Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Alphabets and Communication

For June's Project Club, we did different alphabets that people use for special communication.  We all learned to read and say the same letters of the same alphabet but not everyone can speak, see, or hear.

We learned about Braille and how Louis Braille was inspired to develop Braille.  It stems from Night Writing which was developed by Charles Barbier.  He developed a system of dots that needed a 12 cell (12 dots in the cell) and it was too hard for the soldiers to read it quickly without moving their fingers.

Louis Braille felt it and devised the current alphabet that blind or visually impaired people use to read.  It is a six cell or six dots in the cell.  This means that the reader can feel it with their finger tip without moving the finger.

We then looked at finger spelling which is something deaf people use to communicate.  We concentrated on four different alphabets for sign language.  ASL - American Sign Language, LSF (langue des signes française), Die Deutsche Gebärdensprache (German Sign Language), and finally BSL (British Sign Language).

What was interesting to me is that the American, German, and French finger spelling is all done with one hand.  British finger spelling uses two hands.  I found resources for both left and right handed people.

We then moved on to communicating with people who are not close to you.  There are two special codes that we found for this (note there are several more but we focused on two!).  We found Morse code which is an alphabet made up of combinations dots and dashes.  This can be communicated by sound and by light and means you don't need to be in the same room with someone.  We also found semaphore which is one of MANY codes for communicating with flags.  We decided to assign this to the category of military because many of the training videos that we found for Morse code and semaphore were for the military.


Here are our photos:

This is the whole board along with some resources for the other families.


Braille and Night Writing

Various Sign Language Alphabets

Morse Code, Semaphore and Ken holding Semaphore flags :-) 

We were inspired to learn more about telegraphs and how they worked and so in the future may do a project on that. :-)


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Holidays in May

We go to a monthly Project Club and each family who attends works on a project in between sessions.  When we meet, we present our projects to each other.  As this has developed, it has gone from me doing most of the talking or presenting to M doing it and I occasionally add little bits of information in to clarify something.

For May's session, we did some North American holidays or celebrations in May.

Here is May's project board:



We learned about Cinco de Mayo which is celebrated on the fifth of May in Mexico and by Mexican-Americans.  It commemorates the unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over the French Army.

We moved on to Mother's Day which is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.  We learned about Mothering Sunday in the UK and then how Mother's Day came to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May in America.  President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 designating that Sunday in May to be Mother's Day.  This is also celebrated in Canada on the same day.

We learned about Victoria Day which is celebrated in Canada (and some parts of Scotland) and is celebrated on the Monday before the 24th of May which was Queen Victoria's birthday.  Queen Victoria was the first queen of Canada.

We learned a bit about Memorial Day which is celebrated in America on the last Monday in May.  It used to be on the 30th of May but then it was decided to have it on the last Monday in May.  This is because in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday.  This created a three day weekend for people.  It is a Day to remember all who fought and died in the US wars.  It is similar to Remembrance Day.  Originally it was called Decoration Day and people decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Daffodils, Marie Curie, and St David's Day



We did a project on daffodils which also covered Marie Curie and St David's Day.  We made daffodils out of toilet paper rolls and paper.  We painted them green for the stems/leaves.  We cut some others to look like the trumpet-shaped corona and painted them yellow.  We made some petals out of paper and painted them yellow as well.  Once everything was dry, we assembled them.


















Here is our display from when M presented her project to her peers from the Project Club.


She spoke about the life cycle of the daffodil, Marie Curie and her discoveries and St David's Day.  They are all related because the daffodil is the emblem of both Marie Curie Cancer Care (a charity in the UK) and St David's Day.

We learned that daffodil is a perennial flower or plant.  This means that you plant it and it will continue to grow for more than two years.  The life cycle is planting, pre-bloom, bloom, preparing for dormancy and then dormancy.  It will continue to do this until the bulb eventually dies out or is removed from the ground.

In Canada daffodil month is April, however, in the UK March is daffodil month.  They bloom in March and people wear them on their lapels as a symbol of support for a certain charity. That charity is Marie Curie Cancer Care.  Why is the daffodil their symbol?   The daffodil is one of the first plants to flower in spring, which marks the return of flowering plants to the eco-system after winter hibernation. Because of this the charity uses the daffodil as a metaphor for bringing life to other people through charitable giving.

Marie Curie was born in Poland on 7th November 1867.  This year will mark the 150th anniversary of her birth.  Her sister Zofia died of typhus when Marie was 10 years old.  Two years later Marie's mother died of tuberculosis.  She finished high school when she was 15.  she's the first female scientist to win a Nobel Prize in any science.  She is the only person who has ever won Nobel Prizes in two disciplines – Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911).

She was the first woman to receive a PHD (Doctorate of Philosophy) from a French university.  She had to leave Poland in order to continue her studies as women were not allowed to go to university in Poland.  She met and married Pierre Curie in 1895.  After he died in a horse carriage accident, she took over his teaching position and was the first female professor at the Sorbonne.

Pierre and Marie Curie discovered Polonium (named after Marie's birth country) and Radium – two elements of the periodic table.  Her research was very important to developing treatment for cancer.  She discovered the x-ray and during WWI she helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment which drove to the front lines.  The trucks were called Little Curies (les petits Curies) and are believed to have helped over one million soldiers during the war.

The Radium Institute specialised in cancer research and treatment.  Scientists from around the world came to her institute to study radioactivity.  She was a personal friend or contemporary of Albert Einstein.  She died in 1934 of leukaemia which was caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.  Her books are still kept under lock and key because of they are still radioactive due to the exposure to radiation.

Here are some videos about Marie Curie (one of them has a word that my daughter thought was vulgar.  I can't remember which one so I recommend watching them before you show your child):

http://easyscienceforkids.com/marie-curie-facts-video-for-kids/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEV4KJBJvEg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4jCTiGSuwU

Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.  It falls on the 1st of March, which is the date of Saint David's death in 589 AD. The feast has been celebrated since the canonisation of David in the 12th century (by Pope Callistus II).  It is not a national or bank holiday in the UK.

Legend has it that on the eve of the battle against the Saxons, St David advised the Britons to wear leeks in their caps.  This helped them to distinguish friend from foe and secured a great victory.  It is also a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek. (Yuck!)

The Welsh word for leek (the original national emblem) is Cenhinen, while the Welsh word for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr. Over the years they became confused until the daffodil was adopted as a second emblem of Wales.

We really enjoyed this project and putting together our display board.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading about it :-) 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

100 Days of Home Ed

This is a blog post from my other blog Home Educated Not Invisible and I decided that it is worth sharing here too!

There was a story in the media about home education earlier this month.  This particular family follow a philosophy that is called Autonomous Education which is also known by some as Unschooling.  There are some subtle differences between the two but that is not the focus of today's post.

As a result of this story, there came the idea to use hashtags things like #NotMyHomeEd and #100DaysofHomeEd.  There is a "challenge" on Facebook and Instagram to post a photo or a selection of photos each day of how home education looks for your family with the 100 Days of Home Ed hashtag.

I've decided not to do that on Facebook but to post a few of my favourite photos in a single blog post from the first of September until present day.  Home education for me is about much more than the three Rs,  It's about family, community, academics and more!


We learned that people appreciate things that you do.  This pair of earrings was a lovely surprise from a family who appreciates the trips and groups that I organise for home educators.



We go to a monthly Science Club and this is the project that we did on clouds.  We used cotton balls to make our clouds.


We also did a little experiment to learn about the water cycle.  We placed two of these in different windows to see which one would 'rain' in the cup.



 All work and no play makes for a dull time.  This is our favourite local playground!  :-) 



The next two photos are for a blog post that I did on extracting the colour from leaves.  Hop on over to my other blog, Tales of Education at Home, to read how I did it and how it worked out for me!



This is a photo from my Melting Ice Experiment blog post over at  Tales of Education at Home  we were testing to see what would melt ice fastest, table salt, sugar, or air temperature.


We visited a local Tudor Hall and this is a picture of the peacock pie which was very popular among the wealthy folk in those days.


This is a picture of the bath that they had in Tudor times.  This was a rich person's bath.


The boar's head or pig's head - again another popular food item for the rich.


 This is a statue in the garden.  It is a girl dancing with her cat.


We went on a workshop to a local Pizza Express and we got to make Margherita pizza.   We learned about the history of pizza.


Many people are not fans of Hallowe'en for their own personal reasons.  I grew up with the custom of it and M wants to do it too.  We decided to make a jack-o-lantern in the back garden.



We started a project on World War 1 and this is a replica of a tank from that time.  This was made by local apprentices who are taking college course.



We also learned about volcanoes and M made her own very simple and rough volcano with a paper towel roll and a piece of cardboard.




We went to a film festival and saw four films in four different cinemas!  This was the best photo which is Printworks in Manchester.


I believe in giving something to the community and I teach that to my daughters.  We went to a local supermarket and did some fundraising (playing Christmas carols) for a local hospice.  This was my box that I carried to the supermarket.


We all had t-shirts to wear and M even played a solo or two for us.  She also offered chocolates to the people who donated.


We spent two days going around to eight care homes to play Christmas carols.  In the care homes M and I played this duet on our recorders.  We also used this duet for our monthly Project Club.  Music takes a lot of effort to make.



We made an apple pie on Christmas Day.  It was superb!


M received a collection of nail polish colours for Christmas and she was giving me manicures every day!  This was my New Year's Eve manicure :-)


We went on a tour of the Manchester Central Library Archives and learned that the bee is the symbol of Manchester.  The next photo is the cotton flower as Manchester has a long history in the textile industry.



We celebrated family - a wedding anniversary and a special birthday!


We had a trip to a local Buddhist Centre.  This is a picture of the group getting ready in the main hall for the guided meditation.  The person in orange is the resident monk at the temple.


Music is an important part of our education process.  M plays the recorder and in November she played in a recorder festival and won a trophy!


We went to a local farm and had cuddles with Charlie!  Charlie is a cute little guinea pig.


We have started a theme of Science Club and Project Club projects.  We are doing Alexander Graham Bell.  This is the start of the liquid transmitter and the first prototype of the telephone.  We will make another style of  telephone and M wants to make a smart phone.





This is an experiment that demonstrates capillary action with water and toothpicks.


We went to Manchester Central Library (Archives) again and M wanted to learn about asylums.  This record is from 1891.  We were touching a very old book!


After visiting the Central Library, we went to a nice cafe for lunch and then to the Manchester Art Gallery.





We don't follow term breaks or school hours so our #100DaysofHomeEd will be different to 100 days of school.  We do things seven days a week.  We have more special trips coming up.    We are going back to the Tudor Hall and we will be visiting a mosque, a gurdwara, and a synagogue.  We will be returning to the farm in April to see some babies that are due to arrive then  😍  

I have lots of families booking on to these trips. This means that the children are seeing lots of other children and are definitely not hiding! ... Oops!  I mean invisible 😇

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Four Seasons by Vivaldi

This week's topic on Unit Study Roundup is Spring.

I decided to write about something by one of my favourite composers and one of his compositions that happens to tie in with the theme of Spring. Antonio Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons which has music to represent the four seasons.  It is a group of four concerti.  Each concerto has three movements.  A concerto is a piece of music that features a particular instrument and has orchestral accompaniment.  It is different to a symphony which is a piece that is for the whole orchestra without featuring a soloist.  Whenever you see concerto for violin, that tells you that the violin is the feature or soloist instrument of the piece of music.

Vivadi composed The Four Seasons and also wrote some poems to go along with it.  Here is a link to the poems in their original Italian and translated into English: The Four Seasons Sonnets


Vivaldi's arrangement of The Four Seasons is as follows and I have included a link to each of the concerti so that you can listen to them idividually:

Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, "Spring"" (La primavera)
Allegro (in E major)
Largo e pianissimo sempre (in C♯ minor)
Allegro pastorale (in E major)

Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, "Summer" (L'estate)
Allegro non molto (in G minor)
Adagio e piano - Presto e forte (in G minor)
Presto (in G minor)

Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, "Autumn" (L'autunno)
Allegro (in F major)
Adagio molto (in D minor)
Allegro (in F major)

Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, "Winter" (L'inverno)
Allegro non molto (in F minor)
Largo (in E♭ major)
Allegro (in F minor)

If you don't want to listen to all of the concerti individually, here is a link of the Budapest Strings playing The Four Seasons  and their conductor is Bela Banfalvi,

Who was Antonio Vivaldi?    He was born on March 4, 1678, in Venice, Italy, Antonio Vivaldi was ordained as a priest though he instead chose to follow his passion for music. He died on July 28, 1741.  He is composer from the Baroque era.

His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was a professional violinist who taught his young son to play too.  Vivaldi sought religious training as well as musical instruction.When he was 15, he began studying to become a priest. He was ordained in 1703. Vivaldi was known as "il Prete Rosso," or "the Red Priest" because he had red hair.

Vivaldi's work, including nearly 500 concertos, have influenced subsequent composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, who just so happens to be another one of my favourite composers and yes, he is from the Baroque era too.

If you would like to read more about Vivaldi, go to the Biography website to learn more about this wonderful composer.









Here are the other blog posts on the topic of Spring for this week's Unit Study Roundup:

8 Spring Kids Crafts You'll Want To Do Today! from Playdough & Popsicles

Get Outside with a Spring Scavenger Hunt {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME

Nature Walks in the Spring - Books, Printables, & Activities from Faith and Good Works

Planting with Preschoolers from Bambini Travel

Children's Books About Spring from The Jenny Evolution

Spring Writing Prompts from Schooling a Monkey.com

The Four Seasons by Vivaldi from Tales of Education at Home

50 Spring Crafts for Kids from Look! We're Learning!

Hanami: Celebrating Spring under Cherry Blossoms in Japan from FrogMom

Spring Color by letter/ sight word worksheets from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading



If you want more great resources visit the home base of our Free Unit Studies and find 60+ topics and 100's of fun and informative blog posts.