Thursday, 24 May 2012

TEEN + HEAT = VERY LITTLE DONE

Hiya

I know I should be doing a daily blog, but to be honest we really haven't done enough to warrant a daily one.  Weather has changed here in the South and it's become hot, very hot!  It appears we will have to get used to swinging from jumpers, raincoats and wellies one day to vest tops, sunhats and sandals the next without a period of acclimatisation in between.  Add to this the fact that, as previously mentioned, Callum is reading until all hours and sleeping in later (Issac Newton's theory springs to mind "every action has an equal and opposite reaction") and we don't exactly have a lot of room in the day for getting things done before Phil is home and chaos reigns. Phil is also an Aspi (undiagnosed), but is one for strict routines (his, not ours) and woe betide we alter those or get in the way of them.  So anything we want to do that requires the kitchen, utility room or the TV and often the garden too has to be completed before 3.30pm!  Bit like school really.  I know he would argue that he isn't like this at all, but having experienced the hrumphing and the moaning, I beg to differ.

So this week; what have we achieved?  Monday wasn't too bad as we managed to write up our visit to the Imperial War Museum that happened the week before.  We did separate write ups for each part of the day as the Art Exhibition was going into the colour and light project we are supposed to be doing and the museum part is in the unrelated days out folder.  It appears we are doing rather a lot of those and I might have to go through it at the end of the 'school' year and perhaps pick bits out to expand upon into projects for next year.  The write up took rather longer than expected as, as usual, we got sidetracked by conversation, questions and online searching.  That's the one big thing that I love about home education, it can wander off topic, go onto lots of different pathways and then come full circle back to where we started.  Found a really interesting website whilst having a conversation on timezones (don't ask how we got onto those as I can't remember) which had lots of other stuff on it too.  We ended up 'playing' on here for ages:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

Tuesday was Faversham meet.  Callum happy as quite a few of his mates were there, so he didn't end up reading the whole time.  I did find it particularly funny though when I went to look for him as his mate and himself were in the computer room (no surprise there) but at opposite ends of the room talking to each other on Roblox (no surprise there either).  Oh and he actually spoke to another adult!  Well, I say spoke he answered her polite enquiries with stilted two word answers, but it's better than nothing.  Davinia, you are honoured! hehe

Wednesday I didn't see him all day pretty much.  Terri was over and as she needed to use the computer, he was upstairs in his room playing with his tanks and watching Family Guy and Have I Got News For You on his telly (he has Tivo in his room).  Lots of laughter coming from his room with the added occasional 'explosion' from his game he'd made up.

Today he didn't surface until 9.50am!!!!  And even then he was a bit lethargic - he'd been reading until gone 11pm the night before again.  So we decided to have a PJ day and watch a documentary that I'd recorded about why we need the moon.  It was really interesting and the presenter, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock was brilliant as it was explained in easy to understand terms (good for me as well, haha).  It isn't on iPlayer that I can see, but the link below has some information and clips.  Well worth watching if you can find it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00yb5jp

This afternoon we dug out Callum's Alpine trough (well it's an old sink to be precise) and repotted with some salvaged old plants and some new ones we bought at the garden festival a few weeks back.


We just need to get some more gravel to fill in the spaces, but it's now looking a lot more healthy than it did as it was overgrown with weeds and unwanted seedlings.


Anyway, that's about it.  Ice skating tomorrow and then we are intending to plant some more seeds in the garden and into pots in the afternoon.

Cya



Sunday, 20 May 2012

A WEEKEND WITH NATURE

Hiya


Thought I'd do an end of weekend blog.  Normally don't do anything over the weekend on the computer, but recent weeks have proved that there really is nothing worth watching on the TV and I've caught up on all my recorded programmes.  So have been spending more time on here listening to music and playing on Facebook and, tonight, I'm doing those and writing up the blog.


This weekend has been particularly busy as the weather has been good and we had a couple of events booked at our local Country Parks.


Saturday was Riverside for a mini beast hunt.  We obviously go there far too often as we don't even have to give our names now, haha.  But the events are really good, the staff are lovely and they don't cost much; the mini beast session cost £1.50!  So what did we do?  Well, we started at the pond for some pond dipping, looking out for different creatures that live in the water.
The Pond
The little pile of twigs and leaves (lower centre) is a coot's nest where they put their babies when they are off looking for food.  Bit like a playpen.

The Tray of goodies
It doesn't really show much in this picture, but the tray ended up with loads of water boatmen, tiny watermites, snails, caddis larvae which were really weird and waterlice (underwater woodlouse).  One boy managed to net a stickleback and another a newt.

Then off to the meadow with nets and jars clutched in hands to look for insects.
'fishing for insects'
Our ranger and some of the others



Callum with net








Admittedly there wasn't a great deal of diversity to find at this time of year, so it might be worth going on another hunt at the end of the summer.  Callum did find lots of red ants, a black ladybird, a tiny spider, lots of fruit flies, a few little beetles and a green winged insect that looked like a grass seed which I can't remember the name of and have looked on google, but can't find it.  Really need to invest in a good insect book.


All in all a good morning was had by the both of us.  In the afternoon we planted beans, cabbages and brussel sprout plants along with carrot and beetroot seeds.

Then today, Sunday; which didn't start off too well.  Both Callum and myself felt a bit rough; both of us have colds or the start of hayfever and both had very snuffly noses and not a lot of energy, but we wanted to go on our tree walk, so dragged ourselves up and off we went with dad in tow this time.

It was Capstone Park today with Ranger Dave for a 2.5hr walk around the park looking at the different types of trees that were there.  We, obviously, didn't identify every tree, but picked out the most common ones.  Will let pictures speak for themselves on this one.  
Common Oak

Large Common Oak Tree in Ancient Woodland

Hazel

Ash

Norway Maple

Field Maple

Whitebeam
There was a lot more than that, but didn't take pictures of them all.  Had a lovely walk and the weather stayed dry if overcast.  Both Callum and I felt a lot better afterwards.  Had the rest of the afternoon to laze; with Callum on Roblox catching up with his friend he's made from China for the rest of the day until bedtime, while I read my book.

So weekend over and a week of catching up to do as we don't have a lot of outings planned.

Cya




Thursday, 17 May 2012

WE HAVE NO MOTIVATION

Hi all, yes I know it's been ages!  We don't seem to have any motivation at the moment.  Everyday is a struggle to get anything done or planned.  I know that this is just a lull, but it's beginning to worry me.

Callum has definitely turned into a teen or at least a preteen.  He's reading every night (which isn't a bad thing) until about 11pm, but that means he isn't getting up until 9am, sometimes 10am.  Again, this isn't a real problem as we aren't having to get ready for school, but it does mean that by the time we are up and ready it's verging on lunchtime!  The weather hasn't helped either as it's been so miserable that that affects my moods and I've been having more headaches and having a general feeling of blurgh!

So what have we done?  Well, we've still been going to ice skating and the Faversham meetings and Callum has still be doing trampolining.  He's now somersaulting!  Did six this week, with 4 of those in a row!  Go Callum!

Last weekend we held a charity tea party in aid of the Blue Cross (animals) and managed to raise just over £100.  Callum helped make a few of the cakes and posted invites to the neighbours.  He also helped clean up the house in readiness for our guests.  So I suppose we could class that as life skills, haha.

Sunday we went off to the local Flower Festival at Cozenton and bought some veg and fruit plants for the garden and some alpines for Callum's little sink garden.  It needs digging out and redoing, so that is something I'd like to get done before the weekend if the weather stays dry.

Monday this week we went off to London with his sister, Terri, to visit an art exhibition in Somerset House.  We are supposed to be looking at colour and light and The Courtauld Gallery had a Mondrian/Nicholson exhibition on, so I thought that would be a good one to visit as Mondrian (and Nicholson) used blocks of colour.  Callum really enjoyed it, in fact he also enjoyed having a look at the other exhibitions that were on, "I liked seeing the different ways of painting" he told me on Wednesday when we were doing a write up to go in our folder.  In fact, he even said he would like to go and visit some other galleries!

Callum's own version of Mondrian

Afterwards we then walked back towards Waterloo East and went off to the Imperial War Museum for a couple of hours.  Had totally forgotten how much of it there was and we have decided another visit is necessary.  We only managed one floor and the main hall.
Callum with his sister, Terri

Just about reach!
As I've already said we had trampolining on Tuesday and yesterday Terri visited us again and they had a little art lesson on creating pictures in the style of Mondrian or Nicholson (see Callum's above).

Today, it's overcast again, I have a headache and Callum is in his pjs on the Wii.  Tomorrow is the ice skating meet and we have Mini Beast Hunting and Tree Identification Walk at the weekend.

Hopefully we will feel more motivated next week.  Not so out and about which means we might be able to get some experiments done and some more maths.

Cya


Thursday, 3 May 2012

LOGIC PROBLEMS, DRAGONS AND A 'QUIET DAY' TODAY

Hiya

Had a pj day today as we weren't going out and about.  Must admit wasn't helped by me waking up with sinus headache,  so a reasonably slow start.  But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Yesterday we attacked some maths problems.  Callum has basically mastered the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division which we've been concentrating mainly on this year.  He's doing all of the above with small, medium and large numbers, decimals and fractions, so I think it's time to start using what we've learnt in a more useful way instead of just doing reams of sums.  He's getting bored anyway.  So I've managed to get hold of a set of books from Brain Academy..
www.thebookpeople.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/qs_product_tbp?storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&langId=100&productId=271362&searchTerm=brain+academy
I know that they are a little young, but I have discovered that they do older versions of the books, so I'm going to start with these and work upwards.

Basically they are a series of 'missions' using maths to solve them.  They are pretty easy, but because they are written differently you have to think them through logically.  Callum found the first one a little difficult as he was trying to over complicate the question, but once he'd broken it down and read through it properly he really enjoyed them.

We went over some measurement conversions afterwards, so we finished on something really really easy.

Then as I had an appointment with the bank in the afternoon, I left him with his sister, Terri, and they finished off his chinese dragon which we started ages and ages ago and just never got round to finishing before the dining room got totally shut down for redecorating.


Now back to today.  We continued with the 'using maths in the real world' theme by attacking the kitchen for a baking session.  We are holding a Charity Tea Party next Saturday and are in the process of making all the cakes for it.  So we used multiplication to double recipe ingredients and weights and measures to actually make the cake.  Then we made a list of all the cakes we want to make and calculated all the ingredients we needed to make them, using multiplication and addition.  Then we weighed out all the ingredients we already had and used subtraction to calculate what we needed to buy.  With our list complete and our cakes cooked, we finished our day.  I ended up curled up watching TV progs I'd recorded dosed up with pain killers and Callum went back onto the computer to play Roblox.

So not an overly productive day, but not a complete waste either.

Cya

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE

Hiya

Had a massive thunderstorm here last night and I had to shut the dog in the cupboard to stop him freaking out, so had a late night and restless sleep, but storm was fab. (The dog could get out of the cupboard by the way as it hasn't got a lock on it, so he wasn't permanently shut in).  Needless to say this morning I was a bit bleary eyed and Callum hadn't heard any of it!  He was gutted!

So this morning we had a discussion on finances, made up his Electric Dragster that he got as a late Christmas present and had a look through a new maths book.


Making up the kit.

Finished article

The dragster is fab and he pretty much made it all himself although the screws were tiny and he had a bit of trouble with them, so I screwed them in for him.  It goes like the clappers.

video

Then off to trampolining for his fortnightly lesson.  Worked on his routine and then back to somersaults again.  Managed two perfect ones today and the rest were almost there, he seems to have a lazy left leg that keeps going underneath him, so Kim broke it down into stages so he has an order to think about each movement.  Much improved and Callum dead chuffed.

Lunch in Subway and then a bit of shopping before going off for haircuts.  Was delayed from last week as I felt lousy.  So now we are both a bit more spruced up, haha.

Back from that and he was on Roblox.  Upgraded his membership as all the problems seem to have been resolved, so he is one very happy bunny today.

Cya