Monday, 25 February 2013

Spectopularly Sick

Well last year we had the February blahs and this year the whole month has been consumed by sickness!  Weird viruses, chronic abdominal pain and gastritis (me) and to wave the month goodbye and good riddance, Pip has been really unwell with a horrific gastric bug, probably The Norovirus and me flu!

The washing machine and drier have worked double duty and Pip looks very thin, she hasn't eaten since Friday and has only just managed to keep down sips of water. I always know when she is very poorly because not only does she not move from her bed, but she has asked several times for a "boo feed" despite it being a year since her last nursing and "want a back carry."  Typically Benedict's diabetes has also been running haywire and I'm back to losing sleep on pump suspensions and middle of the night hypos.

Here's hoping March will bring much needed and welcomed changes.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday Almanac

Listening ~  To the wind howling outside and quiet in the house!  The children are elsewhere and I am  appreciating these moments of uninterrupted peace!

Reading ~  I'm on the second reading of "In Celebration of Simplicity, the joy of living lightly" by Penelope Wilcock.  You can read how I came to acquire this book  here

Memorising ~ I am assured that God works for the good in all circumstances.

Cooking ~ a really easy tea of baked potato wedges and an assortment of ready cooked meals from the freezer.

Learning ~ We've had an  interesting week in the learning zone:

Benedict ~   I've seen a big improvement in his attitude to number work and on several occasions I have been able to leave him with a set of questions and he's just got on with them.

We listened to episode four of 'A Christmas Carol' entitled Mr Fezziwig. There were five questions pertaining to character analyses and the concept of greed as outlined in this particular part of the book. Benedict and I both agreed that it would be best to tackle one question each day and this has worked well for us.

We've also been listening to Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' and Benedict of his own choosing listens to "The Jazz Suit" by Shostakovich! He also finished his 'Flight into Egypt' picture and the results are pretty good.

I found some really good resources regarding our Anglo Saxon unit study and so on Thursday afternoon, we took a virtual trip around the British Museum! They have an extensive collection of Anglo Saxon artefacts.

During my trip into town last week, I managed to pick up a second hand copy of "The Chamber of Secrets" and that book was read within twenty four hours! I've also made good use of our online library catalogue and have been able to order a selection of Enid Blyton stories.

Sara has been using a power point soft ware known as Prezi. Thanks to her teaching skills, Benedict was able to put together a presentation on "Swallows and Amazons." He was really animated and enthusiastic about this new found skill and I can see that, this form of media will prove invaluable as time goes on.

Pip ~ As always she has had great fun at pre-school and forest school and here is the excerpt from the weekly newsletter:

  • For our Scottish theme we listened to lots of vocal and instrumental music. We tried Scottish dancing and followed some children's interests by putting on a little show at the end of the week. We baked bannocks which was a fantastic recipe for the children to make independently and they all loved eating them for snack. Here's the recipe if you would like to try at home - the measurements are for one portion and can be made in a small bowl:

half cup of porridge oats
quarter cup of plain flour
quarter cup of butter
hot water to combine
Mix dry ingredients together, add butter and rub with fingertips to mix, use a spoon to stir in enough hot water until mixture is combined. Put on a floured surface and shape into whatever shape you would like. Cook at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes.

We also shared photos of one Dad who has completed all of the Scottish Munroes - amazing! We looked at photos taken in different seasons, we were observant about the clothing clues to decide what time of year it might be. We talked about different equipment for climbing mountains and saw photos with ice axes and ropes. Thank you so much for sharing.
We read poems from the Katie Morag books and tried out Scottish dialect from another book, we made flags and talked about where Scotland is.
We ended the week with our own version of the highland games where we tossed the caber, did some curling and had a scotch egg race! The children were all awarded medals - yippee!
  • We learnt a new circle game called, 'Doggy, where's your bone?' which was great fun and fantastic for personal, social and emotional development. There will be another new cricle game next week.
  • Following children's interests we had a dance class area equipped with mirrors, dressing up, CD player and mats. The children made posters to advertise for a teacher and were soon very independent in working the CD player and making up dances - we ended with their show that they had planned: sword dancing, polka and galloping! Fantastic! We also followed up last week's interest in cake shops with a role play cake shop, currant bun production and singing and began the process of making salt dough cakes - more next week. There was den building and lots of imaginative talk as well as 3D junk modelling to support imaginative play - the cake shop was selling out of cakes that were being bought and taken into the den.
  • Letters and sounds - we consolidated the first group 'satipn' with the children adding the last few sounds to their books. We played games, sang the action songs for each sound and used flashcards to recall the sounds.
  • For maths we introduced a new counting song and a big bowl of giant pasta. Different types of number lines are now all around pre-school to support mathematical development during play. With the pasta game the number lines were used for one-to-one correspondance, numeral recognition and to aid problem solving using the language of addition and subtraction such as more, less, too many, how many more etc. We also introduced labels into the snack area, with a variety of numerals, shapes and number language such as 'lots'. If you are interested in knowing more about developing mathematical awareness at home please come and have a chat.
  • Forest school was a mixed bag. On Wednesday, due to high winds we didn't venture into the woods. We talked to the children about the strong gusts of wind and why it might not be safe to be in the woods and then we went on a walk to feel the wind, listen to it, look for signs of the wind and also have a good run around in it! We did some digging on the allotments and used the compost bin to tidy up. We used secateurs to snip the willow and tidy it up a little. We sheltered from a rain shower in the willow den and enjoyed hot chocolate. We found some eggs under a rock that we thought might belong to a snail.

On Friday we listened to beautiful bird song on our walk and tried to imitate the call of a coal tit. We found primroses and snowdrops in flower. We took crayon rubbings of bark and stone comparing texture and colours. We followed up on our theme of trees by looking at erosion that has exposed tree roots and feeling them and their curves. We went to find some trees that had been cut down and looked and felt the rings. Later we found a letter left by Blub Blub the alien (visitor the previous week) - the children were excited to be given a plan to make a giant 3D tree on the ground (a symbol that could be seen from high up). There was great team work to make this artwork with a trunk, roots, branches and twigs. We looked at photos of woodland animals and placed them where they live on the tree and even talked about food chains with the children commenting on the mouse not wanting to live near the fox. Finally we had a surprise visit from Blub Blub's friend, Goo Goo! She had seen the big tree on the ground and come to learn from the children all about trees and animals that use them. Fantastic sharing of knowledge and understanding from the children.

Phew ... I must remember not to panic when reading this!   No seriously, the staff at pre-school are an amazing bunch of enthusiastic gals but they are tied to OFSTED inspections and mercifully I am not!

Planning ~ to take each day as it comes and not stress about the small stuff!

Pondering ~ 'Bloom where you are planted.'  Those words are our home school motto for this year. They are a reminder to me to keep my eyes on my own work and accept the circumstances in which I find myself on a daily basis.

As a result of a flare up in my health, I've had to re-evaluate how we do things around here. In so doing I have also had to accept that I'm not failing the kids if I do not have our days or week worked out in advance; that rhythm and routine although worthy are just not feasible for us as a family. There have been at least two occasions this past week where I have been working the late shift monitoring Benedict, finally crawling into bed at 2am, so it is unreasonable of me to accept that I should then be up and doing five hours later! This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

I am however mindful of the fact that come September Pip will be home a lot more than she is now and that she is definitely a 'let's get things done' kid, so with this in mind I'm already working on a small list of activities that incorporate both my good and bad days.

Thankful For medication, acupuncture and knitting therapy, I'd be a mess without them for sure!

Captured ~ Pip and I  had some fun on Friday with an easy to do craft and science activity:




Vinegar, food colouring and glitter.


Adding the bicarb wrapped in a small square of tissue.


Watching and Waiting.