WedEd loveliness Halloween/Fairytale style.

WedEd played a blinder this week; this group home ed meeting has settled into something that seems to work really well now and I mostly feel like I pull my weight, which makes me feel better. Bene is (temporarily I suspect) not too high maintenance there, so I can do a couple of activities. Once he gets mobile, he might get left at home with daddy on those days!

We started off with pumpkin carving.

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Maddy was thrilled to have her own pumpkin to do and did a wolf howling at the moon scene. She’s been itching to have a go at a scene because Auntie Kate always does such great pumpkins and we are always too boring and just do a face :lol: Perfect Halloween craft I think.

Once they’d done that and enough gossiping had occurred, HH did science as she usually does. This week they used a really good microscope to look at slides they made of onion skins. Last weeks bacteria had also been put on to slides and they had some fabulous nasty bugs to look at, including some that moved! All of them loved it and had fun drawing them and making up their slides.

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I alternated with HH by doing poetry. This week I asked them what sort of poetry they liked best and Poppy chipped straight in with “fairytale stuff” so I picked out The Lady of Shallot and read it to them several times while they listened to the language and drew what came to mind. It’s too good a poem to pick to pieces too much but it appealed to them all because of Merlin and they mostly had a good old Anne Shirley romantic moment about it. (Amelie drew an onion in the corner of hers… sigh). We talked about the storyline (hard to grasp initially, it needed the second reading) and the magical sense of it. We discussed the use of sounds and seasons and how the mood of the poem changed as it went along. We talked about the use of movement and how the picture was created by describing the surrounding and then how it altered as the poem progressed.

It’s a great poem, I can see why Anne loved it so :)

I’ll have to find Amelie’s picture and put it here.

Finished up with making Fimo fairy houses. I found a rather fab one on Pinterest the other day and we thought we should have a go. These are built around baby food jars again… aren’t they lovely?

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This is Josie’s one, which I was really impressed with.

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All of them were great. I need to have a go at them now.

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Home time.

It’s been a proper home ed week.

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There has been lots going on here this week, even though I had a day out (more to come on that!) and we spent a day interviewing for new staff. As well as the geography day we did there has been lots of crafting of various sorts.

Maddy, Josie and I have put together these crafts for the new site a SimpleCrafts .It’s really inspiring us to have this new site to build together, so even though it means taking some of the content off here, I think it is worthwhile. (You can sign up to receive email updates from it… go on, you know you want to ;) )

There are tutorials or printable patterns for all of those crafts – we’ve moved a step up, I promise :) I’ve also added more Autumn Hama Bead ideas to BeadMerrily.

Friday was a recuperate day; all the girls spent ages looking up facts on their first chosen European country; Amelie is now in love with Russia and Maddy has the bug for the history of Turkey. I can only hope this will be even more inspiring next week as I’m sorely in need of home ed feeling good again. I’ve got a shelf full of books on things we don’t open and we really need to knuckle down and live home ed again a bit.

Last week at WedEd the kids did some fabulous art work and Amelie fancied having another go too.

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She is still really enjoying ice skating as you can see!

That WedEd also involved poetry writing with me and looking at bacteria with Helen, among other things.

The previous day (I’ve skipped back a week now, have I already done this?) Fran, Bene, Max and I had various medical appointments to keep in Cambridge so the girls did more art with Zoe.

The upshot of the appointments is that Max is having his eyes laser-ed and Fran needs another palate op. I must have already said that. Sigh.

There has been some modelling by Maddy.

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And all in all, when you add project work, music, reading, being out and about and doing all their ordinary work too, it’s been pretty productive :)

WedEd: sewing, electromagnets (possibly) and The Listeners.

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Yesterday was a good day. After a slow start my spirits soared as we came within a tiny distance of sponsoring six children in Niger, I was feeling disappointed in what I had achieved but actually, it suddenly struck me that in 3 days bloggers and readers of blogs have pledged £1700. We are going to change the lives of the families in the villages of six children. Six families, six children, six mothers will know we care.

I want to do more. But that is an amazing start.

It’s a humbling thought to also be running a competition alongside this and knowing that if I could just generate that same interest in giving £1 or £20 or £75 as I can in a competition to win something I could do more. But six sponsorships IS a start. We can go on from there. I can keep setting up groups of people to do sponsorships for as long as those people might want to start. And I will.

Then we went out and group efforts took on a different meaning as I met up with friends and drank tea and listened to the sounds of our lovely, happy, lucky children playing and learning around us.

It doesn’t take too much for me to feel lucky these days. I settle for everyone breathing to be honest. Happy, educated, entertained, enjoying, joyful, fed, watered, delighted. These are things to make me feel lucky indeed.

The kids drew plants.

They also sewed critters and projects and chatted like the well rounded and lovely individuals they are as they did so.

We discovered that if you hug R when she wears this top she baaaas and so we made her make ears for it, squeezed her lots and made her a mint sauce necklace.

More hugging.

I read them the most fantastic poem called The Listeners by Walter de la Mare. Never heard it before but it was brilliantly spooky and eerie and completely inspired them. They bounced as they told me their thoughts on it, they had really heard the story clues and the devices in the poem and they had loads of ideas about it too. I think it will have been a poem they remember and love. It reminded me of spectres in HDM and the (I can’t remember the name!) white spooky things in Game of Thrones and Black Riders and the old men in Prince Caspian. Fantastic poem.

They also built magnets with batteries (I didn’t get a picture) and Bene got lots of cuddles and was gorgeous and people bounced on the trampoline and ate lunch in the garden.

Lastly we watched their video animation made over previous sessions. Such lovely friends. I hope they remember these as all their lives. Will try to add some of it shortly.

We came home and Fran had her report with predictions of all A’s B’s and Distinctions (guess home ed didn’t ruin her chances then!) and top marks for effort everywhere. So proud of her.

Celebrated with dinner and the football and put Bene in a bucket. That is what you do with babies… Right?

Daffodils at WedEd

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Wednesday this week marked a a big improvement in things generally. Not only was I able to drive myself to WedEd or the first time since having Ben but he was also manageable enough for me to be able to get on with being part of the educational offerings again.So this week I brought “Daffodils” along with me which marked a change in itself since I don’t think I’ve been able to read that poem for the last 19 years, never mind the last 2 years.

We started off by discussing the inspiration for the poem, which comes from a walk Wordsworth took with his sister, who then wrote about the day. We discussed the female influences on his life, the fat that his wife wrote two lines of the poem (rather enlightened really, for a man to accept literary assistance from a wife in those days) and that the death of his brother affected him deeply. We touched briefly on the English Romantic period and how that altered the nature of poetry to be more personal and emotional and to have more basis in nature and mentioned the idea of pastoral poetry rather than story telling poetry.

I’m planning to get them to start doing poetry appreciations soon, so one thing I want to do is create a timeline together of all the poems we’ve read so get a feel for how poetry changes and start to categorise poetry too. We’ll make a start on working at that next time and some of the older ones may start trying to work at poems in a way that will help them if they want to do a GCSE in literature soon. So this session was an exercise in looking critically at a poem while still hopefully enjoying it.

After reading the poem through to them I asked for first impressions. One group noticed the mood of the poet very quickly and that towards the end he was reflecting on something and feeling sad. The other focused more on him being happy at the time of the event. We spent some time getting them to think of odd memories of particular, trivial evnts that have stuck in their minds for some reason and the things that call them to mind; light, temperature, smells or other triggers and explored the fact that this memory is something positive for the author in darker days.

Next we looked at the language of the poem and the words used to describe the daffodils. One group picked up on the idea of precious treasure in the words golden, shines and twinkles, while the other saw a link between daffodils coming and going but being ever present as bulbs under the ground and the stars of the milky way being there but not always visible. We looked at the idea of the shape of the milky way describing the shape of the belt of flowers and found other words describing the nature and scene he portrays.

Next came a look at personification. I read the poem again and got them to listen for words that described the daffodils movement and they found their way to the idea of them as dancers. One child picked up on the poet also referring to himself as a lonely cloud so we talked about the idea in reverse, how a crowd of daffodils are portrayed as happy dancers while he, a human, is reduced to a lonely cloud. We linked this to the end of the poem and looked at how the emotions of the poem change from bleak to joyful and them back to a pensive but peaceful mood at the end. This led naturally into briefly looking at rhyming pattern and how it is similar in pattern to some love poetry and the shortened lines of the last verse adding mood after the flowing lines of the earlier verses.

For a bit of light relief, I took my iPad and showed them some Fimo daffodils and then let them loose to make some. I thought it might fix the poem in their minds :)

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I’m never very good at describing the rest of WedEd, though it is always excellent but a lot of it goes over my head. I’m so unscience-y it is untrue :shock: However, Zoe organised them through Sketch Tuesday and Em did more fabulous animation things with them and Helen made batteries using foil, salt water and 2p pieces. They LOVED that.

I’m not sure what the pencil game was, but it kept several of them quiet.

There was some male bonding.

And Ben did this for a lot of the day…

…making up for it when he got home by feeding for 8 solid hours and then sleeping through the night for the first time. (Thereby terrifying the life out of me when I woke at 6.15am and he was still asleep.)

And excellent day. They are always great, my kids love them more than anything else; I must remember to blog them more often!

Ning Nang Nonsense Poetry

I’ve got a huge stack of proper educational posts from about last September that I really want to write. They all seem to be stuck permanently in draft waiting for me to take photos or upload videos or goodness knows what. It’s annoying that the most educational things we’ve done over the last 4 months are all half blogged, because they’ve been great :/

Just before Christmas we did a WedEd day where I read the poem On the Ning Nang Nong to the kids. Over previous weeks we had focused on alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia as poetic and language devices so once we’d explored the poem and identified some of the language types within it, I got them to create a word bank of their own using them.

For example:-
ping pang pong,
ping ding ring
ring rang wrong
row rot rob
pop pap pip

I briefed them so they knew they’d be using their word banks to write a word poem of their own and then let them loose. The results were fantastic; I did video them, but I’m not sure the sound is good enough to hear properly. here is one anyway and I’ll try to upload the others and see how it goes. I’ll have to see if I can find the papers they wrote on.