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The Great Book Bonanza Give Away!

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Begins again today with one book being given away between today and Friday!  Please click icon below to be taken to the page (or alternatively click on the book page in my header).  There you will find rules and all that jazz.

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Be blessed and if anything is not clear do ask.

Polymer Play at Angelicscalliwags

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In my quest to organise my blog, I am gathering all related posts into one post to make them easier to find. This post includes all the science I have done with my little ones with any kind of polymer.
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Polymer Play : Making Goop

You remember the soapy water?  Well they asked if they could add the bubbles to their goop.  Of course, I said Yes!

Polymer Play : Making Bouncy Balls

My girls with their balls!

Polymer Play : Making Slime

And had lots of fun playing with it

Polymer Play : Investigating the properties of slime

...which she found possible but much harder than play dough!

Polymer Play : Checking out water beads

Spooning them...

Polymer Play : Making Snow

She enjoyed seeing the water turn from liquid to solid

Polymer Play: Making Plastic

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Enjoy!

Seasons of Joy: Week 3

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Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

This week has felt too busy to me.  I fight against the London suburban mindset of fitting more and more in all the time.  I want to savour my life and move through it slowly, experiencing every moment.

This week we have been wandering down to the pond most early mornings.  It has been a gift of peace before the hectic day which lies ahead.  It makes us slow down and take stock.  It nourishes our body and our souls.

The mornings have been cold, frosty and absolutely beautiful:

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The main reason for the busy-ness has been our return to full-time school.  Anxious to fit in as much as possible during our schooling week so that, y’know, I actually do what I’ve promised to do during our unschooling week and back off, I’ve been a tincy wincy  bit pushy.  In fact I may have gone round all week with a slightly sinister look on my face cackling at my children that for this week they were all mine (mwahahahaha)…..The children know me of old and chose to pay very little attention to their slightly peculiar mother.  That said, I’m fairly certain they are very much looking forward to next week when they will be looking at me with a slightly sinister look on their faces cackling at me that for this week they are to be left alone (mwahahahaha).  I can almost imagine them all wringing their hands in glee at the proposition of a mother free week…..I know them of old, too, and I likewise will be paying little attention to my slightly peculiar children.

As you may be able to tell, we are all looking forward to a reversal in roles next week and one has to ask if any such reversal is practical given none of us take each other terribly seriously.  We’ll probably bumble along and find the angelicscalliwags version of unschool much like we have found a rather comfortable angelicscalliwags version of school.  Who knows?  But it has been fun bossing them around this week, albeit in jest!

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I am looking forward to next week very much.  I have a (very unattainably) long list of all I would like to achieve, because in my head I am going to have lots of free time.  This may or may not be accurate, only time will tell, but for now impracticality is the name of the game so I have written myself a list.  I have also been playing about with art journaling again.  This is becoming a form of communication for me.  I love the cutting, sticking and creating which goes along with the whole art journal thing, but more than that I love that I am able to communicate an idea or concept, transferring it from inside my head onto paper.  The very nature of art journaling suits my haphazard mind more than I can say.  One doesn’t have to be very exact about what one wants to communicate and I like that.  And yet it seems a very open, honest and personal way to lay down the workings of one’s mind.

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One of the things on my list, and therefore something I have created an art journal page for, is to spring clean my office/hallway area.  I have ideas and thoughts as to how I want to do this and absolutely none of my plans involve actually cleaning.  I’m a typical creative type who is able to get a feel for the end result but is a bit vague on the details of how to get there.  It is such a blessing to be this way!  Honestly, I get utter joy from the planning and executing of said plans to achieve my end result – that big picture.  You would all shudder if I showed you my ‘plans’, for they really are a bit impractical and sloppy.

My mum is the opposite to me.  She is by nature a perfectionist and very much a details person.  She has spent my entire life trying to understand where on earth I came from.  If we were to paint a wall she would put down sheets to protect the floor, tape the ceiling in order to achieve a straight line without any paint getting onto the ceiling.  She would fill in any gaps/ hole/ imperfections and rub down anything which protruded out.  She would outline first with a small paintbrush around the door frame and windows and eventually and very carefully she would paint the wall using a roller.  She would do as many coats as she felt it was necessary to do in order to obtain a flawless finish.  Then there is her daughter (that would be me).  I grab a stool and a paintbrush and just get on with the painting.  I can’t bear rollers or small paint brushes so I use a large brush for the entire job.  If I get any on the ceiling I quickly remove it with a damp cloth I have tucked down my trousers.  Likewise windows and floors, oh and the stool I’m standing on to reach the high bits.  If we have uneven bits, bits sticking out, bumps or holes I simply hang a picture or get Gary to build another book-case.  One can never have enough you know.  But here is the thing.  I will stand back and admire my work with a huge smile on my face.  The big picture.  So long as it looks like it did in my mind and is full of things I love or that give myself or my family joy then I am a very happy bunny.  My mum will stand back, having been at it for considerably more time than me and she will be critical.  Hers will be 100 times better than mine and yet she will still find fault.  Mine will be 100 times more inferior to hers and I will be patting myself on the back for a good job jobbed!  People would be happy to pay my mum to paint their living room.  People would pay me not to go anywhere near their living room with my stool and my brush.

So this week, in all this spare time, I will be turning my office and hallway area into something rather special.  I look forward to showing you next week, but promise me something?  Just don’t look too closely.  Instead look at the beauty of the whole package, the bits and bobs which make up our memories, our lives and our home.  Choose not to notice the marks, frays, messy books, misplaced toys, bits of paper and pens strewn everywhere.  Instead notice the fun which will have inevitably gone into making my office and hall-way cosy, warm and practical.  A place of industry and creativity.  A place of peace.  Because if one ignores the imperfections one can find the joy which lies in their midst.

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Be blessed this week!

Precious Memories Week Three

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Remember how we were going to do one week of schooling, followed by one week of unschooling?  This was our first week back and boy have we been busy!  My goal is to work the children really hard for one week, and then follow it by a week of pure, adult free, hands off interest led unschooling.

I have to admit, I love being in a routine again and I love the behaviour and joy I see from the children when they are in a routine.  It has been an almost blissfully busy but happy week.

Monday the children started their new devotional books to use just after getting up in the morning.  Being the incredible mother I am, I had promised them all fresh coffee in bed whilst they did their devotions.  Being the absolute failure as a getter upper in the morning I wasn’t able to keep that promise.  At least, I did make them a latte but they were definitely down stairs, fully dressed and out of bed by the time I finally got round to it.

I don’t feel too guilty though, because I am seeing an improvement as I have been up and about by 7.30 most mornings (it got harder as the week went on).  But still the earliest since the operation!  Yay me!

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Another rather special addition to our day has been to go for a walk each morning.  I leave the house looking half asleep, clothes barely decent (by that I mean rumpled and pulled on hurriedly in order to make the coffees….I don’t mean with everything on show!), hair sometimes brushed but hat always worn.  Within 10 minutes I am bounding along, thoroughly enjoying the teasing I get from my older children and the wet slippery hand holding I am blessed to have from my littlest two:

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We visit our old friends at the pond:

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Climb trees.  I don’t climb trees you understand.  No that wouldn’t do at all.  The children have fun up them though.  By the time we return home we are a merry party of six, ready to hunker down and begin maths:

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A6 has been working very hard this week, and as usual I can hardly keep up!  She has at last finished level one of All About Reading and is very excited to be beginning level two.  She has been reading at least three books with Granny each day as well as with me during her curriculum time.  We are definitely moving in the right direction.  She now has a sticker chart which she has a lot of fun choosing Frozen stickers to stick on for each book she reads.

B3 has spent a lot of the time cuddling in my arms.  She seems tired and lethargic but without any other symptoms.  Teeth maybe?  Anyway, I’m enjoying the cuddles time as much as she is.  She has joined in with any school as she has felt able and I have postponed proper 1-2-1 school for her until she is feeling more herself.

Schoolwise the older children have completed four hours of maths curriculum, three hours of writing curriculum and finished Chapter one of their bible curriculum ‘Who is God?’.  I have read five ‘Body Works’ magazines, am half way through reading about the explorers of the Antarctica and have had many chats about their unschooling week next week during our morning meeting time.

Quiet time has led to much reading by the older ones of all their Tudor reading books, as well as some wonderful (but quiet) imaginative play by the littles in their new room.  Speaking of which, one of the biggest benefits to my little ones having their new bedroom ajoining ours, apart from the warmest of snuggles from my littlest every morning and being woken up by the butterfly kisses of my six year old (honestly, I can not think of a more pleasant way to be roused from ones sleep each morning), is watching the two younger ones play together with their toys:

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In general we have never had toys in bedrooms, mainly due to a lack of space, but now they have all been separated out the little ones have a small amount of room under their desk to house three plastic boxes with their big Lego, Thomas the Tank and their dollies and plastic animals.  Quiet time in their room now just consists of two little girls playing quietly together simply enjoying each other’s company.  What more could I ask for?

Afternoons have been all about fun school.  The little ones have been working their way through Owl Moon from the excellent FIAR curriculum.  They have completed an owl lap book as well as a huge variety of activities all linked to the Owl Moon book:

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The older ones spent Monday learning about the renaissance and what it means and how it came about.  They also spent over an hour plotting and planning their project based work, writing an elementary curriculum and we all made an Antarctica cookie map:

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On Tuesday we talked about where we would like to take our anatomy and physiology studies.  We have decided to continue with them slowly as we had last year, using project based learning and the biology IGCSE curriculum concurrently, along with the Body Works magazines.  We did a quick demonstration from the magazine that showed how strong something can be even when it is light and full of air, thus demonstrating just how light yet strong bones are:

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We learnt about the different types of joints and I had the children create examples of each.  So long as they could explain their models I wasn’t too worried what they looked like.  Here they are with a saddle joint, a hinge joint and a ball and socket joint:

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On Wednesday we focused on Tudor Explorers, made a huge paper mache map of the world and created our first explorer’s journal page:

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C12 had her singing lesson whilst T13 fenced for a couple of hours in the evening and came home very pleased with himself for beating every opponent!  Wednesday night I spent a happy couple of hours with my older girls journalling our way through the Bible:

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Thursday brought about a dentist appointment for T13 and an early day for Gary.  We had thought T would be getting his braces fitted but that wasn’t the case.  They just wanted more x-rays and a he had to bite into some disgusting green stuff.  He was disappointed because he had been a little nervous for nothing.

Friday the older ones will be spending most of the day ice skating.  I hope to get both maths, writing and Bible done before they are picked up to go.  When they return we will all be going over to Lorna’s for our weekly ‘Keepers of the Faith’ club and a bit of dolls house making from the girls and bird house making from the boys.

We have also been out in the garden this week.  Gary is slowly sawing our laurel tree down to make way for T’s greenhouse.  This week we were chipping the branches into wood chips for the hens:

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Because of the orthadontist appointment and the party I feel like we haven’t got done as much as I would have liked, given that next week is their unschooling week.  Speaking of which the children have a vast number of plans which include sending off a cover song to Capital Radio, writing to the BBC about radio-active bananas, creating a video to send to my brother and starting a blog about first aid.  I shall be school planning for the following week and I am looking forward to seeing how much I am able to get done in that week.

I have also managed to give away six books this week in the great book bonanza:

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Keep your eyes on my book page next week when I will be giving away another five or so books!  These are the books that will be posted to new homes tomorrow:

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I hope you all have a lovely weekend filled with love and laughter.

linking up:

Weird unsocialized homeschoolers

Homegrown learners

Faith, hope and Love

Beautiful in God’s Eyes

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Last year the girls and I discovered a rather wonderful way to carry out a bible study, which was to art journal our way through the bible.  We started with Proverbs 31 and thoroughly enjoyed each Wednesday evening together, learning more about being a woman of God.  It was so enjoyable we asked some friends to join us and whilst we all had fun I noticed a considerable difference in how open we all were.  I guess when it was just a mother and her two daughters there was no holding back or fear of embarrassment  Our time together on a Wednesday evolved into more of a relationship building time with our friends, as we chatted, had fun and all got to know each other.  For this time I am really grateful for it has blessed every member of our family with some rich friendships I am sure will last the test of time.

But there was also a sadness for what we had lost.  I think all three of us had treasured our bible study, our journaling and most of all the precious relationships we built through the honest sharing of our hearts.  This year we swapped the day we would meet with our lovely friends and we have been able to resume our bible study of Proverbs 31.

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Along the way I had sourced a lovely book written for teenagers called Beautiful in God’s Eyes for young women (Elizabeth George).  We decided to go back to the beginning again, this time using this book.

I smiled throughout yesterday as the twins kept mentioning the bible study and how excited they were and once Gary had left with T13 for fencing, C12 enthusiastically gathered all our supplies, both girls plonking down in the living room, awaiting the arrival of their mother who was busy putting the two younger girls to bed.

This was the sight I was greeted by when I returned:

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They couldn’t really have spread themselves out much more, could they?  In the name of peace, I  made no comment about the mess and plonked myself down to join them (we couldn’t use the table on account of a massive, humongous, incredibly large paper mache map of the world!).

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As they continued to cut, stick and create, I read out the chapter in the book which dealt with the verse we were on.

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As I joined them we passed an enjoyable hour creating masterpieces, discussing the study questions at the end of the chapters and writing down prayers concerning that particular verse:

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It was a fairly in depth study which lasted well over an hour and a half.  C12 enjoys reading out loud and after she had finished her journal page she asked if she could read out the whole of Proverbs 31 whilst we finished up.

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Proverbs 31 is my favourite passage in the bible, and along with Titus 2 and 1 Thessalonians 4, I consider it to be my life verse that Jesus gave me to focus my life on.

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I have studied proverbs 31 so many times and read every book I can get my hands on which discusses it in greater depth.  It has been a joy to share with my girls and see their delight in discovering new truths each week.

Art journalling our way through the bible is such a good fit for our family and it allows us to hunker down and get to the truth of what exactly the passage means to us individually:

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I’m grateful for this time with my girls.  It is a blessing for all of us, and is a time of sharing and closeness, and when the girls leave to go up to bed, they give me a huge cuddle and kiss, enthusing that they can not wait for next week.  Me neither.

Renaissance: Tudors & Stuarts – Introduction

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This year we will be covering the time period between 1485 to 1714, otherwise known as the time when England was ruled by the Tudors and Stuarts.  We are doing a separate study focusing on the explorers of this time, and over the summer we will be immersing ourselves in Shakespeare.  For the next wee while we will be concentrating on the Tudor reign.  I thought long and hard as to how I wanted to go about this.  We were needing to fit so much in and yet I really wanted to maintain the depth of study alongside the breadth.  In order to do this seamlessly I knew I would need to make sure study methods weren’t being repeated.  I already had decided to use Home school in the Woods Renaissance History Passport, which would contain the bare facts, along with many interesting ways to record learning.  To bulk out our study of this era I would be using all of the following books to some extent.  These are books I either had already or that I have picked up over the past year from various charity shops:

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I also bought in one of Hawkins books.  I have used his thinking history site many times before.  I like how much his focus is evidence based and every text is supported by much primary and secondary evidence which allows room for critical thinking and historical discussion:

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I intend to rely on good historical fiction to give the children a wider view of the historical backdrop within which important events happened.  We will be using the My Story historical novels to this end:

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The set of Lady Grace Mysteries:

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and other miscellaneous titles (of which there are three additional ones the children are currently reading):

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We’re hoping this will last us the six weeks.  So far though it’s not looking good……

As these books will play a greater than normal part in our home school this year and to slow their reading down a bit, I will be expecting the children to write a simple book report on each one, to check they’ve understood the finer details.  These books are fairly easy read books, so I’m not expecting any problems in understanding, but I did want a more formal way of assessing how much they were taking in.  So far I have received over 16 reports.  No, it doesn’t seemed to have slowed them down AT ALL.

Home school in the Woods has many interesting ideas for recording the learning which will take place.  I have decided to combine their lap book type pieces with some of my own ideas and create a Tudor Tymes newspaper.  I have chosen this method because I have lots of butcher’s paper to use up from a couple of our other newspapers we have made.  In addition the Home school in the Woods curriculum lends itself well to this.  I already own a magazine about the Tudors and thought I would use it to learn a bit about lay out and capturing your audience’s attention and the like:

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In addition, anything which doesn’t go into the newspaper will undoubtedly find its way onto our presentation boards.  We will be giving a presentation at the the end of the term and it would cut down on some of the work nearer the time if the children prepared their boards as they went along.

Our studies for the rest of this year will culminate in the children hosting a masked ball (in our cottage – so not very, very renaissance-ish) which will include feasting, dressing up, dancing and an opportunity to present their ideas for a Elementary level Tudor curriculum as well as showing off their work for the year to friends and family.  We enjoyed our Medieval feast so much last year and so are hoping to replicate its success somewhat.

Making a Cookie Map of Antarctica

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As part of our study of Antarctica we made a fairly detailed cookie map of this icy continent.  I gave the children a blank Antarctica map to fill in using an atlas.  Once the older ones had labelled their map and the younger ones had spent some time with me on Google Earth looking at some of the features of Antarctica, A6 helped me roll out the biscuit dough.

We placed it onto a paper map outline of Antarctica and using her fingers A6 fashioned the dough inside the outline of Antarctica:

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We then placed it on a baking tray and baked for ten or so minutes and allowed to cool:

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I spread a dish with marshmallow fluff and stuck Antarctica on top.  A6 then poured all the blue sprinkles over the remaining fluff surrounding the biscuit, creating the oceans:

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She then smothered the biscuit with the marshmallow fluff to represent the snow:

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The older children were now called in to create mountains, icebergs……

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….snow and labels:

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They basked in the wonders of a truly fabulous Antarctica for, oooh, all of about 3 1/2 seconds and then they ate it:

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Such fun!

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Don’t forget to check out the latest book I am giving away for free to any UK resident who would like it.  Click here for more information.

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