Our Home Education Week – From Autumn to reptiles

At the start of the week, the girls and I put together an autumn sensory box. We had lots of fun sorting through our big box of pom poms for “autumn colours”. Well, Ophelia just wanted to put them all in but she was happy enough for Talitha and I to pass her the right colours, so we had a production chain going. We also included fabric autumn leaves, a basket, a wooden spoon, a ladle and some yellow and red feathers.

Then Talitha and I made these clothes peg spiders for a bit of fine motor fun, picking up the pom poms. We coloured the pegs with felt tip marker (permanent would be better but I couldn’t find ours) then hot glued on pipe cleaner pieces for legs and a couple of googly eyes.

Clothes peg spider craft

They played for a bit but soon lost interest. Then I remembered that I had red and yellow rice I’d saved from our Chinese New Year sensory box, so I put that in and suddenly, this has been their main attraction all week! I made it as something to occupy Ophelia while Talitha and I were doing something on the table but it’s been great fun for both.

Our home ed week - reptiles and Autumn-3

For months we’ve been loving Skip through the Seasons by Barefoot Books. Now that Talitha is aware of months, she’s loving it even more! It lists the months in different languages, has tid bits about different calendars and even the Roman mythology behind the naming of our months.

Earlier in the week, I printed out some wild animal cards to take to our home ed group along with a map of the world so the kids could look at what animals live where. I ended up not managing to take it but, later in the day, Talitha was looking through the cards when she said, “A whale is a fish.” I explained that it was actually a mammal, not a fish. “But it has a tail,” she pointed out.

Our home ed week - reptiles and Autumn-6

This led into a conversation about reptiles, mammals, fish and birds (I forgot amphibians as there weren’t any in the set). She grouped the cards together according to classification.

The next day, we popped into an Oxfam bookshop and spotted a book about reptiles. So we bought it and have been enjoying looking through it. It’s led to a lot more questions: “What does a Gharial’s whole body look like?” “What’s a terrapin?” “How does a snake grow a new skin?” We took to the internet, mostly looking at the National Geographic website.

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A couple of days later, after looking at a few more things in the reptile book, we looked at videos on reptiles, mammals and wild animal names in Spanish on the Happy Learning YouTube channel.

On Saturday, she wanted to wind down from a busy day with a snuggle on the sofa to finish off the reptile book. The next thing I knew, we were making the snake from one of the activity pages at the back.

Talitha’s intrigued with foreign languages lately (and making up rather random words of her own!) so I thought I’d try out learning some Spanish together since I did a Spanish A-level and have some familiarity. She knows I have a French friend too, though, and says she’d like to learn French so we’re picking up words here and there.

Someone was selling some French and Spanish bits on a local selling group so we picked up a First Fun with Spanish DVD, which we’ve watched a bit of and some Usborne French flashcards which she’s looked through for a bit of fun. We must Skype soon, Heloise.

Our home ed week - reptiles and Autumn

This week we started reading Enid Blyton’s A Book of Pixie Stories. Sometimes I just read, other times I pause to ask questions to make sure she’s understanding the story – it depends on whether I think she’ll find that annoying or not. They’re pretty moralistic (my little gripe) but I’ve been surprised by how amusing she finds them all.

I suggested after we read one that she draw a picture of something from the story. Then I stuck a piece of writing paper at the back. She wanted to write her name and the date. Then we worked out together a simple summary of what the story was about and I wrote it down.

Next time I’d probably see if she wants to copy it. She loves writing but we both find it a little tedious when she has to ask me to spell more than a couple of lines and I think she’d benefit from writing without me sort of hovering.

Our home ed week

We didn’t make it along to a lot of things this week but we really benefited from an easygoing schedule, especially as Laurence was working from home and was able to be a bit flexible with his hours. It meant the girls did some gardening with him.

They also had their first swimming lesson this week, which was exciting for all of us as I’ve never taken them on my own. Ophelia was a bit unsure about being in the pool so I’m glad we’re making this a regular thing. It was a lovely time for the two of us being in the water together. As for Talitha, it’s absolutely about time she started swimming. She’s been buzzing about it ever since.