Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Some days...

... are not for schooling of any variety. Yesterday the boys had been up around 15 minutes before it was clear that it simply was not going to be a day for any kind of focused activity. There were lots of tears yesterday, lots of the boys shouting at each other, and generally just lots of stress. It seemed prudent to cancel any notions I had of a day of numbers. Instead we spent time in the garden. The garden is always our saviour at moments like this. There is something quite satisfying about getting wrapped up warm to go play outside during the cold months.
  The boys entertained themselves making patterns in the freshly dug soil, and devised a role play game revolving around their imaginary train station... and of course they did lots of digging, this time they were apparently building ponds. We plan to make a pond for the spring so this is lodged in their heads at the moment!
  One very good thing to come out of yesterday is that I did get to to speak to the paediatrician and all of his chromosomal analysis' have come back clear and I have arranged an appointment for Lamb to go in and have a check up. The biggest concern recently was that Lamb's medication doesn't seem to be having any impact any longer. For the weight he has put on it would seem that his dosage should be doubled, so it's not really surprising that the medication isn't helping Lamb all that much. Once Lamb has his check up in a few weeks, he'll be trialling the new dosage and it will be good to see if it helps him.
  At the time I was training to be a nursery-nurse the whole question over the appropriateness of medicating children was a major issue. It seems to me that these days it is slightly less frowned upon to give a child medication, but it still has a certain stigma attached to it. In the same way that ADHD itself was a contentious subject, it does seem that it is less so these day, but there is still that body of people that believe bad parenting is the cause or even (Still!!) that it doesn't really exist at all; and still that belief lingers out there that medication is the devils work. As a parent this has caused me all sorts of self doubt, but when it comes down to the wire I think Lamb prefers it when he can think straight and interact with people. Who wouldn't, I guess?
  When the medication is working the difference in Lamb is really quite amazing. Our first experience of it made me cry - it was like we were finally able to get to know him, after all those years. The popular assumption of drugs zombifying kids certainly hasn't been our experience. The drugs help Lamb focus enough that he can vocalise his experience of the world, and ask questions about it instead of being 'away with the fairies'. It certainly doesn't dampen down his energy or enthusiasm!
  Little rant over, and I feel much better!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

White blood cells go 'rah, rah, rah!'

The boys have been learning about blood today. Here is Lamb's blood collage. As you can see, enormous quantities of glue were used - so much so that the glue has seeped all over the pictures.
Moo in particular enjoyed learning about blood and keeps doing impressions of a white blood cell chasing after germs!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bodies and broken bones

Hmm, does the heart go here?

Ah, no, that looks a bit better!

The boys have also been learning about broken bones...

So they've been having fun with an assortment of bandages. And if the bandages double up as skipping ropes, well that's creative play right? ;-)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

At the end of summer

Lamb having a go at an archaeological dig, discovering some roman coins ;-)

We watched a flint knapper at work...

...and had a look at some of the things he had made (though Lamb was actually more interested in photographing the plants behind him at the time).

Circus skills day at the park. Lamb didn't quite get the hang of juggling!

Moo tried very hard to master this with a little more sucess though!

Lastly, here is Lamb at the drumming workshop.
Noise, we love noise!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Georgia O'Keeffe's poppies

On Friday we kept the 2 minutes silence, and Lamb was very sincere about the whole thing. As the last of our poppy related arts 'n' crafts we took a look at Georgia O'Keeffe's beautiful 'Oriental Poppies' painting, and the boys had a go at recreating the picture.
Here is the tracing I made of the picture for the boys to work with as a guide.

Here is Lamb's interpretation with water colour pencils....

... and here is Moo's version of the same :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Poppy seed pictures and hairy models

Yesterday poppies were the subject of our crafts once again. It is clear to me (and thankfully also to the new paediatrician who actually listens) that Lamb has quite a few sensory integration issues. Unfortunately the Occupational Therapists are so overstretched that they are taken on only the most extreme cases with most children not getting any help. This is the situation we, and many other families in the area, find ourselves in. Sensory integration is a broad subject and I know only a little, but I've been trying to provide controlled circumstances for Lamb to work on some of his sensory issues.
This is one such activity and it went surprisingly well.
The boys used glue to create a picture of a poppy. The glue had a tiny splodge of red paint in to help them see where they were putting the glue. They then had a whale of a time shaking and sprinkling poppy seeds all over their pictures and Lamb didn't mind touching the poppy seeds one bit. Result!

Later, when the pictures were dry, the boys used the textured pictures to make prints with lots of bright red paint.

Other fun for the day included the making of a hair model (from Easy Make and Do Projects: Human Body). This activity was more aimed at working on scissor and paper folding skills than learning about hair.
Moo is getting much better at controlling the scissors, and Lamb is improving his control when trying to fold to a specific line on the paper. Lamb enjoyed giving his hair a cut more than anything :)

We also made some posters about digestion for our body topic and spent some more time with Nina and her neurons learning about digestion. Both kids grasp the basic concept of why we eat and where our food goes, if not all of the finer details, which for their ages and stages is plenty enough!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Skeleton experiment

We got out the salt dough yesterday to find out why we have skeletons :)
First we all made little people with no bones, but guess what?

They kept toppling over!
So then we tried again and this time we used cocktail sticks as pretend bones inside our little people.

And hurrah! They stand up (they weren't much good at flexing though)!
So why do we have skeletons? What would happen if we had no bones??
Lamb answers in mime: tumbling to the floor in a heap,
and Moo says 'FALL OVER!'.

Poppy and orange cakes

1 cup of self raising flour
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup of olive oil
about 3 finely grated carrots
2 tbs poppy seeds
1/2 a squeezed orange's juice
grated zest of 1 orange

Bake at 180 degrees for about 20ish minutes. Ta-da!

To continue talking about poppies and what they represent to us in November, we continued by making these little cakes. 'Carrots mummy? Cakes?' It was like a scene straight from Peter Kay! It was also a chance for the boys to have a taste of poppy seeds, which I don't believe they've tasted before and talk about our sense of taste. Lamb didn't like the feel of the poppy seeds in his mouth, and Moo was fairly neutral about the whole thing... but at least there were yummy cakes to eat at the end of it!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sewing poppies

Now I'm not great at taking photo's but I'm sure you get the idea!
Yesterday we used some Binkamat sheets (which are fantastic by the way!) to sew some simple lines onto our poppies and talked about why we buy poppies in November. The poppy you can see in the picture is Moo's - not bad for 3 years old I think :) He was really getting the hang of it, but decided to call it a day half way round the second line I had drawn on to the poppy for him.
We also watched some programs about our skin and the boys drew pictures of what they had learnt. In Lamb's own words: Skin helps me. Keeps out water and germs. Holds in belly, food and heart.
Heehee, I just love that last sentance!

And here are the stained-glass autumn leaves we made the other day.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

No tickling!

Just a quick picture of the weekend :)
Giant man with a giant feather duster? NO TICKLING, NO!
Lamb was very clear on this. He was not to be tickled, and neither was Moo or mummy or daddy. Just completely NO!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Making ears, patterns and tea-light holders!

We kicked the day off making some autumn leaves stained glass style (pictures tomorrow once the enormous quantities of glue have dried!) and rounded off the morning making these tea light holders with washed out Nutella jars and sparkly confetti. The photo's don't really do the finished product justice ~ they really are rather pretty!

Daddy B. had the afternoon at home and Lamb insisted that he do their 'ears' activity with them. So it was that Daddy B found himself cutting and sticking together model ears with the boys (found in Easy Make and Do Projects: Human body). I think he rather enjoyed being part of the home-ed process :)

... and here is a little bit of maths for the day! We decided to have a little look at patterns with the bricks. This was a spontaneous activity dreamed up by Lamb who did very well with it.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bone necklaces and autumn leaves

We've had a fun but busy day full of play-dough, marble runs, handwriting practise and episodes of Nina and the Neurons 'brilliant bodies'. We made bone necklaces at breakfast. It's a great activity for Moo's age group but is also very pertinent for Lamb as well as he needs to work on his grip strength and fine motor skills.

... and we also made some sandpaper autumn leaves from pink and green mama's blog which Moo devoted some considerable time to.
We also got around to a cut-and-stick eye labelling activity - there were some wicked eye lashes on display but I haven't photographed these!

Georgia O'Keeffe inspired

As we're doing a body topic at the moment we've taken the opportunity to look at some of Georgia O'Keeffe's bone paintings. Moo particularly loves our art time looking at famous artists. Lamb, as you can see in the picture is taking his art very seriously, but is far more interested in his art than some old artist!
Yesterday I laid out a series of different arty activities for the boys and miraculously they had both suddenly finished what they were doing. In this picture Lamb decided to use chalks to draw bones 'with clouds in the sky'. Moo also took the opportunity to paint the floor, which is why all our art time takes place on the lino!

As well as various bone based activities there I also laid out some materials to make autumn crowns, which are still drying as so much glue was used! The kids then took it all to the next level. Leaves we painted and stuck onto bone paintings, they both demanded scissors and before I knew it they had created leafy, black snowflakes... or something like that!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Brain Hats!

We started a body topic this week, and here are the proud owners of two wonderful brain hats (available to download from www.ellenjmchenry.com). We played a pass the message brain game to learn about the way the brain sends and recieves messages, but to be honest they were more interested in threading their neurons onto string!

Little Beaver

Lamb got to bring home the scouts mascot this week for good behaviour.
He's pretty pleased with himself!
From a mummy and daddy perspective we're really pleased too. Each week Lamb is now amongst the numbers that actually behave themselves while they are at scouts. In a group of almost 30 children, some of which are not behaving well, Lamb has consistantly been a star. This is such a massive thing for him, and us as a family. 6 months ago, before we started home-schooling, it was precisely these sorts of social conditions that Lamb struggled with so much in school. Even the lining-up and sitting down parts of scouts have been going well. Add to this that he also doesn't have 1:1 support at scouts as he did at school, and it equals to the fact that this is quite an achievement for Lamb :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Into the Victorian workhouse!

We were lucky enough to get along to this free event last week (I love the word 'free'!)
Here the boys are in the 'workhouse schoolroom' where they had their fingers inspected before starting their lessons sat upon hard wooden benches. They're practising writing their names with chalkboards and in a sand box. Lamb was putting all that extra concentration in as he discovered that chalk is a whole lot harder to write with than pens and pencils. I'm not sure Moo was necessarily using the sandbox to write his name though...

We also really enjoyed the workhouse kitchen. The boys used old ration cards with the help of the costumed museum staff to measure out how much dried bread they would be allowed for breakfast, and had a go at making some gruel. The boys were so eager for the gruel until they saw the finished product and strangely enough neither of them wanted to taste it in the end!
We also got to make peg dollies to take home, which are still prancing around our house, though their clothes seem to have fallen off.
All in last week was a museum week for us. There was only one day that we didn't go there. We went along for the 'crazy colours' treasure hunt and made colour mobiles, and we made roman mosaics and torcs, we made world war II themed posters about healthy eating and growing your own, and had lots of fun trying on all the period costumes again. It was a fun week and honestly, I was knackered by the weekend!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Free site for little fingers

I honestly never thought I would be letting my 3 year old on the computer. I've found my kids keep challenging my ideas on what makes a 'good' mother. If you had asked me a year ago if I would let such a tiny person use a computer I would have said 'no'. But Moo has been desperate to learn how to use the computer and I figured I should just be happy to see such enthusiasm.
This is a great little site for little people and Moo has been enjoying popping balloons, setting off fireworks and knocking green bottles of the wall... Moo loved it!
I had it in my head the kind of mummy-teacher I wanted to be. But that just didn't fit with how my boys learn. I had all these romantic ideas but in the end it comes down to the kids, not me. I hate it when I have to learn the obvious!!

Pre-engineering skills ;)

Daddy B. has been having lots of lego fun with the boys. I'm honestly not sure who enjoyed building this marble run the most! They spent hours on it, and hours playing with it.
This is possibly the coolest lego build ever...