Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Toffee Apples and Hedgehog Homes

We've never made toffee apples before so the appeal of Autumn and all its potential meant this year we had to give it a go.

Soak 4 apples in boiling water, dry and skewer
Pour 50ml of water and 200g of caster sugar into a pan and stir gently on a high heat for 5 minutes
Add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
Stir until ready (when you drop a blob into cold water it hardens immediately)
Pour over apples

I felt like we'd made some sort of indestructible material! The toffee was super sticky and solid and unbreakable! But I suppose that's half the fun!

We also made hedgehog homes today. The Boy chose a spot hidden under a plant at the back of a flower bed. Good choice! He filled it with leaves and straw.

Panda Girl chose a great spot by the compost heap, under the hazel tree. She filled hers with leaves and straw too and both kiddies put sand in the front to track any footprints.

The Farm Shop remains a hit.

This afternoon/evening consisted of workbooks, guitar lessons and ballet classes.

Monday, 3 October 2016


We've done this project every year since we started homeschooling 11 years ago! The theme is the same but we do new and different activities every year. Last year we focused on hibernation and animal migration. This year I thought we'd mix and match with some outside activities and some science activities.

The kiddies started their week with a farm shop. Each fruit or vegetable came with a price tag per 100 grams and the kiddies had to work out the prices depending on weight. Fun + maths = learning.

Peeling pears to make...

...stewed pears.

We learnt how chlorophyll is the dominant pigment in leaves. There are other pigments in leaves but they can't be seen while the chlorophyll dominates during the summer months. 

As the sun hours lessen in the Autumn the chlorophyll stops dominating and the other colours come through. The pigment carotenoid is yellow and orange.

Red pigment is called anthocyanin and is not there all year round. It is produced in the autumn if there is sufficient sunlight. That is why mild autumns produce particularly spectacular colours.

I asked the children to create their own way of explaining this science behind leaf colour.

The Boy made a green leaf canopy which opened to show yellow and orange leaves and their pigment names. He glued these in to show their permanent, if not visible, place in a leaf. The red leaves he blue-tac-ed in to show that not every autumn has enough sunlight for anthocyanin sugar production.

Monkey Girl made a lovely sliding picture to demonstrate the pigment names. Brown pigment is called tannin. This is particularly visible in oak tress.

Panda girl made a poster with pigment names and an explanation of the changing seasons.

And then we made a bug hotel.

The boy placed pebbles on the top in an 'L' shape for 'landing' to show the dragonflies where to land. Cute!

Composers From the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Eras

We've just finished a three week unit on classical music composers from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic music eras. It was unusual for us in that we didn't really chop and change our learning styles as we went along. Normally our units will include some interactive work, creative work, reading, writing, making, cooking, field trips etc. 

But this unit focused mostly on one composer a day, where we listened to some of their work (they were all male!) and created a page or two in a scrap book about their lives, work and how they interacted or otherwise with other composers.

We did make some tiny musical instruments out of Lego though!

Here's our list of composers:



J. S. Bach








Strauss Jnr.



... and Debussy, who took us firmly into the 20th Century.