This month we have been dipping our toes into the wonders of the solar system, we have touched on this many times before but it’s such a fantastic topic we are looking a little more in depth this time. You may notice that week 3 is missing quite a bit, this is because Lily decided to share a sickness bug with us all and we all fell like dominos, one after the other so any kind of structured learning went out the window that week and instead lots of video games were played, crafts crafted and TV watched.
Read chapters 1-2 of Matilda
Write a character profile on Mr Wormwood – I got this off Twinkl, they have a lovely selection of Matilda themed worksheets!
Read chapters 3-4 of Matilda
Think of a way to prank Mr. Wormwood – We all know Matilda stuck a hat on his head but I set Eloise the task of thinking up her own prank for the miserable crook.
Read chapters 5-8 of Matilda – Eloise is a fast reader so she has no problem with polishing off upwards of 4 chapters a night so we caught up with our reading by the first day of week 4 and shes now on chapter 12.
Draw Matilda and her family in the style of Quentin Blake – This is part art part English I guess, anything art wise that I can squeeze in I do because El is really loving her art at the moment.
Complete Miss Trunchbull character profile – Another free worksheet from Twinkl, there is a whole collection of free Matilda resources for Eloise’s age group which are great!
Spellings – This is an ongoing thing. Eloise absolutely loves spellings, she loves being tested on them and finding out the definitions of new words. She is currently smashing year 5-6 exception words and we are soon to move onto year 7 words.
With maths, as I said last month, we work out way through a workbook which covers all the curriculum topics for year 4. We do a page or two of this most days, I find this really helps highlight any areas we need to go over a bit more.
Design a Minecraft house – I gave Eloise some squared paper and asked her to design a house to make in Minecraft. This helps to support the topic of areas.
Minecraft play – Due to spending a lot of this month ill Minecraft has been played quite a bit. It may not seem like much at a glance but Minecraft is fantastic for helping children understand areas and line work. You can talk about parallel lines, even create graphs and 2D and 3D shapes (although granted, the shapes you’re able to create are very blocky) while being able to visually see sides. You can really use Minecraft to your advantage with simple maths.
Do stars shine in the day? – We made our own star using a roll of black paper with a star shape cut out on the end. We shone a torch through it during the day which of course we couldn’t see even though we knew it was there. We then shone it at night and low and behold we could see it. This simple experiment helps kids understand that stars are always there but the sun is brighter meaning we may only be able to see them at night, but they are always there.
Study the order of the planets – For this, we listened to a silly song on YouTube about the solar system. I still remember the song my old science teacher played in a lesson once like 15 years later.
Research the Moon – YouTube videos and a giant book about the solar system for this.
Record the Moon’s phases – This will be an ongoing activity from the whole month. I found a free worksheet online where they shade in what the Moon looks like each night for a month. Being able to see the Moon in real life and record its phases from their own bedroom window is much more fun than looking online.
Research the Sun – Books, YouTube videos, etc. The giant solar system book we have is coming in handy with this topic! Eloise had it opened up on the sofa and her and Lily were looking through it, Eloise was teaching Lily various facts about the Sun which I also find is such a great way to help them learn! Lily is too little to really grasp the mass, composition, and distance from the Earth but the act of reading these facts out is great to aid understanding.
Watercolour planets – We painted the planets in order using watercolours using colours as accurate as possible. This had Eloise looking a lot more closely at the details of the different surfaces.
Research a planet – I have created a worksheet for Eloise to fill in with her chosen planet although we will be working through them all eventually. It covers simple facts such as mass, distance from the sun, moons, temperature, composition, orbit etc.
Locate Germany on a map – Self-explanatory really. I always have Eloise do this independently to make her more comfortable with locating places, using an index, etc.
Find out who Germany’s president is – Again, Google researching I have her do independently, she is very confident in finding her way around Google. I think this is an invaluable skill to have. The freedom to open up a webpage and discover thousands upon thousands of new things.
President fact file – I threw together a worksheet on photoshop for Eloise to fill in with her findings. It covered a portrait, simple facts such as name, date of birth, place of birth as well as any other facts that interest her.
Research Germany – I got Eloise’s Atlas out and we went through the pages about Germany. I picked her children atlas for this one because they have pages of facts about each country too which is perfect.
Germany fact file – For this, I threw together a worksheet with a map of Germany on and asked Eloise to write down any facts about the country that she found interesting.
Draw Germany’s flag – I’m going to get her to do this for every country we research to help familiarise her with different flags.
Research German foods – One of our activities this month is to make a German dish to try and so I set this to find some foods that Eloise would actually eat. She looked online, in videos and books to find different German foods and wrote a list of the ones she liked the look of.
Try a German food – We had planned to cook our own from scratch but a stomach bug meant we missed out on a whole week of plans so we made some good old hot dogs for dinner and talked about how a Frankfurter got its name.
Locate Egypt on a map – With her Mysteries in Time box, Eloise got a huge poster map which we have stuck up by her desk which is perfect for these tasks.
Read Mysteries in Time booklet – Each month these boxes come with a booklet full to the brim with facts, colouring sheets and quizzes.
Build a pyramid in Minecraft – El loves Minecraft and it’s perfect for maths but I thought this would be a great way to learn through play.
Design an Ancient Egyptian makeup look – Eloise loves playing around with makeup and can apply mascara better than I can somehow. She designed a lovely, elaborate eye make up look fit for Cleopatra.
Independent research – Eloise loves history and knows a heck of a lot already so I tend to let her run with it, she can research very well independently and I find a lot more sticks if I let her just do her own thing with it.
Play Minecraft – This probably doesn’t seem like a lesson but the Egyptian Mythology texture pack is great for giving the feel of Egypt, in block form obviously but they have Egyptian themed animals, the Great Sphinx of Giza (which Eloise immediately broke the nose of so it could match history) as well as themed music and masses of desert.
Research supernatural beings of Ancient Egypt – To keep in with the spooky Halloween week I set this task for Eloise.
Write a message using hieroglyphics – I bought some papyrus paper off a home education seller on eBay for this along with some paintbrushes and some paint.
Mud + Bloom Box – We are currently reviewing these Mud + Bloom boxes (keep your eyes peeled!) so we have been kindly sent October and soon to be Novembers boxes to test out and so far Eloise is really enjoying them! I have a feeling we will be signing up to them come December! This month we planted some snowdrop bulbs together which are sat outside out backdoor ready to bloom next year!
Mask Making – We went to the RSC greek mythology mask making craft event where the girls made minotaur masks.
Pumpkin carving – Every year I get Eloise to design her own pumpkin and help her carve it.
Collages – A lot of crafts were done when the kids were ill, one of crafts Eloise joined in with was dinosaur collages. I picked up some foam dinosaur shapes and sequins from eBay for Lily but Eloise loved joining in too.
Leaf bowl – This was one of this month’s Mud + Bloom box activities. Eloise thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck in (quick literally, a lot of glue was involved, haha) and create a lovely autumnal (and eco-friendly!) bowl.
Chalk art – Chunky chalks and garden patios make for a heck of a lot of simple, but fun art.
Independent art – Eloise is forever drawing something, she particularly likes anime at the moment and has created her own flare on this art style using pencils, pastels and paints.
Overcooked 2 – This is a game that Eloise and Ben play together a lot. You play as a chef have to race against the clock to complete as many orders as you can. The ingredients are quite simple but accurate all the same.
Minecraft – Eloise has sucked me into the world on Minecraft and while I still don’t get it (she’s teaching me on this one!) and can’t say I particularly have the passion for it I have certainly been enjoying building our own world out of blocks. Problem-solving, quick thinking, memory testing, survival skills (albeit digital) all come into play (soz for the pun). She’s also been playing with the Egyptian Mythology texture pack which ties in with our Ancient Egypt topic this month!
Dance – Eloise missed a few dance sessions this month due to being ill and also sessions being canceled but she’s done lots of practicing at home and is determined to do the splits so she’s been doing lots of stretching!
Autumn walk – We went on some lovely autumnal walks this month and collected leaves for our leaf bowl craft activity in the Mud + Bloom box as well as collected conkers, sticks and lots of other seasonal nature bits to investigate and craft with.
Lip syncing – Eloise has been inspired by Tik Tok and YouTube videos to have a go at her own lip-syncing videos. While she’s not allowed to have her videos public on Tik Tok for obvious reasons she still loves filming and editing them broadening her editing, rhythm and memory skills all in one.
Sweetie cones – We made a bunch of sweetie cones for trick or treater this Halloween. We ended up having literally no trick or treaters knock because our house is so hidden away but we had fun making them all the same.
Cottage Pie – Eloise helped me batch cook cottage pie this month. We went to the butchers to get the minced beef and talked about how to cook mince, watched the colour change and how to tell when it’s cooked, etc. I don’t normally cook with meat so Eloise hasn’t really seen raw meat up close and personal so this was a new experience for her.
Operation Ouch on CBBC – This is on every day on CBBC and Eloise loves it, it’s packed full of first aid and science although mainly the human body/biology side of things all explained in a fun way. They do experiments, follow children going to the hospital for various reasons as well as explore weird and wonderful medical methods such as maggots being used to clean wounds.
The Week Junior – This month again, I purchased this magazine for El. It’s not ridiculously expensive like most other magazines and it’s packed full of real-life news happening now so there are lots of talking points in there!
Pumpkin Picking – We visited a lovely little farm this month to pick some pumpkins to carve for Halloween. We also got to see bits of the farm including the turkeys, get up close and personal in a lovely old tractor as well as hitch a ride in a trailer pulled by an even bigger tractor. A simple activity like this more often than not comes with many, many learning opportunities that most people wouldn’t even notice. Being able to get in a tractor, see all the controls as well as a massive field full of pumpkins, seeing how the plants grow and seeing pumpkins at various growth stages are all educational experiences.
Mask Making at the Swan Theatre – We went to a free greek mythology themed mask-making workshop at the RSC. Both girls made minotaur masks with the prettiest metallic purple paint I’ve ever seen, pom poms, leaves, sparkles, paints, and paint pens. It was a brilliant little activity and kids of all ages were loving it!
Art Gallery at the RSC – During our trip out to the craft session at the Swan Theatre we decided to have a quick look around the art gallery there. Eloise particularly liked the Lego portrait of Shakespeare.
Pets at Home Creature Care Workshop – During half term Pets at Home held a workshop where one of the staff take time to teach children about the ins and outs of caring for pets. Eloise was able to choose whatever animal she wanted to learn about and we able to hold and stroke each of them and ask any questions she wanted. She was particularly shocked to find out that gerbils can drop their tails if a predator was to grab them by it. El chose to get up close and personal with a toast loving hamster called Phoebe, a little red-eyed gerbil, a guinea pig called Harry and a lionhead rabbit called Frankenstein who she became rather fond of after finding out how he had been poorly after being bullied by another rabbit. Eloise thoroughly enjoyed this workshop although it was slightly heartbreaking how she connected with the little bunny because he had been bullied like she had. It’s so awful how 3 years on it still affects her and it just makes me wish I’d never sent her to school in the first place.