This week, W’s learning was mainly play-based. However, we also had some brilliant social education (called PSHE in schools), learning about the situations and lives of people that we met while travelling.
We saw an older, blind man teaching a much younger man, who was also blind to use a white stick. W was fascinated by how the younger man was going to learn to get around. We have seen (and also helped) people who are blind get around, but I think W was really struck by the fact that people have to spend a lot of time learning these skills. It led to some brilliant conversations about disability, with W asking many questions.
Another opportunity for social learning this week came from a random meeting with a family on a long train journey. We got talking to them and it somehow came up in conversation that their child was adopted. He talked about his birth mum to his parents and also to us. W listened with interest and later asked me many questions about him. We have talked about adoption many times before as some of her friends and family members were adopted, but W seemed interested in this particular boy’s life. We talked in vague, age-appropriate, terms about the reasons why a child would be adopted and also about the many positive aspects of adoption.
I feel it is so important to talk about other families, whose situations may be different to ours, in the hope that our children will grow up being trailblazers in accepting and embracing difference without a second thought.
…So, now that we have covered PSHE very well this week, here is what the rest of the week looked like, in subject order, as usual:
Science / Nature: We watched some builders and crane operators for a while as they were building a new tall building in central London. W asked lots of questions about how a building is built and why it doesn’t fall over.
W later asked to go to the park to feed the squirrels, so we looked online to find out what the best food for them is, which turned out to be apples and sweetcorn. At the park, we found that most of the squirrels wanted the apple, but two did not (and the ducks ate all the sweetcorn).
On the way home, we saw a ginger cat with one eye, so we talked about how she was either born with one eye or had an operation on it because it was sore and that it wasn’t sore any more.
W had her daily vitamin, which led to a conversation about the vitamins D, A and B12; why we need them and where they come from.
W asked why her hair is the colour that it is, so we discussed (with the help of a diagram) the genetics of hair colour. We talked about my hair colour, W’s donor’s hair colour and what colour hair she could have had from those different genes.
On Friday, we posted some ink cartridges to recycle and W learned why it is important to recycle as much as possible. W wanted to know why it mattered if the landfill sites got really big.
The batteries in one of W’s toys had run out and W wanted to replace it herself. She used the screwdriver very well, and again this gave us an opportunity to talk about recycling.
On Wednesday, W decided to weigh some of her toys to see the difference in weight between them.
Maths / Numeracy: We played Monopoly Junior and W did well again at adding and subtracting money. We talked about currencies – she knew that dollars are American and pounds are English.
W helped with my work (because she wanted to) and looked for items with certain 4-figure numbers on. She did really well holding 4 numbers in her head and getting them in the right order.
Home Economics: I made Yorkshire puddings and W helped with every stage. She really liked mixing it all together and sieving the flour. She was great with weighing out the ingredients.
She later helped me to cook dinner. She separated the leaves from the stalks of parsley, cut the stock cube up, zested the orange, opened packets, added ingredients to pans, measured out the honey (and then licked all the honey off the spoon).
Socialisation: At the weekend, Grandma and Grampy came to visit and the children loved spending time with them, chatting and playing.
At our regular Monday social group, W played with a few of her friends and their dolls.
The next day, we tried a new Home Ed group, which will hopefully be running monthly. It was at a Scout camp and was fabulous! There was a campfire where we toasted marshmallows, a wooden climbing frame, lots of space, a hut, a craft activity, and lots of other things to do. W saw a friend who she has met before and played with her for the whole time that she was there. Her name was P (6) and we have already arranged a playdate for next week. They got on very well. There were other children there that she knew well: T (7), A (4), E (6), and a few others too. We will go again!
Play: W and her stepsister, D, played princess families for ages.
At the park, W took a doll onto the climbing frame and the swings to play. We also played frisbee and W is getting better at trying to catch it instead of ducking!
Whenever we have been at home this week, W and I have played with her dolls. At the moment, she is enjoying teaching her dolls how to walk, eat food, making beds for them, comforting them when they cried etc.
W also wanted to play at hiding things in the garden. She was very good at actually hiding things, but found it hard to resist pointing them out… She now understands the concept of ‘getting hotter’ as you get nearer.
The bedtime ‘board’ game this week was actually ‘GO Fish’, which W always enjoys.
Spatial Skills: One evening, W built a 3D wooden butterfly that Grandma had given her. She did very well with it, even though she hadn’t built that type of thing before. She put things together the wrong way around (I let her) and then realised when other bits didn’t fit, so she tried again. She was very calm and patient with it, and was so proud when she finished it.
She later put together a Lego toy with no help at all.
English / Literacy: On Sunday, W asked to do some homework, as her stepsiblings were doing theirs, so I got some activities out for her to do (writing practice) and she did those.
Later in the week, she did two more pages of her workbook, then played I-spy with D, learning a little more about spelling.
We filled in a couple of days on the calendar with things that she had wanted to do and she was good at understanding the length of time that would pass before we would be able to do each.
On a long train journey, we learned a little phonics from train station signs, as usual.
At Rainbows, W made a Thank You card. She decided to write a card to Grandma to thank her for coming to see her.
W also made a card for her friend’s first birthday. She made flower shapes with stickers, drew a rocket ship and Mars, and made up some song lyrics for it.
Music: The next day, we went to the Royal Albert Hall for the Primary Proms, which was brilliant, as it is every year! We learned that the Hall was built for Prince Albert. W didn’t remember being there last year, so it was like a new experience all over again for her. She absolutely loved all the music and said that her favourite bit was a band who sang a song about bullying and a song about love.
The host taught the children about Morse code, music in 4, 3 and 5 time, the differences between the planets, counting in time and asymmetrical ostinatos! It was very educational and also very fun!
RE: On the way home, we talked about Ganesha as the taxi driver had an ornament on his dashboard.
…So, there is all the incidental and planned learning that has happened this week. I must remember how important it is to show W her work folder from time-to-time, so that she can see how much she has done and how far she has come with her writing especially. I was reminded of this again when the grandparents came to visit and W proudly showed her giant learning folder for Reception year to them. I think it was good for me to hear again how much W is learning as I still have those days when I fear I am not doing ‘enough’, whatever that is….