean up the mess!) with little direction from me, just exploring the media. We use air dry clay so it dries pretty fast and they can paint their creations at a later date. I would love to find a cheap pottery wheel and teach them how to throw clay but then we would have to find somewhere to have them fired, at least to the bisque stage. That is one for the wish list :)
We took this week off book work and will probably take the next two off as well. However, I have so many really cool activities for us to do that we will not be bored! NannyO is here to play Rummikub with us and to help the girls knit. Zoe is still interested in knitting but doesn't sit still long enough to make much progress on her scarf. However, she loves to play Rummikub for hours!
I was playing with the children the other day on the front deck and I found a dinosaur in the tree. Henry said he was there because he had climbed up and couldn't get down! Why do you think he was there?