It’s been another busy week of home education – it usually is a busy week, because learning is something that happens all the time (yes, even when you’re sleeping, your brain is beavering away, joining up all those bits and pieces and using them to weave dreams).
On the more prosaic side of things, there have been some ‘more obvious’ things we have done that have contributed to all of this. It’s hard to break things down into subjects, sometimes, but I’ll attempt to (plus there’s bound to be things I forget).
Science (Nature and Environmental Studies, Geography) plus some Social Studies and English Language
A few weeks ago, we ordered a free Seasons Poster inspired by the BBC series The Great British Year (in partnership with Ispot): http://www.open.edu/openlearn/nature-environment/natural-history/order-your-free-seasons-poster-take-you-through-the-great-british-year and have begun spotting things on it. Our first spots (for the month of January) are a Greylag Goose and a snowdrop. Still to find are jellyear fungus and ash keys (not sure how we haven’t seen the latter!)
Learning about nature and the environment around us is a very important part of our learning journey here – after all it makes sense to learn about what you might come across in your day-to-day life – and there are more entries collected under Nature Spotting with the more specific ones under 52 Weeks of Nature.
Nin has continued learning about the wildlife of the Cairngorms (following on from watching The Great British Winter: Mountains last week), specifically more on ptarmigans, the mountain hare and the stoat. BBC Nature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/ is a fabulous place to watch short clips about particular animals or habitats you might be interested in, and Nin used this as part of her research. We were also gifted some Wildlife Watch magazines (http://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/), the children’s branch of The Wildlife Trusts and she also found some useful information on these three animals in there. From these sources, she made notes and then using the laptop, composed a short essay on mountain hares – covering grammar, composition, spelling, etc.
Following on from the first episode of The Great British Winter, we then watched The Great British Winter: Lakes http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r6gdf, covering the Lake District, where we learnt that it is the UK’s largest national park and is 30% water.
The programme also covered:
- Weather prediction on the fells
- Hellvellyn peak
- That Mountain Rescue get at least 600 calls a year on average and of these, 25-30 are fatal
- That there are 15 million visitors to the Lakes (and they cause quite a bit of wear and tear on the various paths, which need repairing, typically by hand).
- That William Wordsworth loved the Lakes and found great inspiration there.
- That, contrary to what you might think, aquatic invertebrates thrive in the winter – plenty of dead leaves falling into the water providing a major food source for various animals. There was a little about Caddis Fly Larvae and also Golden Winged Dragonfly Nymph.
- All these invertebrates are a great food source for birds such as the Dipper.
- The Whooper Swan is a winter visitor.
- The monitoring of the health of the lakes and the impact of warming winters on species such as the Arctic Char.
- The salmon breeding cycle.
- The farming of Herdwick Sheep and the impact of liver fluke (more common in milder winters).
Also covered in the programme were the Fens in East Anglia: predominantly about fen skating (forerunner of speed skating – 1763 being the first recorded race) and the Cotswolds: looking after livestock in the winter snow, including outdoor/free range pigs – with a little about the Iron Age pig (that were delightfully hairy – also, such a joyful sight seeing the pigs galumph through the snow!) Also mentioned were North Ronaldsay sheep.
We also learnt why ducks don’t stick to the ice in winter and that they have the equivalent of a biological counter current heat exchange in their feet!
We’ll be following up on some of these things next week, as part of Nin’s project on the United Kingdom.
Science (Biology) with some PSHE
Discussion about plastic surgery and severe burns.
Nin has continued with primes and composites as it hasn’t come easily to her. Also covered this week was the Highest Common Factor and Lowest Common Multiple. All on Conquer Maths: http://www.conquermaths.com
English Language & Literacy
As well as working on her project on the nature and geography of the United Kingdom, which naturally comprises of using English language and literacy skills; and day-to-day life where she is practising these skills all the time; Nin has been working on writing alphabet poems (where each line of the poem starts with each consecutive letter of the alphabet) and on a play she has been planning to put on with friends.
Her main reading book has been: The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.
Nin has been practising drawing ‘manga style’ eyes and also drew a picture of Sophie (character from The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, Book 1 ), amongst other general drawing and also working through her colouring book (Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book )
We’ve both continued using Duo Lingo: http://www.duolingo.com/ to practise French, Spanish and German.
In addition we watched “The Language of Baking Across Europe” (on the Open University site) because who doesn’t like to learn about cakes from different countries?
Nin started with Sea cadets this week and really enjoyed it. She’s looking forward to going twice a week from next week.
We’ve also been making doughnuts and have started getting some work done on the garden (which I’ll probably write more about at the end of the month Slow Living post). Add in a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park (admittedly the play area with friends) and a trip to the library to meet up with some other local home educators and it has been a very busy week!