Friday, 30 May 2014

Space Cadets

Well that was an 'out-of-the-blue' kind of day!

Who'd have thought that learning about the Romans could lead to a day absorbed in learning about Space? We were having a discussion about the Roman gods and the planets that share some of their names.  So we put on a CD of Holst's Planet Suite, to listen to the music that represents their 'personalities'.  It seemed quite natural meanwhile to do a "Horrible Science" Smashing Solar System jigsaw puzzle while we listened.  What a lovely family moment - all of us sat at the kitchen table and continued until it was finished - it probably only took an hour in total, but there was lots of chat abut the different aspects of the solar system, including the Kuiper Belt, the black spot on Jupiter, and whether aliens exist etc.

Well call me slow, but by now I had spotted a great opportunity for strewing - so I grabbed our space-related books off the shelf, and plonked them 'randomly' near the sofas.  Youngest didn't bite, but it wasn't long before I found our "Glow in the Dark book of Space" next to the toilet, where Middle had taken it to read (I think because there is no window in the downstairs cloakroom so that's where they take all 'glow-in-the-dark' things for maximum effect).  Eldest's choice was the Horrible Science "Space, Stars and Slimy Aliens".  And by happy coincidence, when they turned the TV on for one of their current favourites, Blue Peter, there was a feature on how to make a comet!  How very serendipitous!

The Romans project seems to have been rumbling along in the background for a few weeks now - although I feel it drawing to a close soon - but how lovely and surprising that in the midst of a wider project we can spend a day focussing on something seemingly so unrelated, but just as much fun!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Crafting and Critters...

It's funny how things don't go the way you expect.

This week being half term in our part of the country, and the boys having friends who go to school and who inform them of the 'school holidays', Eldest asked me yesterday if they "have to work" this week.  It made me smile as our days look so completely unlike school, there really is no comparison.  Still, I thought that maybe we would keep up the English/ Maths aspect of our days, as the boys appear to be on a roll - and leaving that as the only parent-led aspect of the day (ie no suggested art projects, science ideas or stories from history books etc).  I was expecting a lot of computer games and no interest in anything I might have set up... but it turned out to be completely the opposite.  No Maths/ English activities today, but a fair amount of parent-led activities/ projects, just because that was the way it turned out - largely thanks to the boys' choices.  We started the day tidying, because certain rooms were displaying a really unhealthy level of mess.  Tidying is almost always parent-led!

That done, Youngest was on a mooch because it was raining outside and we couldn't go out.  His mooch was becoming destructive, so I distracted him by having a look together in "Mummy's Treasure Box" (a box where I keep a few activities/ books etc for just such a time).

He instantly grabbed the Roman spoon puppet kits (from Yellow Moon), and chose the one he wanted to do (conveniently there were three puppets included).  I have to say, unfortunately I don't recommend the kits.  There were no instructions, no glue included (not all of the parts included were self-adhesive), and some very fiddly bits for little guys!  Still, we worked it out, and when Middle and Eldest came for their turns, they managed a bit better (though none of us were impressed by the lack of instructions).  The younger two in particular are really pleased with the puppets, and had a good time playing with them...

Youngest's gladiator

Middle's soldier

Eldest's Emperor

Later, and after quite a while playing on Minecraft, we took some time to check in with our 'critters': Firstly, the caterpillars in the kitchen, who are now in chrysalis form, attached to the side of the mesh enclosure...

We're still enjoying the blue tits in the nest box (via the camera link obviously - we wouldn't disturb the actual nest!) - All seven nestlings still doing well, although we are a little concerned that some appear to be growing less well than others.  As they all usually fledge at the same time, we are just hoping that the smaller ones will have caught up when it's time to leave the nest.  Still - several days to go before that though, hopefully...

Oh, and not to forget Middle's gerbils.  As they have soil in the gerbilarium, they only need cleaning out about once a month.  Today was the day, so we took a photo of them in the newly cleaned and refilled tank - and then a photo once we had been watching them digging their new underground nest...

So it seems like we are fully on a roll.  I'm doing my best to record as much as we can, ready for the next "quiet spell" when all the activity slows right down - as right now, the boys seem to be full steam ahead, and I'm loving it!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Creative Craziness

Wow, that was a crazy, busy day! I love days where the boys just zoom from one activity to another, interest sparking all over the place - almost faster than I can take notes in our diary or take photos!  The mess generated by multiple activities can be interesting (opportunity for a lesson in tidying up), but it makes for a truly rich day...

We started off with Reading Eggs (Youngest) and English workbooks (the older two), and then Youngest decided to get out the story cubes.  He loves these, and plays with them often - and happily today I was on hand to type his story as it unfolded.  His brothers thought it was hilarious, and decided they wanted a go too, at varying points throughout the day (stories included at the end of today's post)...

Meanwhile there was plenty of investigative and creative play going on with the electronics kits.  Today their confidence had built to the point where they left the instructions behind and started building their own circuit inventions.  They were particularly proud of the fan-propelled car with working headlight (Youngest and Eldest's collaboration).

Middle, while eating breakfast, had noticed the glass jar of shells that we have on the side in the kitchen, and asked if he could make some shell pictures...

And Eldest wanted to make pudding ready for tea tonight: orange jelly with mandarins and chocolate angel delight on top...

... very yummy it was too!

After that we had TV programmes, reading books, Madlibs, sticker fun and more (I ran out of space in the diary to write it all down).  Such a full day - not much time left to write it down here, so I'll just copy and paste the boys Story-Cube stories for you to enjoy... happy weekend!

Youngest's Story:

Once upon a time there was a fish, and the fish met a bee.  The bee showed him what was scaring its brother, and the fish said it was only the brother’s shadow.  Then the fish had a question, if the brother bee would like an apple.  So he shot the arrow to make sure nothing was in the arrow, and it killed the worm and the worm came out and the fish bit the arrow and yanked it out and then the brother bee ate half the apple and left the other bit for the fish and then Luigi came and found a pyramid.  They all went there and in the pyramid there was a house, so they all lived there for ever and hugged all the people in the house.  The end.

Middle's Story:

Once upon a time in the Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi was wandering about, and he found a fish.  He ate the fish, and then he turned into a fish with legs and arms and a thousand eyes!  Fishy-Luigi looked up and saw a floating house and it turned out it was a UFO that crashed into a house so now the house could fly, and the person in it was freaked out so much he jumped out of the window but when he fell he saw that he jumped directly above lava and the lava was in a big mountain.  He realized it was a volcano.  Then Batman came and caught the person.  There was an alien in the UFO-house, he shone a torch at Batman and Batman ran away with the person.  So Fishy-Luigi said, “why would Batman be here?  This is the Mushroom Kingdom!”  And Batman got into his flying batship and saw what looked like the sun but it was made out of glass.  He crashed through it and it made the bat signal (like a dot with two lines coming out of it).
Fishy-Luigi saw a piranha plant and threw it at the alien.  The piranha plant was staring at the alien… staring… staring… staring.  It was completely quiet………………….  Then it ate the alien.
Then Fishy-Luigi found a castle.  It was Bowser’s castle so Luigi was afraid.  He ran away but then Bowser got a cage that was completely silver, like a tray that people use in posh restaurants to carry food.  He opened the cage and loads of bees flew out.  Fishy-Luigi was running so fast he had no idea how fast he was running but it was about one hundred miles per hour.  He saw a fountain and he jumped in because bees don’t like water.  There was a turtle swimming in the fountain.  The turtle stared at him…………………………………  then he ate Fishy-Luigi.
The End.

Eldest's Story

Once upon a time there was a sheep called Mr Fred, who liked wearing his magical alien mask because it helped him to solve problems.  Today he was really sad because no matter how many times he tried to use his magic to get into his tower, he couldn’t get in because he had left the key inside and couldn’t open the lock.  On the first attempt he tried to magic himself to fly in through the window, but he had forgotten how to stop going up, so he kept going too far, so he magicked himself back down again.  Then he tried magically giving himself an extra long arm so he could reach in through the window with his hand, but his arm got really heavy because if you have ever tried holding your arm forwards for a long time, you know it gets really difficult to keep it up, so before he managed to reach the key his extra-long arm got extra heavy and fell to the ground.  So he tried making himself a robot out of an apple to go and get the key, but he didn’t give the apple eyes so it didn’t know what the key looked like.  So, after the apple brought out a lot of useless objects from the tower, Mr Fred made a magical boomerang arrow which he threw inside to get the key and it finally did and he lived happily ever after inside his tower.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Trains of Thought - and more from the Nestbox!

As I mentioned on Facebook today, one of the fabulous things about home education is the randomness of our days.  It is true that we have a little structure, but there is still SO MUCH space for the boys to choose what interests them, and just follow natural conversations wherever they lead, as interest dictates...

For example, today a conversation prompted by Spongebob took us to researching the origins of the phrase "Davy Jones' locker" on Wikipedia, and to Youtube to see videos of sixties band the Monkees (lead singer Davy Jones) singing "Daydream Believer" etc.  I'm pretty sure there are no lessons being given in school today on that particular group of subjects, but I love following natural trains of thought, driven by interest, that follow a natural path of curiosity from one subject to another, however tenuous the link between them appears to be when written down!

Eldest wasn't around for that particular conversation - for him, today has been mostly about books: he started off reading Minecraft manuals, and then read through How To Seize a Dragon's Jewel in one sitting. After that he came downstairs to play with a visiting friend, and the two of them ended up doing a "Rotten Romans" jigsaw puzzle that Youngest had started earlier.
*nb, Please don't think that all the resources that I share on this blog are purchased from Amazon.  Not that it matters where I find our resources, but I wouldn't want anyone reading to think that you have to have a huge disposable income to be able to afford fun resources.  That's not true at all - I simply share Amazon links because it is easy for me to find the products there, to share here in the hope that people may be inspired.  Amazon is not always the cheapest place to shop (although you can pick up some great second-hand bargains on Marketplace).  I also recommend libraries, car boot sales, charity shops etc - I simply can't link to them!*
Anyway, Youngest is still very much into the Romans.  He loves doing his Romans sticker dressing book with me.  We sit down together so I can help him read the instructions as to which character needs which clothes and why... they are great for any child who likes sticker books :)  He couldn't wait to do the puzzle either, which I picked up in a bargain sale.  It's 300 pieces, so I thought we'd probably take a few days to do it.  Between Youngest, Eldest and his friend though, it is mostly done already!

Meanwhile Middle found another bargain book that I picked up - this time not on the Romans, but on a theme that I know he loves, and in a format that is perfect for teaching literacy skills without it being a didactic lesson.  It is called Lego Star Wars Madlibs, and he had a lot of fun filling in the blanks to make his own story.  As you can see, toilet humour is still a favourite with him!

Oh, and not to forget that Middle and Youngest spent quite a while outside practicing throwing balls into the basketball hoop, and teaching themselves stunts on their bikes. Youngest likes trying wheelies, and Middle - my reserved Middle who takes time finding his confidence and shies away from anything dangerous - has shocked me by becoming rather adept at standing on the bike frame while steering his bike!  Proud doesn't quite cover it.

Of course, no account of our day would be complete this week without mentioning our blue tit nest.  All seven babies are still doing great!  A few of them are now opening their eyes, and I've taken some more screenshots for those who were kind enough to express an interest since I shared our baby bird news - I'll leave you with the pictures for now...

seven little faces :)

Mummy blue tit doing rather a lot of squishing and shuffling, to tidy/ expand the nest

(with apologies to those eating) upside down nestling producing a poop sac for the parent bird to remove from the nest

middle right: look at those pin feathers!  and just below the feathers: open eyes! :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Happy Day

A lovely day today, other than feeling a little blue to start with, owing to not being able to drive again and other issues *repeats to self: I can be patient, I can be patient*

Eldest had a friend to sleep over last night, and surprisingly they did actually sleep for some of it.  Then he and his friend stayed home with me this morning while my lovely friend took Middle and Youngest to craft club, where they decopatched some box files, and sadly said farewell to the very lovely lady who had been running the club. Eldest did some of his English workbook while his friend did some MathsWhizz on our computer - and then they spent the rest of the morning playing roleplay in Eldest's room (from what I could make it out was a sort of cross between Pokemon and Hunger Games... the mind boggles!)

After lunch Middle practiced his handwriting while Youngest did a Reading Eggs lesson.  I am so impressed by how much he can read in one go now; his reading stamina is coming on really well!  After that we had an exciting delivery of a Minecraft snow paper craft pack for Eldest, and an electronic 'cars and boats' kit for Middle and Youngest.  General excitement all round!

Eldest (and friend) disappeared back upstairs and got busy...

Middle and Youngest couldn't wait to get to grips with the electronic kit.  They weren't interested in doing the first introductory circuits etc, but we have done them before in another kit, so I wasn't bothered. Youngest went straight to making a fan-powered car.  He is quite a bit younger than the recommended age for these kits, but he loves gadgets and electronics, and had no problems.  

After Youngest's turn, Middle wanted to make a propeller-powered boat (surprise, surprise - playing with water!)  The only problem was that the sink wasn't big enough to give it a proper test run, but the boys were still happy.

Middle then disappeared to play outside with a friend then (some sort of live Minecraft role play game), while Youngest made an electronic alarm circuit.  It involved a touch sensor, and we had a nice discussion about how it worked.  When Youngest realised that his finger was making the connection to complete the circuit, he had to experiment with other body parts - namely his nose, and big toe (I was quite relieved that we stopped there).
works with fingers...

... and toes!

By then it was time for friends to go home, and us to have tea, during which we watched a "Finding Stuff Out"  episode about dragons & reptiles, and discussed the growth of our resident caterpillars (now measuring 25mm) and baby blue tits... we've been watching them not only feeding, but also producing little bags of poo that the parents carry away - and we were fascinated when the Mummy bird came and turned round repeatedly on top of and next to the nestlings, apparently in order to make more room in the nest... fortunately the babies seemed to survive her determined wriggling quite well!

So all in all that was a pretty nice day, despite the blue start.  I really can't complain: things may not be ideal, but this is still a really good life we're living!  Happy days :)

Monday, 19 May 2014

All Things Bright and Beautiful

We've been having a proper nature-fest lately - I just had to share here!

I actually started to drive very short distances last week, which was lovely, although am having to take it easy again this week - but even without the car, there is so much nature on my doorstep to enjoy!  On Thursday last week I really fancied a short walk (that turned into a rather long - 2 hour - walk!)  It was simply lovely - we found a new walk with beautiful views where we had never been before, and on the way we passed a field with a gorgeous, very friendly horse who came over to see us and wait patiently for us to feed him the long grass that was just out of his reach.  The farmer noticed us feeding him and asked if we'd like to come and see his three orphaned black lambs - just too sweet, with their soft little noses!

While we were out I heard from the BHPS (British Hedgehog Preservation Society) - confirmation that I am booked onto a hedgehog first aid course I was hoping to attend.  This was great news, as our garden is now very popular with the prickly ones, and I have decided to become a registered carer.  Until then though, I've just been enjoying watching our healthy, happy visitors enjoying the food I put out every evening!

Also at the end of last week we received this year's batch of caterpillars for our butterfly garden.  We've raised a batch every year since we started Home Ed now, and there's just something so fascinating about their life cycle - and something utterly delightful about releasing them to fly away at the end.  Hopefully by waiting until May to start, we stand a good chance of having decent weather when it's time to release them.

the day after they arrived


Indoors, our sunflower seeds had gone a bit out of control and definitely didn't fit in the little pots on the windowsill any more.  The peas that we sowed did really well and needed potting out, although the carrots are still small, and the pepper seeds have only just started to sprout - I think they may turn out to be too late for this year.  So this weekend saw a trip to the garden centre.  The carrots, leeks and onions that we planted last year did well (although the cauliflowers were totally decimated by the small white butterflies)Last year's crops did well (mostly), so I was encouraged to have a go at growing some more this year - and now I have a whole host of small plants growing in the garden, in the hope that in time we'll be harvesting strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, courgettes and peas... and of course, there will be some sunflower seeds for the birds to enjoy too!

propping the sunflowers up outdoors after they got all spindly

tomatoes... looking good so far

just one each of courgette, pepper and cucumber, and four little pea plants too...


strawberries - an impulse experiment.  We have a lot of birds visit the garden, so I'm not convinced the fruit will last!

Speaking of birds, while I was doing the gardening on Saturday, I noticed some blue tits flying to and from the nest box that I had thought was unoccupied...

The nest box (with camera inside) was a birthday present last year and we had watched it faithfully all spring in 2013, but although we had visitors, none made a proper nest - and thanks to my recent back issues, cleaning the box out ready for this spring hasn't been a priority, so I hadn't really expected any birds to move in this year.  Imagine my delight then when I plugged in the cable to my laptop on Saturday and saw not only a nest, but a slightly harrassed looking mum and seven tiny blue tit babies, mouths wide agape!  I'm now kicking myself for not plugging in sooner, as we missed out on the eggs hatching - but nonetheless they are still young - only about a week old I reckon, so hopefully we'll have a couple of few weeks of viewing still.  The stills quality (taken on Monday) isn't great, but I had to show you anyway...

seven wide mouths (and one adult blue tit tail)!

If you look at the nestling in the bottom right corner you can see that it's starting to grow little feathery tufts above its eyes :)

Here's the chick on the left having a good stretch, showing the first pin feathers coming through on its left wing

The biggest clue to the chicks' age being seven days old: the nestling on the right has tiny slits where it's starting to open its eyes!
So there we are!  The forecast for tomorrow (Tuesday) is a bit less conducive to outdoor activities, so we may be n the house more - but if it does rain, it will encourage me to rest, which is needed - plus it'll be good for the garden, and will bring all the bugs out for the blue tits to feed their babies, so it's all good!  Here's looking forward to further updates, particularly regarding our family of nestlings! 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Catering for Taste

Youngest is a bit of a fussy eater.  No, scratch that, he's not so much a fussy eater as a point-blank, hysterically-obstinate-refusal-to-let-certain-items-past-his-lips kind of eater.  He loves meat of all kinds (interesting as I am vegetarian), and hates all veg and fruit (except bananas).

Eldest has vegetarian leanings, though less from an animal care point of view, more that he just doesn't like the taste/ texture of meat.  He is better at eating vegetables than his littlest brother, but it can be challenging.
He does not like trying new food, but he will do if encouraged.

Middle has quite a good palate and is more adventurous in trying new foods.  Given his brothers' preferences for 'safe'/ 'normal' food, I am often surprised when he develops a taste for slightly more interesting food such as coleslaw or pesto.

So mealtimes can be interesting.  Sometimes, with a little creativity we manage to all eat the same meal. These often involve 'hidden veg' sauces and fruit smoothies to provide the nutrients that the children may not receive left entirely to their own preferences... and careful management of the amounts of meat on each child's plate. And then sometimes, in an attempt to provide each child with a balanced diet across the week, I will make more than one meal, with the need of each specific child (and parent) in mind, not to forget the attempts to introduce small amounts of new food!

And this is my "normal".  Actually, this is normal for many parents who have children with differing tastes and needs.  We would be foolish to expect our children to all be the same - and while making more than one meal per mealtime didn't figure into my rose-tinted dreams of "when I'm a parent..." and while I'm sure many parents who don't have these food issues may look down at me and declare that I should have done it their "successful" way... it's what I do.  It can be challenging, but that's life.

You know, educating my children really is not that different from feeding them.  Whether feeding their stomachs or feeding their minds and emotions, they all have needs and preferences for different things.  Which is not surprising really as they are all beautifully different individuals.

Sometimes we all sit together and enjoy the same learning opportunity - such as today, when the boys were all simultaneously engrossed in the Horrible Histories "Rotten Romans" DVD from start to finish.  Sometimes I sneak in the educational equivalent of some hidden veg - a bit of parent-led learning because I can see something important is missing.  Sometimes, handily ensuring that the boys different needs and preferences are being met, they each do different things, like just now with Youngest cutting out playing cards while Middle read another Captain Underpants book and Eldest went harvesting virtual pumpkins and building a storage chest for farm materials in Minecraft with a friend.

Sure, I could sit the boys down and teach them all the same subjects as each other every day, just as I could sit them all down to dinner and serve them all exactly the same food as each other every day - but you know what?  If I did that at the dinner table they would all leave different parts of the meal according to taste - and they would do that with whatever I was trying to 'teach' too.  It's a waste - yes of food, but even more so - of time and energy.  Why provide something that you know will not be found interesting?  Introduce new things, sure - but why persist in presenting them with things that are known to be distasteful?

I read a quote today from Katrina Gutleben, who said,
"Learning can only really happen when a child is interested.  If he's not interested, it's like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating"
Oh, that resonated with me.  It can be tempting to have a "lesson" at home, for the sake of subconsciously placating the anxious voices in our heads, to tick a subject off a planner, or to have something interesting to write in our Home Ed diary/ tell concerned family members about - but would that mean our child has learned something, or would we just be throwing marshmallows at their heads and calling it eating when in reality they're just not that interested?

When new home educators are attacked with the wobbles, the thought "if they were in school" is usually very near the surface.  We assume that in school children are getting a balanced education, because they are being 'fed' full-time by education professionals - but the percentage of actual learning that any individual child experiences during a school day is surprisingly little, compared to breaks, crowd-control, waiting for help etc. (*update: a lovely friend found this link for me that discusses the use of school time further*)  And of that "learning" time, I wonder how much of it is really mass marshmallow-throwing rather than substantial individual input.

In summary (and with apologies for the meandering - I've tried to give you the condensed version of what has actually been going around in my head): when it comes to catering to taste, to being able to provide an education that specifically meets the needs of the individual, there is quite simply no-one better equipped than the parent who knows and cares passionately about their child, who knows what to supply that they will likely be asked for - and how or when to introduce something new, just to see - and what to avoid if you don't want to depress everyone!  Yet again, home ed rocks!

PS I was tempted to go through a summary of each child, giving their educational tastes and preferences, just as I did at the start - but I think you get my point

Monday, 12 May 2014

What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?

(I couldn't resist that title, as the wife of a Monty Python fan - and also a bit of a fan myself, it has to be said).

I love it when an idea takes off!  If you read last week's summary post, you may remember that at the end of the week we read the first chapter of a rather fabulous history book together, about the Ancient Romans in Britain, and it has prompted all sorts of ideas.  It really helps that we live not too far away from the Verulamium Museum in St Albans, and I was really happy that as hoped, we were able to visit as a family on Sunday.  I was thrilled to discover that as it was the second Sunday of the month, they had a visiting "Roman soldier" from legion fourteen, giving a talk on Roman armour and weapons - perfect for a hoard of boys!

In fact, the soldier talked for over an hour, but was so good that the boys sat on the floor and listened really well for the whole talk (if you know my boys in person, let me assure you that yes, you are reading the right blog!) There were trays of little mosiac tiles to play with if they got a bit fidgety, but really they didn't touch them much once he was talking.  We learned loads!

Eldest's fish

Middle's "Bob" (from Monsters versus Aliens)

We also watched a video about the growth of St Albans town, and we walked up to see the original mosaic floor and hypocaust (underfloor-heating), but sadly that was all we had time for. Perhaps we will go back another time to have a proper look around the museum (preferably in the summer as they have a lovely waterpark in the grounds too).

Anyway today, happily, the boys' enthusiasm for all things Roman has still been running quite high.  After MathsWhizz I brought out my surprise craft kit that I ordered on Friday (Amazon Prime has its uses).  I thought we could have a go at some mosaics, and was looking for an easy project with real tiles, but when I saw this kit for making mosiac dragons (using sticker tiles), I knew it would be perfect for the boys, and when it arrived I thought the price was really fair as it was good quality.

Yes, they all loved it - Middle was torn for ages over which one to make out of the two that he loved, until his brothers said that they didn't mind if he did the last one as well (there were four in the box).  He has put it aside to do later, but how sweet!  One of those nice glowing proud Mummy moments, so important to hold on to next time they are squabbling!

Eldest's dragon

Middle's dragon (in typical Middle style he added a few of his own choice of tiles in place of the prescribed ones)

Youngest's dragon

Eldest finished fairly quickly, then he was reading through one of our strewn books on Romans when he noticed an illustration of soldiers and was proud that he could point out which one the centurion was, based on the talk given by the soldier yesterday (the centurion being a) the only one who wore his helmet crest across the helmet rather than front-to-back, and b) the only one who wore his crest in battle).  He also appreciated the Monty Python sketch which I found on YouTube (told him Daddy could probably quote it verbatim).  *Please note*, John Cleese does use the word "B*st*rds" two seconds into the sketch - I just coughed over it - the rest of the sketch is clean.

While we were at the museum shop yesterday we bought a pack of Horrible Histories 'Rotten Romans' playing cards.  The younger two boys wanted to play with them this morning, so I sat down with them and taught them to play 'Donkey' (instructions here).  Much giggling ensued, which brought Eldest to join in with us.  Usually people use coins or pebbles to pick up, but the boys had rediscovered our tub of multicoloured animal counters to play with over the weekend, so we used those instead - renaming the horse counters 'donkeys'.  Youngest lost the over-all game, but his brothers had tried to help him by putting the counters closer to him etc, so he took it quite well.

Of course, it hasn't all been Roman doings here - Middle has continued with his Minecraft poster, and Eldest has started a second one.  Youngest has enjoyed playing on the CBeebies website, and they all enjoyed watching TV to work out how the magic tricks were done on Blue Peter (that we recorded it last week).

I don't want to overload the boys and get carried away with my own enthusiasm just because I can see they're interested in something, but if the Roman theme lasts a bit longer I won't be complaining - there are so many resources around to draw from!  And although our style of education may not be the sort that the Romans brought to history, I'm certainly enjoying their contribution to our home ed life right now!