Tag Archives: home schooling

Following our interests, A visit to Sealife Weymouth

The way we home educate mostly involves us following the children’s interests. For E most of those interests revolve around fierce animals. Dinosaurs, Sharks, Monsters etc. We were given the opportunity to visit the Sealife Centre in Weymouth on Sunday. Sunday happened to coincide with the Ironman  competition, which did mean that Weymouth was very busy and the car park at the Sealife centre was closed. We were quite worried about how this would affect E, but he coped fantastically.

 

Hands on learning

On arrival we decided to have our picnic, E however, was so excited he didn’t want to eat. He rushed off to visit the seahorses, then the rock pool, then the seahorses, then the turtles! Are you beginning to see how our day went?! He must have visited every exhibit at least twice. Flitting between them, taking in all the sights, seeing all the different varieties of sea creature.

The girls enjoyed exploring and seeing everything, the also loved the play park with all it’s many twisty slides, and the splash area. Daddy and I had to take it in turns to follow E to his next target area. Occasionally we managed to visit an exhibit as a family, though we were rarely in one place for more than a couple of minutes. I liked that E had the space to roam and explore.

When we arrived at the ocean tunnel, E’s face was a picture. He soon spotted the sharks, his eyes lit up and he gasped with excitement. SHARKS! We spent a while there, watching them swim around. We even went back a bit later for another look.

 

At the end of the day we stopped off at The Royal Oak pub outside Blandford for dinner. The children were all in a great mood after a fun day although a bit tired. We enjoyed a really tasty meal and the pub was so child friendly with board games to keep the children entertained and a play area outside. It’s a day we shall look back with great memories.

A rare day of home educating at home!

It’s quite amusing that home education is so called as we are very rarely actually at home, and many others say the same. Monday we were at Moors Valley for a meet up, then went to Nanny’s house and R went swimming. Yesterday R was out for whole day at the Ancient Technology Centre with lots of home ed friends, whilst the rest of us went to our usual home ed group. So to have a whole day spent at home with no plans is quite novel.

The children were all awake between 7 and 8 and headed for their screen of choice to either play or watch something during breakfast. R spent the morning playing with online friends, listening to music and writing out song lyrics. The younger 3 played games and amused themselves which meant I was able to get on and do a bit of housework. The 2 littlest got out a maths set we were given yesterday and played with that for a while. At lunchtime a couple of my friends popped by for a cuppa and a chat.

After lunch we went to explore the field behind our house, the rape flowers are almost as tall as me. We took care to stay on the tractor tracks so as not to damage any plants, and a fab time. It was like a maze. The sun was shining and the children laughing.

After our walk we decided to do a little gardening, planting some foxgloves in the woodland and sowing some new seeds for the summer. The girls filled their own pots with compost and chose what seeds they wanted to sow from my seed box. By the time we had finished school had was over so the children wanted to play outside. We wandered up to the little park and played monsters/chase. S decided she wanted to do some more maths, and Little S helped me prepare dinner.

Once Daddy was home I went out for a nice quiet walk with Poppy and left the kiddies with him. Now it’s time for a cup of tea before crawling into bed. Tomorrow we are going Tomahawk throwing!

100 Days of Home Education

This post is a little different from normal in that it forms part of a blog hop. We are celebrating the diversity that is home education. I am one of many home educators taking part in this blog hop, in which we share a little about how home education works in our families. Yesterdays post came from RioLife, so pop over and see how they do things.

For us home education is an intricate part of our lives. It isn’t a separate part like it was when they were in mainstream school. We had school and we had home. Now it is all one, learning and living go hand in hand. From the moment we get up in the morning, the children are responsible for their own breakfasts (with supervision or help if needed), taking charge of their dietary needs. Many days it is toast or cereal, some times they like croissants or pastries. The younger two girls love a big plate of fresh salad and mixed meats and cheeses, whilst the older two prefer eggs.

Most days begin with a little screen time, whether that be Minecraft, YouTube, Roblox or Netflix. Often the children choose “educational” videos or games, but even when it’s not obviously educational they’re still learning. R has learnt to touch type by chatting to online friends, someone commented to me just a couple of days ago about the speed in which she types. Her spelling is almost perfect and what is best is that she is not afraid to ask how to spell a word if she is unsure.

We often head out to see friends, family or attend a group or visit somewhere special. We enjoy hours and hours of fun, team building, play, socialisation and learning in the forest. Mastering skills from balance to wood craft, and learning about nature in all seasons. We meet with children of all ages, various nationalities and from different backgrounds. We take part in national and international celebrations such as World Book Day, Burns Night, National Pizza Day or Comic Relief at our weekly groups.

We’re always on the look out for new and exciting ways to explore the world around us. With visits to museums, libraries, and historical places amongst our favourites. We also enjoy quiet days at home like yesterday, where we bake, do gardening and grow our own veggies. Yesterday Little S made a carrot cake, S made loom band bracelets using a repetitive pattern (a little maths there), and the girls did Hama beads too (perfect for enhancing fine motor skills). R learnt about the human body on MWorld, taking a quiz on the skeleton.

E learnt about reflections and mirrors on YouTube, played a banking game on Roblox and did some reading practice with me. He’s not keen on writing but he did sign his name in a card for Nanny. The smallest girls took the dog for a walk with me and my friend kept an eye on the older two. Two of the girls friends came for the walk too so they had lots of fun playing. S chose sausage, potatoes and veggies for dinner tonight, as we all take turns choosing our favourite meals.

Unfortunately our original plans for a group woodland day today have been cancelled due to poor weather forecast (Storm Doris). Perhaps we’ll spend the days baking, painting and reading or maybe we’ll go and burn some energy at a soft play, I’m not sure yet we may even fit all of that in! But for now I go and have a cuppa. Be sure to read EnglishWeather’s post tomorrow for another view of home education.

 

Midway through December already!

 

I can’t quite believe we are halfway through December already! It seems only last week that it was summer. The weather is changing now, it’s much cooler and wetter and we’re entering a phase of relative hibernation. We are still enjoying our visits to Moors Valley and Upton Country Park though, as well as our Home ed. group meetings on Tuesdays. The children love to be outside when the weather and health permit. Making dens, seeing friends, playing and running. We’ve had a few coughs and colds over the last week or two, so have missed a few of our regular meet ups.

outdoor fun

 

Monday saw R turn 9, Daddy took the day and we spent time together unfortunately I was suffering from mild vertigo, and feeling rather dizzy. this meant that our day at Moors Valley had to be substituted for a trip the cinema, where I could sit down but the was still something for the children to enjoy. We went to see Moana, it was a great film full of Disney magic. Being a daytime viewing we had the cinema almost entirely to ourselves, which was lovely. Afterward we went home and had dinner chosen by R. Mexican wraps, her favourite.

December

 

Tuesday was home ed. group. It seems that no matter how many toys or electronics children have they love building forts, houses, cars and more out of cardboard boxes. The mud kitchen was also a hit, with a few requests for “more mud”! The children all enjoy helping to clear up afterwards too, sweeping and washing the floors. We’ve been up to lots of fun at home baking, painting, reading, and we even turned our front door into a snowman! How is your December so far?

cakes

A Perfect Day at Winchester Science Centre

Wednesday was one of those perfect home educating days. Daddy left for work at 7:30am, R was up so she went on the P.C. for an hour to play Roblox and chat to her friends online. The other 3 played quietly together. At half past 8 E had his turn on the P.C. whilst I cooked a full English breakfast. It was lovely eating breakfast together, with the children trying to guess where I was going to take them for the day.

softplay

Once we were all dressed and ready we set off just after 11am. We arrived at Winchester Science Centre around 12 noon to find it bustling with school children. At first glance it looked quite small and I wasn’t sure it would hold my children’s attention for very long. We had a little wander around, tried our hand at making an electrical circuit, and played with Cell Mountain. It was very busy and I could tell E was struggling, so we went to the soft play area as it was empty. The children played there, building a parkour course and dens. After a good play we went to the cafe for a drink and cake. The children went outside to the playground and R made friends with another home educated little girl.

Perfect

By the time we’d finished our drinks some of the school groups were starting to leave and our friends were arriving. The children were then able to really explore and learn. We bounced about in the giant colon, tested our flexibility, balance, speed and reflexes. R played on Google Earth looking for China, the South Pole, and finding our house.

Motion

We looked at ourselves through a thermal imaging camera, and tried to shake our own hands in a concave mirror that made our reflection appear 3-dimensional. We discovered that it takes more energy to make materials such as glass, from scratch that from recycled resources. We tested theories on motion and weight distribution. E and his friend put together an X-ray skeleton, working out which bones went where. We looked at fossilised dinosaur poop and bones.

mirror mirror

There was so much to see and do, we didn’t get chance to do it all. The children had so much fun they want to go again next month. It’s given the children a few ideas of topics the want to delve deeper into. R is particularly keen to learn more about China.

ice cream

On the way home we stopped at a motorway service station and had McDonalds for dinner. We played tic-tac-toe whilst we ate and the children were all so good. Not far from our house a Barn Owl swooped over the front of our car, E and I got an amazing view of it. By the time we got home it was straight to bed for the little ones. They were an absolute delight the whole day. Being on my own, somewhere new and busy with 4 children can sometimes be a little daunting. They really were perfect, it’s a shame Daddy had to go to work.

A Perfect Day.

 

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.
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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.
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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.
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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 winter week

One thing I’ve discovered since home educating, especially in the winter months, is that the days all seem to blend into one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it makes it difficult remembering what we did on what days!
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Last week we went to home ed group on Tuesday, I know it was Tuesday because it’s always on a Tuesday. It was in a new hall, a hall with fantastic outside space. There is also a swing park just outside. We’re really looking forward to exploring this new area. At club the children enjoyed making sweets, painting pasta necklaces, playing together and getting exceedingly muddy in the park.
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As for the rest of the week, the older 2 had their hair cut, and we’ve spent lots of time playing with Poppy.

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She was happy, honest!

E made some chocolate chip cookies, the best chocolate chip cookies I have had in a long time! We used a basic shortbread recipe which we adapted a little. Delicious.
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Thursday afternoon we had some home ed friends round to play. A little girl to play with my little two and two older boys who got on really well with my older two.

Granma and Aunty A popped round for lunch one day, homemade leek and potato soup and homemade granary bread rolls.
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The rest of the week we’ve spent time reading, playing, R has been practising her typing and spelling on the PC with a new game she’s discovered, whilst E has been learning about DNA and dinosaurs.

We have a few things to look forward to this week including soft play and pizza making.

Coughs, colds and chicken pox

We’ve had a very quiet week with all of us having a cough or a cold which seems to have been accompanied by ear ache. Little S also appears to have had a mild case of chicken pox.

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Most of this week we’ve spent a lot of time at home doing winter themed crafts and baking.
We’ve baked gingerbread men, made peppermint cremes, rice crispy cakes, and iced gingerbread star biscuits.

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We’ve made fluffy snowmen, and gingerbread people and houses.

History has been learned by watching horrible histories, we’ve practiced our maths playing monopoly, card games and monster maths. We’ve read stories and practiced gymnastics in the living room. We had lots of fun with paint too.

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We went for a lovely woodland adventure yesterday with Daddy. We found all sorts of goodies, great sticks for walking, a deer skull and foot, soft moss-covered trees and hidey holes. Plus there was lots of mud and puddles for jumping in.

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Stick man, birds and musical instruments

This morning started frosty but the sun was shining, so after breakfast we wrapped up and put on our wellies to go exploring. When we arrived at Moors Valley we decided to do the Stick Man trail, a walk through the woodlands doing activities based on the Julia Donaldson book. We picked up our pack and followed the arrows to begin our walk.
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Unfortunately E doesn’t cope too well with the cold so the first 45 minutes of our walk were challenging. Despite this we managed to make a nest, build a tower, do bark rubbings and more.
After we completed the trail we headed to the visitor centre to collect our certificates and stickers. We grabbed some hot chocolates to go and went off to feed the swans and ducks at the lake, one swan even let S stroke it.
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Next we headed off over the bridge to the play parks. The girls played house, and E and I played monsters.
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After a while I noticed a little robin following us, when it was quiet I crumpled a tiny corner of biscuit onto my hand and he hopped over and took some. R came over and got to have a go at feeding the robin too. She was thrilled and the robin kept coming back for more.
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After a few more minutes play we headed back to car and home for lunch.
Whilst I was preparing lunch the children spent time on their tablets, S played Monster maths, E played games and R watched some YouTube tutorials.
After lunch I made a cardboard box house for the little girls to play in, then caught up on some housework.
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E and I then had a quick game of Monopoly Junior before the girls and I made some musical instruments. We made shakers out of old bottles, lentils, rice and coloured beads. We also made a small water xylophone with coloured water.
Whilst I make dinner the little ones are playing with the Guinea pigs, E is playing on his tablet and R has a friend round to play. After dinner R and I are off to Morrisons to do the food shop and get ingredients for a project she wants to do tomorrow.

My Random Musings

Grey Days

I’m really not fond of grey, wet days. The odd one or two I can cope with but when it goes on for a week or more I get rather miserable and a tad snappy. Housework becomes much more of a chore, even getting out of the bed in the morning can be hard work. When there are four little bright eyed children bouncing around the house and wanting to learn, I don’t have the option of curling up under my duvet, stuffing my face full of chocolate and watching movies (at least not every day!)

This week has been one of those grey weeks. I have to admit that the house isn’t quite as tidy as I’d like it and we haven’t done as much as I would like to. I’ve had moments when I’ve thought I’m not doing very well as this educating lark. Then I look back at what we have done.

We’ve played monopoly, learning about money and property. How to play together and take turns, and for some of us how to be a graceful loser. We’ve played card games, learning maths as we played Elevens and clock solitaire. We’ve done water play, playdoh and painting. The girls have had there swimming lessons, and we met up with our home educating friends at soft play (and socialised). We’ve cooked dinner together, and read books. We’ve talked about the Monarchy, old and present, and why there have been more Kings than Queens. We have looked again through our microscope at various things from cornflakes to polystyrene. We shared sparklers with friends.

There have been computer games, but in that they have learned strategies, how to defeat their enemy in war or create a working rollercoaster. We went to the cinema and watched a film about a girl dealing with her emotions. We caught a bus home, working out the route and bus we needed and what time we had to catch it.

It seems that even in the times I don’t feel like the children are learning, when I feel like I’m failing, that are really are learning.