Advent fayre, torchlight procession and Frozen all round

Every year our town holds an advent fayre and torchlight procession on the last Saturday in November and the Christmas lights are officially switched on. This year was a pretty cold affair so we needed to wrap up warm before we headed out. Here are the highlights: 

Beanster and Moo wanted to visit Mrs Claus so Beanster wrote a thank you note to give to her because Mrs Claus always gives a present. 

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We looked at the window displays before looking at the stalls.  

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The girls had a go on the rides.  Moo has not previously been a fan but she enjoyed herself today. 

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We had a break for lunch and Beanster looked at clothing patterns in one of our shops.

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Later we headed out to the torchlight procession. The procession goes up and down the High Street then stops at the Cross for speeches, carol singing and the Christmas tree lights are switched on. 

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On Sunday we headed out to the cinema to see the new Frozen film with cousin H and uncle G. The girls dressed for the occasion.

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We enjoyed the film and also building the Olaf Lego set we were given as a free gift. Beanster did well following the instructions, mostly managing it herself.

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Other activities this weekend included an ice cube melting experiment  (to be finished tomorrow), painting and sticking.

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Giving, brains & busy 

Beanster gets £2 pocket money every week which she gets in 20p pieces. She has 3 jars; a give, a spend and a save. The only condition is that she has to put something in each jar but how much is up to her. She’s been good at saving up for things she wants and has managed two £10 saves. She dips into the spend every so often but she’s not been sure what to do with her give money. She’d saved up £10 so we talked about the different things she could do. She decided that she’d like to buy a present for a kid who might not get a Christmas present so i contacted the local Women’s Aid group to see if they had any kids who would like a present. They got back saying that would be lovely so on Tuesday Beanster went to choose the gift based on the info we had about the child and what they liked. We’re going to arrange to deliver it soon. We’re so proud of her saving her money and thinking about who she could help

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Tuesday also involved a trip in to Edinburgh University for Beanster to help out with another Wee Science study at the psychology dept. This one involved getting hooked up to an eeg machine so they could look at her brain patterns whilst she played a game designed to look at decision making. Beanster was a little unsure to begin with largely because the researcher was a man as the previous ones have been women. She sat well to get the wires attached and then concentrated and sat for the longest i think she’s ever managed!

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The instructions for the game were pretty complicated so i wasn’t sure she’d be able to do it but she persevered even when she had to repeat the practice round. She got a pack of Frozen Top Trumps cards as a prize. The whole thing took about an hour and a half and Moo was amazing whilst we waited for Beanster. Both of them got a bar of chocolate for doing so well. 
Wednesday began with lots of playing including pretend swimming for Moo which apparently requires this outfit. Note too small swim nappy over the trousers. She’s totally crazy this one!

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It was also the first week of Beanster’s new knitting class with some other home ed kids. Her friend M was there too so she was happy to stay by herself whilst Moo and I went for cake with M’s mum. Beanster had a great time and made felt balls for the end of her knitting needles. She’s excited to go back next week. Ater that it was ballet for Beanster (in her jammas for fun week), and soft play for Moo. 
Moo has been protesting bed this week so we decided to let her stay up until she asked to go to bed or fell asleep. We said we had things to do though so couldn’t keep playing with her. She was very good and pretty much entertained herself whilst we ate, worked and knitted. 

This was her at 10pm before embarking on a collage 

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She finally sparked out at 23.21 

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It’s been a busy couple of days

Life is busy

We have been so busy we have not had a chance to blog. Finally got some time to create a wee taster of some of things we have been up to and places we have visited over the last couple of weeks.

Almondvalley Heritage Centre (Mill Farm)

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A great place to learn about life in West Lothian in the past and to have lots of fun. It has a great mix of historical and outdoor learning opportunites, animals and park equipment to play and climb on.  We stayed until closing and the girls had the best time.

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Frankie and Benny’s 

The girls love to eat out and Beanster chose F & B’s for a treat. 

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Edinburgh- Diwali celebrations and National Gallery of Scotland 

To end our work on Diwali we visited the celebrations in Edinburgh. As we arrived early we went to the gallery first to look at some of our favourite paintings.  Beanster loved the ballet scenes and Moo the paintings with animals. After we headed to the Diwali celebrations. Beanster made up her own dance at one point, a sort of break dance meets robotic Bollywood.

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Halloween

Halloween is a big deal in this household as it is one of Beanster’s favourite times of the year.  We decorate the garden and living room window, play games and are open to guisers whom get a treat for ‘doing a turn’. This year we invited cousin H over too and we all went out guisin. The girls sang songs and told ‘jokes’ and came back with a bag load of sweets. We also celebrated Halloween at Townhill too.

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Making a terrarium

Beanster asked to recreate the water cycle via a terrarium so we constructed one. It is working well. New plants have even started to grow inside it. 

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Bird Cafe and garden feeders

We finally got round to hanging our feeders outside and we refilled our bird cafe feeders too. 

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Art appreciation 

Both Moo and Beanster are into art in a BIG way just now. Here are some activities we have done and we also watched a graffiti artist create one of his works. 

Fireworks picture for pal M

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Lascaux cave paintings 

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Tape resist monet 

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Frida Kahlo 

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Paul Klee

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Michelangelo 

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Random 

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Graffiti artist 

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Music

We have started to buy better musical instruments and this week a glockenspiel and xylophone arrived. The girls have been enjoying experimenting with them.

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Fireworks night 

We went to a fireworks display with the girls’ friend M and her parents and had a brilliant time.  

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Five Sister’s Zoo

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Grandpa came on a trip to the zoo with us and we especially enjoyed watching the leaf cutter ants, the rescued circus lions (looking healthy and happy) and the wolves.  

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The Scottish Deer Centre 

The girls are all about animals just now and Beanster asked to go and to the deer centre to feed them and learn more about them. Granny came this time. One of the great things about home ed is the girls get to see their grandparents often instead of just little bits of time around school and homework.  

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Writing

Beanster has taken to writing this last week or so and is wanting to copy letters and words. 

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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…..
 

Our Weekend

Our days are always full of fun and variety and this weekend has been no different. Here is a photographic summary of the highlights.

SATURDAY

Doing knitting with Mama. It required LOTS of concentration. 

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Facepainting (badly by me) and roleplay. 

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Making a jigsaw. 

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Making and eating a Mexican tea with our friends Stacey and Lyall. We are making and trying food from different parts of the world this week and tonight it was Mexico.

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Posing for Lyall’s camera

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SUNDAY

Learning to draw Rangoli patterns for Diwali next week. We will work on understanding the colour symmetry next with Beanster. Moo turned hers into an abstract art piece.

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Moo drew a picture of her family.

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Harvesting, weeding, flying an improvised carrier bag kite and making a bench at the allotment. Beanster was very proud of the seat she made.

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Having rides in the wheelbarrow.

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Observing a mouse which Moo found. 

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Looking at and discussing the results of our bread mould experiment from HE club. In this experiment you had to touch bread slices  with unwashed hands then washed hands and ziplock bag the pieces of bread. After a few days we were to look for mould growth :

Moo’s piece of bread touched AFTER she washed  her hands. 

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Moo’s piece of bread BEFORE she washed her hands.

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Beanster’s piece of bread BEFORE she washed her hands. She forgot to do a clean hand version.  She said, ‘Hmmmm I think my hands are maybe the germiest.’ Yeah I think she could be right.

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Helping prepare the dinner. Tonights food from around the world was an English roast dinner using allotment veg. 

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Doing some of our Okido Arts and Science magazine. 

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Talking about her work with Mama before bed.

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Tonight our bedtime stories were Mr Fussy, Gobbolino and an animal poetry book. Both girls were later spotted reading books in bed with their torches. 

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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.

Catching up again! (Mostly in pictures)

We’ve been to Center Parcs with grandma, grandad, cousin H, uncle G and auntie J and had an amazing time

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Beanster went horse riding 

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There was playing in the park

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Moo did Mini trek & scored a squirrel

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Beanster did science with cousin H

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Beanster got more confident on her bike 

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And Moo basically taught herself to swim by being totally kamikaze in the water!
The girls and I went to the zoo for my birthday then we went out for Wagamama with grandma & grandad. 

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Moo and I had a day in the children’s ward as she had a viral chest infection. She’s now on the mend. Beanster did art to take her mind off worrying about her sister

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Mummy & the girls had a day in the house to let Moo recover a bit. 

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The girls and I went to Little World of Play with a few home friends. 

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And Beanster finally did her birthday thank you letters whilst Moo said she was writing “m” and thank you. Beanster is sitting at her great great grandpa’s desk and Moo is wearing sparkly shoes and no trousers!

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