Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cakes and Cabbage Experiments

It feels like we're being a bit anti-social at the moment... we haven't seen anyone socially all week so far, and weirdly I'm actually enjoying it a bit.  Not because I don't want to see people - because actually we are missing our friends - but Eldest's virus keeping us home has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  After the worst bit at the weekend he's not been poorly enough for me to worry - in fact his appetite seems to be returning today, hooray - and staying home to help him recover has had the added bonus that we've been able to get settled into some kind of routine.  We've been able to tackle some of the learning goals that were out there (that either the boys or I had expressed a desire in), and I feel like we're finding our feet again.  Start of 'term' for us has been sort of 'bitty', because although we've been having good days and felt like we were getting back into the learning groove, we weren't experiencing much of a rhythm.  Every day was fun but different, and I'm realising that it really helps me to have some kind of gentle pattern - not that every day has to be the same, as that would be really tedious -  just that I feel more established after a week or so of rediscovering our feet.  So I have made a mental note for the beginning of next term (especially after all the Christmas partying) to aim at having a week to ourselves before we start doing all the fabulous social excursions etc!
Anyway, today's fun included quite a bit of time modelling with playdough; Middle making a sort of treasure hunt for Youngest, and Eldest spending a long time reading.  I then reminded Middle that he hadn't done any MathsWhizz this week - he wasn't impressed at all, but I was pretty sure that was because he'd got discouraged by the previous session, so I sat with him and we had a look at the new 'lesson', which he loved!  In fact he rattled through the next three lessons without hesitating, and I left him to it, as he and Youngest (who loves watching) were obviously enjoying it, shrieking with laughter at something on the program - hooray!  While it was Youngest's turn on Reading Eggs, Middle found our City Country World game and decide he wanted to play it with me - and Eldest joined in too.  We particularly enjoyed finding the countries where our friends live/ have lived (Netherlands, Jamaica, Israel, Russia etc).  It's basically a game of pairs where you have to match the country with the capital city by matching the national flag - a nice gentle introduction to geography! Eldest then wanted to do an experiment that he had seen on the TV which used red cabbage juice to test for pH levels - so I hunted online (HE is so easy when you have the internet!) and found this Red Cabbage Lab experiment.  That was today's fun with science!  The boys were really enthused, and came up with lots of substances that they wanted to test, regardless of whether they were on the print-out.  It was all a bit over Youngest's head, but one of the many things I love about HE is that no matter whose idea the activity is, or whose ability it would traditionally be geared towards, everyone gets the chance to join in as much as they are able/ want to... and Youngest may not have understood it all, but he loved joining in with the mixing and seeing the colours change, thus nuturing a love of science in him :)

liquids that the boys wanted to test, l to r: soap, apple juice, dettol, lemon juice, fairy liquid, salt solution, bicarb solution, vinegar, milk 

pretty colours after the cabbage water was added

arranged in order from most acidic to most alkaline (after some dispute)

order as recorded by Eldest (who then decided that 2 & 3 were the wrong way round)
Another highlight of the day was this morning when Middle made absolutely the most delicious traybake cakes I've ever tasted... they were supposed to be cut into 24 but I hadn't checked the recipe, and only managed to get 12 out of them - which were HUGE! (oops), but just as well as the only cutters I had for the decorative marzipan shapes were also pretty big.  Of course, the boys love it when Mummy appreciates their baking... it's never hard, but today was particularly easy :)  I may well end up the size of a house but it will be worth it!
Middle's Sticky Toffee Cakes
Oh and last of all (it was a full day today!) Eldest decided he wanted to write a diary (hooray for spontaneous writing) - inspired by the Topz Secret Diaries that he loves and has recently been re-reading - it's obviously not a secret diary in his case though as he came to read it to me and then gave me permission to share an excerpt here... n.b. the attitude is something he finds funny in the other books and so used it as a 'voice' to good effect in his own diary.  It wasn't genuine stroppiness, otherwise I don't think he'd have been so happy to read it out to me, giggling at his own jokes...

September 19
Just finished doing Red Cabbage Experiment about Acids and Alkalides.  Mum's on her laptop. I AM BORED.
Mum told me to "tidy my room".
I mean what is the point?  A tiny bit messy is good for your immune system.
I'm still tidying.  I've been tidying since 4:06pm. I'm going to carry on now.
Mum asked me to come down.  Hooray!  "Coming" I said...
Guess what, it was only to turn the oven on.  Woop-de-do.  Please cover up the 'hooray' above.  Now to go back to tidying up.
Forgot to feed my fish.  Feed them now.
Yes!  I'm done.  Now I can watch TV.
So that was another busy and enjoyable day (I'm still chuckling at Eldest's 'woop-de-do').  The learning still hasn't finished either as all three boys are currently engrossed in a Deadly 60 programme on TV, fascninated by the length of an anteater's tongue!  And on that attractive thought, I think I've leave it!  Til the next time... :)

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