Understanding English – Poetry workbook

We have started a bit of a poetry topic. It is one of those areas that I feel I have neglected a bit (I think the only poems we have done are Acrostic poems). We do lots of other literature, actually a ridiculous amount because my daughter loves reading and then dissecting the characters and events of a good book but we have never really gotten into poetry. So I decided we just needed to tackle poetry, from reading, understanding, writing it ourselves and even trying our hand at performing it.

One of the resources that I am using is my Understanding English: Poetry: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11. I have used almost all of the Understanding English workbooks with my kids and we just like them. The series seems to suit us, we like the layout and the way the books progress through the topics. We don’t always do page for page in the exact order of the book but I still like the way they start their topics and then progress through them.

Schofield & Sims Understanding English Poetry workbook for KS2

We also really like the page layouts, the small explanation at the top of the page is always concise and spot on in terms of explaining a concept. And then there are a few activities on each page and they are not “write an entire page type activity”, they are more “write a sentence or phrase” which suits my youngest (especially with the Poetry as he far prefers Non-fiction writing in any sort of figurative format). But I am determined to cover the basics with him and then do a bit more detail with my oldest and I am hoping I might get her writing a few of her own poems.

  • Schofield & Sims Understanding English Poetry workbook for KS2
  • Schofield & Sims Understanding English Poetry workbook for KS2
  • Schofield & Sims Understanding English Poetry workbook for KS2
  • Schofield & Sims Understanding English Poetry workbook for KS2

So what is inside the Understanding English: Poetry: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11

  • Sound, shape and pattern
  • Learning and performing poems
  • Reading poems aloud
  • Writing poems to perform
  • Sound effects
  • Poetic language
  • Similes and metaphors
  • Personification
  • Understanding a poem
  • Inferring idea and themes
  • Layers of meaning
  • Discussing and writing about poems
  • Poems on a theme
  • Poems in different forms
  • Haiku
  • Shape poems
  • Writing shape poems
  • Writing in free verse

I realize poetry can be quite a broad topic and there are lots of things that you could include but I feel like this workbook covers quite a lot and I feel like it covers the correct poetry items for my youngest (he would be Year 5 if he attended school). Plus there are some pages in here that I am planning on extending and using with my oldest.

And so far, my son has admitted that some poetry can be fun – this is him having a go at one of the suggested activities from the workbook – performing one of the poems.

Admin Bit – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

Schofield & Sims do sometimes send us products to review and this poetry book is one of the products that they have sent us. How we use the books, when we use the books and what we write about them is completely up to us.

Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chemistry Matching Pairs game

Our Chemistry Matching Pairs game arrived this week and we have already been using it and I love it. For only £4.99 what you get is excellent value for money. There is no way I could reprint all these images (75 cards with images and another 75 cards with the matching definitions) for this price, plus the time to try and find matching images and create cards like this, yip very good value for money.

The game arrived in the same format as the typical Oaka Topic Packs.

When you open up the pack you get an answer booklet and the cards are in this sheet format, all you need to do is pop the cards out.

You will now have 5 groups of different coloured cards. For each definition card there is a matching picture card. The cards are NOT laminated, which I actually like. I have seen one person comment on this and for us it is not an issue, I am using these with two kids aged 10 and 12, the cards last fine. We got our first set (the Biology matching game about 10 months ago and the cards are still fine.)

You can use these as a memory game or as a straight forward matching activity. We tend to do matching activities. I select some of the cards and then set out the images on one side of the table and the definition cards on the other side. My daughter then matches the images to the definitions (places the images on top of the definition cards).

Now, some of the definitions may not be word for word what your kids “text book / study book” uses. But please think about this, are you wanting your kids to just parrot-fashion learn a definition without understanding what it means? Or should they be able to read a definition which is worded slightly differently and figure out what it means for themselves? I am definitely of the second opinion. Yes some of these definitions are a bit different to what our main Science books says. But I actually like that because my daughter has to apply a bit of thinking and it actually shows me if she understands what the definitions mean.

  • Oaka Books Chemistry Pairs Fame. Matching cards for KS3 Science
  • Oaka Books Chemistry Pairs Fame. Matching cards for KS3 Science
  • Oaka Books Chemistry Pairs Fame. Matching cards for KS3 Science

I like the idea of a Chemistry matching activity because the kids do need to know certain Chemistry words and learning what they mean by using cards is just a lot nicer then using worksheets. Its as simple as that. Plus with the cards we can use them over and over again. I tend to sort through the cards beforehand and select a group and each time I select the cards I include different cards so there is a bit of variety. It works for us and it gives my daughter a nice break from worksheets.

I also find that for people who have kids of different ages or different abilities using the cards is an activity that both kids can do (you just sort through and give the youngest the cards which are slightly easier or cards that they have already learnt about). And as a home educating mom of two kids of different ages I love activities where I can do this (use it with both kids).

I think this Chemistry matching activity is a great addition to our Chemistry resources and one we will be using over and over again.

Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Super Simple Chemistry. A KS3 and KS4 Science Book.

I have mentioned before that when it comes to Science we tend to spend a lot of time on Biology, it just happens to be the part of Science that both my kids find fascinating. But we decided that the next few months are going to be all about diving into Chemistry and with that in mind I knew I needed a few extra resources around the house (We are using the Activate books as our main Science resource and I do really like them but we also like having extra books that just explain the concepts slightly differently because sometimes it is just that different wording or that different picture that brings everything together.)

Without even having to search I knew that one of the books that I wanted to get for her was the Super Simple Chemistry book from DK. We already have the Super Simple Biology book and both my daughter and I love it. We have used it quite a bit as an extra reading resource so I knew the Chemistry version was going to be good.

First impressions – How do they manage to fit so much into these books without making the pages seem crowded? Honestly these books are jam packed with facts and concepts yet the pages are actually a pleasure to read because they are not crowded.

We really love the layout, it seems to invite you onto the page without being intimidating, it just works for us – a large central image which is always detailed but clear and the nice short concise paragraphs. I really think this format is a winner because it does not overwhelm the kids (or the adults trying to help them) with lots of long-winded sentences.

  • Super Simple Chemistry from DK

So a a bit about this book. It only covers Chemistry. This is not a general Science book. They have written three separate books so you get a book for Biology, a separate book for Chemistry and a separate Physics one. Also this is not a student book or work book, so please do not think school book that you can buy and use as a Science curriculum. There are no questions and answers for the kids to work through. This is a book that explains Chemistry concepts, there use brilliant visual illustrations, charts, pictures and key concise points. It is a book that kids can read through to help them understand concepts. Think extra Science book, think additional resource, think concise explanation book.

What exactly is covered? – It is a lot, they tend to be summarized onto a single page or a double page and the book is 288 pages long so really it covers a lot but here is a quick summary.

  • The Scientific Method (variables. graphs, units of measurements, organizing data, conclusions)
  • Basic Chemistry (atoms, elements, mixtures, compounds, solubility, filtration, simple distillation)
  • Elements (periodic table, different groups)
  • Structure and bonding (ions, dot and cross diagrams, bonding, molecules)
  • States of Matter(solids, liquids, gases, diffusion, heating and cooling)
  • Nanoscience and smart materials (properties of nanoscience, uses and risks, hydrogels)
  • Quantitative Chemistry (calculations, equations, crystallization, atom economy)
  • The Chemistry of acids (acids, bases. ph scale, indicators, neutralization, reactions, insoluble)
  • Metals and their reactivity (reactions, equations, extracting, electrolysis)
  • Energy changes (reactions, decomposition, energy transfer, cells)
  • The rate and extent of chemical change (reaction rates, collusion theory, equilibrium)
  • Organic Chemistry (different compounds)
  • Chemical Analysis (testing for different elements and compounds)
  • Chemistry of the Earth (earth’s structure, rock cycle, carbon cycle, global warming, pollution)
  • Using Resources (Ceramics, composites, making polymers, sustainability, resources, water, fertilizers)

We like this book because it is just an easy to read book. They have taken concepts which can be confusing and intimidating and made them easy to digest. The whole feel and style of this just appeals to my daughter.

  • Super Simple Chemistry from DK
  • Super Simple Chemistry from DK
  • Super Simple Chemistry from DK

We recommend this book. It is an excellent resource that you can use together with your Science books to ensure the kids have a better understanding of the key chemistry facts.

You can also buy this book directly from amazon – Super Simple Chemistry: The Ultimate Bitesize Study Guide

Admin Bits – I did mention to the DK team that I wanted to use this book with my daughter and they kindly sent us a copy.

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pride and Prejudice

I have mentioned a few times in different posts that my Year 8 daughter is busy reading Pride and Prejudice and we are doing it as one of her English Literature activities for the year. Well, we are finished. It has taken us some time to get through it so I thought I would write a post about how it went, what we think and if we would recommend it.

I want to start by including a disclaimer of sorts – My daughter chose this as one of her books, in fact she basically begged me to cover it this year because she is just a massive fan of Jane Austen. Before we read the books she had already watched all the Jane Austen miniseries that I could get my hands on, so she had an understanding of what it was going to be like. I also know that it is normally considered a GCSE book so I was aware it might be a harder read for a Year 8 to tackle, but she was a determined so we went for it.

What did she think? – She loved the Book and I really do mean LOVED IT. It would without a doubt be somewhere in her Top 5 all time favourite books.

She is really glad that we read it together, at times she did find the long sentences a bit confusing and challenging and we had to reread a few of them more than once but she was always keen to read more and more pages and she would often go and reread sections that we had already covered. It definitely helped that she had an understanding of Georgian society before we started reading.

Her favourite element of the book is the characters created by Jane Austen. She loved unraveling the characters, seeing how they behaved and interacted in different settings.

What did I think – It has been a challenging read for us. And by that I mean the incredibly long sentences and the vocabulary used, but challenging is actually good. And I do not think it was too hard for her or out of her depth. We worked through the book together and we took our time, breaking to discuss events, characters, Georgian society, how things were different then as opposed to know. We had lots of discussions and we really did work through it SLOWLY. I don’t think you can rush through this book, the customs are just so different, you need to take the time to discuss things.

We also used our reading companion to help us and we re-watched the Pride and Prejudice series and also the movie while we were reading the book and then discussed and compared them. My daughter definitely found watching the series and movie helped because she could visualize the characters and events.

We also did a number of activities included in the Twinkl GCSE Pride and Prejudice pack that they have on their site. Again I found this helped her, for the simple reason that she had to stop, think about the book and then write about it in her own words and that act of just putting events and characters into her own words helped her to order everything.

I am not going to say that every Year 8 kid should read this, because I don’t think it is about someones age, I think it is more about what that person will enjoy and find interesting. In fact my son (who is Year 5) kept hearing his sister and I talking and going on about the characters and the events to the extent that he actually picked up the book and read some sections himself. He then even joined in with some of our discussions and has already formed his own opinions about a number of the characters and the way they acted.

Reading Pride and Prejudice

If your kid (and I am not going to specify age) enjoys more classical stories, enjoys learning about historical periods, likes discovering interesting characters and is not going to be put off because some of the words are new and the sentences are complex then please, please give this classic a try. It has been a long read, a challenging read but it has been a really worthwhile read.

It has been an incredible journey, one that I am really glad we went on and one that I know we will keep discussing for some time.

Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The problem with plans

I like having a plan of what we are going to achieve in our home education. I like knowing where we are going but I have always said that I pencil plan. That might sound strange but what I mean is everything is written out in pencil so it can be easily changed – and I mean that figuratively and literally. As much as I love having a plan I also resent it for the simple reason that following your plan can restrict you and it can prevent you from diving into the topics that your kids enjoy. And for me that is a joy of home education, being able to jump into whatever topic or subject it is that your kids find fascinating and inspiring.

My oldest is year 8 (well if she was in school she would be in year 8) and she has already identified two possible courses that she might like to follow later, both of which require exams. Which means we know that GCSE’s and A levels are sitting somewhere on the horizon (although I am going to state that both my husband and I are not fussed about her having to write them in the exact same year that school kids do). But we know that they are there. So I have been doing more detailed planning to try and make sure we are covering the subjects that we need to. (I am going to be sharing some posts and links about that). I want to make sure we working in the right direction and that we do not not leave stuff to the last minute as my daughter hates feeling rushed.

But then yesterday, our first day back from a lovely two week Easter break where I spent a lot of time reading and planning and figuring out what to do when and in what order. Our first day back and already plans got thrown out. Her younger brother was doing some European Geography and she happened to join in and then happened to ask some questions, which well, all three of us found interesting and guess what. Plans changed. Last night I hopped back onto the internet did some searching found some things to read and activities for them to do. Yes my carefully plotted plans, making sure I cover everything that I wanted got changed yet AGAIN.

But that is okay. Changing plans to follow a question, an interest means the kids are engaged, enjoying what they are learning. Yes Tangents happen – we can go from looking at the countries in Europe, to Biomes, to which dinosaurs lived in Europe, to how some ruler did something way back when, all in one session (which is why I drink so much tea and coffee so I can keep up with the two of them and their questions). But it is all because the kids are engaged, involved, asking questions that they genuinely want to know the answers too.

And yes I had not planned on this new Geography topic. But guess what, I was planning on doing graphs in Maths and this new Geography topic slots really well in with some graph work. It also fits in with some books they kids have been reading, it fits in with our History and I know I will be able to get some interesting writing activities out of the kids.

And yes my pencil plans have been rubbed out and rewritten, tweaked, adjusted whatever you want to say. But for now I am going to enjoy the fact that both kids are excited about learning.

ofamily learning together
Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment