Blog 2020

Blog Asia ( nov- Oct) 

 

Button enjoyed the stuff we built this month such as the Mosque and the Great Wall of China and especially liked playing in the Great Wall. 

 

She loved learning about all the different religions in the regions and found the similarities and differences really interesting. She especially mentioned finding Islam really interesting and in particular how Muslims always face Mecca to pray.

 

The famous people Button learnt about from this continent were really varied from the father of Animé (Osamu Tezuka) to the extremely brave schoolgirl, Malala Yousafz and the wise Confucius.

 

Button also loved both the books we studied, 'Shooting the moon' and 'the boy at the back of the class'. Both were really emotional and really interesting looks at an individual girl's response to global issues and Button embraced viewing the Vietnam War and refugees through the female protagonists' eyes.

 

We probably didn't balance this continent as well as we did with Africa and the result was some very dry worksheet based work at times. Button did great at persevering and covered a lot of information from food to history, to elephants and tigers. I think we will look to inject a bit more lightness and fun into proceedings when we come to our next continent though, as I think Button will retain more that way.

 

I encourage you to read through everything we studied under the Asia tab, as it has been incredibly interesting. 

 

This next month though will be on space as the Twins are currently obsessed with the planets. 

September

 

We did textiles last month which was really fun because I got to make lots of stuff. I liked using the sewing machine and I would love to continue sewing in the future. Unfortunately, the cushion I made fell apart because being a kids' sewing machine, the thread was not strong enough. I also made a handsewn bag but it was too simple really for my age.

 

I was given a hoop by one of Mummy's friends in Instagram and I really enjoyed drawing the design and then embroidering it. The only downside is that I am finding it takes a lot of time so I still haven't finished it. However, I hope to get it finished soon. I also used these embroidery skills to Sew a design on an engagement card for my Uncle and Aunt. 

 

With my brother and sister we made some Christmas cards by putting different colour wool over a design and then stuck on a glittery background. They looked really nice. 

 

 

I was not looking forward to a week of maths but it actually wasn't the worst. 

 

We did lots of fun activities such as 'higher or lower', sequences and dominoes. I enjoyed the day we did coding. For one activity, Mummy and Daddy set up certain blocks against different numbers. When Mummy said a number, Bear, Buttercup and I had to grab the right block and put it into our own sequence. Then Daddy gave me some sheets for coding. One was getting the bucket, spade and sandcastle while avoiding the crabs and waves; another was about pasta and sauce getting to the plate avoiding cutlery; and the last one making a strawberry desert. 

One ridiculous thing was where Mummy was a robot with no brain and I had to give the steps to make a jam sandwich. At first I did a few steps but Mummy did not compute so in the end I had to write about 40 steps. 

 

Music was something I was looking forward to but it felt a bit short at times. Firstly, we listened to some classical music records and I learnt how to use the record player. 

 

I spent time this week on my keyboard and I learnt how to play 'incy wincy spider'. 

 

With the Twins we tried to do some songs showing the rhythm and the beat. We then had a big list of types of songs like opera, rock n roll, def metal (including a rubbish version of 'let it go') and jazz. For each type we listened to a couple of songs and rated them for how much we liked listening to them and another rating for how they were to dance to. Some were better to listen to and others better to dance to. I also did a worksheet where I had to write the names of the instruments. We also looked at a time line of the history of music. 

 

For an English part I had to study three songs and all them had meanings. One of them was 'Barbie girl' which was weird to do, but once you looked I to it you could see why they wrote it- to say you shouldn't try to look like a Barbie doll, though I think they took it too far. The Bob Dylan song 'the times they are a changin' wasn't my favourite as I am not keen on Country. There was a good metaphor at the start but I did not overly connect with this song. I liked 'Imagine' by John Lennon as I liked most of the messages in it- especially the anti war stuff. The only bit I didn't like was the "Imagine no religion" line as God is important to me. 

 

I really enjoyed these three relaxed days as a bit of a break after Africa, especially as it was followed by our week away. 

 

We went on holiday to Salisbury with Nanny and Grad. We got to the house and it was really pretty. I had to sleep on a fold up bed which was pretty uncomfortable but then Daddy swapped the mattress which was better. The house had a breakfast bar which was cool. I loved sitting there to eat when I was allowed. I loved having a quick spin on the stool. The first day was exploring the house and garden and getting some shopping. 

 

The next day we went to Stonehenge. When we parked you couldn't even see Stonehenge, you had to walk or get the shuttlebus. We had the Twins with us so took the bus. I was a bit underwhelmed as you couldn't really get close to the stones, you just walk round the henge, which was quite a long walk. We did take some funny photos though. We went back to the visitors centre and went into the exhibition which was cool. You got to see the sunrise and sunset through the stones. We then went into the gift shop which had loads of cool stuff. I got a top trumps set of historical people and Mummy and Daddy bought we a Stonehenge building game. 

 

Monday we went to longleat which is very big. We went through the safari and we watched the monkeys taking other people's car ariels off but didn't realise they had also taken ours. I learnt that the elephant they have used to be in a circus. As we passed her I said "I hope you stay well" as she had suffered in the circus. After the safari I wanted to go to Koala creek. You could see them well but they were all sleeping so was mainly their bums you could see. My favourite bit of the Koalas were their ears. We were disappointed to discover that the penguins aren't there anymore. We went on the train and to the farm bit and then met Mummy and Daddy's friend Ellie and her family. We then rushed to get the boat ride and had one of the best boat rides of the day as we got really good views of the hippos. The seals scared me a little bit though as they were jumping so much. 

 

Tuesday we went to Salisbury Cathedral. Gran had taught me that for a city to be called a city it has to have a Cathedral. I lit a couple of candles, learning to light them from other candles, and said a couple of prayers. I liked the Cathedral but it was so big my legs started to hurt. I liked doing the treasure hunt sheet they provided though and seeing the pulpit and where the choir sit. We then found a cool sweet shop and also had an ice cream. 

 

Wednesday we went to beach and had loads of fun playing in the sea. I even went underwater in the sea though I didn't mean too. Bear liked the sea but Buttercup didn't, preferring the sand. We also had fish and chips on the beach which was my first time having it actually on the beach. It was yummy. 

 

Thursday we went to a farm with another of Daddy and Mummy's friends, Claire and her son. It had a fun park and a driving bit where I got my licence. I went on go karts and there was a cool music area. In the evening, Grad did a barbecue which was really yummy--I had hot dogs. 

 

For our last day we went to Salisbury museum. It was really good. We saw the giant of Salisbury, a tomb and lots of archaeological finds. There was also a harpsichord which I danced to. It looks like a piano but the keys are black with white instead of white with black. When you press the key it plucks the string like a harp. There were loads of strings! The man who was playing it was really nice and told me all about it. It also had a picture on it of the view outside. After the museum, Nanny got us lunch and took the twins home. I spent some time with Mummy and Daddy, shopping. I got three bird whistles as I have recently broken mine. I also got "Just So" stories by Rudyard Kipling as we will be learning about Asia next. We got an ice cream and sat and relaxed in the park. The next day, unfortunately, we had to go home. 

 

If you want to read about these weeks from Mummy and Daddy's point of view, then have a look under topics at textiles, maths week and music. 

 

 

 

 

Blog - Africa ( July- August ) 

 

Hi I'm Button and as I'm the one being home educated, I'm taking over this blog. You can check out the log version on my YouTube channel The Button Show. I will do a new blog and vlog at the end of each topic. 

 

Today I am writing about my most recent topic on Africa. For a whole month, my Mum and Dad taught me so much about the Continent of Africa. We travelled all around Africa from the comfort of our learning room. The learning room is where we do most of my learning as I have been Home Educated all my life. 

 

The first thing I learnt about was colonisation of Africa. It started when Portugal needed to find a new way to maintain the Spice trade. They colonised ports in West Africa and South East Africa. Soon Spain and England followed. These countries and others slowly, began to move inland looking for land to grow crops for back home. However, they soon found natural resources such as gold, iron, diamonds and many others. Soon the whole of Africa was colonised apart from Ethiopia. 

 

Now we move on to the slave trade. The slave trade was when Africans were taken from their homes, moved across dangerous seas and sold for supplies like cloth and guns. I also created my own advert to sell the Twins as slaves! 

 

I'm glad they stopped slavery. Just imagine being taken from your family and home. Being given a new name and having no control over your life. I was sad when I learnt about slavery. 

 

Next we learnt about Kenya and how a child's day in Kenya is different to the days of children in the UK. Did you know that where we have a bath indoors, some children use buckets to wash themselves outside in Kenya. 

 

Did you know that the Maasai tribe drink the blood of their animals? It sounds pretty disgusting doesn't it but it is just because they do not waste any part of the animal! This tribe was so cool to learn about. The women make their mud huts and the men do a special jumping dance to impress the women. I then made a design of my own National Park to learn how to do 'keys' and use a compass. 

Kenya is also home to the "Big 5", which I studied without help from my mum and dad. The "Big 5" are the African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Lion, Rhinoceros and Leopard. I also wrote a short story about going on a safari. 

 

We also learnt about the oldest skeleton ever found who was nicknamed Lucy, after the Beatles' song 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds.' Did you know that the people who found Lucy knew she was a girl from her size? 

 

We learnt about a different person each week from different parts of Africa. We learnt about Cleopatra, Wangari Maathai--the 'mother of trees' and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first Libyan female Prime Minister. Daddy also taught me all about Lucas Radebe, a famous Leeds player. 

 

Halfway through the month, we ordered an African takeaway. I loved the oxtail and the meat patties but it was all really spicy. The best part of the month was ending the topic with an African feast cooked by myself, Mum, Dad and Nanny. We cooked so much food, we were eating for days. My favourite part of the meal to cook was the chapatis, but to eat my favourites were the peanut chicken stew and the beef curry. 

 

These were my favourite parts of learning about Africa. You can read in more detail under Countries. I am sad to finish but I can't wait to do Asia next! First off, we have a more relaxed few weeks of Textiles, maths and music.

June

 

So June is over and another month in lockdown comes to an end. That didnt stop us getting lots of done this month. The main topic this month was animation which was a lot of fun and you will soon be able to read about that under topics.

 

For Bear and Buttercup this month, on top of animation they looked a the letter Aa. They had a letter tray and had their first attempts at handwriting sheets. At their age this was mainly drawing wavy lines and zig zags. 

 

Button learned about chain reactions in this month's Letterbox lab making fake snow and jelly worms. Bear has been really starting to show an interest in this monthly subscription. He wasn't able to engage as much as with the bubbles last month, but he tried and he sat really well and watched and listened. This continues to be a great value, exciting subscription that always grabs Button's attention. 

Button's reading has also really improved lately. We have been using her Usbornes classics collection which contains two reding levels. The higher level set, Daddy has been using for English with Button reading White Fang in May and Alice through the looking glass in June. Even better though, Button has been reading the lower level books herself. She has been reading one book a week in June, reading Alice in Wonderland, wind in the willows and her favourite so far, the secret garden. We are so proud of her. 

 

Button has such a generous, charitable nature. So when she heard some of our Instagram friends (@crazyvicarage and @scarlettsenses) were organising wear yellow 2020, she was keen to help out. The girls were organising a games night at the end of June over at @wearyellow2020 to raise money for and awareness of, Cystic Fibrosis. Button contributed by recording one minute snippets of about ten songs that were either meaningful to some of the families affected by Cystic Fibrosis, connected to yellow or just one of Button's favourites. The girls used a few of them on the night in a name the song and the artist competition. If you want to contribute to this often overlooked charity, then all contributions will be gratefully received at

 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wearyellow2020?newPage=True

 

As a family, we also entered some of their other competitions. For Bake yellow, we made some biscuits spelling wear yellow. However, more impressively we made a fairy garden for Grow yellow, with over sized daffodils and sunflowers made from cardboard and old hosepipe. Mummy designed it, the kids all painted the individual parts and then Mummy and Daddy put the whole thing together. The kids were then able to dress as fairies for a photoshoot and then to play in their garden. We actually won with our entry for this category. Daddy was less successful with his tea themed entry for create yellow. 

 

Continuing with the garden theme, our peas have been growing well and the kids have loved harvesting their first peas from the garden. Very few, however, made it to our dinner plates as the kids scoffed most of them. We certainly were not going to tell them off for eating vegetables. 

 

We have had a lot of fun this month just playing, especially since finishing the animation project. This included lots of play time with their pebbles, ball run and wooden animals. As well as building castles and towers and making race tracks and roads.

 

One day, Mummy and all three kids worked together to build a giant zoo from all their wooden toys. It was fascinating to see their different approaches and their individual imaginations then combined to create one giant play scene. 

 

We also had Father's Day this month. With lockdown still in full force, it was a smaller and more intimate affair than normal. Daddy was happy because the football was back (though he didn't get the result he wanted). He was happier with the lovely gifts he received from the kids. He always loves his scrapbook updates, where Mummy asks the kids the same questions each year (apparently Daddy's name is Carrot according to Bear who found himself hilarious). Daddy also loved the wonderful football canvas the kids painted him from @paintmynameoncanvas and a gorgeous embroidered hoop from @rolihoops with "I love you" in sign language. 

 

Its been a tough month wordwide for everyone with lockdown and an emotional and eye opening month with the #blacklivesmatter movement. We have certainly took this opportunity to look at our own unintentional and subliminal prejudices and to try and educate ourselves. As part of this, our next topic is going to a nice small one on culture and diversity. Each month we are going to take a whistlestop tour of a different continent- looking at local and international history, traditional dress, stories, art, flags, cuisine, currency and trade. Obviously at the ages of 7, 3 and 3 and with the number of countries on each continent, we won't go massively in depth. However, this is still going to be big. Big in the amount we are attempting to cover but bigger in term of bringing our children up with their eyes and hearts open: aware, inclusive and interested in the lives and culture of every single human being. We are starting with Africa because to truly understand the black lives matter movement we, like the whole of mankind evolutionarily, need to go to the start in Africa. However, in the aftermath of Covid-19, international racial tensions are likely to rise generally, especially while former Simpson's characters are allowes to run powerful and vocal countries. So we want to educate our children about diversity world wide and about why walls need to broken down, not built. 

 

 

May 2020

The first week of April felt like a month on its own, Two weeks in to the lockdown and all the children were pulling their hair out. But it wasn't because we was in lockdown it was because we decided to move the rooms around to give them a learning space, this meant the house was upside down and everything was everywhere. By the weekend though we was done and it looked great. All the children had desk space play space and display space. It means that while we work with Button the twins can explore and play in the same space. But more importantly it means we can start all learning together. They can take part in some of the activities or have activities that fit the theme Button is learning about for their age. Its working well so far. 

Button is still really enjoying Romans, this month we learnt about their army, what they wore. We made shields and learnt about how they used them to make a shell around them, which they called a tortoise. We then reanacted this formation in the garden on Daddy's day off and Daddy taught Button how to step, stab, step, stab like the Romans would of done in battle. Showing her how working together protects them and keeps them alive. We also found an old pc game about building a Roman empire. Button loved playing it with Daddy and got to level 3 on her first go.

April 2020

 

The first week of April felt like a month on its own, Two weeks in to the lockdown and all the children were pulling their hair out. However, in our house it wasn't because we were in lockdown it was because we decided to move the rooms around to give them a dedicated learning space. This meant the house was upside down and everything was everywhere. By the weekend though we were done and it looked great. All the children had desk space, play space and display space. It means that while we work with Button the Twins can explore and play in the same space. Most importantly it means we can start all learning together. They can take part in some of the activities or have activities that fit the theme Button is learning about for their age. Its working well so far. 

Button is still really enjoying Romans, this month we learnt about their army and what they wore. We made shields and learnt about how they used them to make a shell around them, which they called a tortoise. We then reenacted this formation in the garden on Daddy's day off and Daddy taught Button how to step, stab, step, stab like the Romans would have done in battle. Showing her how working together protects them and keeps them alive. Meanwhile, Bear ran around like a tornado more in the style of a skilled but individualistic Celt. We also found an old pc game about building a Roman empire. Button loved playing it with Daddy and got to level 3 on her first go.

At this stage mid month Button came into Mummy and Daddy's room when she woke up, to make an announcement. She wanted to put a jar at the end of our drive with a sign so that passersby could donate money for us to then give to the NHS workers on the frontline against Covid-19.  She was so genuine in her desire to help and she really touched our hearts. We of course had to explain that the jar idea would not really work as there are not many passersby in the current situation and because the jar would probably empty quicker than it could fill. However, we said we would all have a think and discuss some ideas. In the end we had the idea between us that maybe she could do a little concert live on Instagram. We thought that people could donate a £1 to suggest a song and that she could do ten songs. We then hoped people might make a few donations on the night. We set up an account on gofundme and set what we thought was an ambitious but hopefully achievable target of £50. The fundraiser then took on a life of its own! People were so generous that we smashed through the target, Button was featured in a local Leeds newspaper 'The Evening Post' and we soon realised we would need to be broadcasting on Facebook as well as Instagram. 
We paused the majority of Button's schoolwork, just finishing up her Romans topic, to focus on rehearsing for the two and a half weeks til the concert. After a bit of experimenting we eventually settled on her singing nine songs and signing the tenth song.


We had real ups and downs and I think Button ended up hating most of the songs at some points. However, I think we managed her and the rehearsals pretty well and she worked so super hard. She unsurprisingly struggled with the older songs the most and then with segments  of some of the others. We began by stripping the song right down and going line by line. We looked at how each line should be sung and how the beat tied all the lines together. We looked at when she needed to come in and how high or low and at what volume. Button naturally tries to sing songs quite high and then struggles to control the song. Stripping the songs back like this made them quite stoic but helped her to sing them properly. We emphasised how important the right words in the correct order with the right timing then made subsequent lines easier. We also stopped her dancing and tried to get her used to a microphone to help the sound quality of the broadcast. We explained that moving around would affect the pick up of the microphone. Button improved massively and quickly but still had sticky points on a few songs. So we began focusing on these trouble areas during the day and putting her better songs on the back burner. We then ran through the whole set list every couple of nights to maintain her standard throughout and get her used to the order and singing that many songs. 
The second half of the final week we started getting her to add a bit of personality and passion into the songs. She likes to experiment with how they sound so we still had to rein her in a bit due to the time constraints. However, she was really listening to advice and as we compromised, all the songs improved. We had already encouraged her to put some attitude into "I just can't wait to be King" and this had worked well. We now needed more passion in "build me up Buttercup" and " My lighthouse" , more personality in "Gold" and "dance monkey" and just more confidence and consistency overall.
In true theatrical style, the last proper rehearsal we had was probably her worst, but it seemed from tiredness more than anything. I was confident that she had put enough work in that any mistakes could be glossed over and she was in a position to go out and enjoy it. I'm not right often (I have a wife for that) but in this case I was bang on. She stepped out on that 'stage' and in front of the (three) camera(s) and came alive. She absolutely nailed her first song and justgrew from there. She spoke beautifully and genuinely between songs. She used the microphone well but managed to dance too. She sang most of the songs the best she has ever sang them and she had fun. Yes there were mistakes- she is seven years old and had learnt to sing nine songs and sign one in less than three weeks. Three of which she hadn't really even heard before. Yet she glossed over them and didn't let them affect her. Most people probably didn't even notice them. Plus some of the bits she had been struggling with she finally got spot on. 
Button had about 70 views live on Facebook (raising to more than 200 views over the following days) and 80 odd views live on Instagram. In the end she smashed the £50 target we had set, raising an enormous £700. Mummy and Daddy were so proud and emotional. 

March 2020

 

The first week of March included a day we all love "world book Day". A family of huge book worms we like to celebrate in style. So this year, instead of celebrating one book we celebrated one of our favourite authors Judith Kerr and spent the whole week looking at a selection of her books  The Twins had their own activities and books which are all under the  toddler play section and then under Judith Kerr. For Button, we found one of her books for slightly older readers,  "Mr Cleghorn's seal". We spent the first half of the week reading it together and then the second half of the week doing activities based around the story. The first activity was to make and write a postcard to Mummy and Daddy about her holiday, because Mr Cleghorn went on holiday to visit family. The second activity came from the the next part of the story, Mr Cleghorn adopts a seal as a pet so I asked Button to think about which wild animal she would like as a pet and she went with a zebra. She thought about what she was like and what she would eat. The last activity fitted the end of the book when Mr Cleghorn saves a zoo. I got Button to design her own zoo. This was a  great activity for thinking about what people might need when they are there, from toilets to cafés and what they might like- she included a gift shop and education centre. She went on to tell me all the fun stuff u could do in there from holding spiders to feeding penguins. I loved this idea and really enjoyed feeding her imagination. We then talked about keys on maps and the different symbols places use. She used a key and symbols on her map. All such simple activities filled with so many learning opportunities. 

The first week of March bought wind and rain but the second weekend was lovely and we spent most of Saturday in the garden planting some flowers ready to be able to use them in the mud kitchen and some vegetables for us to enjoy(if they make it that far, normally we forget to water them). I love that Button has green fingers and enjoys planting because so do I. Even if I am rubbish at it, it's fun to try and learn along the way. Watch this space for anything that does make it to the plate or mud kitchen. 

Button wanted to learn about mould this month so we decided to try and work out what environment is needed to make mould, before we learnt more about it. We started with an experiment using dry and damp bread. Button picked four places to keep the pieces of bread, under the stairs for dark, by a window for light, in the freezer for cold and above the oven for hot. Unfortunately they all went stale and rock hard and produced no mould. So the following week we re-did the experiment with dry and soaking wet bread and changed the places to in a bag, outside a bag (both on the windowsill) then one in the fridge and one in a cupboard. This time the one in the bag produced a lot of mould for her. It was brilliant to follow her lead through this and for her to see it fail at first then succeed. Through our first try she learnt that mould can not grow in total darkness, extreme heat or extreme cold. She discovered that mould needs light, moisture and warmth to grow. I have lots of printouts from Twinkl to carry on her learning about this into April. 

We also started working on Romans this month with Button taking an interest in Pompeii. So far we have done some research by watching videos on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and we are planning on building a model Pompeii and staging an eruption. We have also done some mosaic picture using sticky mosaic tiles that were left over from a kit. This was great as Bear and Buttercup were able to do some too.

Then, as we headed into Button's birthday celebrations, the Planet shifted on it axis. As people clearly mistook Coronavirus for Norovirus, buying twenty years worth of toilet roll per household, we were able to sneak a tentative trip to Wingham zoo. Giving people wide berths, avoiding the soft play completely and washing all our hands every ten minutes, we still managed to have lots of fun. The kids all loved the dinosaurs, Bear loved the Tiger, Buttercup the turtle and Button loved the joke giraffe while they await the arrival of their newest residents. However, the highlight was a bit of a surprise and something we nearly missed. A moon bear. She was so cute and I was surprised how much she stole my heart. Totally understand why my cousin went to Canada the other year to help the bears. They are amazing creatures. The rest of the weekend was spent at Nanny and Grad's flat. We had planned trips and booked a Sunday dinner at a lovely little pub with a great little play area. However, Covid-19 put paid to these plans. Button was disappointed but we did the best we could heading to the woods for some exercise including a nature hunt (designed by Mummy) and hide and seek. The next day we found some deserted land with a hill to roll down and a path to ride their scooters. We had a quick picnic and then headed home. Considering how things have since developed, with the Virus changing the way everyone leads their lives and then in the end the lockdown, we were actually quite lucky to do anything for Button's birthday.

There have been consequences of the lock down and therefore the lack of supportive Gran and Nanny visits on how we Home Ed. While everyone who is normally at school begins "home schooling", we have moved more fluid. We took Button's schoolwork and Invitation area in the kitchen and filled it with anti boredom activities. We have cut right down on her lessons and focussed on 'doing' activities(such as making soap), her Romans topic and having fun as a family. The alternative could be a cabin fever bloodbath. 

We also took the opportunity to make a bold decision and turn the playroom into a learning room. This will be done in April and could be a massive job but should allow a more integrated learning experience for Button, Bear and Buttercup together. However, more on that over the next month.

February

 

Firstly, let me apologise. As I write this, I am dying from man flu. As such, my concentration and memory are compromised. We didn't study a
Salvador Dali this month, so if I suddenly start talking about pink elephants then you know I have lost the thread.

So this month, Spanish Grandad was over. Abuelo is Mummy's Dad, English but living in a beautiful mountain village in Spain. He was over to meet and spend time with baby Cuthbert but also spent a couple of days with Button, Buttercup and Bear. Buttercup was her usual reticent self around anyone she doesn't see on a daily basis, but Button loves seeing Abuelo and Bear enjoyed showing off all his trains. 

We also had Valentine's Day which Mummy and Daddy don't really overly celebrate with each other as we like to show our love all year round. However, we do like to include the children. So we each gave a little gift and the kids all did cards for us. Previously Daddy has had a romantic meal with Button but the Twins are old enough now to be included. 

In the end though, we decided that this year we would all go for a weekend break at Nanny and Grad's flat in Suffolk. Unfortunately, as you will remember, Valentine's weekend coincided with the second storm of the month- storm Dennis. As a result, the weekend was a bit of a wash out and not as relaxing as we had hoped. Not that Nanny and Grad were about to let a storm interfere with things with their usual great hospitality and taking the kids for walks in spite of the weather. Best of all for Mummy and Daddy, the Twins slept almost through at night and Nanny and Grad let us lie in! The best moment was a treasure hunt that Button did all on her own. She planned ahead, at home, where she would put the clues at the flat. She then drew all the picture clues so that the Twins could find each clue which she then took with is to the flat. So for example, if the next clue was in the bath she drew a bath. Once at the flat she put all the clues in the right places and Nanny provided a prize each. The Twins loved racing around from one clue to another, in and out of all the rooms.

Button has spent most of her spare time this month doing Lego and has now finished all the sets she got for Christmas, including a luxury holiday spa and a Lego friends house.

We did do some school work as well this month as we all get more used to our new structure. In English we continued "Secret Seven Adventure" and it is great to see Button really getting into it. Her last narration was her best yet! We have also been looking at writing short stories and tied in her Beatrix Potter 'Post from the past'. Her reading and spellings continue to really improve as well which is great to see. This has led Button to move on to the next stage of Reading Eggs- Reading Eggspress. It seems to have really captured Button's imagination with games that are more age appropriate fun wise and pushing her whilst building her confidence. There seem to be elements that give her pride and satisfaction and it is great to see her really enjoying it. It is also introducing typing which is another key skill to learn. Button is really happy with how much her reading has improved lately and she says she is enjoying it more now.

Button also continued and pretty much wrapped up her work on the Vikings, Frida Kahlo, Beethoven and the body. Button said the Vikings were quite interesting but less interesting than other history topics. We expected Button to love doing Frida as she has always been one of her favourites, but Button found the pieces we studied all a bit similar- dark and gloomy. When I asked about Beethoven, Button said a lot of composer's compose their pieces based on what they can see and feel, much like artists such as Frida. However, Button feels Beethoven just goes with the flow and finds his music really smooth with little, interesting crescendos. Button also enjoyed learning about the body and found it interesting that it isn't just poo that gets rid of the bad stuff, kidneys and then wee do too. She also found nerves really interesting and how the impulses connect them throughout the body and to the spinal cord. Button also found out that hair, nails and teeth have roots which surprised her- she even made a little video about it on her tablet  using her Scarlett's Senses playdough.

So another month gone and we really look forward to moving on to a couple of great Italians, Leonardo da Vinci and Antonio Vivaldi as well as start studying the Romans. We are also going to spend a week celebrating World Book Day and learn about mould. We are also looking at further tweaking our dailies to give Button more opportunity to lead and go on tangents. So follow our journey on Instagram (@teachingmumanddad for Mummy's view and @teaching_mum_and_dad for Daddy's pictures) and then come back here next month for our blog.

January

January was a slow, yet long and drawn out start to the year. First of all we wanted to change our approach to home ed in 2020. We wanted it to be more child led but more eclectic. We wanted to make the core subjects more natural and less daunting- effective rather than a battle. We also wanted family time to be a bigger focus and generally make the whole journey more fun, time efficient and effective. We want to encourage Button, Bear and Buttercup to develop a love of learning and a passion for the arts.

Second of all, Mummy and Daddy had some bad news that was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and certainly made Daddy at least, less productive. The upshot of these factors, plus the usual hangover from Christmas, was that we started back later than planned. We still managed to fit three weeks in (after all January did last forever) but getting used to the new structure and then the lurgi hitting our house for the second half of the month meant that we took the whole month quite slow.

Nonetheless it has been a positive start to out new approach. The "Toddler play" structure, replacing our "Toddler curriculum", has worked really well and actually offered more opportunities to encourage the Twins' development. The flexibility we now have for them and for Button enabled us to get them all learning about the Chinese New Year together which was great. The new shorter burst Dailies have been pretter successful with Button. It means Button is doing more Maths a week, more English a week whilst getting more free family time. She is able to spend more time on projects she is interested in as well as doing extras such as sign language and keyboard. Button's reading is improving, as are her spellings and generally there are less arguments (at least til everyone got sick and moody). Art is on artists Button has an interest in and is more concise. There is greater opportunity for exercise but being ill means we haven't fully took advantage of that yet. Daddy is also still trying to get into a better routine with French, but these are tweaks and we will get there.

Those of you who have followed us for a while on here or on Instagram will know that we support a number of small businesses, a few of these link to our home educating journey and we had some great examples this month. We have been raving about Posts from the past for a while now, and in January we got to learn about Ernest Shackleton and Amelia Earhart. Button loves the history, the personal touch of the letters plus all the activities. Even Bear and Buttercup got to join in and help test different paper aeroplane designs for Amelia and to go with Button on an Arctic expedition to find penguins in tribute to good old Ernie. We thoroughly recommend Post from the past as all the ones we have had so far have been excellent. Another company that Mummy reps for is Scarlett's Senses playdough and last month Mummy asked her if she would be able to do us a kit to do with the body, as Button has been working on different areas of the body and was going to be looking at the nervous system. The result was perfect! So creative and we'll interpreted from our brief. If you want a custom set for your kids she does such a great job. It was perfect for Button's age and did a fantastic job of blurring the lines between learning, playing and investigating. Button kept returning to it and I think it really helped her visual understanding. We also squeezed in two Letterbox labs which continue to really grab Button's attention. The Volcano was amazing but I think Button actually found the UV experiments in the last box more interesting and stimulating and couldn't wait to show Daddy.

Button also started studying Frida Kahlo, Beethoven and the Vikings this month. However, we then broke away in our third week for all three kids and turned our attention to the Chinese New Year. For those of you that don't know, this year is the year of the Rat and Button, Bear and Buttercup loved  learning some of the folktales behind the New Year customs and traditions. We did a lot of arts and crafts, a word search, sensory, open ended play and more playdough fun.

                          Other news
This month we also welcomed our nephew into to the World, Cornelius' brother Cuthbert. He was born on the 21st and he is so yummy. We are sure he will be another superstar like his big brother.

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