Thursday, January 05, 2006

Freedom! And "Curriculum" Plans

Well, we've been and gone and done it now. The kittens have their freedom. Well, mostly.

Their collars arrived in yesterday's post, so we put them on and - with some anxiety - opened the cat flap. Out they went, closely followed by me and Emily. And they loved it! Within minutes Romeo was up tightrope walking on the fence, and he'd climbed a tree, and Juliet was up on the bird table and eating a piece of mouldy bread that had fallen off it onto the grass.

After about half an hour we brought them back in again, but they so clearly wanted to go out that this morning we relented and just let them go. They spent about three hours solid out in the garden this morning. I'm pleased to say that as far as I know, neither of them actually left the garden (although of course they will at some point....they're working up to it). They were exceptionally cute, and Juliet especially kept coming in every twenty minutes or so, coming upstairs to where we were, miaowing and nuzzling and then going straight back out again. "Hey everyone, look what a big girl I am, I'm out on my own!" They've spent the entire afternoon flaked out fast asleep after all that exercise. We're not letting them out in the dark for quite some time yet, so the cat flap is now firmly shut again and they'll have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Here they are looking cute in their posh collars:

Meanwhile, yesterday we finally took down the Christmas decorations, and attempted to find homes for all Emily's Christmas and Birthday presents. Well, actually that involved moving them from piles on the bedroom floor to piles on top of a cupboard in our playroom/stockroom bit - but it looks superfically tidier, which helps.

Emily's really enjoying the book she and Jon are reading at bedtime at the moment: Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce, which was inspired by the war-time hiding of works of art and other masterpieces in this slate quarry in Wales. It tells the story of a London flood which once again causes the national treasures to be hidden in mine, and how each piece of art changes someone's life. Very good.

This morning we spent ages playing a Charlie and the Chocolate factory pretend, after Emily made herself a posh cloak and would have made a top hat if we'd had time. She loves that film! I haven't seen it yet, but she and Jon enjoyed the DVD. Mind you, Jon reckons that Johnny Depp based his Willy Wonka character on Michael Jackson with pretty sinister overtones, lol. First Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean, then Michael Jackson - what next?

We've been to visit Romy and Hazel this afternoon, and played with Romy's lovely new castle set. Tomorrow Emily's off out for the day with Nana and Gramps, then it's back to ballet on Saturday and back to "work" in a big way on Monday.

I've looked through the national curriculum Schemes of Work for years 2 and 3 again, and must confess to being totally uninspired by any of them. So I guess we'll be doing our own thing again. The project based approach worked for us for a while....but I don't think it worked recently, or will work again in the immediate future. Since starting home ed in September 04, we've done four really (and I mean really) indepth projects: we "did" Oceans between September 04 and Christmas 04, then we "did" Cats in January and February 05, followed by Egyptians in February to April 05 and Tudors from about May-August 05. Our attempts to do a Viking project in the Autumn last year totally flopped though, probably through lack of real interest/inspiration on both my and Emily's parts. There are plenty of things she's interested in and wants to learn about, but I'd rather do a little bit of all sorts for a while, rather than repeat such extensive focus. We kind of drifted a little during the Autumn, which was probably good for all of us at the time (especially since I'm absolutely convinced that we did far more work in the eight months to August than school children did in the whole year anyway), but now it's time to get back stuck in.

Here's what I'm thinking at the moment, to cover us between now and Easter:
Art - Carry on with our work on famous artists. That worked well in the Autumn, and Emily enjoyed learning about the lives of Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso, and produced some good art to go with it. We also need to do some real art techniques work with the lovely easel and watercolours/oils she was given for Christmas.

English - Poetry, both the appreciation of and the writing of. More grammar work. Keep up to speed on spelling and fiction writing, although I think we're a bit ahead of ourselves there.

Maths - Revise telling the time. Firm up money knowledge. Take a venture into some of the Yr 3 stuff like area calculations. Keep on keeping on with the 2, 5 and 10 times tables.

Science - We need to be more practical with more experiments. Need to find meaningful science as opposed to the fairly brain dead "which one of these is living?" type stuff that seems to be in most KS1 books. We have a nice weather experiments set, so I think we'll start on that.

Geography - Think we'll focus on the UK for the moment. Maybe take a look at the different landscapes in the country or look at the national park areas. I suppose we ought to do something about "your local area" although quite frankly that's totally uninspiring especially if you don't happen to like where you live!

History - Umm. Well, we've pretty much overdosed on history this last year, so we may take a bit of a break there. Quite fancy looking at very early people/stone age times, but we'll have to see. Again, history of "your local area" is nagging away at my guilty conscience as being something I ought to work up some enthusiasm for, but I'm struggling. If we lived in Bracknell still I'd be all for it....but there you go.

Music - Well, Emily had a keyboard for Christmas so I guess we'd better use the flippin' thing! She still wants to carry on with the recorder, and I have a copy of Music Express for Year 3 that I suppose we ought to look at. Might also do an ongoing Famous Composers thing similar to our Famous Artists work.

Crafts - Blimey, where to start. We need to do some proper stuff with Emily's new sewing machine. She really enjoyed doing a nature sculpture back in the Autumn, so some more modelling might be in order, maybe with scrap metal (??) or something. Also, we have a battery operated potters wheel that needs using. In fact, we have a whole house full of craft stuff crying out to be used if only we had the time and the forethought to get it organised!

IT - Emily's confident on Word and the Internet now, so maybe we'll move onto a DTP package, or a photo editing one.

I'm really surprised (in ever such a good way) that the LEA haven't been in touch. After that initial flurry of high handed letters back in September 04, and my responses sending them an ed phil and telling them that they were acting beyond the law by harrassing us and should bugger off and mind their own business......zilch. Oh well, long may that continue!


Hazel said...

OMG! *Hides in cupboard with hands over ears shouting La La La* I'd better start getting organised!!

Nikki said...

Nah - they're only "plans". And you know what generally happens to my plans! A better name might be wishful thinking....