This week, W seemed to be full of questions. It was a week of learning outside the home, with little sit-down work.
Here is what we did:
Numeracy: When we walked along the street, W read every house number along the way (they were 3-digit numbers).
Later, she also enjoyed reading the numbers on her old Lego trading cards (numbered 1 to 140) whilst she put them in order.
Music: We visited the library to take out and return some books. When we were there, there was a Rhyme Time session on and W listened and sang along to the songs.
Science / Nature: We spent some time feeding the squirrels in the park again and W enjoyed watching them bury their nuts. She is really good at being calm and quiet around the squirrels, so that they will come to her to get the food. This is another benefit of home education: it really does give us these lovely quiet opportunities when there are very few other people around and we can take our time to look at animals or flowers uninterrupted by others.
We visited the Science museum and W really enjoyed it there. She was a little nervous of the dim light in the ‘Space’ area, but loved the orb in the centre of the room, which had the different planets and moons projected on to it whilst audio was playing with information about each one. She was particularly interested in our moon.
We looked at space suits and how they keep astronauts cool, found out how astronauts go to the toilet (poo and wee are hilarious at the moment….), looked at models of space rockets and the space station, saw a real spacecraft, saw a real skeleton from 100BC and found out how they worked out how old those bones were.
Together, we learned so many things, including facial reconstruction of skulls, how skeletons are excavated, how vaccinations work, how anaesthetic used to be administered, what gravity is and more!
On the way home, we looked at, and talked more about how train points work, as we did last week.
Then she wanted to know how cranes are delivered and how they can turn into lorries. Luckily, I have seen many cranes at work due to a previous employment, so was happy to bore W with details about them….
And to top off a day of questions, W asked how steam engines work, why they can’t go into space, and why there were no spacecraft a long time ago, so we covered that too.
A few days later, W was thinking about our visit to the science museum visit and asked how a person’s skin and flesh decay to become just a skeleton (I tried to explain this in as nice a way as possible – saying that it basically becomes the earth around it with the help of insects and bugs).
Politics: On by-election day, we had a discussion over breakfast about the main political parties and touched on their policies too. W came to watch me vote and we discussed how the voting system works in this country. We went through the political parties again and talked about their policies a little and then she wanted to know how a person can become an MP.
Play: After our visit to the Science Museum, W played with her siblings and other children, chasing bubbles in the ‘garden’ of the Museum.
At home, there were many opportunities for play and the children chose board games, Lego and dolls to play with.
History: One evening, W asked to see the Royal family’s family tree with pictures, which I showed to her and explained what it meant and who the people are.
She then asked to see a family tree from a different country, so we looked at the French kings and queens back to 1300!
Religion: We visited a church on the way to Bank station (at her request) and learned what the pulpit and font are for and we looked at the ten commandments on the wall. She asked what the bible was and we talked about that. She wanted to read a gravestone inside the church, so we did, and then after that, we lit a candle and made a donation.
Time: At Euston station, W saw a digital clock and asked why it is different from an analogue clock. This led to a discussion on the 24-hour clock.
Literacy: This week, W wasn’t feeling like doing any writing, so only did a couple of pages of an activity book until she moved on to something else.
As always, I didn’t push W to do any more writing than she was comfortable with. She is still so little at 5 years old and has many years ahead in which to perfect her skills in that area. An interesting recent study has shown that children taught to read and write early perform no better (often worse) academically at 11 years old than those who experienced play-based learning in the early years. This really shows that, if children are allowed to learn subjects when they are ready to, they will remain keen to learn the subject and are also capable of learning it more quickly.
For now, W writes when she wants to and loves to do so.