So other than half an hour of online curriculum in Maths or English, and one activity from Mummy's "what shall we do today" suggestion box, the boys are free to explore, watch, play etc as their interests dictate. If the TV goes on they watch something that we have recorded (from BBC2's Learning Zone, or CBBC and CBeebies). Horrible Histories is a particular favourite of Eldest's, and the younger two are currently enjoying William Whiskerson (geography) and Curious Cat (design & technology), which we recorded last term. There are a few great programmes on the internet too (we really like Grid Club) but more often than not, they're just off creating or having fun - not so much evidence of screentime this term ('hooray' says Mummy!) Sometimes they need/ want my involvement, often they are happy to just get on with whatever it is. It certainly all seems to be working so far :) People who are purely unschooling may well suggest that we're not doing it properly by having any structure, and those who are fully structured may be horrified at my doing "so little" with the boys - but it works for us. At the moment, anyway. When it stops working, we will find what works better, and adapt.
So yesterday our learning (that I was aware of) looked something like this: Eldest and Middle were on Reading Eggspress while Youngest and I read a few small books from the Oxford Reading Tree - him sounding out & blending the simple words, me reading the ones that he couldn't/ didn't want to read - and of course, having fun chatting about the illustrations, to keep it fun (given the choice of 'sharing a story' or 'practicing reading', I know which seems more appealing!). Middle baked some smartie cookies, but somehow they all got eaten before I remembered to take a photo - oops; Eldest read his new book, "Predators" (Steve Backshall); we all played the aforementioned delightfully disgusting board game, 'Scabs and Guts', and then Eldest (and Middle) played camera challenges where I had to give them a challenge of something to take a photo of (eg something with a triangle in it, something with spots/ stripes, something shiny etc. All in all, a lovely day! Like I said though, that was just the learning that I noticed - so much of a person's learning just cannot be quantified. They were off playing and creating for hours - who knows what they were absorbing while enjoying themselves!
And today? Well, we've had MathsWhizz; Horrible Histories and William Whiskerson on TV; Youngest has been further exploring the CBeebies website; Middle counted the bones in his foot (then we looked it up to check the "real" answer); and Mummy's contribution was to make some Pop Art. I showed the boys Andy Warhol's 'Marilyn' prints in our book, "Famous Paintings." Eldest remembered it from the from the Art programme they watched last term (recorded from the BBC's learning zone), and they were all keen to get the paints out and have a go at our own version. I looked online to see if there were any instrictions to follow (I'm not totally confident when it comes to teaching art), but as I couldn't find any, we worked it out as we went along. In case you fancy a go, this is what we did...
We wanted to do four colour variations - and four x A4 would have been too big I felt, so I folded an A4 page in half, to give us a smaller starting area each. We each drew a basic head (and shoulders) self-portrait. We are blessed with a photocopy function on our printer, so I made three further A5 copies of each self portrait. If you don't have access to a photocopier, you could just trace the simple outlines.
Next we mixed six colours of paint (I only keep paint in the primary colours plus black and white at home - partly because of limited storage space, partly because it provides plenty of practice at mixing colours). We decided the best look would be to limit ourselves to using five colours each. We laid our four identical self-portraits out in front of each of us, and started painting. It worked better for us to do a kind of production line: rather than completing one self-portrait at a time, we each did all four faces first (making sure each was a different colour), then each mouth etc...
That was as much as Youngest could handle really (ie just colouring his faces in with different colours on each page). With Eldest and Youngest we looked at Warhol's colour variation and talked about how they weren't all uniform - in some of them the eyes and lips were the same colour; in others it was the lips and hair etc. As we went along we tried to not only vary the features that were the same colour on each self-portrait, but also make sure there was a balance of colour across all four pieces.
When we had finished filling our faces with colour we looked at how Warhol used colour to make bolder backgrounds than just leaving them white - so (with the exception of Youngest, who declared his to be finished), we assessed our faces so far and looked at which colours would work best as backgrounds to tie the four mini prints into one work of art (that sounds more pontificatory than it actually was). Most importantly, it was fun, and we're all really happy with our completed "artwork"
And then this afternoon we had a play date with the boys' old school friends at a soft play area - so now they're all nicely exhausted and happy from another lovely day. And what's more, it's now the weekend, so we get Daddy at home too - hooray! I'm off to enjoy the weekend - hope you have a good one too!