Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quiet week!

Here is a little snapshot of some of the things we have done over the last week. The kids spent a lot of time at their friend's houses and Dad's house so I haven't done as much with them as usual.

Caden found his Skylanders Annual. He went straight to the living room to read it.

Miles made creations with his Birthday Play Doh

We went out to Rushmere woods with friends. They had a good run about. 

Caden found a new sculpture and pointed out that Miles' name was burnt into the wood. Miles was very happy to see this. This is Miles pointing at his name. 

This is them sat in the new sculpture. 

Balancing on a log. 

Our cress heads are doing well. I will be writing up a separate blog post about them in time. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wreck it Miles!

I am feeling unwell today so we are having an easier day than planned. We were going to meet friends this afternoon but we stayed in and kept warm. 

Recently our freecycle TV/DVD combi gave up the ghost. It had been brilliant in its time. It was given to me about 4 years ago from a man in Aylesbury and it worked a treat for ages. It has been on the blink a bit recently and a couple of weeks ago it just refused to work. It had a DVD stuck in it though. I consulted a friend who is into electronics and was told I probably needed to take it apart to get the DVD out. That was our project of the day today. 

Miles LOVES using tools and helping. Caden not so much though he is interested to look. He isn't interested in getting hands-on with fixing. 

So I needed screwdrivers... Caden ran off and found a spare one for Miles. I got mine. Miles got busy pretending to unscrew bits around the TV. 

We got the front and back apart. Caden was very interested to see what the inside of a TV looked like. I showed him the rectangular DVD carriage too and that it was screwed to the body of the TV separately. 

We looked briefly at the circuit boards. I showed him how some of the components simply click in and out of the circuit board and told him what solder was. We also talked about why the lines of metal run along the circuit board to conduct electricity and that solder is also a conductor. That was it though, he wasn't too interested in this really. 

Miles on the other hand.... 

Loved it! 

Here we are at the end with a totally torn apart TV/DVD and a rescued Wreck it Ralph DVD to watch. 


Over the weekend Caden had the idea of getting some squid and octopus to eat. I said we could but we didn't find the time on the Sunday to do it. I said to him that if he wanted squid he would have to remind me on Monday morning. When they got up at 7 (nice lie in compared to their usual 6am starts) the first thing he said was 'Don't forget the squid...' - cute!

So we went to Morrisons and while they had no squids they had two fantastic, whole Octopus (es) (i) (opodes) (read on for an explanation of these potential suffixes). Caden chose the right one! We brought it home and then dissected it. Sadly no photos of the dissection, I was covered in Octopus slime (my hands still smell despite many hand washes). Caden knew they were molluscs and told the man at the fish counter. He told me that they didn't have eyes, I assured him they did and we looked at them, I made one move which he liked. Then he asked whether they had eyelids. We couldn't find eyelids and guessed this was because they are in the sea so they have no need to wet their eyes with eyelids. The sea does it for them.

We found the octopus's beak, he loved this. We moved the tentacles around and then cut open it's head to look for the brain. We found a brain-like mass and various other slippery and nodule-like protrusions. We didn't get too technical, it was more of a 5 year old's fascinated look inside an Octopus's body.

We talked about the plural of Octopus. I said it was Octopi but since had a look (knowing that occasionally one can get caught up in general ignorance) and it is interesting to learn that it is more likely to be Octopodes. Though I don't think anyone would actually know what we meant if we used that plural without an explanation. Octopus plural grammar link

Then I sliced him up and we ate him fried in butter and garlic. They really enjoyed this although Caden was chewing on one piece for about 20 minutes before he finally gave up and spat it out. 

We checked on the progress of our cress heads. There is growth. On Saturday we found that the seeds had swollen and were filling out the top of the heads. Then Sunday, there was about 1-3mm of shoot. Today we got the ruler and the kids had a go at measuring the shoots.

Caden did a pretty good job of measuring his, we counted the little black marks, each one representing a mm. We counted 6 for him. 

Miles tried to measure his. We will report back on our findings with photos of the cress hair. 

We went to Snakes and Ladders play gym in Houghton Regis for their friend's birthday party. We were there for 3 solid hours. They really had a good play there. They loved it!

This was a volcano model that they could get inside and have dino battles with the resident dinosaurs. They loved this! 

The Duplo table which both of them got stuck into. 

The finished 'man' model. 

Playing with their friend Harlow. 

This was where they managed to get me to climb through the playframe with them for a while. We are all in between the levels and climbing, here. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Last Mohawk for a while?

Wow, what a day we had. The drive was something else today! With the flooding and rain across England so many motorways are affected right now. We were a bit late getting out of the house. I wanted a coffee and had promised the kids some chips to eat in the car. The food place we got to had run out of coffee and didn't sell chips! Bah! We ended up driving into Dunstable (on our way to Reading) to get diesel, chips and coffee! The travelling essentials. I must be careful what I promise them to get them moving out of the house!! Note to self! 

Anyway, it was Camp Mohawk time again. We haven't been for a couple of months so it was good to see everyone. The kids went straight to the soft play area to see their friends. 

Miles mid-leap!

They found Freddie and another older boy and began attacking them (in a boy-ish wrestly way) - it's safe enough and of course very good for the little boys to rough and tumble with the older boys. Very good for their development and learning fair play. I do catch myself becoming referee though, screeching and probably sounding really annoying to everyone else as I yell, that's too hard, no smacking, no kicking, remember he's only 3... etc. etc. etc. 

Here is a clip where Miles and Caden launched at the two older boys simultaneously!

And were promptly defeated and pushed down the slide (where they regathered for another assault) The older boys loved it too! 

When the games got a bit rough I took the boys into the sensory rooms, there are light and dark ones. The dark is UV and actually we were talking about the light spectrum recently following a conversation about rainbows and refraction. Caden learned then that the light we see are a tiny portion of the wavelengths on an enormous spectrum. He learned that some birds and butterflies can see UV and some animals can see Infrared. It was cool to then be able to show him the UV light. We enjoyed looking at all the white parts of our clothing that were now luminescent! 

The light sensory room. It reminds me of the inside of a star trek ship or some 70s space based TV programme! Its so exciting in there with lots of different moving lights. 

They can change the colours of the light bubbles. Miles is using his foot to change the colour. 

Miles got his own chair to join two boys playing table football while Caden sat down for a rest after all the running about and playing, with his bottle of water. 

Miles finds a little rocking boat outside. 

The kids playing together with a ball and swords. 

At one of the many playgrounds. 

Caden in particular wanted to visit the music garden. He LOVES making music. Miles too but especially Caden . 

We found this little musical sculpture hidden in the plants today. We jingled it! 

Caden and I had a game of noughts and crosses. This is him finishing the game and beating me, of course. He was pretty chuffed about it! 

He already understands cogs and makes models of them at home sometimes but he enjoyed telling me about how this works and making the tiny ball bearings in the large cogs move about. 

Mirror garden, Miles and his many reflections! 

Both of them getting hands on with the light and reflections. 

We found a raised bed and identified strawberry plants. We felt their furry stems and talked about how the leaves look like brambles and nettles. They are dark green with jagged edges but they don't sting or have thorns. 

Some of the children did archery today. Caden stood and listened to the health and safety talk with me and watched the children do the activity but he didn't want to join in. I tried hard to get him to join in but he really didn't want to at all. 

Miles eating a bit of cucumber at lunch time. 

Me having a little cuddle with Miles with the Winter sun behind us. 

We might make this our last Mohawk for a while. It's £16 a month plus about £20 in travel which is prohibitive and then any food/drinks we buy and with the 4 hour round trip today I think I will find a way to make what little money we have now go further. I was thinking about getting them annual passes to Thinktank in Birmingham plus I have got us a Friends and Family Railcard on a discount offer. This means train travel is much cheaper for us now and if we can go to the home educator days at Thinktank every few months plus regular visits to do science work (plus the London Museums) then I think that will be easier and cheaper for us. We will return to Mohawk for a Summer one though. 

We have plans to visit London next week. Caden has really got into his Dinosaurs (especially Sea Monsters) lately. He knows all the names, when they existed, what their features were and is very, very excited to see if the NHM London has any exhibits of the dinosaurs he knows. I hope it's a straightforward trip so we can go every few weeks. There are so many amazing and educationally valuable resources available freely, when you have a train station locally and the ability to travel cheaply. 

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