Friday, 6 March 2015

Playdates and Domesday

After Tuesday's busy-ness at home, Wednesday and Thursday this week were all about socialising!  I jokingly said to a fellow HEor that I wouldn't be blogging about Weds because we hadn't done anything, but actually we were out all day: in the morning we went to the local soft play area where the boys had a great time with their friends and I sat and nattered with the other HE mums over copious amounts of tea.  Middle struggled a bit as "everyone" was playing his big brother's game and not his - but although they weren't excluding him, he didn't want to play their game.  Well, that's just a life lesson sadly.  We all have to learn that we can't make people do what we want, and although I felt sorry for him being sad about it, it was an important opportunity for him to learn resilience - and I'm glad he was able to come and talk to me about it while he worked it out, before going off to join in with the others.  After soft play we went to our regular gaming club, where the kids bond over their favourite console games (Mario, Pokemon, Minecraft etc) and the parents sit in another room and drink yet more cups of tea etc!  You can see why I joked that I hadn't done anything... not exactly a hard day!  It's so important for home educators to network though, to encourage each other and share resources, and even just enjoy some adult company amidst all the child-centredness of our lives.

Thursday brought Niece over for the morning, and we all went to the Home Ed swimming lessons together, then came home and watched several TV programmes on animal conservation (something that all four children enjoy) before Niece went home and the boys did some handwriting.  After lunch we had friends visiting, and the children all got straight on the Wii while mums chatted (and yes - drank more tea etc!)

After all that gaming I felt the boys needed a break, so today has been designated as a computer-free day (other than my blogging, obviously!).  They were really happy to focus on some learning time this morning, and we have had a more schoolish time than usual for us.  They started with MathWhizz and all managed to quickly finish within a couple of minutes of each other, so we had plenty of time for today's history "lesson", as re-arranged on Tuesday.

I knew that I wanted to look at the Domesday Book with them, but struggled to find resources in the usual places online, so I widened my search and found an excellent (if somewhat teacherish) PDF on the BBC website, giving information on the Domesday Book and suggesting exercises for children to do.  I loved the idea of doing our own mini census, so roped in some volunteers online to answer the survey questions for us yesterday, ready for the boys to look at today.  This morning, then, after a lengthy conversation on why we thought William the Conqueror had the Domesday Book written etc (Youngest wasn't very interested but the older two did really well), we filled in our own survey sheet and then read the others. The boys especially appreciated choosing their own silly names (Muddy Slug, Oshawott and Mr Bottom) and reading others' funny details, like the dogs whose job it was to bark at the postman, and the mother called Smelly LeBelly).  Then we worked out the average (mean) ages of the members of each household, and then the average age of everyone in our whole mini-census (it was 30).  The boys also worked together to produce a bar chart showing how many rooms were in each house - 6 rooms being the most frequently cited...

After that I wasn't sure if the boys would be interested in further work, but they expressed a desire to do something arty, so we moved on to the next BBC-suggested activity and looked at the "illuminated" aspect of the Domesday Book.  We also looked at other medieval manuscripts and noted that monks produced a lot of this style of writing as a way of giving glory to God.  I asked the boys to choose a Bible verse that they particularly liked (Eldest chose his own, Middle and Youngest chose one each from a list of a few suggested verses that I had typed up just in case), and then showed them how to draw a margin and box for the initial letter.  Bless them, they all tried really hard to do their best writing, after which I agreed they could leave the rest for later as making something really beautiful takes time.  So their verses aren't finished yet, but I can give you a glimpse of what's been done so far...

Eldest's verse

Middle's verse

Youngest's verse

Funnily enough, even though they said their hands were too tired to carry on with their illuminated verses, they immediately found some more squared paper (discovered when making the bar chart) and started drawing platform-game-inspired drawings before we finally stopped for lunch and a tidy-up, going outside to have a good run around in the fresh air (much needed as they had gone somewhat hyper), and then coming back indoors to find their sticker-books on Knights & Castles and getting stuck in while watching the Blue Peter World Book Day episode. I love watching what the boys choose to do with their free time on gaming-free days - it makes we want to do it more often, although I suspect they may be less keen!  Still a good day though!


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