Month: May 2016

Septimus Bean and his Amazing Machine review by B age 6 and a half

Septimus Bean and his Amazing Machine review by B age 6 and a half

Yesterday I went to see Septimus Bean and his Amazing Machine.


You can go on the overground from Kent or underground you can take the northern line or the jubilee line. 

Cool Bits

I like the end where it was like a cinema. I liked the start where there was no machine. At the start they pretended that there was a machine.

Worst Bits

I didn’t like the end where the machine broke but I liked Bean Park.

Favourite Bits

I like the cube.

I like the big machine when it flied. I liked how they said the same row (lines). I like the King, Septimus Bean and the Queen. They are all the characters.

Septimus Bean crashed his machine and it was like a cinema.

The End.

The Great Outdoors – Encouraging Your Child Outside

The Great Outdoors – Encouraging Your Child Outside

You can’t help but notice how children don’t play outside as much as they used to. As a child I was always outside. I have so many memories from making algae fritters in my nan’s garden (don’t ask!) to building dens and climbing trees. Our freedom came with bikes and dare I say it, stay at home mums and no way of monitoring us 24/7. Im not convinced it’s all about the computer games kids have access to; we had a fab Atari console, but spent hours outside too.

B hasn’t always been too keen on being outside. He would nearly always choose to be inside drawing or making train networks or playing with Lego. In some ways I probably felt quite relieved a lot of the time. It meant I wasn’t continually getting mud out of the house and his fine motor skills were always very adept.

However, when B was at school in reception they flagged up that they thought he may be dyspraxic. After a thorough diagnostic appointment, it was noted that his gross motor skills sit on the 9th percentile. I often wonder if I should have encouraged him outside to climb more, dig, get dirty and build up his balance and other skill sets. I also missed so many signs as I just dismissed the signs as an inherited clumsiness. (I’m still reeling from discovering I’m the only grown up I know who falls off their bike a lot!)

When faced with a long list of exercises from the hospital to work on his hyper mobility (another gift from me), I knew we might struggle to maintain the routine. In its place we’ve tried to build our own program to incorporate them in a fun way. From weekly ice skating, trampolining, and ballet lessons. We are slowly transforming our garden. With a new mud kitchen, a water wall built from guttering, and a basketball net we are getting B to enjoy being outdoors more and more. We’ve built a willow dome, and a reading area into the playhouse, put together a beach on a tuff tray, and tried as much planting and growing as we can.

We’ll be updating our progress on what’s working for us here, any ideas on what works for your family are most welcome!

Southend Planetarium

Southend Planetarium

We’ve just got back from a fantastic morning at the Southend Planetarium kindly organised by one of the fab mums in the home education community. These days have been a lifeline since we started our home education journey. Being able to be alongside other home educating families with a shared interest is a great introduction to the wider community. If you or your child finds meeting up with new people daunting, this is a great way to start to recognise faces without feeling pressurised to make friends.

Our presentation lasted around 45 minutes which was a perfect time to keep minds from wandering. Our presenter was enthusiastic and knowledgeable and the whole lecture was quite informal. The children joined in with the answers, and I know B man was pleased with the combination of learning new things and reinforcing all the knowledge he already had on space.

Here is what B discovered this morning:

  • The room (planetarium) was a circle. It was like a cinema on the roof.
  • There are 8 major planets (Pluto debate ensued here)
  • Pluto is a dwarf planet
  • The bear (ursa major) is a star constellation that points to the North Star.
  • I learnt that they think there is a new planet and the earth is prettier than I thought

Having read a lot on space over the past years, it was fascinating to visit and pick up something new. Personally I discovered astronomical units and just how far the nearest stars are from us. (Its a looooonnnnggg way!)

As much as I am a fanatic for the London museums, but we are so spoilt to have gems like this on our doorstep. We are due a visit to the Chelmsford Museum soon, we will let you know what we discover there!

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Voice – One Third Stories

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Voice – One Third Stories

B has always been intrigued by different languages from a very early age. One of his best friends who he has known since birth speaks Greek, so the concept of speaking a different language has always been on his radar. From Latin to Chinese Mandarin, to French, Spanish and German, he wants to dabble in them all. Even convincing me to pop to France on a ferry one morning just so he could ask for some bread in French when he was 4 years old, he has always been the driving force behind it.
So when we heard about One Third Stories it sounded right up our street. The stories are engaging and comical, with fantastic descriptive language which kept B’s attention over and over again. He was in hysterics over people who had “hid inside the loo”. The story starts in English, so with readers of B’s age, they can confidently read the story and find their rhythm before the language kicks in. Once they are underway, the subtly of the Clockwork Methodology that is used doesn’t seem to dent their stride.

Having scuppered my own language qualifications after asking for a rabbit of coffee, (it really did happen), I was amazed at how easy it was to pick up. By slowly introducing a word into context so that you can work out what it must mean, is a fantastic idea. Compared with laboriously learning long phrases on how to get to the town hall, this was a breeze.

Due to the fact that the words are placed within the text without a translation, they are open to a little discrepancy. B and I read most of the words the same, although he was adamant the kettle must be shiny, whilst I thought it meant blue. I found that when we read it together I could prompt him into whether his interpretation would entirely make sense. So for a 6 year old, I would say it’s still good to read together whilst they get the gist, then they could happily read it alone, to reinforce the language.

Out of all the methods we use at home to learn languages, from apps to books and CD’s,  this has been the easiest in my opinion. We are really looking forward to reading more and expanding our language repertoire!

* we were kindly sent a copy of The Little Girl who Lost her Voice, but all opinions are our own.

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