Category Archives: Learning

Week 3

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So this week has been a good week.  Ot and iig have been determined to get their independent work completed early in the day and have worked well on Whizz maths, reading eggs press, the timetables and spelling apps and have enjoyed topic work this week.  B has worked in spurts, doing some maths seeds and reading eggs when he fancies and working on sight vocal and number bonds along with some phonics refreshing and extending.

Ot has worked hard on his handwriting when we do our folder work (this is aimed at writing, grammar, punctuation etc) and is trying hard with re-calling the dictated sentences as well as learning the poems.  He finds the re-call most challenging-he often substitutes a phrase that has near enough the same meaning but isn’t the exact phrase.  It’s a bit like he sees the big picture of the sentence, understands  the meaning but doesn’t remember the details.  Interestingly if we hadn’t started to use these particular things I would not have noticed this because he has a great memory for things he has watched and listened to but I’ve realised that much of what he has good re-call of is story based or spoken in the style of a story.   I also can really see the value of dictaton for him as it enable him to build up his ability to remember and write but takes off the pressure of having to think of your own sentence, remember and write which is something that in the past it is clear is too much for him-I think in the past when we have re-called the sentence for hi we may have been hindering rather than helping as this means that he ‘needs’ someone else to remember so he can write so independence is not achieved or he is in the frustrating situation of remembering and writing a few words and then having to think and recreate a sentence again and again.

Tig has been working on handwriting and taking time and care-this is made easier because there is less writing than previously and again he has to re-call and write not create, re-call and write.  Tig’s auditory memory is pretty good and he generally can remember a 2-3 sentence chunk word for word and put in the correct punctuation.  

Both Tig and Ot have grasped the concepts of adverbs well, including adverbs that tell when and where and are able to ID verb, subject, adjective and adverb in a sentence.  I like the thorough but very simply chunked approach to the grammar and it reminds me that quantity is not everything!

B has made a connection between + and – facts that with some reinforcement will enable him to develop a much quicker re-call.  If you know 3+4=7 he has realised you also know 4+3=7; 7-4=3 and 7-3=4.  He  can work out 1 more and 1 less and is beginning to spot that in subtraction sums when the numbers are number that would be next door when counting the answer is 1 e.g. 5-4=1; if you were counting back you’d go 5,4.  We’ve dragged the number friends out this week to have a look at these ideas which has been good fun.  He has a very small number of the first 100 words left that he don’t know straight away (there are some that he can sound out) and has been reading sentences that we’ve made up and messages etc.  Whilst I don’t feel like he can read I think it’s more that he is not reading yet….most of the skills and knowledge is there it’s just waiting for him to really want to or need to read larger chunks of text.

Topic this week has been the reproductive system.  TIg and Ot have enjoyed the different videos and brain pop quizzes as well as discussios about when they were born, when I was pregnant, if we’d have any more babies and more.  Ot asked if having babies was very painful because he thought it must be so I endeavoured to explain that whilst yes it was painful, it was for me a different kind of pain, with a pattern and flow that I knew I’d get a baby at the end and I trusted my body to know what to do -IO also pointed out that I had 3 children so it wasn’t so painful I din;t ever want to do it again.  

Everyone enjoyed art this week-me included.  We looked at the women from Brassepuey (sp?)  which is the oldest know carving representation of a human face, read a little about her and stone age art then had a go at carving faces in soap.  The physical sensation was great and  lots of time was spent using different tools to scratch, break of large chunks, scoop and gouge holes etc.  In the process various shapes were made and Tig saw an elephant in his piece so worked on bringing out the features he could see.  Ot created a bear and B did a face and a ladybird.

The boys all cooked a batch of muffins, Ot’s were berry surprise (cherries, blueberries, raspberries and which chic chips with either lemon curd or cherry jam in the middle); TIgs were chic chip and Bens were double chic chip- 4 had raisins in too..

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Wow!

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Our first week of 2014 back ‘at work’.  Literally for TB (The Boss), who is back at work after a lovely Christmas-another week and he’d really have properly relaxed; and also for the boys in so much as we move back towards some more structured, formal learning.  I am taking an unpaid leave of absence from work for the Spring term, for various reasons  and it has been a bit of an eye opener….We knew that the boys would probably, over time, find it easier as there would be a regular routine to each day and that there would be less pressure to fit in the bits of formal learning which we do.  We thought that this would take weeks, maybe even longer so it was very surprising to see this week just how calm and settled everyone was.  

It has made a huge difference.We’ve covered all of the key bits of formal learning before lunch every day, had free time after lunch and pottered around playing, sitting and chatting and all doing our own thing with various amounts of interaction.  I’ve exercised for at least 30 minutes every morning; we’ve had a settled story at bedtime (which had slipped away in the last few months), the house is clean and tidy (well as much as it ever will be), animals are cleaned out and fed, and everything feels so much less pressured and more relaxed.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the absence of pressure I feel to squash the formal learning we need to do into my days with the guys, that I’m able to fulfil this in a relaxed way and still have fun and not feel that I’m not getting the essentials done.  For us a mix of structured and autonomous works-we are fairly structured in the mornings covering maths, grammar, punctuation and reading skills as well as topic (currently science based) some coding, scratch, art and blogging.  B does more little chunks of phonics, sight vocab and number facts with me and does some independent work using reading eggs and math seeds (both of which he really loves).  So pretty much the 3 R’s and a topic we work on together.  We also listen to a composer for a few weeks and look at an artist (although this week we’ve not done too much with them.)  We are using Friday as a review day where we review what we’ve learned, I help with any tricky bits, we catch up and everyone Blogs about their week.

B and I have just watched some dines and are now watching the BBC program about polar bears and we’re popping out this afternoon to pick up E’s new glasses.

It’s like we can breathe, that there is time, no rush, still purposeful but there’s room to breathe and enjoy.  It is wonderful and surprising and if we’d known we’d have been here sooner!  TB and I were talking and we both agreed it was a dramatic change in the boys and the whole feel of the household…smiles all round!

December Daftness…

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So our December was full of fun, daftness and family time.  In December, we don’t do our ‘ordinary’ learning we generally do crafts, write cards, listen and sing along to christmas songs, read christmas stories and enjoy the month a lot.  This year we had a snowman, with North Pole Magic, who came to stay-think ELf on the Shelf but not quite.  Our snowman was visiting and we could help him by ‘generating’ christmas spirit’ which he could take back to the north pole.  Generating Christmas spirit led to some interesting discussions a bout how, what, what happened if you didn’t and got us all thinking about what this meant.  Snowy sometimes was found in silly or slightly naughty poses (like making snow angels in icing sugar, or riding the reindeers across the living room but he was generally a lovely guy who happened to be able to speak to me and I could tell the boys what he’s said-Ot in particular loved this and would bring snowy to me to ask me to (wish I could remember the exact words) bring him to lit or speak for him.  

Snowy bought us packages which contained a book (a christmas story) and an activity for us to do.  We would do these during the day, interspersed with movies, reading, creating our christmas village in mine craft, reading part of the christmas story from our songbook and singing a song-the boys decided to learn to sing ‘The Angel Gabriel’ which they sang on CHristmas Eve.  

Here’s a little peek at some of what we did in December…..

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The End of the Romans!!!

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…well ish anyway :0)  We still have some games to play and some crafty stuff to finish off but we’ve kind of skipped through the main events and spent the afternoon filling in some gaps and completing some mini lapbooks together (sounds incredibly dull doesn’t;t it)  It wasn’t.  We were all tired so I read in my best bloodthirsty manner extracts and we chatted then the boys created some different sentences answering questions (oral sentence construction using different starting words) and I typed.  as the main focus is on then sentence construction rather than the retaining of historical fact then it was good lots of good constructions, using connectives, increasingly complex sentences and encouraging to use so, because and explain why things had happened which they were able to do.  They could see the how’s and whys of what had happened-regardless of whether they remember about tribes of Britons, different currencies and bartering they were very much able to figure out from the info I gave.  We talked about how bartering might work now and digressed into talking about bartering for Lego pieces!

B has a had a difficult afternoon- I am not sure what to do with the huge amounts of aggression but I am starting to see a pattern well 2, needing more time playing with me (he has had very little today) and imitating sometimes the behaviour of his brothers or others….bears some thinking about

T club was good although the rough housing got a bit too rough in places and some older kid/kids were  for want of a better word goading Ot (who is only 6) and he has no idea how to respond but is himself struggling with big emotions…..so a difficult morning for the guys although they say they had a good time overall.  There is an element of well enough of that!  We got to Wickes, and I bought white sealant instead of clear diuh!  SO have to go back and change it!!!!!

An Orgy of Roman-ness!

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…has been had this week.  We started of with a trip to Lunt Fort, in Coventry which was fantastic!  We had a guided tour around the fort by Dominicus, a Roman soldier.

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We found out about Celts and how they prepared fro battle (plus a brief idea about why they were fighting the Romans).  Tig and Ot enjoyed role playing as Celts creeping and finding out how the Romans used nettles, caltrops and drainage channels in the ditches (ankle breakers) to help defend the fort against invaders.  Lunt Roman Fort 2012-04-23 002Lunt Roman Fort 2012-04-23 003

They found the idea of drunk, naked, blue Celts pretty funny and both decided they’d much rather eat with the Celts than the Romans. 

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Inside the fort we  found out about the battlements, the ballista (it could shoot a bolt through 7 people, 3 times a minute-Tig answered the maths for that one I was pleased that he used maths and he was pleased that he could answer.)  We food out that Romans would have sung songs to keep their spirits up and had a go at old mac Donald in Latin.

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We had a look at the gyrus, found out about it’s possible uses for animals, cavalry and horse training and had a go at being horses and Romans-good fun but tiring.  To get to the gyrus Dominicus had us crawling along the floor, following his signal which was enjoyed greatly by my guys Winking smile

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We looked at the remains of the barracks and found out that 8 men shared a room, 3 bunk beds and 2 people on duty working on the walls ta any one time.  We found out about using mouse brains as toothpaste, urine as mouthwash and got to see a real sponge on a stick (although the stick was a bit short!).  we also found out about where the silver was kept and Tig played the part of a guard, although he did let the Celt in a few times before he got the idea-way to trusting!

The tour really bought the fort to life and the guide was fab.  we would recommend going there to anyone who can!  After a short break we went inside for a talk about armour.

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D got dressed up as a Roman and we found out the names of some of the armour, we had looked at this the night before using this video which helped to grasp the new vocab.  We saw a Lorica, cingulum, gladius, pilum (I think!)  Then another couple of friends F and G got dressed up as Celts although F wasn’t too keen on the blue paint or the nose necklace!  We saw how the ballista worked-these bits were interesting but it was a little hard for the children to see-especially as some of the kids needed parents to sit with them so it was a bit squished.  After lunch and some playing we made face pots then it was a quick look in the shop and homeward bound. 

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A great if tiring day.

Tuesday club was Roman themed this week, we started off with S reading the story of Romulus and Remus-perhaps a bit challenging for some of the younger kids but B enjoyed it.  We made bullas, roman style mosaic coasters, dug up ancient artefacts and found out what they were used for, made money purses and coins, printed mosaic pictures, made clocks with Roman numerals, played with forts, had a feast and played with balloon swords in the garden. A lovely meet up.  My Dad came with us to help B out-B still didn’t join in with the activities but at least  there was someone with him whilst he was playing-swords and my guys do not mix at meet ups!

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ON Wednesday, it rained a lot!  We stayed in with the guinea pigs, did some of our normal everyday stuff and also some mini books and made some mosaic and started our modroc shields.

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Today we’ve found out about the Punic wars, built Roman town models (from Lego or on Roblox) after we found out what would be in them and found out a little bit about the Roman Republic.

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Mosaic afternoon-B and I did the dragon fly; Tig worked on the guinea pigs a little more and Ot drew a titanic (I have cut the pieces ready as the tiles are big ceramic tiles and they make very spiky shards and are tough to cut!)

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I made or at least started a list of links on Weblist for the boys to explore tomorrow.

Roman numeral biscuits

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Alongside all that there has been Lego building, Batman playing, Xboxing, wii playing, draughts, building with various things and reading.  B did some great number biscuits learning about 1 more and writing the digits as well as some reading eggs and writing notes, plans and signs.

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We played a game with Batman…. Mr Freeze tried to eat his biscuits but if Batman followed the clue and got to the correct biscuit he could stop him-clues were Mr Freeze is going to one more than….. great fun.  There was a bit of playing in the sandpit and also reading some Enid Blyton together :0)

B’s map of the bat cave, and Bat written on.

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B looking at a ladybird using a magnifier

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This weekend, B had his first official swimming lesson (at the same club as TIg and Ot) and did brilliantly.  Listened really well, followed his instructions, kept his eyes on Terry and had lots of fun!  He got his 1st puffin award :0D

We got the Roman artefacts out before they go back to school on Monday and had a look at them, talking about how they were used, what for, having a go with the strigil and thinking about what they might say if they could talk.  We then used morpho booth to make them talk and record them.  These are our videos…

If a calligae could talk…
If a Roman chatellaine set could talk…
If knuckle bones could talk…
If a Roman magistrates rod could talk…
If a Roman oil lamp could talk…
If a Roman arrow head could talk…
If a Roman thimble could talk…
If a Roman toy could talk…

They were enjoyed by all (less so when we realised you needed to save after each one or the soundtrack recorded over itself and had to re-do them but still really good fun!)