Thursday, 26 July 2012

A sunny week! (Yes, really!)

Aside from Learn Nothing Day on Tuesday, it's been business as usual round here this week, with one big difference - the sun has been shining and it's actually been... hot! To be honest it doesn't make a great deal of difference to Sprout and Squidge as they're just as happy jumping in puddles and making mud pies in the rain as they are shooting water pistols in the sun.

We've been getting a lot of courgettes and tomatoes in our veg boxes, so we decided to make some muffins with them (recipe here). Squidge is really loving cooking at the moment, and has been making something different with me almost every day for the past couple of weeks. He especially enjoyed lobbing the whole cherry tomatoes into the mix for the muffins!


He also took charge of making some krispie cakes, which didn't last the day :)

I saw the little idea on a blog last week (will update with blog name when I remember which one!) of giving the kids a simple torch to take apart and rebuild, so I got a couple of torches and they had so much fun doing it! They were so proud of themselves when they got them working, too.

And once they were working, Sprout made use of the trays I'd put them on, which had a pattern of holes in the base, to make light patterns on the walls and ceiling.

Meanwhile, Fly is settling in nicely, and seems to think Moppet is her puppy sister...

...and Squidge getting more and more confident with her to the point that he's regularly picking her up for a cuddle! (I couldn't even have imagined that a few weeks ago when he was terrified beyond belief of all dogs).

Once we'd got over the shock of the weather actually being summery, we picked up a couple of new garden toys, and I installed myself under a parasol with Moppet and watched them play in the sun with Gruff.





(Moppet watching from inside the tent)

We've been picking raspberries out there every day as well. Despite the complete, total, unquestionable demise of all our veg crops this year (I blame the crazy amounts of rain, not my lack of green fingers!), the fruit has still done really well, so it's going to be raspberry flan, Eton Mess, raspberry muffins, raspberry granita, and basically rather a lot of plain raspberries for pudding this summer!
Sprout has been busy on Minecraft, mainly working on a parkour custom map, but also occasionally calling me over to show me little sweet things like this heart that he's made for me :)

Gruff's been working really hard recently and wanted a weekend of reconnecting with the boys, so he took Sprout bouldering, and then took Squidge to the cinema to see Top Cat.

And while Squidge was out at the cinema Sprout and Moppet had lots of snuggle time too :)


Later in the week, this streak of colour was Sprout leaping round the assault course he'd set up...

...which was later replaced by this rolling balancing beam (a carpet tube that's been used for so many things that it's well worth the fact that we can't properly open the door behind which we store it!)



 This week Squidge has also found a renewed liking for the workbooks that come in comics, so we've spent some time with our comic stash, counting, looking at letters and sticking in stickers. 


Following a cooking session, he also had an idea for doing a painting that used sugar, which produced sparkly results...


Yesterday we headed to a quieter-than-usual home ed group, where the boys made a den under the trees, did water 'paintings' on the patio...


...and played lots of board games to get out of the sun.


And then just to add even more colour to the week, on the journey back Sprout got creative :)


As always at the moment, we had a hugely varied week facilitating all the boys' interests, and I can't think of a more enjoyable way to live :)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Our Learn Nothing Day 2012

Yesterday was Learn Nothing Day, a day where unschoolers everywhere try their very best to stop all learning in its tracks. To switch those brains off, and gain nothing in the way of knowledge.

We decide not to risk leaving the house, so started off with a quiet morning in the garden on this unusually sunny day. Alas, within minutes Sprout and Squidge both realised that the more they pumped their new water pistols up, the higher the pressure of the resulting water jets. Fail!


Not to be discouraged by this blip, we ploughed on and eventually wandered inside out of the hot sun. 

I popped Moppet into her sling and went to make the boys a snack while they went and cooled down a bit. To my horror, when I went to join them Squidge was playing with a little plane he'd got down from one of the shelves. A solar plane. He was watching, transfixed, as he moved it closer to the window and it span round on its pedestal faster, then slowed down as he moved it away. Hmmmm. Well maybe if I pretend I haven't seen it, it won't count.

Things spiralled downhill quickly from there however. Sprout watched Who Let the Dogs Out? on CBBC showing how to train a dog to use a skateboard (his new ultimate aim for Fly the puppy!), and then before I knew it he was watching Brainiac: Science Abuse. Well that's officially educational isn't it. Damn. Minutes later Sprout shouted me over to see the mechanism he'd just designed on Minecraft that drains swimming pools. While I was watching that in action Sprout pushed his Animals and You magazine under my nose with instructions on how to make a koala bear shaped cake, so a koala bear shaped cake it was.



Conceding defeat, I took them to their karate lesson where Sprout learnt maegeri (front kick) and ushirogeri (back kick).  

On a veritable learning roll by that time, we came home and Sprout asked us to get their Q U heads down from the loft, and they gave us several hearty renditions of They Might be Giants' Q U Song.



Having failed epically, we'll take more time to prepare for Learn nothing Day in 2013!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Space and other (animal) frontiers

We wanted to fit in a visit to the National Space Centre before the school holidays started so that we avoided the crazy crowds. The boys usually have two favourite things there: The We Are Astronomers show in the planetarium, and...


...the Mercury Capsule. If only I could build one of these at home I think they'd be happy for weeks! I'm going to hunt out our Makedo set and some cardboard and attempt to make something like this I think.

The interactive media about meteorites is fun, showing where they've hit in the past, and showing animated impacts of different sizes of meteorite.

 There was also...

 ...Lunar Jim 'dress up'...

...spinning the earth to mobilise the 'atmosphere'...

...planning shuttle size and fuel for the optimum launch...

...walking in astronaut footprints... 

...simulated intergalactic phonecalls...

...planet jigsaws...

...controlling a Mars Rover...

...and making lots of smoke on take-off!


There were also doughnuts :D

Sprout's new favourite activity there was planning the payload so that the shuttle had everything it needed to take to the International Space Station but was still within an acceptable weight range. I've tried to find him something similar online, but the closest I can find is Mission 1 of Nasa's Kids' Club. Any better suggestions would be welcome!

We usually go to the Abbey Pumping Station too when we go to the Space Centre, as it's only over the way, free to enter, and has some fun interactive displays about sewers, toilets and pulleys, but the rain was torrential so Sprout and Squidge opted to stay dry(ish)!

At home they've had the Geomag out this week, and have built...

...a space shuttle (this is them ready for take-off!)...

...lots of tents, towers and giant stars...

...and Squidge has been using them to plot out maps on the fire, including places we've been and family's homes.

There's also (surprisingly haha) been Lego...

...Sprout has been watching some Big Brother and made the eye logo...

...and Squidge has mostly been building spaceships and towers.

We had an afternoon at Chatterbox Ceramic Cafe in Tutbury which was loads of fun...

...Sprout painted a face on his mug...

...while Squidge painted a monster on his. We had some lunch too and are planning on going back in a few weeks to pick up their fired and glazed mugs and get Moppet's handprint done in clay as a memento for her upcoming (and yet to be organised as we've been so busy!) Naming Day just as we did for the boys.

A quiet afternoon saw us using our bodies as canvases...

...smiling tummies...

...and talking hands!

Sprout built me this on Minecraft <3

This week has also been rather animal-centric...

...with Squidge getting more and more confident at holding Babbit...

...and the arrival of six week old Fly.


Along with time at the park...

...and their first proper karate lesson, it's been a fun week!