Wednesday, 29 April 2015

In and out

After my last blog post, Betsy arrested Meg and put her into prison.  She had her dinner there, her Hudl, and plenty of cushions.  Betsy made a sign:

Yesterday we went to a home ed meet up in a nearby park.  It has a good playground, skate park, and a stream.  It was freezing - very windy - but the kids had a great time regardless.

They all went in the stream.  Fred built a dam, with some help from Betsy.   It will be great to come here in the summer when it's warm, it's a lovely spot.

The kids had a chilly picnic before heading into the playground.  There were quite a few families there.  They played with some of the other children and seemed have lots of fun.

When we got home they chilled on the sofa playing various games.  

Later, Betsy and Meg went to Jarvis's for a minecraft session.  I went to collect them at 8.20, and Meg really didn't want to come home.  She'd had such a good time playing with the 'big kids'!

Today we popped into the local arts centre to see my brother Tom's photographic exhibition.  It's called A Thousand Finish Lines, and is about pigeon racing.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Bugs and birds

The last few days have been very relaxed.  On Friday we had a day at home, in pjs until lunchtime.

I printed off a minibeast puzzle booklet for Betsy, with word searches, mazes and other puzzles. She loved it!

Betsy and Meg made potions in the garden.  They spent some time with Catty the caterpillar. It's growing bigger, and it's easy to see how much it's eating (from the munched leaves and the caterpillar poo!).

More minibeasts on Saturday.  Rob helped Betsy and Meg to make a mini wormery (with worms from the allotment).

Fred, Betsy and I went to town.  On the way back we saw a pair of Canada geese, which is quite exciting as we haven't seen them at the canal before.  We watched a narrowboat sail under the bridge as we walked over it.  I love living next to the canal.

Yesterday we all went to Rushmere Country Park.  Lots of tree climbing, hide and seek, tag and piggy in the middle.

 Not sure how fair Rob was playing here!

I loved the new leaves we saw.  So pretty.

The kids had ice cream in the Tree Tops Cafe, overlooking the tree that the herons are nesting in.  The kids used the binoculars and had a good look.

Today has been another day at home.  Fred showed me some interesting videos on youtube.  I printed off some more puzzles for Betsy, and some easier ones for Meg.  

We've been watching the live video feed of the nesting peregrine falcons.  They are very close to our house!  I find it amazing that such rare and special birds are so local to us.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Mini beast safari

The kids have had a brilliant day!  We went to Woolley Firs, an education centre of the Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.  It's our second visit - last year we went on a Sensational Senses workshop (which was excellent).

Today was a habitat safari.  It linked so well with Betsy's current interest in mini beasts - the caterpillar habitat, her plans to make a bug hotel.

We started by walking around the site, identifying the different habitats that we could see. Pond, garden, tree, meadow, woodland etc.  The leader told the kids about what a habitat provided - air, food, water and shelter.

In the meadow, the kids were given sweep nets, and took it turns to sweep through the grass and collect insects.

We had small jars and magnifying glasses, and an identification sheet so that we could try and work out what had been caught.

This tiny speck in the jar is a froghopper.

Next we headed into the woods.

The kids were given spoons and brushes, and we set off to look for more mini beasts.  We rolled over logs, and found woodlice.  They found some loose bark and pulled it back, and found lots of baby slugs.

After lunch, it was pond dipping.  They loved this.  They took it in turns to swoosh a net through the pond, bringing lots of pond weed along with various creatures.  There were water snails, damselfly nymphs, and there was much excitement when some newts were found.

Part of the session was indoors, holding beetle larvae and doing a worksheet on whatever creature the kids had caught and brought inside in a jar.  They answered questions about it, and drew it if they wanted to.  There was no pressure to do it, but all three spent some time on it.

The final activity of the day was more pond dipping, in a newer pond.  The first one is 50 years old, the second one is only 3.

There was a big difference in the colour of the water, amount of pond weed, and the mini beats that we found.

There were lots of water boatmen, and one group collect loads and loads of tadpoles.

We managed to get a couple of broad bodied dragonfly larvae, a diving beetle, lots of water snails, and some mayfly larvae.

It was such a great day.  Betsy is even more enthusiastic about bugs, and was inspired by the big bug hotel they have (just behind the pond dippers in the photo above).  She also wants to make a small wormery that she can see inside of.

The weather was odd - it was freezing to start with (coats required) and so warm by the afternoon.