*This post contains a gifted item
I’ve written a few times about the speaking and listening group that we do with some friends. I think this is one of the best things that we do in terms of seeing the children develop and giving them opportunities to work on a wide range of projects, and sometimes on things that we might not have naturally followed.
I know many home educators will sing the virtues of home ed allowing children to follow their own interests etc, and this is, of course, a really fantastic thing. But, equally, I think it’s important that the children are persuaded to look at things they wouldn’t naturally lean to. Our last two topics for speaking and listening have focussed on Inventors and inventions and sports and sports stars. Two very different topics, and topics that were approached in two quite distinct ways.
The sports one was an easy one for Daniel – he knew he wanted to do football with a focus on Manchester City. He had completed a project a few months back on Sergio Aguero and he built on that adding in some more specifics about football. We could have done a lot with the project, to be honest, but I let Daniel choose how he wanted to do it. He wrote about his favourite players, learnt about the significance of the symbols on the badge and wrote about the trophies City have won. He also read a lot about the history of the club too.
Emma took a different approach, and decided to do running – mostly I think inspired(!) by my running in a couple of events. We watched a number of YouTube videos and talked about the different types of runners, eg: sprinters, middle distance and marathon. She studied a runner from each category then we talked about how accessible running is, what do we need and what do I have when I run. It was interesting that other children in the group chose runners and they all approached it in slightly different ways.
It was lovely to see the breadth of topics chosen from Chess, football and crown green bowling!
Inventors was a much harder topic to get my children engaged in. I asked them how they wanted to approach it – did they want to read some books about inventors, for me to tell them about some inventors or to simply choose an item and work backwards to how it was invented and by who.
Emma decided she wanted to do about the invention of chocolate… this was a bit of a tricky one so we approached it by looking at who discovered chocolate and how the first commercial bars were made and then of course into the mass production of chocolate. I think she was disappointed that we didn’t eat endless amounts of chocolate as part of her project! We did use some resources from Twinkl and created a simple timeline of the key dates.
Daniel was a little less sure what to do his project on. We watched some YouTube videos of key inventors as well as reading through a PowerPoint from Twinkl but he was struggling with inspiration. We then got the History Heroes cards out that we had been gifted a few weeks back and had a look at those.
I really like these cards as they’re useful in a range of different ways. There are 40 cards, each with a different inventor on. There are six facts and, if playing the game, you read a fact out and your opposing player guesses who the inventor is. We used them to read through the different inventors and to see what they had done and if there were any facts that grabbed his attention. In the end, he chose Thomas Edison – in part because of his invention factory!
I really like that the History Heroes cards opened up the conversation for Daniel about the inventor he might study. He also had great fun testing me with the various facts to see if my knowledge was up to scratch!