Bubble Fun

Yes­ter­day was a glo­ri­ous noisy, messy, house full of kids, sum­mer day.

Jack and friend spent a while search­ing through the mas­sive pots of change we have in search of penny falls money before dis­ap­pear­ing for most of the day.  Return­ing when they were just too hot to the shade of Minecraft.

Sam and friends had an impromptu, loud music ses­sion before I sent the instru­ments, inc the annoy­ing plas­tic gui­tar that I have always hated, home with a friend.

After­noon was spent in a water fight, play­ing with tubs of shav­ing foam and whisk­ing up soap flakes, play­ing with touch­able bub­bles (which are fab if sticky), putting each other inside per­son size bub­bles and mak­ing cas­tles from sand clay. Lots of fun, noise and mess :)

20140723_1 20140723_2 20140723_3 20140723_8 20140723_10Bub­ble is actu­ally stuck to his head!

 

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End of Term

It is a week of ‘lasts’.

Last home ed group meet we will join in with for the sum­mer (there will be meets and we’ll see friends but we need the break).  Was a cof­fee morn­ing at the local scout hut.  We enjoyed it; nice peo­ple, kids enjoyed the activ­i­ties, venue suited well but a lot of peo­ple who said they were com­ing didn’t show and I ended up out of pocket so will be the last one unfortunately.

On the pos­i­tive got to see some won­der­ful cre­ative beach sculp­tures from the chil­dren and test mine (a very sweet 4yo was giv­ing my big eyes as she wanted a swan — I did refuse the fol­low up request for a cow!).

20140721_16Time to get home, tidy away every­thing from the morn­ing and sort out stuff for Guides.   Been a bit of a roller coaster year but glad I made the switch.  Waved my old­est two off and wel­comed four more.  We were doing the organ work­shop that I’d done with the home ed group the week before.  Nice end to term for me as all I had to do was turn up with forms and badges.

Being in Gosport though led to me hav­ing 1/2 hr to kill at the time all shops bar the super­mar­ket was closed.  Ended up in the library, leav­ing with 25 Geography/Weather/Ethics books.  Really good haul, but not help­ing with the clear out.

20140721_30Tues­day was a drag the boys out of bed very early for a 7.30 bus to the opti­cians (seemed a good idea when I booked it to just do it before the wait­ing room reached boil­ing tem­per­a­ture — less so on the morn­ing).  We got out in less than 2 hours with 4 pairs of glasses on order between us.  Sam still per­fect vision, Jack’s sta­ble, mine improv­ing — so good results.

We had Thorton’s ice cream as a treat after­wards.  Before pick­ing up some shop­ping and home for lunch.

20140723_2Jack headed out, Sam played Sky­lan­ders, I caught up with admin.  Then we walked over to a friend’s to deliver some books and toys, have a cup of tea and run around yelling a lot and bran­dish­ing weapons.  Home and more friends dropped in to col­lect books.

Busy day ended with Sam’s final Cubs of the sum­mer.  Laser tag and fire light­ing, happy boy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Evenings

School is out, and Jack is about.  This is obvi­ously the year he is really spread­ing his wings as he is off down the beach swim­ming at any oppor­tu­nity and there are plans for bike rides and pic­nics.  Test of nerves as a par­ent, feel that I am not so much vol­un­tar­ily let­ting go of the strings as hav­ing them pulled away from me.  But am doing well at keep­ing my panic to myself and let­ting them go rather than des­per­ately grab­bing at them.  When it comes down to it he’s a sen­si­ble boy and I trust him.

Well Jack is rev­el­ling in it Sam and I are really strug­gling with the heat so stay­ing indoors out of the sun.  Seems sun­set is our going out time :)

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Cramming it all in

Felt a bit like we have been against the clock this week count­ing down to Jack fin­ish­ing school yesterday.

After Monday’s get things done day, Tues­day was a day to catch up with friends.  This often goes by way­side in school hol­i­days as more dif­fi­cult to get about with a grumpy pre­teen in tow.  On the plus side I think we’ve passed the worst of it as pre­teen is gen­er­ally happy and old enough to be trusted to do his own thing, plus I like his friends so if I’m tak­ing Sam out for the day to meet friends, will just take pre­teens enmass — less trou­ble to take 2 or 3 than 1.

Any­way back to Tues­day and we had a pleas­ant morn­ing drink­ing cof­fee, gos­sip­ing and play­ing iPad at a friend’s before meet­ing another friend at the Dock­yard for pic­nic and Action Sta­tions.  Think we’ve long since exhausted any edu­ca­tional ben­e­fit but to the boys it is a large play­ground and they love it.

Wednes­day we rounded off our Vol­cano project with a trip to the Earth gal­leries at the Nat­ural His­tory Museum.

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One of the things I love most about vis­it­ing Lon­don is all the dis­cus­sion and debate that arises, can barely walk 10 yards in Lon­don with­out com­ing across some­thing inter­est­ing and if we can we always walk or bus if pos­si­ble so we can see stuff.  Weds had us walk­ing an hour through Bel­gravia look­ing at the big houses, land­scaped squares, play­ing spot the embassy and dis­cussing the poten­tial pit­falls of social­ism and why com­mu­nist sys­tems haven’t really worked.  Should have only taken half hour but I got dis­tracted by Sam explain­ing how he would rad­i­cally reshape the polit­i­cal sys­tems of this world by dis­solv­ing all coun­try bound­aries and hav­ing a large, cen­tral, elected, rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil to make deci­sions.  Bit of a rad­i­cal social­ist my younger son!

Did have a laugh on the way there.  I was read­ing about vol­ca­noes and obsid­ian came up, so I asked Sam if he knew that vol­ca­noes made obsid­ian.  His answer was ‘yes, of course’ fol­lowed by expla­na­tion on the use of obsid­ian in Aztec cul­ture.  The lady he was sit­ting next to sat there look­ing at him open mouthed  :D

Thurs­day we had a group trip to a local church where they have a recently recon­di­tioned organ that had been played by Handel.

Infor­ma­tion about the church.

Was a lovely trip, oppor­tu­nity to do some­thing different.

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They also had a chance to go inside the organ to see all the pipework.

Fri­day, we worked on Sam’s vol­cano lap­book before he went to a friend’s house and I took the oppor­tu­nity to crack on with the big end of year clear out.  Far from tidy yet.

Posted in Days Out, Home Education Group, Music, Volcanoes and Earthquakes | Leave a comment

Clear Out

Time to declut­ter a bit — offer­ing these locally first to avoid postage issues.  May strug­gle to bring to cof­fee morn­ing as don’t drive and sus­pect my granny trol­ley will be full of the craft stuff.  But I only live around the cor­ner so can nip home and bring them to the park at lunch or you can drop around an col­lect on way home.  Any­one not com­ing Mon­day we can sort some­thing out.

Mix of KS1/2/3 level stuff plus some instru­ments and toys tagged on the end.

For Sale

All are used unless stated but in decent condition

Char­lotte Mason’s Ele­men­tary Geog­ra­phy — £2

Work­books brand new — KS1 — £3 for the 5 listed below

WH Smith’s Gram­mar and Punc­tu­a­tion book 2

WH Smith’s Hand­writ­ing book 2

Collins Hand­writ­ing Book 3 Age 5–7

Collins Times Tables book 3 — Age 5–7

Collins Mul­ti­pli­ca­tion and Divi­sion Prac­tice — Age 5–7

Work­books most new — KS2 

Collins Hand­writ­ing books 1, 2 and 3 — book 1 half used oth­ers new — £1 for the 3

Log­i­cal Learn­ing Num­ber Shape Magic Explorer - £1

Ris­ing Stars Study Guide Eng­lish Yr 6 — £1

Galore Park So You Really Want to Learn - KS3 Level these were all bought sec­ond hand for Jack before he went to school and are bit bat­tered and the sci­ence at least is quite an old ver­sion hence price

French Book 1 + CD — £8

Gen­eral Books

Spelling Made Easy Intro­duc­tory Level (word lists, dic­ta­tion, teach­ing points only A5 size) — £1

Collins Gram­mer and Punc­tu­a­tion Pupil Book 1 — £1

Whole World inc CD - £2

My Daddy is a Pret­zel - £1

Read and Won­der Ani­mals– 4 story books with info about Pen­guins, Pigs, Eels and sharks - £5

Fes­ti­vals, Fam­ily and Food — Guide to Sea­sonal Cel­e­bra­tion — As new con­di­tion except some of the pages have the top cut off, doesn’t inter­fere with con­tent and came like that — £5

How to Make a Uni­verse with 92 Ingre­di­ents — new, pages too busy and bright for us — more chunks of text peo­ple — £3

Toys

Space Lines — 3D Con­nect 4 basi­cally — ended with a dubli­cate copy — £1

Free

Won­der Book of Would you Believe it

Nat­ural Disasters

Paper­jamz guitar

 

 

 

 

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Encouraging Reluctant Writers

Inspired by a thread on a forum.  I often find myself writ­ing a sim­i­lar response to ques­tions on the sub­ject which seem to arise quite fre­quently, seems that I am not the only one to expe­ri­ence reluc­tant writ­ers! So here’s my two pen­neth worth.

For what it is worth I believe writ­ing leg­i­bly and quickly is a pretty essen­tial skill in life and I feel I would be fail­ing my chil­dren if they don’t mas­ter it to an ade­quate level.  They will need it for exams, and what­ever my opin­ion of the sys­tem is, exams and the qual­i­fi­ca­tions can open doors to the future.  I will be doing my chil­dren a dis­ser­vice if I don’t help them gain the skills/keys to open those doors even if they choose not to.  Also life changes, often unex­pect­edly, there are a whole num­ber of rea­sons why a child might sud­denly end up in school and being able to cope with things like the level of writ­ing would obvi­ously ease the way.

Most of what I am talk­ing here relates to the actual prac­ti­cal putting pen to paper rather than being able to con­vey an idea in text which is obvi­ously still impor­tant but for it is the prac­ti­cal ele­ment that seems to cause most of the reluc­tance.  In a home ed envi­ron­ment I don’t think writ­ing really has much impor­tance until exam time or some sort of exter­nal course requires it.  If they aren’t in school there is less empha­sis on them hav­ing to use writ­ing as a method of demon­strat­ing their learn­ing — you can see it with your own eyes and hear with your own ears and you don’t need to demon­strate it to any­one else.  I firmly believe that chil­dren learn best when they are inspired and self-motivated and/or they see a point to it.  This is not always easy to achieve with regards writ­ing, telling an 8 yo that in 6 years time he will need to write a 3hr essay or a 10 yo who had a bad expe­ri­ence at school that he may decide to go back in 2 years, won’t wash.  There­fore I think this has to be one of those things where ‘Mum (or Dad) knows best’ like brush­ing teeth etc and our role as parent/teacher/facilitator is to make it as low stress as pos­si­ble by what­ever method it takes (not above bribery).

Early years (under 8’s)

  • Don’t stress about writ­ing at all at this age.   Push­ing before they are ready can only ever be counter productive.
  • Work on motor skills to improve hand mus­cles and fin­ger grip — use tweez­ers to pick up and sort items like pom­poms, pasta, beads and nat­ural mate­ri­als like acorns and conkers (muf­fin trays very use­ful for this);  thread­ing — beads, but­tons, lac­ing cards; scis­sor prac­tice — sim­ple col­lages, ran­dom cut­ting of paper or wool, try­ing to fol­low lines; hama beads (we went straight on to the midi at age 3/4 ).
  • Model writ­ing — chil­dren want to do what Mum (and Dad) does so let them see you writ­ing.  In this tech­no­log­i­cal age we com­mu­ni­cate by email, make shop­ping lists on phones, word process essays etc.  Try and get in the habit of pick­ing up a pen your­self to do some jobs.  Write a note with a card for exam­ple and encour­age the child to add their name/a note/a doo­dle.  Write shop­ping lists, chil­dren can write or draw their own — we have had many fun trips round the vil­lage shops try­ing to work out pic­ture lists :)  Leave notes around the house to one another.
  • Play lots of pen and paper games like hang­man (when their spelling won’t drive you doolally), squares, noughts and crosses… Peggy Kaye’s Games for Writing is an excel­lent source of ideas (for any­one local I have one to sell on)
  • Prac­tice pen­cil skills in other ways; trac­ing, dot to dots, colour­ing, and draw­ing; both free­hand and learn to draw books and print­a­bles, the lat­ter are a good way of intro­duc­ing the idea of fol­low­ing par­tic­u­lar shapes.
  • Make prac­tis­ing let­ters as fun and tac­tile as pos­si­ble. Use fin­ger or a blunt pen­cil to draw let­ters in flour, shav­ing foam, oobleck etc (buy cheap lit­ter trays — I love cheap lit­ter trays they are bril­liant for messy activ­i­ties), draw with a fin­ger on each oth­ers backs.  Use sand­pa­per let­ters, mag­nets and let­ters made from play dough to prac­tice form­ing words.
  • Encour­age them to hold the pen­cil cor­rectly.  Use grips and ergonomic pens/pencils to help.  Will mean that in the future they are unlikely to find that they are over grip­ping and the hand/wrist is tired.

Mid­dle years (roughly 8 — 11)

Prob­a­bly (hope­fully) the trick­i­est time.  This is where we are, per­fec­tion­ism and atti­tude I find are big issues now as they find inde­pen­dence and their own opin­ions, there is grum­bling and huff­ing and puff­ing when asked to pick up a pen.  We as par­ents start wor­ry­ing a bit when we see other children’s work, from school or on blogs and even though we hate our­selves for doing it we raise an eye­brow a lit­tle that even the 5 year olds seem to have neat joined up writ­ing.  And the big­ger pic­ture of future exams or pos­si­ble school atten­dance is so far off that is not a great moti­vat­ing fac­tor.  Things that appear to work for us.

    • Remove as much writ­ing from other areas of the cur­ricu­lum as pos­si­ble.  I believe a lot of the frus­tra­tion at this time arises from the fact that the brain works faster than the hand can write, and they have trou­ble express­ing their thoughts.  We are in the lucky posi­tion of being able to inter­act on a very per­sonal level, we can hear from their con­ver­sa­tion that they have under­stood.  If you want some­thing on paper, scrib­ing for them or typ­ing are options.
    • Keep the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of writ­ing sep­a­rate.  We use a com­bi­na­tion of hand­writ­ing prac­tice books, copy­work and dic­ta­tion.  In short bursts, we have a 10 minute timer and never go over this.  For this time it is focus­ing on the for­ma­tion of let­ters, spac­ing of words etc with­out the need to think on the content.
    • Don’t under­es­ti­mate the value of work­ing on motor skills in other ways, colour­ing, draw­ing, hama beads, knit­ting, loom­bands, Lego…
    • Cor­rect the grip, pos­ture… we have a tripp trapp chair to help with height, sta­bilo pens for grip, we tried and dis­counted a wedge — and I adopt a scheme of gen­tly remind­ing aka nag­ging in the nicest pos­si­ble way.
    • Encour­age writ­ing for plea­sure — mine love new note­books :) By not ask­ing them to write I am for­ever find­ing car­toon strips, notes, how to guides (Minecraft usu­ally, but we’ve had own­ers man­u­als for their brother for exam­ple) dot­ted about.  They both love blog­ging (okay this is typ­ing but all helps).  Keep mean­ing to find Sam a pen­pal, or pos­si­bly some­thing like post­pals.
    • Make use of tech­nol­ogy.  Sam has an app on his Kin­dle that reads back what you type.  Again not writ­ing but does help with spelling and punctuation.
    • Trust your gut. You are the best per­son to sense if the reluc­tance is due to neg­a­tive school expe­ri­ences, lazi­ness, being a boy of a cer­tain age (not that girls can’t be reluc­tant writ­ers of course), in other words some­thing time and patience will fix.  Or whether other fac­tors such as dys­graphia may be at play.  If you believe there is a prob­lem fight all the way for support.

Later years (roughly 11+)

Have to say I have no real expe­ri­ence and there­fore no truly use­ful advice.  Jack’s hand­writ­ing is the one area that really did improve when he went to school.  Now at 12 it isn’t the neat­est you will see by a long shot (but bet­ter than his Dad’s) but he can write quick, leg­i­ble cur­sive.  The key fac­tor in it all was he needed to be able to do it to keep up with the class and there­fore he had the moti­va­tion to really make an effort.  I’m hop­ing that at some point Sam will find his moti­va­tion, and we will man­age pass­able.  There is always bribery to fall back on ;)

If you want more use­ful advice then I would carry on with all the ear­lier strate­gies.  Seek help if think it is needed.  Stress the need for quick, leg­i­ble hand­writ­ing as a means to an end and try and encour­age self-motivation.

This is the age where they need to learn to struc­ture an essay.  I have a the­ory that you can pass any essay based exam with only the basics of sub­ject knowl­edge as long as you know how to struc­ture an essay, not well per­haps but base­line pass that knowl­edge will improve.  My plan is that at 11/12 we will move from project based/hands on learn­ing to more text­book based and grad­u­ally increase the writ­ten con­tent focus­ing very much on struc­tur­ing ideas.  In Eng­lish I am hop­ing we can move away from hand­writ­ing prac­tice (which is our big thing to crack), spelling and gram­mar (which are rea­son­able) to focus almost entirely on pro­duc­ing lit­er­ate pieces of writ­ing.  I plan to adopt a mod­el­ling approach — his ideas, I’ll help mind map them, then I’ll model the answer.  Grad­u­ally we’ll had over bit by bit things like con­clu­sion, dis­cussing best way to go about it.  Good sen­tence starters etc.  We have some books col­lected from Collins over the years that I expect to draw on Collins Easy Writ­ing and Collins Writ­ing Aim­ing For Level 4 (one of a series obvi­ously we will prob­a­bly move through).

An online friend has men­tioned that her reluc­tant writer 12 yo starts every day with writ­ing the alpha­bet to jog let­ter for­ma­tion.  I am antic­i­pat­ing this being some­thing we do for some con­sid­er­able time too.

This post was actu­ally began in early May, not so much reluc­tant as just short of time and con­cen­tra­tion here :)

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Posted in Curriculum, English, Musings | 7 Comments

Wonderwoman mode (minus a few brain cells)

Today has been fan­tas­ti­cally pro­duc­tive day.

I have -

    • Made vats of jelly for my Guides to play Mr Plod the Police­man.  With lots of clean­ing up after I stu­pidly washed and reused the cups from last week’s water ses­sion, which were full of nee­dle holes! Took me longer than it should to work out where all the spillage was com­ing from.

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  • Drew and painted an owl for ‘pin the beak on the…‘
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  • Dealt with 100 queries from Guide par­ents.  Well okay exag­ger­a­tion but my phone has been none stop today.
  • Printed off a gazil­lion forms for Guides.
  • Made a demon­stra­tion vol­cano for Sam to see how lava forces it’s way up via cracks.20140714_18
  • Did some vol­cano art — squeez­ing drop­pers of coloured vine­gar on a tray of bak­ing soda.  It is the assig­na­tion of Julius Cae­sar appar­ently.20140714_20 20140714_22
  • And then exper­i­mented with mak­ing vol­ca­noes from koolaid, bak­ing pow­der and water — def­i­nitely the way of the future.  They worked really well, no smell of vine­gar (cher­ries instead) and pick a red one and no need for food colour­ing. 20140714_27 20140714_30 20140714_3920140714_40
  •  Then he had great fun mix­ing it all together and I had a big mess to clear up again :)
  • I booked his Art Award ses­sions for Sept.  More on that later in the week.
  • I booked tick­ets for Matisse exhi­bi­tion at the Tate after a lot of chas­ing on home ed rates.
  • I booked tick­ets to go the Britain: One Mil­lion Years of the Human Story exhi­bi­tion at the NHM.  No chas­ing on rates this time.  Sim­ple phone call was all it took to get schools rate.  Even had all my details from the last time I booked an exhi­bi­tion — 7 years ago!
  • I booked a trip up the Spin­naker for the home ed group.
  • After a lot of too­ing and fro­ing I also pro­vi­sion­ally pen­cilled in a work­shop at SEARCH.  Also on Britain’s prehistory.
  • Researched a few more trip options for the Pre­his­toric Britain project.
  • Tracked down links and ordered some free resources for farming/safety projects.
  • Got sucked into lap­book­ing with Sam for his vol­cano project.
  • Made arrange­ments to catch up with friends tomorrow.

In plan­ning and clean up mode.  Jack fin­ishes lunch time on Fri­day :)

20140714_43While I was sort­ing Guide paper­work Sam turned his bed into a boat.  The paper is an anchor.

 

Posted in Family Life, Science, Volcanoes and Earthquakes | Leave a comment

Reviewing 2013/2014

The aca­d­e­mic year didn’t get off to the start I wanted, it took most of the Autumn term to get our Conservatory/Education room built/floored/furnished/stocked and it felt a bit like tread­ing water.  We also were liv­ing in a pigsty/building site.  How­ever, things have def­i­nitely improved after Christ­mas when the prac­ti­cal ele­ments came together.

Maths

Lov­ing Saxon.  Some­times get rather lazy about the ‘meet­ing’ ele­ment but it is def­i­nitely doing what I was hop­ing in pro­vid­ing vari­ety along­side rein­force­ment.  It won’t work for every child (Jack would have hated it — manip­u­la­tives not his style) but for Sam it is spot on perfect.

Eng­lish

Getty-Dubay work­ing and hand­writ­ing notice­ably improving.

Writ­ing with Ease we are also happy with.

Spelling Made Easy — we’ve tweaked some more to make it day 1 — word search, day 2 — look, copy, write, day 3 — work­sheet, day 4 — test.

Cre­ative writ­ing group never came off, we just don’t have time to fit it in to the day.  Some­thing I would love to do but prob­a­bly not for Sam.  Instead we are using Teacher Cre­ated Resources — Build­ing Writ­ing Skills Words to Sen­tences.

His­tory

I hated Story of the World once we got into it so that was knocked on the head.  Far too lack­ing in sub­stance and writ­ten in a really patro­n­is­ing way.  Activ­ity book was okay but I just couldn’t get over the style of the book.  Per­sis­tent prob­lem I find with Amer­i­can curricula.

We’ve been mainly tak­ing a project approach based on vis­its.  The Hands on His­tory books have proved a hit.

Geog­ra­phy

We dis­cov­ered the same prob­lem with Char­lotte Mason’s Ele­men­tary Geog­ra­phy as with Story of the World.  It was writ­ten in a way that was so patro­n­is­ing I couldn’t bring myself to read it.

We ended up just fol­low­ing our Eng­land project as a group.  I need to be doing a bit more back­ground on this though as not sure he is get­ting any geog­ra­phy knowl­edge from it, even though the group and activ­i­ties are a hit.

We’ve also been exper­i­ment­ing with a bit of map drill using games from Shep­pard Soft­ware, def­i­nitely improved his knowl­edge and he is get­ting really good at plac­ing coun­tries of Europe.

Sci­ence

We tried doing the junior Crest awards as a group before Christ­mas.  No one was a fan and that was knocked on the head sharpish.

At home we tried Build­ing Foun­da­tions in Sci­en­tific Under­stand­ing  and we tried and we tried and we gave up!  Nice idea, but need to be a mil­i­tary style plan­ner to make come off.

Sci­ence is the main area I really need to do bet­ter in pro­vid­ing for next year as just isn’t happening.

Latin

Work­ing through Latin is Not So Tough, started on the wrong book.  Book 1 is far too easy, no real Latin con­tent — but to be fair it does say that so we will persevere.

Span­ish

Tutor ses­sions are work­ing well.  Have tried var­i­ous online pro­grammes to sup­ple­ment, set­tled on Duolingo.

Art/Music

Apart from fol­low­ing Sketch Tues­day ear­lier in the year plans for these just never came off.  Another area to do bet­ter on next year.

Social side

Didn’t go as planned.  Started the year on a bit of a roller coaster — lots of ups and downs with more downs than ups.  Won’t say any more than that.  Have also strug­gled to get Sam out to trips unless they are ones I’ve booked.  He’s enjoyed them when we’ve got there, think he needs the infor­ma­tion that I can give him, but the pre­go­ing stress means I will only be sign­ing up to future ones if they are some­thing really special.

Despite the rocky start we end the year in a really good place.

We have pretty much given up larger scale events apart from the odd cof­fee morn­ing and unsure if we’ll do those next year.  On one hand they let me indulge in my organ­is­ing hobby and I do like meet­ing new home eders, on the other hand Sam doesn’t really care about being in a sit­u­a­tion with so many peo­ple (he retreats to a quiet cor­ner) and I am usu­ally too busy to chat.  Looks like I won’t need to though as oth­ers seem to be organ­is­ing things.  Had enough of the whole group dynam­ics thing.  Small groups of 3 or 4 fam­i­lies which is what most trips seem to be lately work really nicely for us.  Chil­dren all play together across age ranges and the adults can all chat with no split­ting into groups/having some­one on the edge.  Not giv­ing up big­ger trips com­pletely just being very picky about activ­ity and how often.

Ear­lier in the year I decided as a bit of an exper­i­ment that I was not going to con­tact any­one about meet­ing up unless they con­tacted us first (was still post­ing ad hoc meet up sug­ges­tions on list so not dis­ap­pear­ing com­pletely).  Been inter­est­ing.  I was expect­ing our social cir­cle to shrink but actu­ally it has expanded.  Some acquain­tances have grown in impor­tance to become really good friends.  Plus we have had time to arrange to meet peo­ple who don’t do groups and make new friendships.

Part of me feels that we should be doing the group thing more as good for Sam to have to deal with peo­ple he doesn’t find easy as that is life.  Other part of me thinks, meh, we see peo­ple pretty much every day, not like he’s socially iso­lated just sur­rounded by friends.  We’ll do the odd group trip and he’s exposed to all­sorts at Cubs and the park and has to cope.  Adult­hood and all it’s com­pli­ca­tions are years away, no point wor­ry­ing about the future when should be enjoy­ing child­hood.  At the moment — Meh wins ;)

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Boat Cruise

Pretty much every year since we’ve lived here I’ve eyed up the Sum­mer cruise trips on the Gosport Ferry. We did a day trip to Cowes years ago but has never been the right time for one of the longer ones — 6 hours on a boat with a young child or 2 does not sound a par­tic­u­larly relax­ing day out. But Sam has now reached the age where as long as I throw a book in my bag I can pretty much take him anywhere.

My Dad has been vis­it­ing and boat trips always appeal to him.  As luck would have it, his birth­day was on Tues­day and on Weds there was a trip to Nee­dles and Yarmouth so that solved the birth­day present prob­lem ;)

Can’t say I ever want to visit Yarmouth again.  2 hours on shore we had, took less than 10 mins to see the entire town!  There was ice cream and sec­ond hand books so not a com­plete loss.

Whole trip made me real­ize what a wealth of his­tory there is along this bit of coast.

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Lazy Days

We have well and truly taken our foot off the pedal now and wound down for the Summer.

My Dad has been stay­ing with us so we’ve gen­er­ally been hang­ing round at home, few meals out and gen­er­ally enjoy­ing a bit of fam­ily time.

20140703_27We’re in the manic point of year from school/scout/guide event per­spec­tive.  Always one of us hav­ing to be some­where.  Sam had a Cub fun day on Sat­ur­day and I spent Sun­day in the New For­est fail­ing doing low ropes and pio­neer­ing (if lost in the woods with some nice poles and ropes they can now build a cat­a­pult to fire ten­nis balls — kind of ;).

On a Guide related note, we dipped our toe in to geo­caching.  Think that is some­thing we will look at doing more of!  The ones we were search­ing for were on the beach so some toes going in literally.

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We man­aged a trip to the ‘new’ Mary Rose museum at last.  Nowhere near as impressed as I wanted to be.  Too many gim­icky com­puter bits around and I think after quite a few view­ings the ship has lost impact.  Also very hot!  Now it is free flow rather than time slots one to go back to in short bursts I think, a gallery at a time.

20140703_17Dogs skele­ton, some­how more mean­ing­ful than the human ones…

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Gim­icky com­puter games.  20140703_21

Some­thing we remem­ber from the old museum — being an archer.20140703_25

Last week for­mal work was pretty much down to Eng­lish (on the last chap­ter of the book seemed a pity not to fin­ish it off).  We had last Span­ish ses­sion for the sum­mer.  Every­thing else (Maths mainly) has been game based.

Big new hits are these two

20140709_4 20140709_5Sec­ond one is some­thing called Dude Dice. I thought it was prob­a­bly a bit of a waste of money as some­thing we could have done our­selves with the blank dice and mosh­lings but the new­ness is def­i­nitely a fac­tor.  We’ve spent a sur­pris­ing amount of time play­ing it this week.

Gears have come out too.  He made a ‘food masher’ and ‘juiced’ (aka made a mess with) the few black­cur­rants that the bush produced.

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I’ve also had a good bar­gain find­ing  - trip into Fare­ham found some Art book and prints that I had been toy­ing with full price for on spe­cial offer so paid less for 4 than I would have for 1.  Picked up 4 of the Red­wall books to try and tempt Sam (a fight­ing mouse is good bait!) for 99p.  And twister on a map… def­i­nitely had 99p worth of fun there already :)

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And because I like the photo.

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