This week was our quiet week. It’s worked out that the activities we book into fall on the same week. So we have an alternating busy week and quiet week. I won’t lie, our quiet week can be challenging. Whilst I don’t want to over plan our days, it does feel like some planning is needed or we could all easily spend the week doing nothing.
No matter which week it is, Monday definitely seem to be our quiet day, a bit of an extension of the weekend. There is a local (ish) home ed group that meets on a Monday, but we’re yet to make it there.
Today I had lunch planned with some friends, so the girls stayed home with Andy. They spent their time mostly investigating their new computer. By new, I mean Andy’s old one.
Of course, their online safety is of massive importance to us so we’ve installed Magic Desktop for them. We want them to enjoy exploring what they can do with a computer, but there’s no way they’re having free rein. This way they can get to grips with how Windows works with appropriate content that we can control.
Monday night was their karate lesson, as usual.
Library day! Happily, Phoebe is still choosing longer books to read independently. Eleanor chose a mix of fiction and non-fiction and is really tearing through everything she picks up. In fact, I’ve set her up on Goodreads so that she can keep track of her reading. She’s going to start writing reviews, which I think will be a great way for her to practise some English skills. Goodreads accounts are only meant for those age 13 and above. We will be in complete control of the account; she doesn’t even know the password.
After lunch we had a go at making conker soap. Yep, you read that right. Laundry soap made from conkers. As we had a carrier bag full of them, it seemed only right to actually do something with them. All we had to do was grate them, add water and essential oil and that was it. Neither of the girls has ever been interested in helping with the washing, but they were today!
We were all surprised by how well it works. Just as well really, we worked out that we have enough for approximately 140 washes!
We have a lot of board games, but we don’t play them together as often as I’d like. With that in mind, I got my old Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur game out this afternoon. I lost convincingly and Phoebe was declared the winner! I really like that they have the attention span for games now that they’re older. We really must play games more often.
They played cafes for a bit and I remarked that it looked like they were doing job interviews with each other from the way they were sat across from each other. So then they decided to do pretend job interviews with each other. Who knew that would be so much fun?!
Last week we set up our rain gauge, so this week it was time to organise our results. Phoebe declared that she “hates maths” and promptly left the room, so Eleanor and I carried on without her. Eleanor told me about the types of graphs she knew about and then I taught her the basics of drawing and reading a bar chart.
To make it more interesting, we marked out the axes with washi tape on the carpet and then we made each bar out of LEGO. Of course, Phoebe had reappeared by this point and happily got involved. Eleanor wanted to have a go at drawing one, so she did.
Phoebe asked if we could make some bread (and soup) for lunch today so we did that too this morning. It’s just one of those mixes you can get but they both enjoy the process.
We got the play dough out this afternoon. It’s a glittery vanilla one that I made for them weeks ago. We left them to it and they had a great time with cutters, rolling pins and pipe cleaners.
Today was the rainiest day we’ve had in ages. We know because our rain gauge said so! Nobody felt like leaving the house at all today, so we didn’t. Should I feel guilty about these quiet days? I’m not sure.
The girls had a great time serving us “breakfast” in their cafe and then making sure we paid the right amount into their till.
Afterwards I finished making them a few fabric teabags to use with their tea set. Apparently they serve Earl Grey and Lemon & Ginger, fancy.
They did start to plan a party together because apparently when playing job interviews Dino (Phoebe’s favourite cuddly toy) got a new job and a celebration was in order. Tempers started to fray though, so they both retreated to play on their Kindles for a bit.
Aside from a bit of reading, and playing with the Grimm’s Rainbow, not much else happened today.
As setting up invitations to play with play dough or small toys has been working well, I thought I’d have a go at setting up something educational this morning.
I love resources like this, they’re so open-ended and really do work for all ages. At the most basic level both sets could be used as flash cards, to identify the letters/sounds and coins on them. Things like this that haven’t cost much but can be used over and over with both girls really are invaluable.
With the word cards, Eleanor and I were picking up three or four cards and seeing if we could make any words. It gave us the opportunity to use the dictionary and look up unfamiliar words too. I remember doing dictionary work with children I taught and just looking up a given number of words is so boring; this gave it context and Eleanor is now proudly using the words “moot” and “quasi”! She wanted to write down her words too, so that’s handwriting practise down too.
Meanwhile, Phoebe was looking at the money cards with Andy and trying to pair up the amounts. Some cards have coins and some have numbers, and it was great practise at coin recognition for her. I think these cards have the old style of pound coin on them, but I don’t think that makes a lot of difference (we can always glue a current picture over the top).
After about ten minutes she got fed up and went to get her plastic money out and did a bit of matching with that. Then she decided to draw a menu for the cafe with real prices on. I was really impressed with her self-direction this morning. Especially as she “hates Maths”!
After lunch we went into Lichfield. We headed straight to the library. I was really pleased to find out that we could join and that the girls can have unlimited books. Result! We spent quite a while in there, not least of all because Phoebe found a touchscreen with a lot of brain games on that she was enjoying.
After that we had a family-friendly networking event to go to. The girls love this because they get to run around soft play like maniacs and it’s far emptier than if we were to go any other time. We like it too because we get to be a bit more work-focused and chat to some grown ups!
Today we went to ComicCon! Not strictly an educational day, but it’s great for the girls’ imagination. We’re all a bit Star Wars obsessed, so we enjoy checking out the costumes by the UK Garrison and Rebel Legion and the droids built by the R2D2 Builders Club.
The girls are part of the Galactic Academy too, which is the kids’ costume club for Star Wars. Sadly we didn’t get to catch up with anyone else today as it was a massively busy event. After about three hours we all felt a bit overwhelmed. We ended up going to a garden centre and looking at Christmas stuff!
Phoebe was busy drawing on her chalkboard today and brought me in to show me that she’d created her own graph! She’d even labelled it!
It’s Oh So Quiet…
All in all, I think we’ve had a pretty successful week. Although there’s a danger of our quiet week turning into a lazy one, the girls are pretty good at keeping busy. There’s been a lot of role-play this week, which I love because neither one would be able to do that at school. I’m really pleased with how much reading is happening and I think that we got a lot out of the Maths and English activities we did this week.