Summer of Teaching and Learning

The summer holidays in England only last about 6 weeks.  I was hoping that this summer I would get the chance to watch the twins and pack in a lot of activities.  I got my wish – I watched them quite a bit this summer and we did explore.  When I was little – during summer vacation my mom worked really hard at keeping us busy and interested.  We had a schedule of places to visit and it was something fun to look forward to.  I decided to do a variation of that with the twins.  I sat down with them during the last week of school and we planned a schedule.  I let them pick 3 places each that they wanted to visit and then we decided a subject to study that week that went along with the visit.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t – but there was always a lot of learning going on.  We also decided to read Charlottes Web and do an activity pack I found on the Kindle.  I reserved the first couple of hours a day for “work”.  We worked on handwriting, literacy, and maths.  I would go online on Sunday and get enough ideas to keep us busy through the week.  I am really proud of the kids – they attacked the learning with the same enthusiasm as they did the days out.  This last week was our last week of summer and I am so happy to say that they have learned 0,1,2,3,4,5,10, and 11 times tables (which will put them ahead of the kids in their year).  I’ve learned a lot too – more than I thought I would but its made me think that maybe some kind of teaching should be in my future.

Week 1:  Zoo Animal Week

This week we made different kinds of animals using different materials (I didn’t take any pictures)  This was also the week I got glue in my eye.  M wanted to learn more about Flamingos and J wanted to learn more about Tigers.  We went to the local zoo (that is a bit of an exaggeration – compared to the zoo I was used to) but luckily they had both Flamingos and Tigers.

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The storks were super LAZY – me and Chris had a word with them Smile!

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Week 2:  Dinosaur Week

This week was a very rainy week and we ended up having to change our plans.  We still learned about dinosaurs and the environment they lived in – but we ended up visiting the Duxford Imperial War Museum.

This was a big hit with the boys (Chris and J) – M and I enjoyed it too – but not as much as the boys did!

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We also made a volcano this week – something most American kids do at least once in school – but they don’t here so the twins really loved it!

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Week 3:  Farm Animals

M loves animals and most of the activities she picked are based around that topic.  Luckily she’s found a kindred soul in me – because I love animals too.  This week was a bit tricky because J was gone on one of the days.   We did visit the farm and M and I LOVED it.   When J was at his friends house M and I went to the local garden centre and M painted a ceramic dog.  She loved the attention she got by being the only kid!

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Week 4:  Sea Week

We hoped and prayed that the weather would cooperate with us so we could make the biggest day out of the summer – The British Sea Side.  It did!  We had a great time at the sea side and had perfect weather for it.

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We also learned all about water animals!  We learned that jellyfish don’t have any bones and actually expel their digested food from the same hole they put it in (the kids loved that fact!)

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We made wave bottles with oil, water, food colouring, and glitter.  We also made jellyfish with paper plates and coloured paper.

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We also learned how sand is made by using sugar cubes.

Week 5:  This week I went on holiday. Smile

Week 6:  The Outdoors – Insects, Birds, and Flowers

This week we made our way to the Butterfly and Wildlife Park.  It was REALLY good.  Unfortunately they are closing forever – so we were lucky to make it the last week.

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We also talked about the parts of insects and what makes them classified as an insect.  We did a thumb print insect farm.  We also talked a lot about butterflies. We learned all about their life-cycles and did this craft to illustrate it.

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We used 3 different kinds of dried pasta.  I think they turned out quite cute – and are probably the favourite craft of the summer.

So now the summer is over.  The kids go back to school on Tuesday – but its been such a great few weeks.  I really enjoyed watching the kids learn new things and enjoyed going to all the new places.  There are just some things a childless couple cant do without looking a bit sad.  The kids loved having Chris come along to most of the outings with us and I think it is a welcome distraction for both of us.

Can I wax sentimental for a moment? I first met these kids when they went to the same nursery that I worked at when I first moved here.  They were barely over 18 months old.  One day their dad was asking the nursery nurses if they knew anyone who could watch the kids because their old child-minder was having a baby.  I got up the courage and gave him my contact number.  The twins just turned 7!  I cant believe that I’ve been a part of their life for so long!  But it has been truly amazing to watch them grow.  I am lucky that I am now friends with their parents and an important part of the kids childhood.  But, I know it wasn’t luck that got me involved with them – it was so much more than just luck… and I am so grateful for that.

P.S.  Here is the website I used a lot to help me with the crafts and learning this summer.

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