Showing posts from March, 2019

Table Fables - review

This week we've been trying out Table Fables, the fun way for little ones to get to grips with learning their times tables. Read on to see what DS7 thought of it, a discount code for home educating families and a lovely story from Becky, the CEO of Table Fables, telling us how Table Fables came about.

DS7 began by getting to know the cute characters before tackling each times table, level by level. I have always been keen for the kiddies to know their tables by heart, which makes teaching Maths much more easier as they progress through each Maths topic. Table Fables has made it much more fun as they enjoy playing each level, and feeling proud of themselves as they complete each lesson. There are lots of short video clips followed by a quick test question to see if your child has understood. With DS7 having already learnt most of his times tables already, he jumped straight ahead onto level 3 which tested and revised his knowledge of each set of tables.

Table Fables engages and enco…

Home Ed Q&A!

Grab yourself a cupp and have a read of today's Home Education Q&A with Chelsea.

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?

When I was 16, a little girl(first grade) came home from school and asked a question about a sexual act that she heard a boy talking about in class. It was that exact moment that I started wondering about homeschooling. I didn't even have children yet but I knew the kind of mother I would be. Over the next five years, the stories just got worse and solidified my desire to homeschool. I wanted to preserve my children's' innocence for as long as possible. I also wanted learning to be a healthy and happy environment. 

What kind of approach do you take?

Oh man. This changes day by day. One day we will dive head first into books with loads of structure and the next we will spend the day in nature building forts and learning about flora. That's the beauty of homeschooling. Learning can happen anywhere.

Where do the children do most of their work…

Kids Pass!

For just £1 you can sign up for a trial Kids Pass membership and gain instant access to 1000’s of
family friendly offers on the Kids Pass app! This really is the best £1 you’ll spend as you could
potentially save over £90* in just a week…

In the City - Book Review

'Look Mummy, I can see a little dog!' shouts DD4!! 
The kiddies have been on an amazing adventure in the city this week through the pages of this new book In The City.

'Get ready to explore the city! Dominika Lipniewska takes us on a magical journey through a day in the life of a city. With bold and distinctive graphics and lots of detail for children to explore, In the City covers every aspect of the features one is likely to find in cities throughout the world – from buildings of every shape and size, the many different modes of transport, bustling market places, parks and zoos and all the different people one is likely to find in the city.'

DD4 and DS7 have been busy looking at all the fun, abstract pictures hiding within the pages of this wonderful new hardback book by Button Books. 'In The City' has given them an insight into the hustle and bustle city life. It captures how people live, which animals they can see and what produce can be bought at the bustl…

Free Nature Spotters' Guide - Canal & River Trust

Spring has arrived and wildlife is waking up along our 2,000 miles of canals and rivers. Why not download your free Nature Spotters' Guide here from the Canal & River Trust.
Who are the Canal & River Trust?
'We're the charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways, because we believe that life is better by water.
Our research shows that spending time by water, whether it be your lunchbreak, daily commute or just a weekend stroll, really does make us feel happier and healthier.
With ever increasing rates of obesity, stress and declining mental health in the UK, we are uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of millions of people. Our canals and rivers run through some of the most heavily populated communities in England and Wales, providing accessible green and blue space where it’s needed the most.
That’s why, here at the Trust, we're working with volunteers and communities across England and Wales to trans…

Helping Children to Read - Review & Free Resources

Reading has never been a difficulty for my children, a subconcious skill they acquire from a young age. As a family of avid readers we regularly sit together to read, sometimes reading poetry out aloud, at other times we are engrossed in our own story books, either way, we sit together to read as a family. The younger ones see this and yearn to do the same. DD4 will take out her chunky board books and picture books, and sit with us around the fireplace. This has encouraged her to learn to read and she has been sounding out the words herself and now happily reads away. But reading doesn't always come easy to some children, they need extra help to chunk up words and understand the sounds. I have been reading this interesting book from Helping Children to Read which gives parents the tools to find out why their children are struggling to read. 

The Helping Children to Read website is packed with information and free resources on literacy, dyslexia, and the challenges faced by parent…

Ultimate Minecraft Master Builder - review

'Become a master of Minecraft with this ultimate builder's guide! Follow the step-by-step instructions to create 30 incredible builds, from sky fortresses to aircraft carriers. The specially created builds are split into quick, intermediate and master level, and the guide is packed with facts, hints and tips about blocks, biomes, mobs and more. Get ready to stretch your imagination to the limit!'

The boys have loved playing Minecraft for a long time now and they have a multitude of Minecraft titles to guide them along the way. This new Ultimate Master Builder book from Carlton Books is a great new addition to their growing collection and has some 'awesome' new builds the boys are saying. It comes in paperback and is a handy size at 229 x 153mm so the boys can cart it around with them easily. They read it at leisure when they are in the car or study it careful when sat at the computer.

This book focuses on building and creating structures, buildings and objects wit…

The Ultimate Bike Book - review

The boys have gone bike mad again this Spring and are dreaming of summer days then they can whizz around the park in the afternoons. DS12 is checking out this new Ultimate Bike Book from Carlton Books, so that he's clued up on how to repair a puncture when he's out and about.

'The ultimate cycling companion for bike-crazy kids, this guide is packed with cycling tips, tricks, facts and history, plus profiles of top cyclists to provide inspiration. Want to fix a puncture, learn about mountain-biking or find out what to look for when buying your next bike? It's all here. There's a write-in cycling logbook section to record personal cycling achievements, plus a quiz and a cycling game.'

The book has colour illustrations and photos throughout, and the information has been diced into short easy-to-read chunks with colourful backgrounds. DS12 particularly enjoyed the colouring in pages where he got the chance to set up his own cycling team, designing the kit and acce…

If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today … you might be surprised to see children from I CAN’s Meath School enjoying their learning at Willow’s Forest School.  Each class are having the opportunity to use the woods to support and enhance their learning experience.

The session starts with the children, all of whom have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), gathered around and chatting openly: saying “Hello!” to Willow the Fox, talking about their week and what they want to do today, without the pressure and expectations that may come from being in a classroom. There is an emphasis on safety in every activity the pupils do, with lessons that can be applied throughout their daily lives.

They head off and make their own decisions about what they want to do. They use their imaginations and ‘cook’ in the Mud Kitchen, re-enacting and exploring what they see happening in the kitchen at home and coming up with all sorts of wonderful concoctions!

There is always a craft or skill to be learn…

Guessing: The Number One Cause of Reading Difficulty

Guessing: The Number One Cause of Reading Difficulty By Sarah Forrest

If you’ve worked with early or struggling readers before, then you’ve certainly seen the tell-tale signs.

Reading “for” instead of “from”.

Guessing words based on the first letter.

Using context clues or looking at the pictures to figure out the words on the page.

It can make you (and your child) want to tear your hair out. And with good reason… guessing is actually a sign of the number one cause of reading difficulty in young children: whole word sight-reading.

What’s so bad about guessing?

The problem with guessing is that it is not a sustainable way to learn to read. Our language is built phonetically. By that I mean that our letters represent sounds (also called phonics). When a child guesses, they are trying to read visually instead of phonetically.

They are essentially looking at a word and trying to take a visual snapshot of it… does it look like a word they have seen before? Does it match similar words that w…

BBC Live Lesson - Blue Planet

Date: Tuesday, 26th March 2019

Time: 2pm (approx. 40 mins)
Watch it live here!

(Simply visit the page on the day and look out for the promo that says 'Watch Live')

A marine wildlife mission with Blue Planet and Live Lessons
'We're teaming up with Blue Planet Live to bring the wildlife of our blue planet into your classrooms!

Presented by CBBC's Naomi Wilkinson, this interactive programme for 7-11 year olds will look at the importance of the Earth's rich marine life. Guided by expert wildlife biologist Lizzie Daly, we'll explore what constitutes a healthy ecosystem and discuss the threats to our oceans such as plastics and overfishing.

We’ll hear from Steve Backshall live from the Bahamas throughout as he demonstrates what sharks can teach us about ecosystems, how human behaviour can threaten shark life, and how the UK is connected with animals across the world.

Linked to the Key Stage 2/2nd Level science and geography curricula, the lesson will also celebrate scho…

Trees for Learning - Every Season Outdoors

'Trees for Learning is a major project to encourage schools to plant trees withinschool grounds and local green spaces. It forms part of DEFRA’s pledge to support schools to plant 1 million trees by 2020. England’s Community Forests are working together to help 1,000 primary schools to design new woodland areas for outdoor learning and engage children in the planting of 164,000 trees by 2020, working alongside the Woodland Trust to cover all of England. The project has a focus on education and every child involved has the opportunity to learn from and about trees. The aim is for every child to develop a connection to nature and begin to appreciate both the value and beauty of trees.'
Even though this is aimed at schools throughout the UK I thought it would be nice to share with the Home Educating community.
Check out this Learning Resource for Teachers of EYFS, Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2 here.

20 Spring activities for kiddies

It's Spring! My favourite season to start planning themed crafts for DD4. She loves making and drawing pretty butterflies and colourful flowers so I try to plan and prepare simple, fun crafts and activities for her to be getting on with, whilst I teach her older siblings each morning. Here are my top 20 favourite Spring activities!

Here DD4 is placing petals and other parts of flowers she has cut up onto sticky back plastic, you could also use cellophane, adding glue first. We then hung up her work in the window!

DD4 enjoys weaving grasses and flowers during Spring/Summer. Weaving can be done on a small scale using cardboard and wool or on a larger scale out in the garden using whatever materials you have. 

Each spring we receive free flower and plant catalogues through the post. We use these to cut up and make collages. DD4 also looks at the pictures to create her own flowers learning all about the parts of the flower along the way. 

We reuse lots of pots and containers for craf…

Our Yippee Adventures - review

This week we are planning on having a fun-packed week with Yippee AdventuresYippee Adventures design and make children’s activity kits and party bags inspired by awesome adventures children should do before they grow up.  There are so many unique boxes to choose from, but seen as though it's the start of Spring we decided to opt for the 'Greenfingers' and 'Bug Hunting' boxes. These large boxes, which can be personalised, are brimming with fun, educational activities, extension activities and play ideas. My first thought on opening the boxes was wow! I thought these boxes would keep the little ones busy all weekend, but there are so many things to do that I am sure they will entertain them for a whole week or longer! There is much more inside than other craft boxes I have reviewed. I could tell each and every activity has had a lot of thought put into it and there are some great little extras to further the kiddies' learning. DD4 and DS7 eagerly opened their …