This Homeschooling Life – November

As a family of three, “going out for coffee” was a weekly activity. Freya, who enjoys a good old sit-still-read-a-book-observe-the-world-have-a-good-conversation session developed a love of the practice to equal her parents’. Hannah, however, being more run-around-climb-up-what’s-over-there? has not yet learned to enjoy the subtle delights of an afternoon spent cradling a warm mug.

So we don’t go out for coffee much at the moment. On one rare occasion, in our favourite place, a dad was sitting at the table next to us with his three teenaged kids. He was reading the paper, one child was using a laptop, the other two doing some handwritten work. Every now and then I’d hear the dad hashing out a maths question with the youngest. That scene gave me a beautiful vision for our home educating future!

A few weeks ago Jeff was away for a Saturday so it fell to me to take Freya to her ballet lesson, while my mum hung out with Hannah. We left an hour early and headed to the Polish bakery/coffee shop from where I’d written last month’s blogpost. They don’t make anything dairy-free so I brought her some hot chocolate from home and we read books and did some maths. Of course it was lovely, and Jeff has now continued taking her out for coffee before ballet every week. I’m so glad we found a time for them to do something together.

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Freya is very slowly becoming more interested in different kinds of artistic expression. She would come home from nursery twice a week with a huge daubed painting – here are two of my favourites…

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…but she has only recently attempted to represent objects, people or scenes. She has been inspired by CBeebies’ Get Squiggling to develop her control of the lines she draws and similarly has been keen to practice writing letters. This dry-wipe style booklet has been fun. She even wrote a message on the back of this painting she made for her brand new baby cousin. Her favourite part of the painting was “making rainbow colours”. I love to watch the focus on Freya’s face and her sparkling eyes when she is mixing paint and creating colours.

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This bath time activity was a big hit with both girls – I just mixed flour and water into a runny paste and added food colouring – the colours were very vibrant before they all got mixed together!

Freya really enjoys baking and I’m keen to find her a recipe that she can complete all by herself from start to finish (except using the oven, at this stage). I’d also like it to be free of refined sugar so I can worry less about how much of it she eats! We tried a muffin recipe but quickly discovered that although she can now eat eggs in baked food, it’s too tricky for her to mix them and avoid getting raw egg on her skin. And she won’t touch bananas, which this recipe used, though she liked the flavour of the finished muffins. So we tried it again with apple sauce instead of bananas but she didn’t like them and Hannah had to eat them all!

Next I looked for simple cookie recipe. They almost all involve creaming the fat and sugar which would be to much for Freya at the moment. I thought perhaps using oil would be the way forward for easy mixing, and experimented to create a  recipe myself, changing the quantities and cooking times. I felt a bit sick tasting even just a bite of so many cookies! Oops! Next morning Freya had a taste too and liked them very much. After all that, the first variation was the best by far, and it’s the easiest too, being a simple mix it up and plop it on the baking sheet kind of thing. Now to give Freya the recipe to try by herself!

Freya is developing an interest in history. This feels like a developmental stage thing, in that not long ago she couldn’t understand the concept of things being different when mummy/daddy/grandparents were young, but now she can, to some extent anyway. Our visits to Milton Keynes Museum really launched her interest, and recently I got her some library books about life in Victorian Britain. I checked thoroughly to see what the content was like and rejected some books for too-vivid imagery or content about ideas that would worry her and stick in her mind. We’ve been reading a brilliant one that uses photographs to explore how people from different classes experienced life e.g. school, homes, holidays.

I am struck by how Freya’s learning style at the moment seems to be largely via reading…and how that may not be the same at all for Hannah when she is the same age…who knows?

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