Tag Archives: unschooling

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!

A family weekend in Cornwall

When you book a break in the UK you’re always taking a risk with the weather, thankfully we had amazing weather at our recent weekend on Cornwall. Every year we have a “family day”, getting together with my parents, brother, his wife and more recently his son too. This year we decided to do something a little different and spend a whole weekend together. We booked a lodge near Bodmin, Cornwall that was able to sleep all 11 of us.

Setting off at lunchtime on Friday after a full cooked breakfast we had 4 very excited little children. We stopped in Honiton for a drink and a cake, and to stretch our legs. The constant “are we there yet?” chides from the children kept going all through the afternoon. Eventually we arrived at Hengar Manor and found our lodge, number 14. The children raced in to explore and choose their beds. I put the kettle on for a much needed cuppa whilst we unpacked the bags.

Uncky C feeding the locals

We met the locals who were clearly fond of new visitors. Once settled we grabbed our cozzies and headed straight for the pool. E was happiest in the Jacuzzi, R was enjoying swimming the length of the pool and trying out the waterslide. The little two loved splashing in the water, alternating between the main pool and the baby pool. Our swim was unfortunately cut a little short when a little boy was sick in the Jacuzzi, and we were evacuated from the pool.

Back at the lodge we had dinner, played and fed the ducks. Granpa, Uncky C and Aunty A had to work so were to join us later. R took herself off to enjoy a relaxing bath in the big corner tub and I tucked the little ones into bed. E was clearly a little overwhelmed by the day and needed the weight of 3 duvets to help him drift of to sleep. I obviously need to invest in a weighted blanket for him. The others joined us late evening and we ate together, eventually headed for bed ourselves at around midnight.

Saturday morning started early with Aunty A coming down to get N some milk at half 5. S and Little S woke at about half 6 and charged upstairs to jump on Granpa! Once everyone was awake Granma realised that some vital components of our breakfast had been left behind in Dorset. So we sent Granpa and S off to the shops to get what we needed. After breakfast we went for a walk with Granpa and Granma whilst N went for his nap .

After popping to the tavern for a bite to eat in the afternoon we did our annual gift giving. The children were truly spoilt once again, receiving lots of new toys. We also enjoyed a party tea together and spent the afternoon playing. We took the children swimming again, this time taking Granpa, Aunty A, Uncky C and N along. Little S loved swimming with Granpa.

Sunday R cooked pancakes for breakfast for everyone, although needed help as the pan wasn’t non-stick. After breakfast Aunty A, Uncky C and N packed their bags and headed home. We went to the pool one last time, taking Granma and Granpa. R enjoyed showing off her impressive swimming skills to her grandparents. After swimming we had lunch and packed our bags up. We decided on a final stroll of the grounds, taking with us the rest of the bird food. We were able to hand feed the ducks which was quite tickly. We visited the park again and expelled some energy before the long drive home. After stopping for a cheeky McDonalds in Exeter, we arrived home just in time for bed.

Hand feeding the ducks

A very busy but fun filled weekend in Cornwall.

My Random Musings

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.

 

Home educating when they’re sick

Sunday night I was rudely awoken by the sound of vomiting. Great! My poor little boy was then sick every hour or so for the rest of the night and into Monday morning. This meant that our plans to meet up with a home educating family, that we haven’t seen in ages, had to be cancelled. Not E’s fault but disappointing nonetheless.

Whilst he spent most of the day alternating between throwing up, sleeping and watching TV, I had to find alternative ways of occupying the girls. R is quite good and finding things to do, she likes to cook her own lunch, play with online friends or read a book. She’s also just signed up to MWorld, an educational app that helps them learn all about the world around them. With topics from animals to the human body, to space, early civilisations and more. We’re really looking forward to see all it has to offer and exploring new topics.

The younger two girls still need more of my time. We had a few deliveries recently from Amazon and Approved food, so we made a big box fort to play in. The guinea pigs have also been able to enjoy the fort, and lots of cuddles from the girls. We had a gingerbread train kit that we decorated before devouring. S has begun playing Minecraft and is learning lots from that. She’s such a sensitive soul though, and gets quite upset when she has to kill the animals.

In the evening M came round and made slime with the girls using PVA glue, eyewash, paint and bicarbonate of soda. I’m not sure of the exact measurements but it kept them busy for quite a while.  The only problem is I now have tubs of various coloured slime all over the house. Today has been another quiet day whilst E recovers. We have done some colouring and making shapes out of paper. We’ve read books and played, and the house has been tidied.

Hopefully the girls will avoid getting the sick bug and we can get back to normal.

Time to explore

Apologies for the quiet spell, I’ve had a few blog problems and have also been busy with the kiddies.  The cold, grey and often wet weather is somewhat stunting our ability to spend much time outside. Although we do take the opportunity to explore whenever possible, even if only for an hour or two.

Over the past few weeks we have been to Moors Valley, Upton Country Park, and Knowlton Church. The children do love to explore the outdoors, make dens and see friends. Poppy dog also enjoys or outside days when she is able to join us.

We have also enjoyed going to a café for breakfast after an early start dropping our car at the garage. We’ve spent time with Grandparents and baked cakes. We dissected our old and broken vacuum cleaner, to see what was inside. Our Dyson challenge cards came out one day and we tried a few experiments. Yesterday our National Trust membership card arrived so we will have many more places to explore this coming year.

E has had many appointments since the beginning of the year. He does find them very challenging but he does so well. We finally have an official diagnosis of Autism for him, and are hoping that this may provide us with some much needed support.

 

Adventure Wonderland

At the beginning of September Adventure Wonderland had an offer on entry price so, as the children had been asking to visit, we went along for the day. Daddy was a little reluctant as he’s not a big theme park person but he was glad we went as the children had a fantastic day.

pirate boat

R must have gone on the pirate boat ride at least a dozen times, she loved it so much! I think we managed to go on just about every ride between us. (We even got Daddy on some rides too.) There was the giant bouncy slide, the flying elephants, the Yo-Yo’s, the teacups, and the runaway train. We had lunch by the outdoor adventure playground where the children enjoyed having a run around and a play on the swings.

Flying elephants

After lunch we went to explore the maze, the girls all ran off in different directions and we all managed to get thoroughly lost trying to find each other again. It felt like we would never get out and we kept meeting other families who were all lost too! It was R who finally managed to guide us out.

After getting lost in the Adventure Wonderland maze we needed a rest so we went indoors to the soft play area. Little S loved loading the canons and firing them. Next it was time for a well deserved ice cream and a few more rides. R once again went in search of  the pirate boat.

The heavens opened at this point and as we were already wet we went to try the water boats. E, not being keen on getting wet, didn’t want to go on the boats. Instead he went back on the Yo-yo’s by himself! I was so proud of him, it was the ride just next to where I was queuing with S, but it’s a big thing for him to do something like that.

Myself and the 4 children on the teacup ride taking a funny face selfie

After the boat ride we were all soaked to our knickers and getting quite chilly so we called it a day and went home to warm up with a hot chocolate.

 

 

August bank holiday weekend

Steam fair

August bank holiday weekend, and what a busy weekend it was! It started with a visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair on Friday evening with friends. The children were all very excited to go on the rides. We started with the dodgems, but they were a little fierce and very noisy. We were lucky that we were able to find something suitable for each child, from 3 to 12. Little S enjoyed the “hook a duck” and won a little prize, she also found two little rides that were perfect for her.

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The older ones went on the helter skelter, trampolines, a scary spinning ride and the high swings. I got dragged onto the fun house which was a little embarrassing at the end when a gust of wind was blown up from under me, sending my skirt up to my ears and attracting a few looks from passers by!! It was a good evening but by the end E was struggling with the noise, lights and busyness.

Rides

Saturday was spent at Nanny and Granddad’s with the cousins. Lots of playing, some cooking, puzzles, time at the park and a dog walk. Nanny treated all the children to a cheeky McDonald’s for dinner too. S, Little S and Little cousin E went with Nanny to help collect the food and keep Nanny company.

Sunday was a day at home playing with friends, gaming and gardening. We also helped some friends to rearrange their bedrooms, dismantling, moving and building beds. S stayed over at her friends house that night and E had two friends stay over. It was the first time he had had friends to stay overnight. 3 boys was quite an experience! Lots of silly talk and armpit farts at almost midnight before they finally fell asleep.

Beach

After a slow morning, the girls and I went off to the beach with a couple of friends. It was surprisingly quiet considering it was a nice bank holiday Monday. R was straight in the sea for a swim, she is such a water baby! The two little girls made sandcastles and collected shells, and I managed a little sunbathing. After a lovely couple of hours we packed up, said goodbye to our friends and went Granma and Granpa’s house for a BBQ.

Daddy, E and Poppy met us there. Poppy and Maisy the dogs had lots of fun playing together. There was lots of yummy food and lots to go around. We all left with full tummies and sleepy heads.

Summer Beach Fun

It’s quite rare for us to go to the beach (let alone twice in under a week) as we’re more forest and countryside kind of people. However the weather has been gorgeous and the children fancied a change. Our first trip to the beach was on a Friday evening, it was just the six of us and we had a wonderful time. S enjoyed collecting shells, and spent quite a while on her own hunting for the best ones.

waves

The older three all enjoyed playing in the waves but it was a bit cool to go in too far. We went rock pooling to see what we could find. By far our best find was the little crab, the children liked stroking it but were not brave enough to hold it. Little S thought it was fascinating how it walked.

On the way home we talked about the meteor shower, the difference between a meteor and a meteorite, how we call them shooting stars but that they are not really stars. We talked about gravity, the atmosphere and the planets. That night Daddy and I laid in bed watching the shooting stars out of the window.sea

Our second trip to the beach was last Tuesday afternoon, we met up with another home educating family so that the children could play together. It was very warm and much busier than our trip on Friday. E found it a little overwhelming and sought solitude in the pushchair with the hood pulled down over him. He did enjoy some playtime with his friend though, making sandcastles and tracks in the sand.

overwhelmed

Little S loved playing with some Octonauts that our friends brought along and had a good splash in the sea too. R took a body board into the sea and didn’t come back until she was turning blue! After two fun filled hours we decided to make our way home for dinner.

Octonauts

I think that we’ve had our fill of the beach for a while now, but it was good fun.

sandplay

Summer 2016

We have been so busy this summer, having so many adventures. Daddy and I have dusted off our bikes and together with the children we have cycled to Moors Valley a couple of times. Once meeting up with good friends and once just the six of us. It has been great to get out together away from screens and into the outdoors. The three older children all did so well riding all that way, Little S has a seat on the back of my bike that she loves as she get to sight see. When we went yesterday we parked our bikes at the train station and caught the train to the park, then we went off and did some of the adventure trail and had some ice cream. Later we caught the train back to our bikes and cycled home, all very tired.
Train ride
There has been lots of time spent in the garden, harvesting veggies, rearranging the play area, planting new plants, exploring the pond, jumping on the trampoline, playing football and playing in the fort. We were even able to watch the combine harvester collecting wheat from the field behind our garden.
harvest
R planned a new venture for this week, she ran a lemonade and cake stall from our front garden on today. She designed and made posters, putting them up around the village. She planned what she was going to make to sell, decided on a price list and thought about when she needed to make everything. We had lovely weather after a chilly start and plenty of customers. S and their friend M helped at the stall and they made an impressive £12.
lemonade
S has been learning lots about money over the last few weeks, saving her pennies, counting them, deciding how she’d like to spend them and using them in shops. When we went grocery shopping the other day she asked if she could get some raspberries. I was already loading the checkout so, as they were nearby, I said she could go and get some herself. She came back with 2 packets as she’d seen they were on special offer! The lady at the checkout next to us told her how clever she was. She is very switched on for a 5 year old.
art
We looked after the girls friend last week and they spent hours doing craft together, painting, sticking, and gluing. They iced biscuits and made cakes and jelly, as well as spending lots of time playing outside together too.
sisters
On Thursday R had her piano lesson, then after lunch with Granma and Granpa we headed off to Bradbury Rings to meet up with some home ed friends. The children all went off exploring and chasing Pokemon and the mums had the chance to sit and catch up. After a while thick dark clouds appeared and we felt the pitter patter of little rain drops so we all made our way down the hill and home.
We still have lots more to do over the rest of the summer and lots of ideas.

Archaeology club and the stone age

Today R had a trip with Archaeology club to Stonehenge, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay and join in. We started off by looking around the replica stone age cob houses. We learned about stone age tools and pots, we discussed the design of the houses and why there was no hole in the roof above the fire pit. The children were able to try grinding wheat stone age style to make flour, and make rope out of reeds.


Grinding wheatNext we went outside and learned in pairs how to make chalk cob walls after weaving hazel structures. This was R’s favourite activity and she got rather messy doing it!

Making cob walls

After a picnic lunch break we took a walk in the sunshine over to the stones. We heard some common myths and legends about how the stones came to be. We listened to the sounds we could hear and talked about how it would have been different 4000 years ago. We took the bus back to the visitor centre and said our goodbyes.

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The rest of the afternoon will be spent playing outside with friends in the sunshine.