Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

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crafting Egyptian style

Tuesday was The Lunch Bunch’s Egypt day.  There is a great study of Egypt in Core 1 of the Sonlight programme.  What better way to round off studies on ancient Egypt than to dress, eat, play and think like Egyptians for a few hours?  And that is just what we did. 

Dressing up like ancient Egyptians means appropriate gear – of which we had none.  There is a fun Egyptian Collar craft activity in our Usborne Living Long Ago book that Kiera has been BEGGING to do for the past 6 months.  As usual, I’ve been fobbing her off with a “not now; another day”.  But now we had a purpose and my creative juices came out of hibernation and started flowing.  So “bye-bye” cardboard craft activity and “hello” fabric painting batik-style craft activity. 

Here it is – step by step:

Our Living Long Ago page on Ancient Egypt:

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Setting up for the flour painting – I made a thick flour-water paste that the kids squeezed out onto calico collars (simply: a circle with the hole in the middle for their head) to create white-space patterns.

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We set these aside to dry overnight and moved onto painting head bands and wrist bands.  Ice-cream containers are the BEST – we store just about everything in them and the dozens of extra lids we always seem to have make great painting pallets.

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The next day we tackled painting our collars over the dried flour-painting…

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Then it was more drying, washing out the flour, painting some gold details and then finishing them off on the overlocker…

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Finally it was the big day – some white sheets wrapped around their bodies Egyptian-style, a little kohl make-up for the Egyptian look and their hand crafted accessories and we had three mini Egyptians (a la winter, poor kids – had it been summer, Sam would’ve had a na-ked torso!)

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And off to Egypt-in-Kirstenhof Day … more on that in the next post!

loads of learning!

Lunch Bunch today was at our house.  And what fun we had!  The last time that we gathered at our house, our craft activity failed dismally.  So, I was extra chuffed that things worked out so well this time.

Sue usually reads to the kids while they eat their lunch (hence our unofficial official name).  They’ve recently finished reading a book called Vacation Under the Volcano .  It’s part of the Magic Tree House series where kids are magically transported to another time period, discovering a world of historical, geographical and scientific facts while they uncover exciting secrets and decipher hidden clues. 

sparklySince they’d just finished reading this book, I thought it would be fun to build our own volcano and “erupt” it.  So, I made some mud coloured sparkly playdoh the night before.  And when you add to that: 1 paper plate; 1 used Olli/Purity jar; and some twigs and leaves from the garden and you have …

Loads of volcanoes!  Each team got to share a little info about their volcano.  Joel and Jaiden’s one was an extinct volcano in Papau New Guinea, apparently.  The others were rather active volcanoes, all having recently erupted killing thousands of people, leaving only 50 survivors.  These catastrophes were scattered all over the world map, from the West Indies to China to an island off the coast of Australia.  They did have a tough time trying to locate the exact position of the West Indies on our map, but they managed to find the rest quite easily!

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After our volcano making, we got stuck into learning how to make cinnamon buns.  Out came the ingredients: butter, treacle sugar, cinnamon and raisins (for the not so fussy lot!) and some pre-made bread dough ….  And with the ingredients came 9 crazy kids ready and willing to get stuck into some serious bun-making! (for a more detailed description on making cinnamon buns visit this link)

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We mixed up bowls of sugar and butter; we spread it like peanut butter; we sprinkled cinnamon and raisins; and we rolled ’em, cut ’em and got ’em ready for the oven. 

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They were well-drenched in a sticky toffee-like glaze once they were baked.  But my kids’ lot disappeared so quickly, I only managed to snap a pic of the last one…

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So how many learning areas have we covered so far?  Art?  Check. Geography?  Check.  Home Economics?  Check.  Life skills?  Check.  Then… the kids spontaneously broke out into song, adding Languages to our coverage for the day.  I caught a video clip of it from my mini camera on their second round of singing the South African national anthem, nkosi sikelele… 

After all of that excitement, we had a brief play-break – made all the sweeter with chocolate gifts for everyone from Tegan who’s 7th birthday it is TODAY! 
Plus the moms had a cuddle-cute-baby break (isn’t Carys adorable?).

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And then… we headed out front to conduct our science (another Check!) experiment: Volcanic Eruptions – aka “when bicarb and vinegar meet” –

2 tsp of bicarb, +- 40 ml water, 3 drops of dishwashing liquid, some food colouring and glitter went into the volcano via the funnel…

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And then we all stood back, as each volcano got a dash of vinegar …

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and spilled over bubbling, sparkly-red (pink!) “lava”.

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A huge hit!  We had a blast.

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Interestingly, I discovered last night, while catching up on Se7en’s blog, that they’ve also just recently been experimenting with bicarb and vinegar, creating swirling foam in transparent vessels – a great way to see the reaction in action.  Pop over there for some blue and purple bubbling brews.

(And thanks to Sue for taking all the pics!)

unlocking spelling

What do you do when your child has to learn how to spell but…

  1. hates sitting down to do seatwork?
  2. hates having to write yet MORE things?
  3. is easily distracted?

Answers? 

  1. don’t sit
  2. don’t write
  3. don’t worry

IMG_8605Spelling words is used to be Kiera’s least favourite part of school.  Labouring through 10 unfamiliar spelling words with tears and tantrums is no fun for her or me.  So, recently we mixed things up a bit and discovered some new, exciting ways of learning spelling words, such as Hopscotch Spelling.  Since then we’ve fallen into a pattern…

From Monday to Wednesday, she reads the spelling words off our list (usually only one version, but this week we also ordered the list alphabetically) and “hops” across the room, shouting out each letter (and pausing with each new syllable). 

On Thursdays, she does her test – on the computer.  Ah! Two birds with one stone.  She is becoming familiar with the keyboard, typing and MS Word.  And she is getting through a previously torturous spelling test with glee and ease.  I set up a Word document for her tests, switched off the spellcheck for that particular file and away we were.  Now, I read the words; she types; she enters; she checks through the test and she corrects her mistakes herself (with some “strike through” help from mom).  

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There you go … no sitting, no writing and… distractions? Ha! We laugh in the face of distractions! 😉 (with apologies to The Lion King’s Simba)

It’s here!

My treasured Sonlight Catalogue…

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A mixed blessing it is, receiving it now, because …

…on the down side, I don’t need to order anything yet, because we still have the rest of this school year to complete.

…but on the up side, I have to order for next year, as Kiera and Katie begin Core 1 together; Kiera gets her new reading, maths and handwriting programmes and Katie gets her preschool maths, reading and writing programmes too.  And then we will await the all exciting box day – although I suspect that next box day will include a crawling/toddling Micah in the picture.

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I can’t imagine having this much fun paying regular school fees!

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Hazy Days