Tag Archives: homework

Happy Holidays!

We’ve made it!

We almost literally limped to the end of term, but we made it, not withstanding the challenges of mock exams, shingles and Lyme disease. Homework was completed (and handed in), sports day was competed in (and won) and the last day was enjoyed in all the glory of own clothes and an early finish to the day.

We might only be a week in, but already G and M have been busy. We’ve squeezed in a couple of films they wanted to watch, the beach has been enjoyed with G’s godfather and his family visiting from Canada and they’ve kicked off this week by volunteering at our Church’s holiday club for primary-age children during the day as well as taking part in the evening’s youth club for teens.

And there are plans for the weeks ahead: G is spending a week volunteering at their Stagecoach’s summer school, a visit to London to see the musical of their choice thanks to London theatre’s Kids Week and even some fundraising for the fantastic Over The Wall which they’ve planned themselves (more details of that to follow). We don’t have a “big” summer holiday planned having been to Berlin during May half-term, but instead have decided to enjoy our local area as well as the occasional overnight visit to somewhere a little further afield in the UK.

One thing’s for certain, it’s looking to be a busy, fantastic and very happy summer holidays and I hope yours are too!

When home life met the school science class

It does sometimes take a while for me to catch up on my blog with what’s been happening in real life, but a near 4-month gap to report much be something of a record, even for me. I’m not entirely certain why it has taken me so long to share this story, but I can only imagine that the constant stream of events since the start of February pushed it out of my mind and it was only thanks to a search through some old photos last night whilst I was looking for something else, that my memory was jogged and the subject for today’s post settled. What now feels like many moons ago, G was set a creative homework, something that she was excited to do, but a little stumped as to the direction she wanted to go. The task was to make a model of a cell for science and the options available were seemingly endless. checkThere were no strict guidelines as to the type of cell to be created and she had free reign as to the medium of her model, with even cake being a possibility if she so wanted. As is often the case when tackling the more challenging pieces of homework set, G and I spent some time discussing at length what she could do before reaching a decision.

She had made a few uninspired suggestions, but I could tell her heart wasn’t really in them and her enthusiasm waning. G loves being creative, art being one of her favourite lessons at school and I knew that if we could only settle on the right cell, she would soon warm to the subject and give her all to making the best model she could. So often I’m reluctant to drag EGID into G’s world any more than is necessary, but this time I wondered if researching and then making a model eosinophil would be the answer to her dilemma. 10562609_10153256228956123_3212893174847273723_oTo my relief, as my fount of inspiration was certainly beginning to run dry, she loved the idea and instantly sat down to research as much as she could as, whilst we know all about what eosinophils do in the body, we didn’t know what an individual cell looked like.

Having found some good images on the internet, G then addressed the matter of her model-making. Despite an initial yearning for cake-baking and decorating that appealed to her 12 year-old senses, although a lot less to me, we instead headed off for a trip around our local craft shop and pinpointed the few essential items that would effectively illustrate the structure of an eosinophil without requiring too much parental input and inspiration. A quick tutorial once we were back at home on how to best construct her cell gave her all she needed and I left her to it at the kitchen table, whilst I busied myself in the same room, preparing packed lunches and dinner. Her finished model was fantastic and the diligent labels indicating the different part of the cell were the result of her focused efforts and careful work. What’s more, her model eosinophil proved to be the catalyst for other work that she chose to similarly link to her experiences of EGID and which ended up with her showing last year’s NEAW video to her science class to teach them more about the condition. G has been rewarded for her hard work by her science teacher with some much coveted house points and we’re so proud that she felt confident enough to share an aspect of her home life with her school science class.

12694754_10153256228951123_1816628787562285286_o

Station X

date (2)It might have been a damp, chilly October morning when we left home, but we didn’t let the weather deter us from completing our “top-secret” mission for the end of half-term – a visit to Station X, otherwise known as Bletchley Park. The purpose of our weekend away was actually to visit one of my Godmothers in nearby Milton Keynes, but the opportunity to take the children to see the home of unparalleled code-breaking during WWII was too good to miss. It was something of a last-minute plan, but I was confident that M would be fascinated by the history of code-breakers and spies that is so intricately woven into this beautiful Manor House and, what’s more, 20151031_115918it fitted wonderfully well with some of the English home-work G had been set over half-term.

From the moment we drove in through the front gates, the children’s interest was piqued as we were questioned at the gate as to the reason for our visit and directed to the nearby car park. Members of staff were on hand to make sure we headed to the entrance and didn’t wander into any areas that are still in use today and not accessible to the general public. We started by picking up our multimedia tour packs, before heading into the grounds of Bletchley Park itself. M was keen to follow the guide exactly and so we started by the lake whilst listening to an introduction to all there was to see there, which believe me, is a lot. Once we had circumnavigated the lake, we were then taken around the rest of the site: starting at the Manor House, around to the garages and cottages, via the memorial to the Polish men and women involved in code-breaking during WWII and on to the restored Huts; 20151031_130649all before ending up at the Block B Museum.

The Multimedia guide was absolutely brilliant and I’m really glad we stopped to pick them up despite G’s initial reluctance. Mike, M and I all chose the adult version, whilst G opted for the family friendly one. The map showed the key places for starting the audio recordings and you could then choose how many additional subject areas you wanted to listen to on a variety of different topics. The screens were all interactive and M had great fun “wiping off” the current images to reveal how each location would have looked during the 1940s. G had the added bonus of interactive puzzles to complete and loved working out how to break each code. The guides were included in the price of the entrance ticket and whilst they weren’t integral to our visit, they certainly revealed more of the story than was on display,

I would be hard-pressed to state which was my favourite part or indeed choose which I think the children enjoyed the most. There was just so much to see, so much to read and almost too much to absorb. From the history of Bletchley Park which led to its use during WWII, to the interactive displays of the Bombe machines in Hut 11, the Enigma machines on display in Block B and the children’s corner with puzzles and dressing up supplies, as well as an extensive area showing some of the props and costumes used to20151031_125114 film last year’s blockbuster, “The Imitation Game“, there really was something for everyone. Sadly our few hours there simply weren’t long enough and we didn’t manage to explore either the National Radio Centre or the National Museum of Computing and its rebuild of Colossus, both located at the same site. No need to worry however, as it simply means that we will have to try to squeeze a revisit in and, as our entrance tickets give us admission for a full year, I’m sure we’ll manage it one way or another