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Edible Science Experiments are the Best 03/07/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, home education, kids craft, painting, thrift.
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Gman has started on his latest project – Rocks and Minerals.  This has given us a great opportunity to make some toffee and honeycomb…oops, I mean igneous rocks :-).  Here’s how to do it:

First, put a greased baking tray in the freezer for an hour or two.

Place about 500g sugar and a few splashes of water into a saucepan.  Heat until melted and golden brown.  You need to stir fairly constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Use oven gloves to take the baking tray out of the freezer.

To make a glass like substance, simply tip the mixture straight onto your baking tray.  It will set almost instantly, but certainly be ready to hack away and eat (er, study) after 10 minutes.

If you want to make a pumice like rock, then add a teaspoon or so of bicarbonate of soda to your mixture before you pour it onto the tray.

The honeycomb (oops, I mean pumice) is particularly good with ice cream ;-P.

As well as the rocks project, the boys have also been enjoying recreating more artistic masterpieces, including this Pollack-inspired masterpiece:

Waif got up one morning deciding that today he would “do” Van Gogh, and produced several small pictures, carefully copied from a little book of Van Gogh pictures that we picked up at the Fitzwilliam Museum.  We put them all together and made a display poster:

Aren’t they fab?

Those that saw this earlier post will know that we like to home educate as thriftily as possible, so we were quite excited to find that a local primary school which was closing and moving premises was holding a book sale.  For £2 we got a stack of educational books, including a massive poetry book just in time for next week’s poetry themed home ed group.  Yay!

Ancient Mexico Lapbook 28/06/2010

Posted by snoozerider in lapbook.
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I promised pics of Gman’s Ancient Mexico lapbook and here they are:

Gman particularly loved learning about the Aztecs – possibly something to do with the human sacrifices and general goriness, but that’s ok!!

Presenting…Gman’s Completed Lapbook on Mexico! 22/06/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, lapbook.
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Gman has finished his Mexico lapbook.  Little did we realise that he had done so much work on so many mini-books that he would need two oversized lapbooks 🙂 ; one for Modern Mexico and one for Ancient Mexico.  Here’s some pics of the modern Mexico lapbook:

Gman has really enjoyed this project, particularly customising his own minibooks rather than using templates.

I will post pics of his Ancient Mexico lapbook in another post…

Gluten Free Cornmeal Hush Puppies 02/06/2010

Posted by snoozerider in casein free, cooking, gluten free.
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I think I have been neglecting the edible side of this blog for a while, so thought I would share this recipe with you.  These are pretty yummy!

Gluten and Dairy Free Cornmeal Hush Puppies

1 onion, very finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 cup unsweetened soya milk

1 cup coarse cornmeal

1 cup gluten free flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

good grind of pepper

pinch of chilli powder

Simply mix everything together until you have a fairly smooth batter.  You may need to add a little extra soya milk.

Heat some oil in a frying pan or skillet and drop ladlefuls of the mixture into the pan.  Cook for a few of minutes on each side until they are nice and golden and puffy.  Keep warm while you fry the rest.

Makes about 8, depending on size.

Serve with something nice and spicy 🙂

You Can’t Build a Sandcastle with a Clipboard in your Hand 31/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in days out, home education.
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This week we had a day out at the seaside with some other home educating friends.  The boys hunted for interesting rocks and shells; drew on the sea walls with the chalk from the beach; fished around in a rockpool, finding a crab (sadly, dead :-(); buried some treasure and marked with a cross and a circle of stones; had a game of crazy golf and of course, ate ice lollies!  While we were on the beach, a school trip of about 60 children and teachers arrived.  We gawped and eavesdropped :-P.  The children appeared to be looking for interesting items for an art class.  All had clipboards (colour coded for each class) and were instructed that they couldn’t go on the tantalising rocks that our kids had just been gleefully leaping around, couldn’t go too far this way or that way, shouldn’t pick up anything that might be slimy or smelly and were each given just one small ziploc bag to put their finds into.  How to take the fun out of a trip to the seaside?!?

Art in the Garden 24/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in cycling, days out, home education, nature, painting.
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Yesterday I took the boys to a marvellous art exhibition called “Art in the Garden” which was held in a beautiful garden in the nearby village of Fincham.  Here’s a selection of some of the installations/sculptures:

Of particular relevance to us (as a family opposing local plans to build a waste incinerator) was this installation:

Everything is made of plastic that cannot currently be recycled in Norfolk ie will sit for hundreds of years in landfill.  A beautiful, colourful piece of art but a sobering lesson.  Here’s the text that the artist had posted alongside it, hopefully it will be readable:

After looking around the garden, the boys also used pencils provided to make their own pictures, which will be laminated and displayed in the artist’s studio.  Here’s Gman with his “volcanic ash cloud” picture:

Last week we had a few days break at Center Parcs.  One of the advantages of being a home educating family is being able to visit attractions during the less busy term time :-).  The boys loved being able to ride their bikes all around without any traffic, as well as playing in the wilder parts of the woods.  They also swam, played crazy golf, went bowling and had a go at painting some pottery:

All in all, a lovely week!

We have also had yet another visit to Dersingham Bog Nature Reserve – still our favourite place for a walk – and the boys practiced their balancing skills and cheesy grins:

A Car Boot Sale Education 16/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in craft, home education, kids craft.
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Who says home education needs to be expensive?

At this morning’s boot sale we picked up a vintage weaving loom, two primary science books, three books interviewing children’s authors (Telling Tales series) a set of Oxford Learning Tree readers, a workbook on telling the time, a book of scary stories and Star Wars Monopoly.  OK, not sure of the educational value of the Monopoly but all the same 🙂

So what have we been up to the last couple of weeks..?

More on the Aztecs as part of Gman’s Mexico lapbook project.  The boys are quite taken with the somewhat gory nature of this particular period of ancient history.  I think it’s the live human sacrifices that do it!  Gman patiently stuck down loads of little gummed squares to make this two headed-serpent (Waif started out helping but got fed up with the bits sticking to him so wandered off to do something else):

As you can see, Gman was rather pleased with the finished result!

Waif has been continuing making some more “quilt” patterns and has even had a go at a liberated house (see my sewing blog for what this means!)

We have also been to see a small but very lovely textile art exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in Ely.  While Gman was totally entranced by a piece entitled “The Power of Money” which comprised a kind of waterfall of £10 & £20 notes embroidered in between sheets of sheer material, Waif was more interested in having a go at the hands-on textile art activity, with a little help from Nana.  They had a table laid out with fabric, ribbons, buttons, beads, and various yummy trims for participants to make fabric flower corsages to go on a “tree” inside the gallery.  Waif hung his first flower up there, but was so taken with his second that he went home with it sewn to his jumper!

Continuing on an artistic theme, Gman has been designing a poster for his latest story, borrowing somewhat from all the sci-fi we have been watching and reading lately!

Mexican Hot Chocolate 05/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in baking, home education.
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How could I have forgotten the Mexican hot chocolate we made?  We adapted a milky recipe from book out the library and made ours using melted dark chocolate, rice milk, vanilla extract and a bit of cinnamon.  It was yummy, if slightly extravagant 🙂

Last few weeks 01/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in days out, home education, kids craft, lapbook.
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It’s been a while since I posted, mainly because we have recently suffered 11 days without a broadband connection.  Yikes!  It has given us all a bit of a jolt as to how much we rely on the internet for learning, so we have been doing lots of stuff involving information from good old fashioned books.  This has been helped by the discovery of a home educator’s perk (yes, really!) – I can get an extra library card from Norfolk Libraries!  And I can borrow up to 20 books at a time!  And 12 of these are allowed to be junior non fiction (usually limited to four)!!  Woohooo.  Now to get myself a bigger trolley to haul all the books home 😉

So what have the boys been up to?  Readers of my sewing blog will know that I am into quilting and have recently discovered the Liberated Quiltmaking of Gwen Marston in this book.  It has such lovely pictures, that Waif has been inspired to design his own quilt pattern:

Gman’s main thing has been learning about Mexico.  Buoyed by the success of the Impressionist lapbook, he is putting together a Mexico lapbook on the bits and pieces he has learned.  He has done a minibook on food in the shape of a chilli; music in the shape of a sombrero; fiestas in the shape of a papel picado…and so on.

Tied in to this, we have done some Mexican themed crafts:

  • Made an Ojo de Dios – check out Gman’s blog here for pics and info about this
  • Created some yarn paintings
  • Decorated skulls in the style of the Day of the Dead

We are about to move on to the Aztec era and there are sure to be plenty of activities relating to this we can do together 🙂

This week we have also been on an home education field trip to Castle Acre Priory near Swaffham, where we enjoyed storytelling from the marvellous Yarnsmith of Norwich.  As you can see, the children were totally captivated by his storytelling in such a beautiful setting, helped along by a bit of sunshine.  Take a look at the Yarnsmith’s website to see if he is storytelling at an event near you.  He really is wonderful!

Fish Smokers Apprentices 07/04/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education.
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Yesterday I took the boys to an event called “Fish Smokers Apprentices” at the Trues Yard Museum in King’s Lynn.  Sadly, there was only one other child there, but all three enjoyed it nonetheless.  They learned about how fish smokehouses worked, how to prepare their fish for smoking and had a chance to make some fab decorative fish to hang on their “speat”.  All in all, a good afternoon!

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