Tuesday, 25 January 2011

An Obsession

One of the things about home education, you can allow the children to follow their own interests.  Daniel has one obsession, carnivorous plants. He's even started drawing them!

 This is the set up in his bedroom at the moment. This box used to house cacti, but they died long before we moved to the house, but it stops the cats from digging up his seedlings.

The colour in the photos is due to the LED growing light.
He found a thermometer with humidity gauge and has that set up too. 

This doesn't include the plants he has on the window sill in the hallway.  Every day he tends to his little family, is doing research on the Internet and looking to acquire or share seeds and plants.

Friday, 21 January 2011


My kitchen cupboards were raided yesterday, by my budding scientist.  I;m never sure if these experiements are important, or if he just likes making a mess.

Yesterday, he was combining vinegar with baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and cream of tarter to test the gas given off, and in the picture above, how much gas.

If all the baking powder has gone, he won't be getting any more cake this week!

Ho, ho, what fun

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Another Year

Life has been busy and so have the boys, despite the lack of blogging.  They are back to fortnightly ice skating, which has pleased them no end.  This means one week they swim, the next ice skating.

Jonathan spent a couple of days last week in London with some friends.  Whilst there, they visited the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, The Globe Theatre and Tate Modern.  He came back exhausted having thoroughly enjoyed himself.

After spending time with a French speaking family, Jonathan has now decided he would like to learn it too.  This is something we will be looking into this year, but in the meantime, he is using online resources to help him along.

Daniel is now quite involved with growing carnivorous plants and is quite involved with a forum.  He's written about three care sheets published on the forum and is always on the lookout for more information.  He has just saved up for, and bought a hydroponic light, so he can give them all the necessary light over the winter, and to open up opportunities for growing a wider range of plants.  At this rate, we won't be able to get in his bedroom.

Yesterday, Daniel attended an art workshop, and I finally remembered to take the camera.

This time they were exploring the role of each side of the brain in art, particularly when trying to draw perspective and portraits.

After a warm up drawing session, during which Daniel drew this bottle, they were given various exercises to do.
Each exercise was to last about 15 minutes.  The children had to try and draw what they saw, not what they expected to see.  That meant trying to make the 3-D image in their head, 2-D.  The three exercises were to draw their hand, a self portrait, and a picture of someone they knew from memory.

 Daniel wasn't happy with his hand, but seeing it here, you can see he's been able to capture the shape of his hand resting on the table.
 The start of a self portrait.  He didn't get to the portrait from memory.

These exercises highlighted how difficult it was to relax and let the pencil flow.  The natural thing to do what to think about what they were seeing and what they expected to see, making it difficult to be happy with the results.

The next was a writing exercise.  See what it looked like upside down, and then to try and write with the opposite hand.
 The next exercise was to draw outline faces, first with the dominant hand, then to change to the other hand.  This made them all aware of the fight between the two sides of the brain.
The next thing was to copy the image on the board which was a man upside down.  As the picture was the wrong way up, the brain had no preconceived notions as to what it should look like, and in a couple of minutes all of them were able to produce convincing looking men.  This is Daniel's picture turn the right way.
All in all, it was a fascinating afternoon.  We will be looking forward to the next session in February.