Friday, 9 September 2011

An Award for Me!?

Tiger gave me this award in our First Week of Year 2:

awarded to Mummy for: not giving me lessons

A wonderful start of the year.  One in which my son was so grateful to me for not giving him lessons.  That says a lot about what goes on here, don't you think?

Here is the story:

Day 1 - We started our Year 2 with vigour, completed everything well in time, ticked all the boxes for a 'scholarly day'.  It rained for the whole day, so instead of whining about the weather, we were fantastically productive.

Day 2 - We continued our scholarly ways in the morning by working hard at our desk when the sun shone in.  I looked out of the window and thought, "It's sunny today!  Why are we working at our desk indoors?"  So I told Tiger that we were not going to have anymore lessons for the rest of the day.  It was then that he jumped out of his seat, scampered to his bedroom, danced down the stairs after a few minutes and presented me with the above mentioned award.

No lessons does not mean no learning though, as veteran homeschoolers will tell you.  We went out and did our Autumn Watch nature walk.  Signs of autumn are everywhere: ripening fruit, freshly harvested and plowed fields, leaves changing colours.  It's such a beautiful time of the year that I feel obliged to write a separate post on what we saw on this autumn walk.

Rest of the week...
Since we follow a chronological order in our history study, we picked up where we had left off in our British History in the summer -- the Normans.

Mountfitchet Castle, being the only fully reconstructed Norman Village with a wooden castle in the world, was a very relevant choice for our field trip.  The significance of starting our medieval studies with this field trip is that wooden castles were what the Normans had introduced to England, before stone castles were put in place.

A medieval reenactment group was on site during our visit to demonstrate to us archery, medieval life and medieval combat.  The archery demonstration was very informative.  We were shown the differences between the different types of arrowheads and the reasons for their distinctive designs; the history of archery; how to shoot the longbow; when the different bows were used.

Besides exploring the place in detail by ourselves, we also had an independent historian/researcher for an hour to explain to us the intricate details of that period in history, and provided us with additional historical tidbits such as the use of the outdoor toilets and how that relates to the word "council", how the first owner of the site was related to William the Conqueror and the site's relationship to the Magna Carta.  History comes alive in very interesting ways when it is learned from being on site, and from sources other than from a textbook.

As a follow up of the trip, and to cement our learning, Tiger worked through an activity/guide book by the castle, and read a book relating to this period.

However, what Tiger really enjoyed was the following Usborne activity book.  The stickers are less fiddly than paper dolls, and they are reusable in the sense that he can peel them off and use them on other pages when he feels like changing the armour for the knights.

Since this is our 'history review week', we watched a few clips to refresh our memory of the Norman monarchs that we have studied before our summer break: from William I to King Stephen.  However, I am not entirely happy with this set of documentaries for two reasons:
1) One of the narrators has a voice that is somewhat monotonous, which is very bad news when you are trying to make a historical event sound interesting;

2) The other narrator presents a few of the minor historical points as though they are accepted truths, when in fact these points are still being contested.  Luckily I am aware of these points and thus was able to point them out to Tiger as they appeared in the clips.  The documentary would have been more credible if the narrator had simply pointed out that these points are still being contested by historians and scholars, rather than presenting them as conclusive truths.

Meanwhile, I have my pile of books to read in my 'reading corner' on the table:

This post is listed on several blog hops, where you can see what other homeschoolers have been busy with this week.


  1. What an awesome field trip! Great week!

  2. Wow. This looks wonderful. I peaked in from a blog hop. I hope you don't mind if I follow along. It looks like it will be a great year for you! We are doing Egypt with one son. And, I am doing Greek/Rome with my daughter. I saw that you had another post that discussed these periods. I think some of those books you listed will be helpful to me! Thank You.


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