Sunday, 29 April 2018

A British Garden

While Ballet Girl and Monkey Girl enter quarter 3 of this year's American High School Diploma, Panda Girl and The Boy started a new thematic unit last week about the British Garden. So far we have covered wildlife habitats, contribution to  the garden eco-system, anatomy, organic gardening, food, recycling, composting and garden art and cooking with honey. 

They filled in these fun books to kick-start their week

We made bird feeders with apples and pumpkin seeds.

We had a very silly snail race.

They found and identified two types of snail for their race.

Such were the silly giggles, the big girls abandoned their studies and came to watch.


Listening to snails. As you do.

Making an overnight pitfall trap to catch ground beetles.

We did a soil and water experiment to identify which type of soil we have (sandy) and what would be best to nourish it for this year's vegetables (compost).

This year my big summer plan is to sort out our over-sized compost heap. We've made some smashing compost in the five years we've lived here so the kiddies dug to the bottom to find it.

Our freshly weeded, ready-to-go veggie/experimental patch was given ten box loads of compost to replenish and enrich its sandy soil, courtesy of the children's hard work.

We've successfully grown sweet peas before but this year we made our own trellises to support them.

Waking the sweet peas seeds with moisture and warmth.

Identifying the insects which fell into yesterday's pitfall traps.

A sunny morning for some garden art.

Using our lovely compost to plant some solo veggies. Rather than focusing on rows of carrots or pumpkins this year, we decided to plant lots of different vegetables, but only one or two of each. 

We discussed all the various ways we can recycle. This was really interesting.

These are smashing worksheets. We've covered garden tools, organic gardening, friend or foe wildlife, recycling and fruit and vegetable families. They've been great discussion openers too.

Save the planet posters, internet inspired :)

More garden art. Mandala inspired :)

A ladybird study

Learning how ladybirds fold their wings under their red or yellow shell.

Making a ladybird house

The origin of the word ladybird, in English and in many other European languages, seems to come from early images of the Virgin Mary whose cloak was depicted in red or brown. I love that!

More bird feeders. This time peanut butter and bird-seed filled yoghurt pots.

We looked at the anatomy of an ant, learning about the head, thorax and abdomen as well as its nerve chord and placement of the heart, brain, stomach and sting. And then we made our own anatomy of an ant study via the medium of bread. Funny and silly and educational all in one :)

And then we ate them for lunch :)

The beginning of a bee study: a honey tasting session.

The kiddies chose their favourite and did some honey marketing.

The Boy has succumbed to chicken pox, which we've been expecting. Poor Boy, he has it quite badly. Panda Girl and I warriored on with homeschooling and made a honey-themed lunch.

We made:
 Honey, lemon and mustard dressed tuna steaks on a bed of puy lentils and lettuce with fried beetroot and spring onion.

Honey-glazed carrots

Orange blossom honey, oranges, vanilla yoghurt and banana smoothies.

Monkey Girl was very happy to assist in the eating. 

Before coming down with chicken pox, The Boy started Tae Kwondo lessons. We managed to find classes that didn't clash with any of our other activities so he's very chuffed. The rugby season draws to a close for him but he continues with his guitar lessons and freestyle gym.

Cadets is back in full swing after the Easter break as is dance (this year's dance production was this weekend. Tired girls all round).

Expecting the baby to get chicken pox this coming week. Huzzah.