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Quacketty-quack: January Home Ed Fun

We kicked off 2017 with potion-making in Fun Science. We worked out the optimal recipe for making the best slime and used the scientific method to design experiments to answer scientific questions posed by our maestro Chemical Cress. If your kid is a budding chemist consider putting together a Home Potion Making Kit for them as one of our members has. She has her daughter’s kit in a large wooden box (to add to the dramatic ambience!!) and it contains: * Lots of different coloured and sized bottles and jars * Pipettes, syringes, test tubes * Food colouring different colours * Bicarb of soda * White wine vinegar * Glitter * Sequins and beads for wizard eruptions (purely for effect!) * Herbs and petals * Almond oil

Also this month in Fun Science, we learned all about aerodynamics which is what keeps aeroplanes up in the air. She introduced us to the work of a Dr Bernouilli, a scientist who found that fast-moving air has a lower pressure than slow-moving air, so air moving quickly is weaker than slow air. Aeroplane wings are slightly curved on the top and the top is bigger than the bottom, so the air on top has further to go than the air on the bottom and so it travels faster making it weaker than the strong air underneath which makes the wing go up. The kids made and tested their own straw and paper planes and we had great fun with Cress’s air cannon and fog machine!

Charlene came up with the idea of using National Rubber Duck Day to raise funds for the National Autistic Society (NAS) which campaigns for a better world for autistic people. Originally she thought it would be fun to race ducks down the River Tone but when Nicola rang the council they basically said “NO!!!” So Nicola came up with “Chuck a Duck” instead. She brought oodles of little rubber ducks and decorations and we gathered at Weir Lodge to adorn our duckies and then see who could chuck them the furthest.

There were some truly stunning duck designs from Bat-Duck, to Pirate-Duck and some “Strictly Come Dancing” – inspired feathered and sequined Ducks! We awarded trophies for the best dressed Duck and of course the winner of the Chuck A Duck Contest itself was awarded a Golden Duck as his prize.

We were delighted that the Somerset County Gazette covered the Chuck a Duck event in their online and print editions. Note: We raised £104 in the end as someone who couldn’t come donated £20 after the event.

Nicola is planning more fundraisers for NAS and we are thinking Chuck a Duck could become an annual fixture!

Taunton HE Performing Arts Group (formerly HE Drama Group) kicked off the New Year with Karen running workshops on Exploring Shakespeare and Movement/Dance respectively.

In Exploring Shakespeare Karen introduced the kids to the plot of Macbeth, its themes and characters and then in groups and in pairs they read and acted key scenes from the play. They actually coped brilliantly with - and indeed loved - the Shakespearian language and we really enjoyed seeing them perform some of their work at the end. As introductions to Shakespeare go you just can’t beat it!

In Movement and Dance the kids explored the components that make up dance - travelling, turning, elevation, gesture, stillness - and then incorporated them into great group routines which parents got to watch at the end.

Our fun-day theme this month was Interstellar: A Space Odyssey in which we made our own solar system mobiles, constellation cards, launched bubble rockets and raced balloon rockets. We had our own mini planetarium housed in a giant cardboard box and we made space-themed art – chalk pastel planets (oh my they look great) and super sun art using paint and cling film. You could take a Space Personality Quiz which told you what type of role would suit you in the ISS team and the Interstellar Trail tested the kids’ knowledge of all things planetary and cosmic. The kids made Craters of the Moon cakes and Crescent Moons – the ovens were humming all day! It was lovely to see many new faces alongside us old-timers – what a lot of lovely people have joined the Home Ed community recently!

In HE Art this month the kids created works inspired by:

  • Neo-Expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Neo-expressionism developed as a reaction against conceptual art and minimal art of the 1970s. Neo-expressionists returned to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body, (although sometimes in an abstract manner), in a rough and violently emotional way, often using vivid colour.

  • French impressionist painter, Claude Monet. The kids looked at some of his beautiful Water Lilies paintings which he made of the pond at his home in Giverny. He painted his pond in different lighting and conditions such as morning, sunset, and clouds.

  • American 60’s era artist Margaret Keane who is famous for stylised, soulful paintings of women, children, and animals with big eyes. The big eyes were to evoke an emotional response from the viewer.

The HE Cooking team enjoyed two great sessions at Venetia Cameron Rose’s Cookability kitchen in January. First Venetia did a session on baking savoury and sweety dishes in crispy coatings – the crispy coated sweet potato, cauliflower and apple dishes were simply divine. Second, the young chefs did Chinese New Year - oh my what yummy sesame toasts, dumplings, home made prawn crackers and truly awesome dragon meringues.

Ruth talked to Priorswood Library about setting up a Home Ed Lego Club (we used to have one at Taunton Library) and the kids enjoyed their first session there this month. Lego is amazing for creativity, maths, developing engineering skills – you name it!

It has been great to have lots of new people join us for our Tennis coaching (yes we brave the cold!!!) and BSL classes with Coralie this term and Code Club will be starting again soon.

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