Monday, March 24, 2008


Hope you all had a fantastic Easter. We had our little Nathanael dedicated and all our extended family on Paul's side came for the occasion. It was a fabulous day and so great to have the whole Hampton 'dynasty' together - 13 children (plus a couple of friend's kids), four couples and P's Mum & Dad. My aunty was in Spain and my Nan had to stay home to look after the cat (don't ask!), so sadly they could not join us. I highly recommend the Sainsburys 'platters' if you ever need to cater for loads of people and want low hassle, easy clear -up, excellent, tasty food. It was enjoyed by everyone and there was masses left over for a couple of meals afterwards. It was probably only as expensive as catering myself might have been - worked out to about £3 per head and we were making it the main meal of the day, so you could get away with spending less.

After the hoards went home two of the girly cousins stayed behind for a couple of days - the girls all get on so well together. It's bliss: I haven't seen much of them all day. They have just played solidly at one thing or another with an hours worth of Hama-beading thrown in for good measure in the middle of the day J. We will take them back to Birmingham on Tuesday.

I am busy trying to plan for the new term…Hmm what shall we do? Abbie has all but finished IScience 2 (so that's the whole years work done in less than two terms - she is a quick worker), so I need to think of what to do for her. I might just get her to tread water with Science and see the year out on Education City and Brightmindsonline. That would be a nice reward for working hard J. I think she needs to be more mature in her thinking to move on up to level 3 though.

HISTORY - We're working through a project on Greece (using a EMC History Pockets - excellent), so that we will continue with.

'A Child's Geography' continues, and all the children are loving it - even the writing up bit.

ENGLISH… nothing to change or add in there. Phoebe has at last completed the Reception year Literacy on Ed' City. I just want her to finish of the 'letters and sounds' section - not that there is anything there she doesn't know, but it will be great review before we move on into Jolly Grammar and Year 1 work, where I think she will notice a change of pace. She is doing well now. She is almost a 'year behind' but I think that gap will narrow now that she has reading under her belt and everything is beginning to make more sense to her. I might start JG with her before next September if I think she is ready. Meanwhile we will tread water with 'Starfall' (including the printed materials) - again review in the 'learn to read' section, but it will build on her skills in the next level - which she can't wait to get to! I have begun to introduce joined writing to her as I think this will assist her reading and writing (it has with my others) because it flows better. She is only 'writing over' just yet and only in handwriting practice (a sentence a day). The rest of the time she can write however she likes. I usually find joining begins to happen by default after not very long.

MATHS - no changes needed there. Keep going with Miquon for the girls (once a week). Phoebe has completed SPMG Year 1 and ploughed through the first book of her Singapore MPH 1A already (a couple of weeks) and Abbie has almost finished the last part of SPMG Year2 maths, so she will go back and finish of 2B MPH (which will seem a synch to her now I'm sure). Joel is completing SPMG Year 4 (last book) having skipped the textbook work almost entirely (too easy on the whole and he could do the workbook with very little difficulty). There were very few new concepts in here, but he has enjoyed elements of it. Anyway - back to MPH 4 now and he can't wait! J Also continuing to use Smartkiddies a lot - love it!

MUSIC takes the form of Joel learning on-going piano and drumming (more-or-less self teaching), the odd bit of flute with Boo and occasionally a more formal lesson from our 'Tune-In' books - that's always fun and the little ones often join in with that too.

ART - continue with Artistic Pursuits and occasional lessons from 'teachartathome' freebies.

I'd like to spend some time this term doing a review of the years learning, so that the children have a real sense of what they have achieved this year…need to think about that some more and how I can put that together. I don't want to re-teach it (in case of having forgotten any!), but to help them to see just how much we've covered in a year and how much more they know now than in September! It might just blow my mind - let alone theirs!!

And then of course I am starting to think about having Jake home again next year (Yr 7) and what we will use for him… It's not so far away now and I want him to be happy with the materials I choose. So far I have this as a starting point;

Writing Strands - pitching in at level 4, with level 3 to hand as a fall back. He had a look at the books the other day and felt he could tackle level four, so I'm going on his judgement, and I think he is probably right.

English Grammar (for students) - to help tighten up his grammar.

Mathematics AU - because I think I might be asking for trouble if I start him back on Singapore Maths - he has unhappy memories of 3rd edition! Not only that, but he might test in at the same level as his brother which would not be good for his self esteem (although it might work out ok in other ways). I MAY buy him the MPH (level 4) workbooks too and see if he can pull up a little. I think Singapore maths would be more stretching, but he would not be ready for the higher levels (any of them) and the Maths AU will be more than adequate for him to attain what he needs to. I like the fact that there is a built-in reporting system with this too, which would be useful in the long-run.

Science - probably go with Singapore I-Science, either at level 7, or maybe even as low as level 5, because he is not fantastic at science, by his own admission he does not have that kind of mind, and this is where Joel will be at, so it might be fun for them to work together on stuff - or it might cause fights - not sure! I also have Exploring Creation with Astronomy on my shelf which we could spend a year working through with everyone and that would be great fun I think, especially if I pair it with the Live-n-Learn lapbook to go with it, although Joel is not keen on covering 'space' - however I think they would enjoy it when they got going with it.

History - He'll have to jump in where we are at, which might be round about Romans by then. I know he has done Rome in school, but not like we do it! And that will just mean he can build on his knowledge and help me out a bit!

Geography - He'll do what we do and I'll assign him appropriate work.

Music - likewise

Art - likewise, although I do have higher grade material, if he wants to work through that more independently.

RE - I guess we will need to start looking at some other belief systems pretty soon, but I want to tread carefully with this, as, of all of my children, Jake is the least certain of his faith. I might, therefore, spend his first year at home going over some of the basics of our own faith, chatting with him tonnes and shoring him up before we go exploring!

Languages - he has done a lot of French at school (one of the teachers is Maurtian) and I'd like to keep that going, so may need to invest in something like Le facile Francaise, as my French is too rusty (and never really was that good) to go solo teaching it. Coupled with Ed' City I think that should do it J

I think that will get us going J

Sorry if I bored you all - but making a record even for myself can be helpful at times!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Natty Chatters

I thought you might all enjoy this :)


Well the autumn term is already over and the summer term upon us. As we drew this term to a close we spent the last week contemplating the Easter story. My girls especially seem to have grasped ahold of it this year and this morning I woke to Christmas music, for lack of Easter music. It seemed they really wanted to hold something of the specialness of today - Good Friday. We talked about it is called 'good' when something so sad happened and we chatted about why we have eggs and bunnies as symbols of Easter when they are nothing to do with Jesus. Perhaps next year (I was too late this to think of it) we will do a 'meaning of Easter' lapbook (or such like) to help prepare us better. Meanwhile, yesterday we made these from an idea on TeachArtAtHome (I really like this website). They came out really well. To see the close-ups go to my picasa album.

And Ellie did these and is very proud of them J

Then the other big event of the week is that Caleb had his first haircut! Here's the before & after pics!

My Page - Lapbook Lessons

My Page - Lapbook Lessons

At last somewhere to keep all my lapbooks tidy and together on the net! You have to sign up to view my page (I think), but it's free and non-spammy. Takes about a day to get membership confirmed, but well worth it for all you lapbooky people out there (and not just to see my page!)! Have fun!

Thursday, March 20, 2008