Since my wife doesn’t work on Tuesday or Wednesday, she took teaching duties on days two and three which allowed me to work normal hours rather than into the night. Whilst she is now a furloughed worker, we’ve decided that asking her to do all of the teaching is not fair so I took day four as normal.

After the surprise I had on day one, I decided that with the new day that I’d be a bit more structured with what we were going to do with our day. The plan: -

Day 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00
Monday Handwriting Reading Break Maths Science Open Lunch Lunch Art Art Art
Tuesday Handwriting Reading Break Maths Baking / Crafting Open Lunch Lunch Art Art Art
Wednesday Handwriting Reading Break Maths Baking / Crafting Open Lunch Lunch Art Art Art
Thursday Handwriting Reading Break Maths Science Open Lunch Lunch Art Art Art
Friday Handwriting Reading Break Maths Science Open Lunch Lunch Art / Film Art / Film Art / Film

Open; Time we can do something unscheduled or leeway if a lesson flows over.

Handwriting; During this lesson, the aim is to practice a page of upper and lower case characters followed by a page of simple words.

Reading; During this lesson, the aim is to practice reading the keywords that his school teachers have given us. Since he has already mastered most of these, I’m also introducing new words (some fun ones included, such as Tyrannosaurus which is successfully read on his own first time!).

Maths; The aim of this lesson is to improve his understanding of arithmetic. We’re practicing addition and subtraction, introducing multiplication and division. I’ve also started introducing the addition of big numbers, using the old hundreds, tens and units method.

Science; This is for fun, but also to insidiously introduce core principles. For example on the first day, we created a rainbow and talked about refraction. I’ll detail some of the planned experiments below.

Art; Again, just for fun but on days where we’ve done a science experiment I intend to encourage his art towards reinforcing the science we learnt. For example on the first day, we drew rainbows and talked about ROY G. BIV to remember the colours that the light splits into.

Baking; More fun and entirely my wife’s jurisdiction!

Crafting; MORE fun with my wife.

Every day, we’re awarding my son “stars” for doing well. He can earn a maximum of 4 stars any day of the week. If by the end of the day on Friday he has earned 10 stars, he can have a film (probably from our new Disney+ subscription). If he manages to earn 15 stars, he can have a film and some popcorn. If he earnes 20 stars, he can have a film, popcorn and some chocolate.

Here are a few of my planned science experiments: -

  1. Make a rainbow - This is to introduce the idea of light refraction. There are a few ways to achieve this.
    • If you’re using the sun, you need a mirror, a deep pan with some water in it, the sun and a piece of paper. Fill the pan two thirds with water, put the mirror in the water so that it can reflect the sun (it might be easier if you cover the part of the mirror that is out of the water), place your piece of paper a distance away from the pan until you can reflect the light on to it. The light will have split.
    • If you’re using a torch, you need a clear glass with some water in it, the torch and two pieces of paper. Cut a small slit in one of the pieces of paper, attach the paper to the outside of the glass. Next, fill the glass with water and place the second piece of paper on the other side of the glass on the counter. Ensure that all of the lights are off, then point the torch at the slit so that the light shines through to the water. Start close to the slit, slowly move further away until you can see a rainbow on the paper.
  2. Make a tornado! - This is to introduce the idea of centripetal forces, gravity and pressure.
    • Take two old soda bottles (I used two litre bottles), remove the labels and caps then rinse out. Fill one of the bottles with water to about two-thirds. Take the empty bottle and a glue-gun and attach them together. Once dry, take some tape and reinforce the seal. When you’re finished, go outside and turn the bottles upside down then spin the “top” bottle slightly. If you get this right, when you stop moving a water vortex will form (looking like a tornado in a bottle).
  3. Make “hot” ice - This is to introduce nucleation and different states of matter.
    • In a pan, add roughly 900ml of white vinegar. To this, slowly add four tablespoons of baking soda (if you do it quickly, be prepared to clean up the mess you’ll make!). Stir the mixture until it stops fizzing, then heat it on the stove for an hour to an hour and a half. You’re trying to slowly reduce it by boiling off the water, creating a more concentrated sodium acetate solution. When you’ve finished this, transfer to a glass measuring jug and place in the fridge until cooled (about 45 minutes). Finally, take it out of the fridge (gently! The slightest knock could cause it to crystalise) and get yourself a deep pan. Slowly pour the solution into the pan and you can see the “hot” ice form! We can touch the ice, but be aware it can cause slight skin irritation if you have sensitive skin. You can perform this experiment again by just melting the hot ice in a pan.

Obviously, I need plenty more if the school’s remain closed, but I’ll think of something!