Stepping back in time to the 17th and 18th century 

On Monday i headed out with the girls and granny to Culross in Fife. This picturesque village with its cobbled streets is the most complete example of a burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries.

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We were planning a visit to Culross Palace, but first we had a rather wet play in the park. 

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We headed on into the palace using our National Trust membership cards and the girls were given a free quiz sheet to do as we went round. Beanster enjoyed listening to the clues so she could work out the locations of hidden chickens and then writing the letter found beside them. The letters eventually spelled out a word connected to the palace. Moo gave it a good go too. 

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We meandered through the rooms looking at all the furniture and objects and talking about how life then compared to now. The girls found the commodes pretty fascinating and lots of toilet discussion soon took place. The part of the palace they spent most time in was the garden. It seemed to go on forever,  going higher and higher and there were lots of hidden nooks and crannies. As you are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace rooms in case the flash damages the artifacts then most of our photographing took place outside. 

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Beanster and i enjoyed discussing all the things we saw around as. She was especially interested in the twisted plant stems we saw in the flower tunnel.  

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We almost missed the orchard which would have been a real shame as we wouldn’t have seen the Scots Dumpy hens. 

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Back inside the palace we came across the dressing up room.  We had a lot of fun dressing up in period clothing and dancing to music of the time which i played via youtube on my phone. At one point we were even watched by tourists. 

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We finished our visit around the palace by making some tissue flowers and having a look in the bakehouse and kitchen. 

Granny wanted a cup of tea so she kindly treated us all to cake and a drink before we headed back to her house to play.

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Later on the girls made models of Culross Palace: 

Beanster’s 

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Moo’s 

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Diwali

One of the things I love about home ed is that you can learn alongside your child.  It is good for them to see that you don’t know everything and that sometimes you need to learn at the same time as they do and research together.  As I am not particularly religious I don’t tend to know much about different religions so this year I am setting out to change this. I am going to learn about some of the major festivals of different religions at the same time as the girls. This week we have learned about Diwali.

Diwali is a 5 day festival and on each day different activities take place. In photographic and caption summary here are the first 3 days, the days we have focussed on with the girls. What a lot of fun we have had.

DAY 1

We practised using stencils and rangoli powder to make rangoli patterns. It was too windy to do outside so we practised on paper instead. 

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DAY 2

We decorated diva lamps we had made a couple of days before. 

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Made our rangoli patterns outside our front door. 

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We found this to be a tricky business as it was still quite windy and our stencils kept bouncing about. 

We selected some flowers at the shops to use to make a table decoration on day 3. 

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We tried to make Burfi (an Indian sweet). Our first attempt didn’t work out well as it was too hard and tasted too much of cardamom, but never give in at a first attempt. View it as a chance to learn and improve and if it is still rubbish after a few attempts don’t become a chef! We will have another go soon.

Beanster made the cardamom powder.  

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Beanster made the mixture. Only half the sugar went on the cooker! 

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The finished mixture tasted lovely. Setting seemed to intensify the cardamom however. Maybe half the amount next time.

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Mama and i finished the evening sampling proper Indian sweets from these guys. Would recommend. 

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DAY 3 

This is the day that most Hindus and Sikhs  celebrate Diwali with family and they have lots of lovely food.

We dressed for the occasion, well Beanster did and Moo chose her own unique outfit!

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Curry cooking away.

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Table decoration made.

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Food enjoyed, whilst listening to Indian music. 

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Playing with Glowsticks before bed.

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Tonight we read more of Gobbolino,  Mr Uppity  (will the Mr Men obsession ever end for Moo) and Elmer.

A trip to IKEA can be a place where you learn too

Really?  It is amazing how many people don’t realise that you can turn any place that you go to into a place of learning. Take IKEA for example. A lot of people say shopping in IKEA is their idea of hell. To Beanster and Moo it is a wondrous haven of fun and practical learning potential.  We have never once used the creche.  The girls have never asked to go there. They would in fact think they were being denied fun if not allowed to come with us. At times it does feel like herding sheep for us,  but each visit the girls get something new out of the experience.  So here is our visit in summary.

As we didnt arrive until lunchtime Mama went to buy our food and we watched a Diwali video on YouTube then looked at the IKEA catalogue. Beanster read out prices of different items and we talked about how some things cost more or less than her pocket money. Moo practised turning pages.

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We talked about the different countries our food came from. Swedish meatballs for Beanster and Italian for Moo. I had an Indian style curry and Mama a mixture of Italian and Swedish.

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I am sure the staff and customers wondered where the ‘musical’ noise was coming from when they started gently drumming on various objects. No objects were damaged in the making of said music. Time to break out the drum kit in the loft (permission please Lyall)

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Motor skills were practised with the kiddie trolleys. Very few ankles were biten by the trolleys although I did get a few strange looks from other shoppers when i turned it into a driving lesson and got them to park in imaginary Tesco car spaces! Oh and we did look out for various sites of tourist interest on our journey. We passed Blair Drummond Safari park (the cuddly elephants), Blackpool illuminations (the lighting department) etc. You get the idea. 

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Moo made her own video when Beanster went to the loo. 

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Other highlights included selecting various Swedish foods from the food shop to try; briefly playing with children’s toys (they find them a bit dull now); practising writing lists; discussing and selecting appropriate plants for a terrarium Beanster wants to make…..

Of course no trip to IKEA is complete without a wee snack  at the end. 

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At other points of the day we….

Discussed the weather

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Played Diwali bingo 

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Drew

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Did more Okido magazine. Robots today and Beanster was wire obsessed.

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Emptied the dishwasher and put everything away. Beanster compared cutlery size to correctly sort them into the adult’s holder and the kid’s holder. 

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Pulled faces 

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Made Diva lamps 

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Watched the Wizard of OZ 

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Bedtime books were more of the food non-fiction book, another chapter or two of Gobbolino the witch’s cat and Mr Tickle.

Wonder what we will learn tomorrow…..
 

But do your children learn anything?

As a home educating parent, I am often asked if our girls learn anything. ‘How can they possibly learn if they don’t go to school?’ Well, our girls learn through life. They learn by exploring the world around them, interacting with people in our community and beyond, problem solving when they encounter difficulties and basically have a lot of fun whilst doing so. They have a thirst for knowledge. They are allowed the freedom to follow their interests, which are vast in number and varied and they are on the go from the minute they wake until the moon is high in the sky and smiling down on us. Here is just a taster of the things our girls have been doing  in our ‘school’ week broken down CfE style 😉 lol

Mathematics

Counted; looked for and read numbers to 100; addition within 10 on Maths Seeds; compared sizes of objects; made patterns; worked out how different shapes fit together on top of others; used money to buy items for the foodbank; simple measuring in Science experiments

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Languages

Listened to daily stories and discussed some of them; gone to storytime at Far From the Madding Crowd; Reading Eggs work; read simple signs together; read instructions together; listened to and discussed Wow in the World podcasts; written our names; made fuzzy felt and drawn pictures and told stories using them; learned to ask questions using Google assistant; 

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Social Studies

Visited Callander House and learned about the Romans, the Antonine Wall, life in the Central belt at different periods of time; discussed coal mining and the structure of coal at different stages in it’s development; talked about the weather and extreme weather (and made a tornado); talked about volcanoes whilst playing on a model one

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Sciences

These photos summarise some of the fun we have had with Science this week.

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We also have a mould experiment set up in the kitchen and are in the middle of making bouncing eggs. 

Technologies 

Some wee models from this week.

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Health and wellbeing

Danced; climbed; ran; gymnastics; rolled down hills; swung; walked for MILES; thrown frisbees; jumped and tomorrow we are swimming. Oh and we baked and made soup.

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Religious and moral education

Bought food for the food bank; discussed homelessness and started to learn about Diwali. 

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Expressive Arts

We have drawn; painted; listened to different styles of music; listened to music from different eras; played the piano and role played (with each other and with friends).

YEAH i think it is safe to say OUR GIRLS ARE LEARNING.

A learning day

Well everyday is a learning day but new skills have been acquired today. 

This morning we had another slow start with breakfast, playmobil for the girls, farmyard lotto for all 3 of us & Mathseeds for Beanster. 

We headed into the gyle for lunch with Grandma, Grandad & cousin H. Beanster needed new pants so we went to choose. She wanted “normal pants” and some “shorts ones”.  She currently has a mix of “boy” and “girl” pants because she chooses by design. Thankfully in M&S the underwear is all in the same area even if it’s segregated by gender. They don’t do shorts in small sizes in the girl side of the aisle so she chose some ones with lightning bolts from the boys side. She didn’t like any of the patterns on the other boy pants (although she neatly went for gruffalo ones) so chose some Disney princess ones and some with days of the week on. As we looked at jammas I was once again left wondering why it seems to be beyond retailers to just group clothes by category (jammas, t-shirts, dresses, trousers etc) but given the furore over john Lewis changing a label it seems a sizeable section of the public is still living under a rock. 

After lunch we got Moo some new slippers (lightening McQueen at her request) then had an obligatory look in the Disney shop before heading back to Grandma & Grandad’s to play with cousin H.

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Beanster had ballet again and seems to be enjoying it so we need to get her kitted out. Luckily the dance school is having a 2nd hand sale at the weekend so we’ll see what we can source there before ordering. 

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Mummy brought chocolate eclairs home as a treat. Moo just ate the chocolate off the top!

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This evening we’ve been learning new things. Mummy brought a ukelele home from work so we’ve all been having a go. Beanster, as you might expect, likes to do it her own way so looks like she’s playing steel guitar. Moo got right in there and after a rendition of baa baa black sheep moved onto songs by Nick Cope!

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Beanster watched me knit last night when she was up late and asked to learn this evening so I cast on and did a couple of rows then helped her to do 2. She seems to get the idea so I think it’s something she could get on with if it continues to hold her interest. 

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She also drew a fabulous picture of a person with chicken pox!

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A show, a birthday and some vegetables

This morning we were heading to the Edinburgh Festival with the girls to see one of our favourite singers, Nick Cope. He writes fabulous songs for children and he is funny too. If you have never heard of him you should do a quick google/youtube search. Our ultimate favourite song is ‘The baby’s done a poo’.

Here we are waiting at the front of the queue to get in.

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In our seats right at the front.

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The man himself.

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Beanster was a bit afraid that she was going to have to get up on stage.

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Moo was a bit sleepy.

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Audience participation (Beanster didn’t get up on the stage)

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He was absolutely brilliant and we bought one of his CDs at the end to add to our collection.

We then went and got a bit of lunch and had it sitting on giant pillows in a park.

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Beanster wanted her photo taken on top of a wall.

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And then we had a play before heading back to the car.

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It was granny’s birthday so we headed to her house to give her presents…

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and cake….

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Moo chose the cake and candles and was very happy when she got her slice.

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Later on the girls played in the garden.

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Back at home they opened up their own cafe and ice cream parlour and Beanster wrote the menu.

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Beanster and Mama headed out to the Library after tea to log Beanster’s last book for her Summer Reading Challenge. She will miss the award ceremony as we are away on holiday but when she gets back she has to go to the Library to receive her medal and certificate. Whilst Beanster was away Moo played in our Fairy Garden and made tea for an imaginary Auntie Alice.

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For an hour or so before bed Moo and I headed to the allotment to attend to some of our veg and Beanster and Mama went to check out a possible venue for her birthday party in a few weeks. Moo was very excited to see that we have got some corn cobs growing. This is the furthest we have ever got when growing corn on the cob. Scotland is usually too wet for us to have any success, maybe this is our year to taste one!

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We also have spaghetti squash, pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes (on the verge of becoming marrows), cabbage, onions, beetroot, cauliflowers, kale and potatoes growing nicely too. There are other things in too but they haven’t come on much yet.

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Oh, Beanster gave the local venue a thumbs up so now party planning begins…….

Party time

It was packing up time today and time to head home via cousin H’s birthday party.

First of all there was time for some drumming.

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And dishes needed washed so they could be packed away.

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At cousin H’s house there were plenty tapirs (her favourite animal).

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Plus a fabulous cake, well done Mummy J.

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Lots to eat and drink.

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And the girls played and played.

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We hardly saw Beanster as she was away playing dens and making pretend ice cream in the shop she set up with some other children. Moo enjoyed being their customer although she did need it explained to her that she wasn’t getting real ice cream!

Back at home the girls made their own birthday party for Beanster’s doll Isobel. She even made her own gift tag for the presents, but did manage to write her own name backwards on it. Isobel was very clever though and worked out who the present was from.

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A bath before bed was much needed as the weekend meant the girls were clarty! They are now in bed and sleeping in preparation for another fun filled day.