Monday, 9 December 2019

Project 113: The Victorians

This week there was 'A Victorian Christmas Celebration' workshop and trail at Peterborough Museum, so we decided to make the Victorians more generally the topic of the project. 

We've previously visited a Victorian prison (Project 3: Medieval Castles), a Victorian  row of shops (Project 91: The Seaside), and Charles Dickens' museum (Project 75: Charles Dickens & World Book Day), so besides the trip to the museum our study this week mostly made use books and videos. We watched the Horrible Histories 'Tricky Queen Vicky' and 'Queen Vic's Home Vids' and read a selection of books from the library. 
A selection of Victorian resources
The great thing about the project is there are so many books and films written or set in the Victorian period suitable for children., although, with the grandparents visiting for a few days,  we barely had a chance to scratch the surface. We have been wanting to watch Zulu since Project 52: Battles!, but unfortunately didn't have the chance. We did, however, start watching the old BBC adaptation of 'Five Children and It', which they are all enjoying.

The trip to the museum included making a Christmas garland and Christmas card, going into a Victorian kitchen to learn about Victorian food, and learning about the Victorian influence on our Christmas traditions. 
A Victorian Christmas Celebration!
We also explored a Victorian Christmas PowerPoint on Twinkl. 

Next week's project: Art and Nature. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Project 112: Refugees

We picked 'Refugees' as this week's project as there was an exhibition and home education workshop at the local Peterborough Museum.
Refugee exhibit
The workshop introduced the children to the subject of refugees, and there was a mock tent set up to show the children the kind of space refugees have in a typical refugee camp. The children also had to think about the sorts of things they would pack if they had to leave their homes in a hurry, and they also created their own travel logbooks. 

Workshop crafts
We also looked at some books about refugees from the library, and did some Twinkl worksheets.

Finally we read The Boy at the Back of the Class, a fictional story about a refugee from Syria who loses his family, and his new friends attempts to help him. It won the Blue Peter Book Award 2019, although we are at a bit of a loss as to why it won. It struck us as badly written with some very odd messages: words are worse than violence, it's acceptable to attack people who are mean to you, and the national shaming of a 9 yr old who has the wrong opinions is to be celebrated. There are books that tackle difficult subjects well (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), and books that help you engage with the plight of a refugee (When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is a family favourite), but The Boy at the Back of the Class is neither.

Next week's project: The Victorians

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Project 111: Geometry

Both Solomon and Monica have been speeding ahead with their maths work, but as there isn't a lot of geometry included in the workbooks we use (Schofield and Sims), we decided to make geometry this week's project.

In addition to the daily ration of maths, we've done one previous maths project: Project 86: What is Maths? And we revisited some of those general maths videos - rewatching Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land and finishing the mathXplosion series. We also watched a range of geometry videos from an Introduction to Geometry, through Pythagorean theorem, to  Euclid's postulates:

One of the biggest challenges with geometry as a topic is the disparity in maths ability caused by the 18 month age difference between the two children. So we bought a geometry build kit and some activity books they could both make use of.
Some 3D Geometry Shapes
"Dive into Shapes" was £30 on Amazon, and although it says 6+, it's definitely more suited for Monica (5) than Solomon (7). Nonetheless they both enjoyed building the models.

Geometry activity
The geometry activity books, however, were great. They included a wide range of activities, from drawing golden spirals through to parabola with straight lines.
Freehand & Compass Circles
While we only managed to cover half-a-dozen of the activities, we will definitely return to the books again. Surprisingly, geometry turned out to be one of the projects the children have found most interesting!

Next project: Refugees.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Project 110: Christmas Crafts

Christmas crafts was chosen as this week's project as we had a busy week of groups and meetups, so we didn't want a huge project, and one of the home ed groups had suggested giving the children an opportunity to sell some Christmas crafts at one of the meetups.

We got ourselves in the Christmas spirit with some Christmas films, and then focused on making some Christmas tree decorations. We took inspiration from for our 3D Christmas trees, and did some laced-trees following some examples on Pinterest.

Christmas tree decorations
Next week's project: Geometry.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Project 109: World War 1

World War 1 was chosen to coincide with Remembrance Sunday. We last touched on World War 1 in Project 52: Battles, unsurprisingly this project was a bit less Fortnite centred!

World War 1 is one of the few subjects that the local library actually has books on, so there was plenty of reading material for this week's project.

Reading material from the library
We watched Sgt Stubby (the most decorated dog of WW1), which the whole family enjoyed, and the Horrible Histories Frightful First World War Special.

We visited the Imperial War Museum, which had an extensive WW1 exhibition,
including a tank and a bi-plane. The children particularly liked the computer game where you had to protect the cargo ships, and the trench with the periscopes.
First World War at the Imperial War Museum
We looked more closely at some WW1 war poetry, with particular attention to In Flanders Field using a Twinkl worksheet, and the children created their own poppy pictures with pastels and their own poppies with another Twinkl worksheet
Poppy Crafts
Next week's project: Christmas Crafts.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Project 108: Great Fire of London

This project was chosen because we had both a children's book on the Great Fire of London and an opportunity to visit The Monument.

As well as reading non-fiction books on the Great Fire we also read Fire! Fire! by Stuart Hill, a short historical fiction story about Samuel Pepys servant boy during the fire.

This Week's Reading
We also watched a classic time-travelling episode of Magic Grandad where they travel back to 1666.

Of course the advantage of home education is that you are not restricted to books and videos, but can go out and about. We climbed to the top of the Monument (all 311 steps), built to both commemorate the event and act as a science lab, and were pleased that even the 3 year old managed the climb without making a fuss (which is more than can be said for some of the other puffing and wheezing tourists!).
The Monument
We also visited the Museum of London which has an exhibition on the Great Fire (although the diorama accompanying the video didn't seem to be working properly on this visit).
Museum of London
Finally we got them to create their great fire pictures with black paper and coloured tissue paper.
Solomon (top) and Monica's Great Fire scenes
Next week's project: World War 1.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Project 107: Light

This was one of the few projects where we've broken from our usual one-project-per-week approach, and spread it over two weeks. This was because we had a six day trip to the kids' grandparents planned, and wanted to make use of some more of the North East museums. As Joseph Swan, one of the inventors of the light bulb, came from Sunderland, we decided to make Light this week's project. 

As well as the usual pages from the encyclopaedia and science dictionaries, and watching YouTube videos we visited two museums with light related exhibits. The Light exhibition at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle provided an interactive area for engaging with the properties of light, including an infinity mirror, a black mirror, a polarised light spinner, prisms, and cabinets showing the evolution of the light bulb. 
Light at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle
The miner's safety lamp display at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens provided another, more practical, perspective on our changing relationship with light over the years.
Safety lamps in Sunderland
The project also provided us with the opportunity to do our own experiments with the reflection and refraction of light:
Refracting light with a glass of water
By far the most visually impressive experiment was splitting light with the prism we bought:
Prism splitting sunlight

Finally, for the craft part of the project, the children followed a YouTube video to make their own kaleidoscopes
Solomon's Kaleidoscope
Next project: The Great Fire of London.