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!
I’m never sure which is my favourite museum in London. When we visit each one I change my mind and declare it a favourite, but The Natural History Museum always holds a special place in my heart. Walking in and seeing Dippy in the main hall takes me straight back to being a tot and the feeling of the enormity of it all. After countless visits, I still don’t feel that I’ve seen it all, or even touched the surface.
Here’s what B discovered on our last trip.
You can get to the museum by driving to Canary Wharf and then take the underground to Sother (sic) Kensington
There were 600 different kinds of dinosaurs.
We know that Tyrannosaurus Rex was a meat eater. You can tell because of his teeth.
The biggest animal that ever lived is the blue whale.
We can identify 4 different types of volcano:
- strato volcanoes
- shield volcanoes
- cinder cones
- volcanic lava domes
Earthquakes feel scary.
You can tell a smooth rock has travelled further than a rough one, because as it travels it gets smooth.
All geared up with our Children’s fossil hunting kit from UKGE, we set off Walton-on-the-Naze to explore. We are so fortunate to live in a part of Essex which is close to the coast for days out like this, and has been a staple of days out since I was little, let alone the boy.
In the past our days to the Naze to see the tower have usually been once the tide has come in and we weren’t quite ready to head home. This was our first expedition down to the beach. We were blessed with a sunny day, albeit pretty fresh, and off we went, haversack on, ready for fossils!
As it turns out, even in an area which is renowned for fossils, they are a little elusive to find. Particularly when you’re 6 and want to run around! So we concentrated on finding items of interest instead. We discovered lots of different rocks and seaweeds, which we can tie in with the Big Seaweed Search.
I love how having a loose plan for a days learning can evolve in so many ways. The things we learnt compared with what I had expected to was much longer…
- Who knew just how many different types of seaweed you can discover, and how very different they are?
- That there really are a lot of different birds to spot at the coast. Have to admit, previously I would have classed the whole lot as seagulls.
- Watching the amazing patterns nature makes in the sand as the tide goes in and out.
- How smooth muddy rocks compared to shells teach you about friction.
- The erosion of rocks and coast lines and how man made structures can change this.
- That most shells are “righthanded” with the exception of the “left handed whelk”.
We’ve been uploading and classifying our finds now that we are home with the help of the Natural History Museum community forums. Which has been a good way to utilise technology with the boy who can be a little tech reluctant.
As we watched the boats come in and out of the docks further along the coast in Harwich we found inspiration for a topic on transport. Its amazing how one thing leads to another, and how we all make connections, usually ones with wheels in our case!
Having only embarked on our home education journey the week before half term, we decided to take a half term ourselves. After all, technically we are still in the deschooling phase ourselves. So we spent a week spending precious time with all of our friends who are in school and whom we rarely get entire days with.
On the whole all seemed pretty normal. From frosty days out to the wonderful Danbury Lakes, where we spent time building dams, to some high speed adrenaline at Adventure Island (or Peter Pans Playground as it will always be to me). It was great to watch B just having fun with friends, and without the ever impending cloud that this would only last for a week.
What struck me away from the safety net of close friends and familiar surroundings is how my little one has lost his confidence. This was the boy who would talk to anyone and try everything before he started school. A reticence from 18 months of bullying is still there. So rather than worrying over what we are going to learn over the coming months, I’m working on getting that confident, exuberant little man back on top form. We will of course be out and about, working on the varied projects B has planned, and writing never ending stories no doubt. But first and foremost I want to see that care free boy who’s intent on changing the world through the power of rollercoasters back.
Watch this space.
Day 1 of our home education journey and we survived! With no particular plan in place of how our first week was going to pan out, we hopped on the train to London with a loose plan and winged it. With Chinese New Year coinciding with our new foray into home education it was too good an opportunity to miss. Here’s what I thought might happen and what actually did.
- A journey on public transport.
- A wander around China Town.
- A visit to Foyles bookshop.
When I started investigating home education I always believed in the adage that education really is everywhere. Today I learned just how true that is. Our journey on public transport began with the bus. From learning how to use the timetable, to discussing what might affect the bus arriving on time, B was keen to talk and discuss ideas. We spoke about money and numeracy when we bought the tickets for the bus and train. Adding up how much we’d spent so far, and how much we had left. Once we got on the train B planned how we’d get to Leicester Square on the tube, and we researched how the tube stations got their names. We nosed through the Chinese supermarkets and stocked up on ingredients we couldn’t find closer to home. From Chinatown we took a walk to Foyles on Charing Cross Road using the compass on the iPhone. Inspired by Chinese New Year, B chose books on both the New Year celebrations and Chinese writing.
I recently started reading Good Ideas by Michael Rosen, and what struck me was teaching children to make connections. Today has been a good day for that.