Home Education Week 3 2015

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First a couple of photos from the preceding two weeks as it has been a while since I’ve actually done much in the way of blogging about the actual nuts and bolts of what we might do day-to-day with regards to home education, so I thought I’d try to do a bit more of that again, breaking it down weekly (although you can find sporadic entries under the Home Education category).


Recently (as Nin has got older) maths has shifted more online and most recently we have subscribed to Conquer Maths conquermaths.com to ensure a more systematic approach, which is supplemented with activities on Khan Academy http://www.khanacademy.org/ as well as me sitting with her an explaining/exploring concepts ‘in real life’ as is needed.

As we have literally just signed up for the programme, Nin is recapping concepts that she has already some experience of (she would be Year 6 – English system – if she was at school, so it seemed as good a place as any to start at):

So, this week she has covered:

Year 6: Number Patterns and Algebra: Number 1

  • Place Value to Millions
  • Rounding Numbers
  • Positive and Negative Numbers
  • Ordering Directed Numbers
  • Using the Number Line
  • Roman Numerals as Our Numerals
  • Our Numerals as Roman Numerals
  • Primes and Composites

 Foreign Language

Although Nin has been sporadically learning French, this year she has decided that she also wants to learn Spanish and German.  I’ll be honest and say that I think it may well be Foreign Language overkill (and that I’m secretly hoping that she will drop one – and not French – not least because I’m now having to keep up with three languages with her and it’s been a long time, some 20 years, since I’ve done any German and I’m not familiar with Spanish at all – so, bad home ed parent that I am, a little less would suit me better, but in the meantime I need to ensure I’m keeping at least on a par.)

For the most part, we are using Duo Lingo http://www.duolingo.com/ – French, Spanish and German on alternate days over 6 days of the week (with a target of 30 experience on each day for her and 50 for me)

Plus once in this week:




  • Spanish Explorer software from Linguaphone.

English Language & Literacy (with a spin-off into Modern World History)

Generally ‘incidental’, as Nin spends quite a bit of time writing stories and plays, amongst other things.  This week she has also been reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak which has led to all sorts of questions about the Second World War, including the experience of German civilians (including Jewish) during the war.

A ‘side effect’ of learning about tenses in French was that it also covered the consideration of tenses in English.


Any music practice has been a little challenging with OH on nights (we need to be considerate of noise when someone’s sleeping in the day), but we’ve started to get back to recorder practice and now she has a capo, guitar (she started with a weekly guitar group at The Point in autumn last year, but found it ‘weird’ to practice as she was using a capo in lessons, but didn’t have one at home – thus changing the sound of the guitar)

We received the DVD of BBC Ten Pieces in the post this week, so have been re-watching it over the week.  It may still be on IPlayer if you follow the link.

Various sciences (geography, geology, biology, etc)

As well as the various walks we go on (which I tend to document under Nature Spotting – so look there for monthly round-ups of what we’ve seen, because these walks are an important part of our learning journey), in the afternoons, we sometimes watch a documentary on IPlayer (or similar) and Nin wanted to watch The Great British Winter, so we watched the first episode:  “The Great British Winter – Mountains” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01r6g12/the-great-british-winter-1-mountains which centred on the Cairngorms in Scotland (with a foray over to Snowdonia in Wales).

Some of the things covered in the episode were:

That the Cairngorms are mostly comprised of granite and that granite is composed of quartz, feldspar and mica.  The range was formed in the latest Ice Age (which we are apparently still in) and at one point (not so long ago) polar bears lived in the Cairngorms as skeletons have been found that are not fossilised!  Apparently the Cairngorms remain the only arctic/subarctic zone in the UK.

The episode covered some popular leisure activities in the area, such as dog sledding and ski-ing (including the importance of mountain rescue) and mountaineering (including building snow holes to camp in – Nin was particularly impressed with the snow holes).  Also discussed were avalanches, how they occur and how to predict them.

We learnt a little about the Mountain Hare, Golden Eagle, Ptarmigan, Grouse and how heather is adapted to live in the habitat.  What was particularly fascinating was that common frogs live in the Cairngorms and it is possible to see tadpoles in Winter (!) the frogs having adapted to a longer maturation period (if I remember correctly 18 months for tadpole to adult!)  Also reindeer herding.

We also learnt a little about The Munros (including Ben Nevis).

The programme also looked briefly at Snowdonia in Wales, including ravens, juniper, the Snowdon lily and farming sheep in the Ogden Valley.

As a result, we were left with all sorts of other questions and Nin followed up during the week with watching a couple of related short videos on BBC Nature:  “Untamed Britain” and “Snowdon’s Rarest” on http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/habitats/Mountain#p00bxfnf

This sparked off various discussions about the habitat and wildlife of the various British mountains and the plan is to follow up on this next week.

Bits and Pieces

We also met up with other local home educators for the regular weekly social meets at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and the Children’s Library in town – just for fun, no particular agenda!  It was rather too chilly to walk around the park, so we stuck to the large indoor play area and played and chatted instead.


2 thoughts on “Home Education Week 3 2015

  1. sustainablemum says:

    Some wonderful learning going on :). I love how a book, a comment, a programme can take you down the most interesting and creative paths. Thank you for the link to the music programme we had missed that, I am presuming that you got a free copy of the DVD, I am off to look into that for us 😉


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