Monday, 31 May 2010

What we're learning about

It's a while since I've chatted about our 'work' here. I call it 'work' but it really doesn't feel like it. We're still having fun and still being lead by Hermione's interests, (which thankfully tend to balance out across a really broad spectrum of subjects).

We're doing lots of work on Mathletics. It's helping her mental arithmetic no end and it's also brought lots of rather dry areas of maths to life. I was chatting to one of Hermione's friends who goes to school and she was telling me how they share text books and have to copy all the questions out before they even begin answering them - sheesh, that must waste so much time! I think it's one of the really strong points about online maths programmes - they can rattle through so much so quickly.

We're currently reading this version of The Canterbury Tales. The language is very much toned down in comparison to the original. It does contain words such as 'fart' but I think that just makes it all the more appealing to some! Hermione has roared with laughter at many parts.

We've been looking at Mystery Plays, considering medieval entertainment and how entertainment has changed over the course of time.

We've added an additional column for literature to our English history timeline so that we can see at a glance the progression through from he likes of Chaucer, to Shakespeare, to Jane Austen, to Mary Shelley, to the Bronte sisters and so on. We'll keep adding to it just as we do our history discoveries.

We have spent a while recently looking at the English Civil War. Prior to becoming a home educator the only things I really though of in Staurt times was the Great Plague, Gun Powder Plot and Great Fire. I'm ashamed to say it but the Civil War seemed to totally pass me by somehow. Thankfully I've now educated myself about it. Miles has quite enjoyed listening to tales of roundheads and cavaliers too!

Biology has featured quite heavily of late round here too. We have done quite a lot of work on biomes and animal classifications. We're soon going to re visit food webs too and on this occasion look much more particularly at man's place in the food web and the impact he has upon it.

I have obtained information from various mental health charities and we are going to start discussing mental health issues soon. We touched upon mental health when we read Jane Eyre a short time ago but we are going to look back and explore in more detail. We are going to research attitudes towards mental health and bigamy in the Victorian era so as to get a better understanding of one of the main characters in Jane Eyre - Rochester. Was he harsh and cruel or do his actions just reflect societal norm at that time? We're hoping to find out whilst also comparing and contrasting the current societal views on mental health.

Australia is a bit of a hot topic. Hermione is very keen to learn about it at the moment. I'm not sure what has triggered her interest and I'm trying hard to satisfy her thirst for information about it. We've spent a while looking at various resources about the aborigines and very early settlers. We're hoping to visit a place in Durham where prisoners were brought from the prison and loaded onto boats bound for there. Next on the list is the climate.

So, that's how we're spending part of our days at the moment. Looking at this and that, exploring, going off at tangents and finally finding our way back again. We're also swimming anything from two to five times a week, pottering outdoors and hanging out with friends. We're comfortably occupied as opposed to being flat out and I think that's how it will have to stay for some time. Nana's time in hospital has been a bit of a wake up call to me. I'm reassessing a lot of what we do and trying to think of ways in which to make life easier, reduce traveling etc etc..

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