Family day

I guess it’s true what they say; time flies when you’re having fun. How is it possible that it’s eleven days since I last blogged? We’ve done so much I have some catching up to do.
The day after my last blog was Sunday, but it was no ordinary Sunday. No, it was family day. A day when we get together with my parents, my brother, his wife and my nephew for food and gift giving.

image

image

This year my parents did something a little different and hired Crazy Creatures to come along and show us some different animals. Educational and fun, and not just for the children!
We got to hold each of the animals, big and small. And we each had our favourites. I took many many photos so I shall just share a few.

image

image

image

image

image

image

The children (and adults) were all spoiled rotten with some wonderful gifts.

image

image

image

We’re all looking forward to the next one.

A week in our life, day 7

This morning R and I popped into the city for some one-to-one time together. first we decided to get a hot chocolate and toasted teacake, then we hit the shops. We looked at clothes, toys and cookery bits. R chose an outfit in New Look (when your daughter’s start buying clothes there you know they’re growing up!) she even tried it on in the changing rooms just to make sure it looked right. We bought presents for family day tomorrow, and looked around the market. Daddy stayed home with the little 3 who spent the morning playing.
image

Once we got home there was time for a quick cuppa before R finished a project she’s been working on. All week R has been researching cake designs, and has designed her own cake, planning all the details. Yesterday she baked the cakes and this afternoon she iced the cakes. She is really pleased with outcome and I’m really proud of her, she’s done a fab job.
image

image

R and S also made some jelly this afternoon and S went out for a dog walk with Daddy.
Tomorrow is “Family Day” our gift giving day at Granma and Granpa’s house. We are all very excited and looking forward to some special guests.

A week in our life, day 6

Today the three smallest ones all had their hair cut. Little S went first, jumping up onto the kitchen chair and getting herself comfy. she was good as gold and sat really still, she looks adorable with her new do. Next was E, for the first time ever he asked to have clippers instead of scissors, so it’s a little shorter than normal but it looks very smart. S went last, she only needed a little trim to tidy up.
image

image

Friday mornings I have friends round and we have a little bible study, the children either play or join in a little. today my friends brought their grandson who is one, so the children played together and looked after him.
After lunch we spent the afternoon baking, E made jam tarts, S and little S made cupcakes and R made a large ginger cake. The Ginger cake is for a project R is working on that she will finish tomorrow.
image

My new 2-in-1 laptop/tablet arrived this morning so I spent some time ‘playing’ with it. I’ve added some educational games that the children can use with me. S really enjoyed trying out a spelling game, learning how to spell words such as “cooperate” and “courage”. The game also puts the word into a sentence and explains the meaning.
image

E and I spent time together playing some games on his iPad, his maths still amazes me. He is much quicker than me, he only had 500 points to spend on one level of his game so had to work out what he could buy that would win the level and not cause him to overspend. He immediately knew he could buy 2 of one thing at 200 each and would then have 100 hundred left, that he spent on two 50 point items. There was no help from me and it took him seconds to work it out.
Tomorrow is Saturday, which means a lie in for me as Daddy gets up with the children *YAY* it is very much needed.

A week in our life, day 5

What a glorious, sunny day it has been. We started the day with the girls making pancakes for breakfast, then Little S had a bath as she was all syrupy. E and S played a game of make believe together and R played on the pc whilst chatting to some friends online.
After sorting some washing, S and I did a little gardening together and then she got the guinea pigs out for a cuddle and got them some cucumber to eat.
Whilst I made lunch R and S went upstairs to play playmobil and E spent some time on the pc. It was on the whole a very peaceful house this morning and the children enjoyed some much needed time at home after a busy few days.

image

image

After lunch we got ourselves sorted to take the dog for a walk. We went all through the farmers fields that were freshly plowed and tried to guess what is going to be planted there. E found  a little beetle on our walk and carried it very carefully until it flew away. We walked up to the swing park and had a lovely play and run about and saw some friends too. We then walked home.

image

S decided she wanted to make dinner. She did a mildly spicy sausage casserole served with super noodles. She made the sauce from scratch and made the whole dinner from start to finish with just a little supervision and direction from me. (Not bad for a 4 year old!) After dinner she even fed the dog all by herself.

image

It’s been a really lovely day filled with gentle and natural learning.

A week in our life, day 4

This morning was a mad rush of getting showered and dressed, packing lunches and making sure we had everything ready to go and be out the door by 9am. “That’s not early” I hear you say! It is for us, we’re not early morning people (especially in the colder months) and home education does allow us to indulge in lazy mornings most of the time. 

We bundled out the house and into the car and headed off to Priests House Museum. We picked up Granma en route to the museum. We did arrive a couple of minutes late thanks to some car trouble but once there we had lots of fun. The children had a look at some old Victorian clothes washing equipment whilst we were settling in. 
image

Our 1st activity was making ginger bread men in the Victorian kitchen. The volunteer told us lots about all the equipment in the kitchen and about the Victorian Range cooker. They weighed the ingredients on the old scales and mixed them all up. The children all took turns to roll out the mixture and use the biscuit cutters. 
image

After the biscuit making the group split, with the older children staying in the kitchen to make lemonade and the younger children going upstairs to look at old toys. The children were all fascinated with the old bike. They had a turn using the bucking mule money box, trying to get the mule to throw the thrupence into the basket. They held a 100 year old toy dog and played with an old Sweep puppet. R was in the older group and really enjoyed making lemonade and said it tasted really good.
image

After a short break the younger group went to make peg dolls and the older group went to do some Victorian object handling. Then the older group moved over to make peg dolls and the younger group played some old fashioned games. We did have lots of fun racing feathers across the room. We then all met back together for lunch. 
image

After lunch we said goodbye to our friends and went off to look for ducks. Unfortunately there weren’t many about so we took Granma home, collected Poppy and headed to Nannys house. At Nannys the older girls helped make meatballs for dinner, E played Lego and Little S played with the dolls house. Once Daddy finished work he took them to the swing park and I took Poppy for a walk. 

After a lovely dinner at Nannys we headed home, albeit rather slowly as my gearbox on my car has perished and I was stuck in 2nd gear most of the way! So it looks like we’re going to be house bound (or at least village bound) until it’s fixed.  

A week in our life, day 3

I love living in the countryside, once we’d got ourselves sorted this morning we headed to home ed club. E always sit in the front of the car with me, on the way a large Buzzard swooped down by the side of our car. We were able to see all the detail on the underside of it’s wings. This sparked a conversation about birds of prey which in turn led to talking about thermals. On the way home from club a female Sparrowhawk took a dive to catch her prey from the side of the road. She landed next to our car and we able to get a really good look at her.
Club today was relatively quiet, only 6 families but we still had lots of fun.
image

Almost all the children had their faces painted (E included!) There was also junk modelling, some toys and a giant mechano type set. The children also enjoyed playing in the park together.
image

When we got home I did a spot of housework whilst the children amused themselves. Then I took part in an epic battle with E, he with a cardboard tube aka lightsaber and me with a nerf gun. It may sound like an unfair fight but I wasn’t actually allowed any bullets and so ended up being beaten (playfully) by a cardboard tube! Haha!
image

Daddy brought home dinner from the chip shop, which was lovely and the children all loved getting a playmobil toy. It kept them occupied for ages after they’d eaten, they played together really well. After playing Daddy put all the children to bed and I went to Morrison’s to do the food shopping.
Now for a cup of tea and a little tv, we have an early start tomorrow.

A week in our life, day 2

We started our day today as we start most our days, snuggled on the sofa with breakfast, tea and tv. After breakfast the girls all had baths and we got ourselves ready to go out.

image

After a few hiccups, we eventually set out for Moors Valley stopping on the way for snacks. When we got to Moors Valley we headed straight for the park to meet up with some home ed friends. The children all had great fun, E and his friend N had lots of races around the park. After lunch we said goodbye and took Poppy for a quick walk by the lake and fed the ducks.

image

When we got home there was just enough time for a quick cup of tea before R and E went over to a friend’s whilst I took S to speech therapy, Little S came with us too.
After speech therapy I made dinner and the children played outside. When we had finished eating S gave Poppy her dinner and we went out into the garden. We found some bits of wood from yesterday’s bonfire and discovered that they made great pens, I told S that it is called charcoal.

image

S asked if we could Poppy for a quick walk before bed. So we went out to enjoy the last of the days sunshine.
Daddy put the younger girls to bed, whilst E and I enjoyed our bedtime story of Lord of the Rings.
image

Once the others were in bed I spent half an hour with R doing some of a science workbook before I finally collapsed on the sofa for an hour before bed.

A week in our life, day 1

So, I’m hoping going to blog every day this week to give others a really good view of a “typical” week in the life of our unschooling family. Today is Sunday, I woken at 7am by E who wanted to go downstairs, S and Little S who were both asleep in our bed, also woke up so we plodded down. S let the dog out and then gave her her breakfast. We spent the next hour cuddling on the sofa with our blankets, breakfast and drinks watching tv.
Daddy came down at 8am to load the old sofa (that was staying in our garden) into the car and take it to the dump. On the way home he went via my parents house to pick up our new fridgefreezer.
Once daddy was home, R and I took Poppy out for a walk through the fields and back down the high street, popping into the shop for a loaf of bread. When we got back R went to knock for a friend who recently moved down the road. She spent the rest of the day playing there, coming home shortly before dinner!

image

I headed into the garden with S and Little S where we painted the fences and the vegetable boxes. We also planted over 200 bulbs and a few plants. The girls had great fun but were filthy after and had to wash in the garden with a bucket of soapy water before they could go inside.
The little girls got Max and Nibbles the guinea pigs out to play for a bit, whilst I prepared a roast for dinner. E had a very quiet day, playing on his own and playing some computer games.

image

After dinner we headed back out into the garden to build a bonfire and roast marshmallows. E loves to help put wood on the fire and we spent some time outside together.

image

It was then time to put on our pj’s and have a hot chocolate before bed. I hope they sleep well tonight, cause I am pooped!

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Fair trade fortnight, world book day and archaeology club

We started last week with a visit to moors valley, we took Daddy with us to meet some home ed friends, we played in the park, had a picnic and a little walk. Although chilly it was nice to see some sunshine.

image

On Tuesday we went to home ed club where we learnt a little about Fair trade foods and did some cooking. All the children really enjoyed making chocolate rice crispy cakes and chocolate fudge. It was a little wet on Tuesday but we still managed to finish with a little play in the park.

image

Wednesday R came down with a nasty virus, her temperature was over 39°C and this made her sick. She was very sleepy, over a 36 hour period she slept for 28! Very unlike my active girl. She had a headache, stiff neck and her legs hurt, she also had a pinprick rash appear. I was worried so took her to the Dr, he gave her a thorough check over but in the end she was fine and recovered quickly. Friday S came down with it too but she wasn’t as poorly, just a high temp, and headache.

image

We spent the latter half of this week at home because of illness. E made jaM tarts, R made ginger biscuits, we did painting and gardening.

image

Thursday was World Book day so we spent time making our own books as well as reading lots of others.

image

On Saturday R had Youth Archaeology club where she was learning about food through the ages. She made Roman honey cakes, mock marzipan and stuffed dates. She really enjoyed her time and brought some recipes home so we can cook some at home.

image

Whilst R was at club I took E out for a hot chocolate and a spot of shopping. He chose some new shoes, and we found some cheap Skylanders. It was really lovely spending quality time with my boy.

image

Yesterday we took all the children swimming. The giant inflatable was out so R spent most of her time on there. When we got home the children set up a game with My Little Ponies and Skylanders and played nicely for ages.
Today we’re looking forward to seeing Granma after her holiday.

Home Education in the Media

With schools bursting at the seams and children being faced with test after test, it’s easy to see why so many parents are deciding to educate their children at home. For some, their child/ren have been bombarded by relentless bullies, others have special needs which are not being adequately catered for. Some choose not to send their children to school from the outset. Whatever the reasons, numbers of children being educated at home are growing.

Most parents I meet or talk to online are unhappy with the current school system. There’s too much homework, too many tests or the children just aren’t able to be children. The mention of educating your child at home though is often met with a reaction of fear.

“I couldn’t do that.”

“I’m not clever enough.”

“I need a break from my children!”

“Is it even legal?”

“You’re brave!”

Yes, I’ve had all of these comments and more said to me. No, I’m not brave, I’m just raising my children. Yes, it is legal. I still get a break from the children, albeit not as often, but I have girls nights out, date nights with my husband, and time in the evenings once the children are in bed. Sometimes I even go grocery shopping. All. By. Myself!

I’m not the cleverest person in the world, but I know how my children learn, I know their interests and most importantly I care. The love and care I give my children means they can learn feeling secure and confident. I want what is best for them as a person, their emotional, physical and mental well beings are my priority. If these are well catered for their willingness to learn will excel. Why does a child ask so may questions? Because they want to learn. It’s built into them. Test after test doesn’t help them learn, if anything, it’s likely to put them off.

he

I was one of a few families approached recently by the BBC’s The One Show for a piece about home education, although we didn’t feature this time. It seems like home education is attracting a bit of media attention, with many people saying we (as home educators) need monitoring or that all children should be in school. There is a fear that home educated children are invisible and at risk of all sorts of abuse. We’re not locked in our home never to see another living soul again. We’re in the supermarkets, at the museum and in the park. In fact you’ve probably met a few of us. We still see neighbours and friends, and we still go to the doctors when we’re ill. Just as those with children under school age do, but we don’t worry that these children are invisible. Why when our children turn 5 do we suddenly become a risk?

against the stream

When I was at school we were often told to “swim against the tide” or choose our own path. But when you actually do something that’s not the norm it’s met by shock, horror and outcry. As a teenager I was a Goth, short black spiky hair, long dark coat, and Dr Martin boots. I stood out because I was different and I was picked on for it. We don’t like what isn’t normal.

Learning is normal, learning is encouraged, learning is fun. Learning isn’t Monday to Friday 9-3, it happens all the time. When children are happy they want to learn. For my children and so many others, they weren’t happy at school. Being home educated has given them a thirst for life and an enjoyment of learning. Isn’t that what is important?