Category Archives: Reading Eggs

A woodland walk

The sunny weather didn’t last and today has been wet. Actually, today started off very wet and we spent the morning indoors. The kids did some Sticklebrick building, Thomas and Jasmine read a couple of books each and Thomas did a Reading Eggs lesson. By mid-morning they were asking to go outside so we decided to go to a local park, Nonsuch Park, after lunch.

We have been to Nonsuch Park a few times before but not much recently. It is quite large and we usually go to the Cheam side, however I recently found out that there is a pond on the Epsom/Ewell side so that is where we headed today.

Amazingly, by the time we got there it had stopped raining! But there were plenty of muddy puddles for the kids to jump and splash in.PuddlesWe had a lovely walk through the Oak Plantation, identifying lots of different trees along the way. Jasmine is getting very good at leaf identification so we collected some that we weren’t sure of and brought them home to look at. We also heard lots of different bird song and Thomas surprised me by identifying the Great Tit song! He was very proud of himself!Walking through the woodlandAnd then we found the pond! On first glance it looked quite disappointing; very small and quite dirty to be honest. But then we saw that it went much further back so we continued to walk round and found some much better spots to peer in to! We even found a little island that we could get to by balancing on some fallen logs. I think the water level was very low as it looked boggy around the edges in places, so this made getting to the island possible.On the islandA little further round still, we found some good spots were we could get right to the waters edge and we saw lots and lots of tadpoles. The kids were disappointed because they were hoping to see other things as well; maybe a fish or, in Thomas’ case he wanted to see a dragonfly larvae! If we’d had our nets with us maybe we would have seen more, but on the surface there were just tadpoles.

By the pondOnce we had achieved our aim of finding the pond, it was time to wander back to the car. We carried on round and through a meadow of beautiful buttercups to end back where we’d first seen the pond. We retraced our steps back to the car and along the way the kids discovered that if they hit the branches of the wet trees, water fell on them like rain! Then they got daddy in on it and he shook the branches over them! By the time we got back to the car they really did look like they’d been caught in a heavy rain shower – just with tree bits added for effect!Making rain from wet branchesWe had a great time on our woodland walk today. I can’t believe I never knew about that side of Nonsuch Park! We’ll most definitely be going back there again.

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Reading and a Spring Walk

Thomas woke up this morning and wanted to read. So he did. Almost all morning he was either reading a book or reading something on the computer!

His reading has come on leaps and bounds recently. He is past the basic CVC word reading and has been doing “smile and squeeze”, soft C and soft G on Reading Eggs. (For those confused, smile and squeeze is what I used to know as “magic E” – bike, smile, make, late etc). These new “rules” have made him more aware that not everything can be simply sounded out one letter at a time in the order they are written in and he is decoding words really well now.

The other thing that is encouraging his reading massively is our DK Readers Star Wars collection. All 3 kids love Star Wars at the moment and Thomas has now realised that he can read almost all of the level 1 books we have by himself with minimal help, and quite a lot of the level 2 books as well. Today he read “Star Wars What is a Wookiee?” ¬†and “Star Wars The Adventures of Han Solo”

It is amazing to see his confidence growing as he reads. The more he reads independently, the more he is learning for himself. If he is unsure of a word and has to ask me, when that word comes up again I have noticed him checking back to see if it is the same and then reading on happily. He is also learning to read on a little bit, to see if he can work out a word he is he is unsure of that way. A great example of this is when he sees the words Death Star and Darth Vadar. He has been getting these mixed up as he was reading the first word and then assuming the second word, but he was sometime getting the first word wrong and was reading Death for Darth and vice versa. Easy to do as they are very similar words! Today he started checking the second word to get the first word correct!

Bizarrely however, with Thomas progressing to these new “rules” of reading on Reading Eggs and gaining confidence and independence Jasmine has now decided she does not like Reading Eggs! I can’t decide whether this is because she is nervous of playing the games with the new reading rules in or if she doesn’t want to play her games of CVC words because she wants to move on to the ones Thomas is doing. She does watch Thomas when he is doing his games and she understands the new rules as well as he does, so I am thinking the latter is more likely, but I guess only time will tell!

So, after a morning of reading and computers, this afternoon we took scooters and bikes out and went for a walk/scoot/ride from Morden Hall Park to Deen City Farm, along the Wandle Trail.

We have been to both Morden Hall Park and Deen City Farm numerous times, but have only walked from one to the other twice before. I really have no idea why! It is a lovely walk, only about 20 minutes and there is plenty to see along the way. We walked through the Wetlands at Morden Hall Park and saw ducks, ducklings, coots, a centipede and frogspawn. The frogspawn was the highlight of the day for Thomas and Jasmine and I know I am going to be asked frequently over the next few days if we can go and see tadpoles yet!

Once we reached Deen City Farm we wandered around and saw all the animals before having an ice lolly, our first of the year. I know I have said it before, but it does finally feel like spring has arrived!

The walk back was a little more stressful as the kids were getting tired, legs didn’t want to work, scooters were too slow, bikes were wrong. You know what it is like! But we made it and by the time we got home and I asked the kids if they had enjoyed it, they all said yes ūüôā

We ended the day with bubbles in the garden. Today has made me even more hopeful that this nice weather will stay put for a while longer. I am really enjoying it!

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Compound Words, Marble Run and Treasure Hunts

Today has been all about compound words, cardboard tube marble runs and treasure hunts.

This morning after a couple of hours of Lego building, Thomas went on Reading Eggs. His lesson included a game introducing compound words and both Thomas and Jasmine have been experimenting with these all day since! They really got the hang of it and at dinner time alone they came up with sun+rise, water+melon, sun+flower, ear+ring, card+board, butter+fly, lady+bird, back+pack, foot+ball, black+berry, straw+berry (and several more on this theme!), snow+man, and definitely many more that I can’t remember now! I think tomorrow we’ll play some compound word games as they really did like exploring this new idea.

This afternoon we hosted a small Home Education group meeting at our house. I say small because there was only 2 other families that could make it today, but there was still 9 children here in total!

The plan for today’s group was to make a cardboard tube marble run. I saw the idea here¬†on An Ordinary Life, a fabulous, inspirational Home Ed blog. I showed Thomas and Jasmine and they were really keen to try it themselves. So today I found a large selection of cardboard tubes, dug out the masking tape and this is what we all made

Marble Run

The only place I could think to build it was on our patio doors so this photo is taken from outside, looking in with the curtain closed! This was the only way we could get a good photo!

The kids all enjoyed building this and figuring out what worked and what didn’t. It is definitely an activity we’ll be doing again.

Once all our friends had gone home Thomas found the arrows I had used for the Easter Egg hunt in the garden on Sunday. He started making treasure trails through the house for Daddy to follow, and he even drew some more arrows to make the trails longer.

Follow the arrows

¬†At the end of the trail was always Daddy’s motorbike gloves!

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Inquisitive Minds

I seem to have 3 healthy children again ūüôā Well, that is not entirely true because Ben has a cough, but still, one with a slight cough is a huge improvement from the last 2 weeks!

As if making up for the time spent in rest and recuperation recently, today has been non-stop! From the minute the kids woke up they have been busy. We have done numbers, adding, place value, colour mixing, painting, messy play, Reading Eggs, reading books, drawing, writing and more.

This morning the kids were very excited to see that I had (finally) made a start on our Spring/Easter display. I put the Easter Egg pictures up that they did yesterday with a couple of posters I printed from Activity Village. Jasmine immediately went to work drawing more pictures for the display! I was actually amazed when I saw her first piece of work; I think she must have got the idea from the posters but she has never done anything like this before so I was very proud!

She also drew an Easter Basket compete with chicks inside and an egg on the front for me to stick up as well! This picture was taken before she finished colouring it in, but I was worried that if I left it too long to take a photo she would have coloured in the writing!

Easter Basket picture

While Jasmine was busy with this, Thomas had the calculator and was doing some addition. As is the way, he was trying to add large numbers! He came to me at one point and showed me the number 11,011 and told me it was the answer to 101 plus 110. Hmmmm.

I asked him to show me what he had typed into the calculator. He knows one hundred is written 100, so using the mind of a 5 year old, he had typed one hundred and one as 100 and then a 1 at the end (100 1), and the same for one hundred and ten (100 10), so the sum he had actually done was 1001 + 10010! Time for a place value discussion!

I did a quick Google search because I was certain I had seen a lesson on Conquermaths about place value but couldn’t find it. My Google search came up with this, which the kids loved! And this, which they also loved! We played the penguin game until I was pretty confident Thomas knew what he was doing, then I got our chunky number jigsaw pieces out and we spent a long time making 3 digit numbers and identifying the hundreds, tens and units.

Other maths we did today was about adding to a single “unit” to a “tens” number. I can’t remember how it started but we were eating dinner at the time! I explained that it was really easy to work out a sum like this because the answer is in the question (if you see what I mean! – I explained it better to the kids!). We spent most of dinner with me asking them questions like 20+5, 30+8, 60+4, 80+9 and they would shout then answer back to me! They loved it!!! They found it very funny to work out a 10+ sum because I used the word “tenty” as a way of explaining the answer to the first one (eg. 10+5 would be tenty five) and then discussing what “tenty-five” is actually called! They especially loved that!!!

Other than maths, we spent a large portion of the morning with paint. I have been wanting to get the paint out for days because I want to make some hand print flowers for our display, so we finally got round to it today. We had sponges, paint brushes and a potato for them to use and they created some wonderful masterpieces! I also got the handprints I wanted!

The painting led to lots of discussion about mixing colours. I had red, yellow and orange out today so I think tomorrow I will get some blue out as well and let them discover more.

We have also done Reading Eggs today. Both Jasmine and Thomas are doing really well on there. Thomas is now at the stage where he will pick up a book and have a very good go at reading it. It is lovely to hear him read and makes me really proud! Today he read 3 books to me and was very pleased with himself! I do have video of him reading one of the books but can’t get it to upload to Youtube at the moment. I obviously need my techie help (husband!) to work that one out for me!

One thing I have realised as today has gone on, is how much of the kids learning is “practical” learning. They “do” a lot of what they learn, rather than write it down or record it. The place value learning they did today is a perfect example of this. Instead of using pencil and paper, we used a video clip, a game and some wooden numbers! It was all learnt with talking and doing.

But then I guess this is what my blog is for; to record all the learning that we “do” every day but I am sure I would otherwise forget!

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Another weekend round up

I haven’t blogged for a couple of days now because Ben has been unwell. I think it is just a cold but he was up a few times on Friday night struggling with croup so we’ve had a couple of quiet days at home dosing him on Calprofen, which is apparently better for croup as it is an anti-inflammatory (croup being an¬†inflammation¬†of the airways).

Yesterday I took Jasmine to Gymnastics in the morning and then in the afternoon we watched a bit of TV, did some Reading Eggs, played some games on the computer and did some Duplo building.

This morning was taken over with new Star Wars toys (new to us, but bought second hand from our local Facebook buy and sell group). This afternoon Jasmine asked if she could have the Hama Beads out as she wanted to make “a butterfly with a necklace”!!! So, as Ben seemed a bit better, we did some Hama Bead-ing while he played and/or watched TV.

Jasmine found a butterfly picture in one of the Inspiration books so I used that as a starting point and did the outline of the wings for her but the rest is all her own work (well,¬†OK¬†she has a little help with the¬†antennae!). She chose the colours and the design (notice the red necklace on the body!). We talked a little about how butterflies wings were the same on each side and she really tried hard and did very well. ¬†Thomas wanted to “make an invention” so I left him to it!

Then there followed a conversation about my Glow in the Dark Hama Beads. I say “my” because I try and keep these out of sight of the children and use them for my own projects! But they do know I have them and Thomas found some patterns in another Inspiration Book that used them, so was asking where they were! Jasmine was also flicking through an Inspiration Book and found an aeroplane she wanted to make. As one of the pictures Thomas had seen was a aeroplane I thought, just this once, I’d let them use the Glow in the Dark beads for the smaller aeroplane design.. aren’t I generous! Again I did the outline and they filled the beads in the middle.

All the designs they did today look fabulous and will join the ever growing collection of Hama Bead designs hanging from beds, on walls and in several other places! I’m going to need a specially designed display cabinet for them all soon!!

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Some Maths, Some English, Some Science and Some Other Stuff

If you’d asked me an hour ago what we had done over the last couple of days I would have said not much really, a bit of playing, a bit of learning. Then I actually thought about it. We have done LOADS!

Yesterday Jasmine and Thomas went on Education City (an online learning resource) and did some Literacy and Science. I had just moved Thomas up to Y1 science as he was getting frustrated with the games aimed at Reception – they are not what he considers to be “science”!!! It was definitely the right decision as he loved the Y1 games! He choose to do the ones all about Materials first, choosing the right material for a specific job based on its properties, sorting items based on materials properties and identifying what material items are made from. Then he moved on to one all about light sources. Both he and Jasmine had a great time playing these games, but I think they’ll be ready for more before long!

Later in the day I got the Unifix cubes out and we all had a good time counting and making patterns. Thomas did some skip counting on the 1-100 number square, covering all the odd numbers and they both started chanting 2,4,6,8,10! (They could both still do it this morning so it obviously stuck in their heads!) Then I showed them how to break a tower of 10 into two, to find 2 numbers that add up to make 10. We wrote all these down and Thomas then did the same for tower of 6. He wanted to write his findings down as well so I drew up a rather impromptu worksheet for him!

Last night I printed out “making 6” and “making 10” charts and filled them in a little more neatly than I’d managed earlier in the day so we can put them up on the wall (Thomas wants to see them every day!)

This morning I took Ben to our Toddler Group and Gordon stayed at home with the big 2. They started to make Lightsabers out of cardboard tubes and modelling balloons, until Gordon broke the balloon pump! That activity will be finished in a few days I imagine!

This afternoon Jasmine and Thomas did another lesson each on Reading Eggs and then some drawing with Squiglet (for any non-cbeebies viewers, Squiglet is a animated character who draws pictures that then come to life). ¬†The game on the CBeebies website is really good and has a lot of different things you can “draw” with. Thomas was quite pleased with the spray paint, especially the one that does¬†symmetrical drawing and he drew a lovely butterfly.

Lastly, just before dinner today I got some Letter stickers out and all 3 kids had a great time. Ben mostly looked for X and Z, but created a great letter picture made all the more special because he peeled ALL the stickers by himself! Jasmine and Thomas did some great word pictures with almost no help from me at all. They really just needed a couple of gentle reminders of some of the “rules” of spelling, and one or 2 carefully pronounced words (zebr-A rather than Zeb-r for example!)

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Weekend Catch Up

We don’t really seem to have done anything since we went to the RAF Museum on Thursday. Gordon is working a 10-10 shift, which is making for a long day for both of us. ¬†Somehow this seems even worse then when he works 7am until 7pm. I psych myself up for those days and make sure I have things planned to keep us busy, and then I know I will get conversation not related to The Octonauts, Deadly 60 or LEGO Star Wars when he gets home at 8pm! This 10-10 shift means he is leaving straight after breakfast and then not getting back until 11pm. The time available for non-child centred conversation is almost non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the conversations I have with my kids, and I actually do enjoy watching Deadly 60! But I do also enjoy talking about “grown-up” things to balance it all out!

So, how have we filled our days?

On Friday morning Thomas and Jasmine did some Reading Eggs and some general play¬†occurred¬†and then afer lunch it was off to Forest School. Ben doesn’t go to Forest School yet and I use this opportunity to either try and get him to have a nap or go for a walk around Richmond Park. This time I knew he was really tired from a busy week, and he was asleep before I’d even got to the car park in Richmond Park! I took the opportunity to have a cake and read my Kindle!

On Saturday we started the day really slowly. There was a Play Day on at a local garden centre that I had considered going to, but by the time I’d cleared up from breakfast and everyone was dressed the kids had settled into a game about pirates so I left them to it. After half an hour or so of running round the house shouting about Captain Hook and the Tick Tock Croc they settled down to some jigsaws. This kept them busy for the rest of the morning!

On Saturday afternoon they played with the train track for a while and then settled down to watch a couple of episodes of Deadly 60 and Fierce Earth. After dinner we did some reading together. I am trying to get into the habit of reading with them after dinner, taking it in turns with Thomas to read a book. I have always read to them before they go to bed, but this is me reading to them. Thomas’ reading is really coming on at the moment and I need to build some time into our day where he gets to read a couple of books as well. After dinner, before the bedtime chaos begins, is turning into a good time to do this and calms everyone down nicely at the end of the day.

So far today the kids have been playing with their Octonauts toys, but Jasmine wants to do Reading Eggs and keeps appearing every few minutes to ask if I have finished writing yet.. so I guess I’d better finish here and let her on!

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Our Day Today

We have had one of those days today where we seem to have done a lot of learning without even thinking about it.

It started at breakfast this morning. Jasmine sat down at the table, got her cereal (multigrain boulders) and said “What is 2 plus 3?” So I said she should count it out using her boulders! (She doesn’t have any milk on cereal luckily!) Thomas, of course, wanted to join in so we did some cereal addition as we started the day!

After breakfast I took Jasmine to gymnastics (plenty of social and physical learning opportunities every week) and Gordon stayed at home with the boys.

While I was out Thomas read a book to Ben (literacy) and they chose to play some board games (social, turn-taking, numeracy).  They were still playing when Jasmine and I got back so Jasmine joined in and they chose a couple more to play together. Thomas and Jasmine played Yo Ho Ho, a pirate matching pairs game from Orchard Toys, while I played Red Dog, Blue Dog with Ben (another from Orchard Toys) and finally we played Slug in a Jug, another matching pairs game but this time with rhyming words. In all that I reckon we got literacy, numeracy, social and turn-taking, and colours for Ben!Orchard Toys games

By then it was lunch time but while I was preparing the food the kids were busy with jigsaws and completed some dinosaur ones and a giant alphabet one.

After lunch Jasmine asked to go on Reading Eggs, so more literacy for her. The boys went off to play with Lego and Jasmine followed after her computer session. I think the learning opportunities with Lego are endless and they spent most of the afternoon designing and building models, mostly cars and spaceships and mostly based around Star Wars!

After dinner they asked to watch Deadly 60 (a CBBC wildlife documentary programme) on DVD so we watched one episode and got some science and nature into the day!

While the DVD was on Jasmine got a pencil and paper and started making “a book” with a few words and pictures in. I’m not really sure what it is about but she started of writing “cat” and told me she was going to write “cats have stuff”, but the next time I looked over she told me it was a volcano and lots of water to put the fire out! She has left it out and instructed me not to touch it so she can finish it tomorrow so maybe I’ll find out more then!

Finally, the kids bed time story at the moment is a book from the Astrosaurs series, The Skies of Fears so we fitted in a little more literacy just before bed!


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Sledging, Reading and Writing

We had another snow day today and spent another couple of hours in the park sledging! We also finally built the snowman the kids have been asking about for days, as daddy was with us today and he is much better at building snowmen than I am!

Our SnowmanThis afternoon Thomas and Jasmine both did some Reading Eggs on the computer. As I mentioned recently, in this post, ¬†they have started asking to do “learning” on the computer again and I have to admit I am encouraging this! It amazes me how they just seem to know when they are ready to start again, ready to move on to the next step of their learning. I thought that with the 3/4 month gap they have had, ¬†I would need to take them back a few lessons so they could remember where they were and what to do but it seems I was wrong. They have picked up where they left off and come back with more confidence. Thomas is picking up sight words instantly that 4 months ago he just couldn’t get and Jasmine is finally recognising words and¬†sentences¬†as a whole unit and contextualising words she doesn’t know. It is amazing what a break can do for them it seems!

After they had finished their reading, played some games and bought various new things for their egg houses, they both went on “Magic Desktop”, which I think is a child-friendly browser (it came free on my laptop!) They both love it anyway and it has games, puzzles, a weird talking parrot (!) and a variety of other things including a writing programme called Easy Write. Today this is what Thomas chose to do and he wrote this

Thomas' typingThe only bits he had help with were the “w” at the end of “snow” and the “dg” in the middle of “sledging.” I am very proud!

Finally, the other thing I need to note about today is this

This was entirely the kids own idea, but did take some help from mummy and daddy to make!

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