Mundane Monday; Dippy Tuesday

It’s been a busy few weeks, with hardly any time for work between music courses, trips away, visitors and all the other things we’ve had going on. Monday felt like a good day to get things going again, first of the month, first day of term and so on. We started with some EFL worksheets for L (I’m planning to print off a whole folder for him to work through at his own pace, alongside the everyday English he’s learning) and then Maths for everybody. Lfish and Afish are both on Singapore Maths (rubbing out previous children’s work as they go – I’m such a mean (impoverished) Mummy!), L and Kfish working through Galore Park books 2 and 3 respectively and Jfish has a GCSE textbook and some practice papers to play with, when he gets round to it – NMYBB and HO have caught up with him for the moment and he’s suffering a severe bout of man flu.
A quick bounce on the trampoline and then we got out the History books and went right back to Prehistoric Britain for the beginning of the History project we’re planning to use as our topic-based learning for the next term or two. Music practices and an archaeology game filled the rest of the afternoon, and the after-dinner slot had just enough time for an extra slice of GBBO before bed 🙂
Yesterday evening I spotted an event taking place today at our local nature reserve, so today we cut bookwork short and made our way there. Jfish was sound asleep, having been woken in the night by a nosebleed, so we woke him enough to ask if he wanted to come and then left him to it. He was still asleep when we got back, so that was obviously what he needed.
The reserve proved to be a fairly long way down a little road near us, so I was glad we had taken the car. We parked and walked along the track, encouraged on our way by little signs with information and suggestions of things to look out for on our way. These included dewberries, which I’d not knowingly eaten before, but which Afish and I enjoyed (the others all turned their noses up *sigh*), blackberries and elderberries as well as various insects, birds and animals. When we finally arrived we found a very friendly warden and a group of helpful and chatty volunteers. There was one other family there, but they were about to leave, which meant the four children had an adult each and I could let them get on with learning while I watched and listened too 🙂 We started with pond dipping, which yielded a multitude of tiny snails, leeches, water boatmen in various stages of life, diving beetles with their bubbles of air for scuba, zebra mussels, bloodworms, mayfly, damselfly and caddis larvae and even a couple of water scorpions.
Moving on to bug hunting the children were determined to catch a butterfly – and indeed L managed to catch two, one with the help of a volunteer adult and the other with Lfish. As with the pond dipping, we had identification charts and magnifying pots to help us work out what we’d found, as well as the knowledgeable warden and volunteers. We gave up on the spiders though; they’re just too hard to differentiate!
The morning was rounded off with birdwatching, using binoculars to look across the water to the island where a multitude of waterfowl congregate. We managed to spot greater crested grebe, Canada geese, mute swans (although the one which was huffing and snorting disgustedly at the excess of people and lack of biscuits while we pond dipped seemed to be grossly misnamed!), coots, moorhens, teal, a pair of buzzards (overhead, not in the water ;)), a cormorant and others too far away to be certain.
It was a really good morning – lots of fun, lovely weather, wonderful people and lots of learning taking place. Sadly the reserve may not be there much longer; there are plans to build a road right through the middle of it and the various protests and petitions raised so far seem to be having little effect 🙁

We came back and had lunch, looking through a powerpoint on respiration at the same time (ready for Science tomorrow), then out came the Maths again. I had planned to do other things this afternoon, but after such a productive morning it felt as though maths and music might be enough. Various games happened, L and Afish made a marble run, we found some video clips of pop songs transposed from minor to major keys and vice versa and talked about how that changed the feel of the music… Your usual kind of HE afternoon really 😉