Sick Day

One of the huge ben­e­fits of home edu­ca­tion is the flex­i­bil­ity to absorb sick days.  Okay, if you’re ill and you’ve a healthy child and plans to go out it’s a night­mare.  But those days when your child isn’t quite right and you don’t have to make that hor­ri­ble call of school or no school its a god­send.  Then if you are both meh it is won­der­ful to put every­thing away and snug­gle down.

This is where we were on Fri­day then.  Both full of cold, all aches and muzzy­ness.  We did man­age maths, Eng­lish, Latin and Span­ish and then gave up.  A hot bath and an after­noon on the sofa followed.

We read Alice in Won­der­land for a while.  Then I put on a doc­u­men­tary that I’d recorded the night before — Oak Tree: Nature’s Great Sur­vivor  — highly rec­om­mend it.  I’d put out some Lego for Sam but he pretty much sat there for 1 1/2 hrs focussed on the doc­u­men­tary.  I did some sewing though :)

20151004_3 There was also Scratch!20151004_4

Posted in Family Life | Leave a comment

Sunny Days

I may pos­si­bly have men­tioned that I love Autumn!  Octo­ber is my favourite month, cool nights and sunny after­noons.
We’ve both got colds and despite my best inten­tions I am still stress­ing far too much about some­thing I can’t fix — a relaxed com­fort­able, clear the head day was in order.
We man­aged maths and eng­lish but that was all.
Sam had a friend around for much of the morn­ing and the after­noon was spent down the park with my Dad.  I man­aged some bak­ing and craft­ing and shop­ping for more craft­ing as well as watch­ing the rugby.
Very pleas­ant day.
Feel­ing prop­erly ‘coldy’ today so def­i­nite quiet one in order.
20151001_12 20151001_5 20151001_7 20151001_9 20151001_10 20151001_13 20151001_14 20151001_15

Posted in Family Life | Leave a comment

Layers of the Earth

For some rea­son Sam’s Duolingo app seems to have upgraded and mine hasn’t.  Means he is only get­ting about 1/2 the num­ber of points I am, which is going to affect his moti­va­tion I expect.  Some­thing to fix there.

Any­way good news of the day was finally get­ting a gold cer­tifi­cate on Mathletics.

20150930_3He likes maths that has an ele­ment of ‘trick’ to it and mul­ti­ply­ing by 10s. 100s etc fits that.
We’re using the work­sheets from Math­let­ics which are work­ing really well so far.20150930_2He’s started to learn and copy out a new poem in Eng­lish, mak­ing a book­let.  Notice some sci­ence creep­ing in there :)20150930_1Sun was out so we took a walk to the vil­lage for milk, lunch, Beano and to col­lect our pot­tery.  I keep say­ing it — but I love liv­ing by the sea.

20150930_5 20150930_8

Link­ing to the for­ag­ing skill on DIY we spent quite a while talk­ing about the health ben­e­fits of dandelions.


The after­noon was given over to talk­ing about the inter­nal struc­ture of the Earth.  Not a new con­cept at all so rein­force­ment and a bit of fun.

We had a quiz.

20150930_15Made and dis­sected an Earth

20150930_10 20150930_11 And squished it to make a ‘flat Earth’.20150930_14 Labelled the lay­ers of the Earth using a hard­boiled egg.


Made a mini­book to go in our project scrapbook.



Sam’s favourite bit though was lay­ers of the earth pudding.

Bis­cuit bash­ing20150930_18 Jelly mak­ing20150930_4 Jelly core, angel delight man­tle and crushed choc diges­tive crust.  All topped wih some Cad­bury ‘peb­bles’.20150930_19Here’s the pottery!


Posted in Curriculum, English, How the Earth Works, Maths | Leave a comment

The Week is Whizzing By!

New term rou­tines are pretty well estab­lished by now and time is start­ing to pass at a bit of a gal­lop.  So another rapid catch up post.

Sat­ur­day saw us at the Mayflower for Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries.  We’ve seen quite a few of these now.  Think this may be our last though, we’ve enjoyed them but I think Sam’s out­grown them and Jack didn’t want to join us.

20150928_1 - Copy We rarely go into Southamp­ton so we took the oppor­tu­nity to explore Toys’r’Us and dis­cuss ideas for Christ­mas and Birth­day.  Sam has never really done toys that much so has always been hard to buy for as he never ‘wants any­thing’.  We then ran back to Argos (who had a 3 for 2 offer on) to actu­ally buy some toys with his own money that he has been hoard­ing since Christmas!20150928_2 - Copy

Home ed wise there has been more verb and sen­tence work.  Maths we’ve moved on to mul­ti­pli­ca­tion and divi­sion.
20150928_3 - Copy

We spent most of the rest of Mon­day play­ing with codes and ciphers.  Plus a bit of Scratch.

20150928_4 - Copy 20150928_8 20150928_10 20150928_13

We didn’t bother with ‘work’ yes­ter­day morn­ing.  I was run­ning the activ­ity at local­ish HE group so wanted to get there early and also as it was the last day of Argos’s 3 for 2 sale I spent some time shopping!

Acid and alkali reac­tions were the order of the day.  Lemon volcanoes


and drip­ping food colour­ing on to paper coated in a dried bicarb of soda paste and then coat­ing it in vine­gar so it fizzed and the colours ran.
20150929_5 20150929_6

Plus lots of play.  After ini­tial 5 sec grump when I said his best friend wouldn’t be there, he decided it was fine as he had other friends :).  As it hap­pened none of his usual friends were there but he didn’t seem to notice and moved hap­pily from play­ing with one per­son to another.  20150929_8


Posted in History, Home Education Group, Music, Spies | Leave a comment

End of Week bits and bobs

On a bit of an emo­tional roller coaster at the moment so the 100 days happy thing is prov­ing very timely.  Here’s not the place for that though so on the home ed front we’ve…

Fin­ished the first maths ‘block’ on num­bers.
Been work­ing on similes


Been to a friend’s house for play.
And to the park for play and exer­cise and Grandad time.20150924_3
Tar­get prac­tice with a new dart gun.
20150924_5Started work­ing through the Harry Pot­ter films yet again in prepa­ra­tion to visit the studios.20150924_7

Read­ing about spies and from the bible and our book of bible sto­ries.  We’re not reli­gious but I feel the his­tory of this coun­try and the world is so tied into reli­gion a knowl­edge of the views and sto­ries of the major reli­gions is vital to try to make sense of the world.  The focus this week was on the books of the Bible and their dif­fer­ent authors/styles/genres.  We read some sto­ries of Moses and talked about the plagues of Egypt.

Work­ing on his Spy book.

20150925_5Mak­ing a Lego vehi­cle with Grandad for a project.

20150925_9 Tri­alling an art activ­ity for a group using bicarb of soda and vine­gar.  Def­i­nitely what I think of as ‘process art’, the process of mak­ing it is more impor­tant than fin­ished prod­uct.  In this case the end prod­uct won’t last long as the bicarb flakes off but it is fun to do.

20150925_14 20150925_22Lemon ‘vol­cano’.
20150925_25 20150925_29That still left an after­noon for read­ing (mostly Asterix I think) and games.

Posted in Art, Curriculum, English, History, Spies | Leave a comment

Making it up as we go

I’m sure if you don’t know us and read this blog I actu­ally look like I’ve got it all sorted and we’re work­ing to a time table or some­thing.  Really not the case though.  I woke up today, as I do most morn­ings we don’t have a group activ­ity, hav­ing no plans besides just over an hour or so of Maths/English/Latin and Spanish.

This is where my sum­mer plan­ning really comes off.  All of that is set up so all we do is fol­low the books/spreadsheet/programme.  I’ve set a really rea­son­able amount and fin­ish­ing in an hour is doable most mornings.

After that I glanced at the plans I’d drafted back in sum­mer and it told me we didn’t have the stuff in I wanted for Sci­ence so that wasn’t hap­pen­ing but that at some point this week I’d wanted to do some­thing based on Van Gogh’s Bed­room in Arles.  Today seemed as good a time as ever so I dug out a box and some card­board and he made a model.

20150923_7We com­pared the 3D and 2D ver­sions, talked about per­spec­tive and van­ish­ing points and then played about on some iso­met­ric paper.


The need to run down fridge before the arrival of yesterday’s new one led to short­age of suit­able food for lunch, we needed an orange for Sci­ence and as Weds is known in this house as Beano day into the vil­lage we walked/scooted.  As a bit of a maths/budgeting activ­ity I gave Sam the list of requests from the local food­bank and £5 and sent him off to spend the money as wisely as he could.  Doesn’t go far in the Co-op unfor­tu­nately but they do have a col­lec­tion box there.  Think we’ll try and do that as a habit.

After lunch and read­ing the Beano to be hon­est I was start­ing to droop after get­ting up far too early.  But I realised that the rest of the week is fill­ing up with plans and I want some time to work on Fri­day as los­ing time to a home ed activ­ity on the week­end.  So we read this week’s Sci­ence about the size of the Earth, how it was mea­sured and how maps are made and how they distort.

Sam drew the coun­tries on an orange and then we peeled it and tried to flat­ten it.

20150923_9 20150923_11

Then we cut the top off a 2l plas­tic bot­tle and the bot­tle top bit off so we had a sort of plas­tic hemi­sphere.  I drew of lines of lon­gi­tude and lat­i­tude on, when you shined a torch through you could see how the lines pro­jected out over a sheet of trac­ing paper.  We then rolled the trac­ing paper into a cylin­der around the plas­tic and saw the effects on the pro­jec­tion then and finally made a cone from trac­ing paper, popped it over the plas­tic and shone the torch inside.

We fin­ished the after­noon with a chap­ter of Alice in Won­der­land and some Ani­mal Jam/online shop­ping (food, books, craft supplies).

We did as a ran­dom activ­ity while tea was cook­ing, pop some cel­ery in coloured water.  Feel­ing guilty as I said we’d do the sci­ence badge for Cubs back in the sum­mer as they had a cou­ple of weeks that really weren’t Sam friendly and I agreed with his leader we’d do our own thing instead.  We did as well but seemed to have a few fails and never got around to pulling it together.

Posted in Art, How the Earth Works, Science, Van Gogh | 2 Comments

Happy Days

We’ve done noth­ing spec­tac­u­lar the last few days but they’ve been good ones.  Relaxed and filled with things we enjoy doing.  They’ve not been with out downs and nig­gles but I am try­ing very, very hard not to let my frus­tra­tions on a mat­ter that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) effect my fam­ily influ­ence my mood too much any longer.  With that in mind when an email landed in my inbox from the 100 Happy Days chal­lenge sug­gest­ing I sign up to do it again for the last 100 days of 2015 I thought it would be a good idea.  I’ve a few ‘chal­lenges’ to get over between now and Christ­mas so could do with a daily reminder to focus on the stuff that mat­ters most.   Album of pho­tos is on the Face­book page here.

Any­way we’ve been look­ing at link­ing verbs in Eng­lish, mak­ing paper chain sen­tences and hav­ing fun with mak­ing sen­tences from cards.  Sam decided ‘deli­cious’ was the adjec­tive of choice, result­ing in some amus­ing sen­tences and ‘the best Eng­lish les­son ever’.

20150922_220150922_6Mon­day after­noon was spent in Action Sta­tions and in par­tic­u­lar laser quest.  This still remains the high­light of Sam’s month.  20150922_3

20150922_4 Tues­day was a stay in to sort new fridge sort of day.  I’m not sleep­ing well and wasn’t feel­ing up for any­thing that needed too much moti­va­tion from me.  So after the Maths/English/Latin/Spanish we curled up and read some of Enid Blyton’s Nature Book, Bible sto­ries and Aesop’s Fables.  Then stretched out and watched an episode of Orbit as part of our Sci­ence project.20150922_7 After sort­ing out the fridge and hav­ing lunch we talked about some of the spies we’ve read about.  Did some secret writ­ing with milk as it is one of the inks used in Fran­cis Walsingham’s time. 20150922_8 Then we made a scy­tale, a cod­ing device used by Greeks and Spartans.20150922_11

We sub­mit­ted it and Friday’s black­berry pick­ing to which led to dis­trac­tion.  So the boy bus­ied him­self with Scratch and I had a bath and tidied up.  Then he was off on a Cub hike while I got to enjoy time with older one.

P.S. I’ve man­aged a fair amount of sewing in the back­ground too which makes me happy :)

Posted in Curriculum, English, History, Spies | Leave a comment

Autumn Days

We are def­i­nitely being flex­i­ble this week to fit around the weather.

On the to do list for the week was a sun­dial for Sci­ence.  There was some sun on Thurs morn­ing.  It was com­ing and going though.  We were lazy and just divided the cir­cle into 12.  As my neigh­bour pointed out (ex navy!) we have 24 hr days and thanks to lat­i­tude adjust­ing angles of the lines is nec­es­sary.  But time was not on our side so I set­tled for some­thing that would show the sun was mov­ing which it did well enough.

20150917_1 We had fun play­ing ‘place value mas­ter­mind’ for maths.  I remem­bered why I hate play­ing Mas­ter­mind against Sam, he has a habit of giv­ing me the wrong clues.

20150917_9  We looked at cre­at­ing scary char­ac­ters as part of cre­ative writ­ing.
After that we man­aged to look at how the bible fits in to his­tory and trans­late a ‘bib­li­cal’ doc­u­ment (code on a piece of tea stained burnt paper).

20150917_23We fiz­zled out then as I got dis­tracted by Tesco not bring­ing the right shopping!

After lunch it was time to head out for some exer­cise.  Sam is not the most active of chil­dren and team sports will never be his thing so I feel the need to sched­ule some­thing in (also for me as I’m on a health drive).  He’s vetoed all group and club options I’ve put to him, apart from Laser Quest and bowl­ing but we need more.  We’ve set­tled for book­ing my Dad to drive us up to the leisure cen­tre once a week to swim.  If skin is bad (we’re both prone to eczema and infec­tions) I’ll try and book table ten­nis instead.  After Weds down­pour it felt a pity to be indoors on a sunny after­noon though.  Instead we headed into Gosport where the park has gym equip­ment.  I love it, it’s a play­ground for grown ups!

20150917_10 20150917_11

Inter­est­ing vis­i­tor.  Think it’s a lit­tle egret.20150917_15 20150917_17 20150917_18 20150917_19 20150917_22Took a long time to build up con­fi­dence for this but he loved it when he did.20150917_2020150917_21 We stopped at the library on the way back so Sam spent the rest of the after­noon read­ing while I sorted out pay­ing for a big HE trip.

Today had a leisurely start.  Well it did for Sam, I was up before 5 and work­ing at just after 6!  But by our 4 day week we’d fin­ished the planned ‘core work’ so I let the boy sleep in.

With no real plans for the day we filled it quite well.  While Sam was get­ting ready I dyed some pasta and rice for craft projects and got very messy!


The sun was com­ing and going so we braved going out.  This is a tiny local lake full of giant fish.  We have to stop when we hap­pen to pass.20150918_3

It was beau­ti­ful on the front.20150918_5 20150918_6

We walked up to Brown­down for prob­a­bly last black­ber­ry­ing of this year (bit squishy). 20150918_7 20150918_9 Few smears of juice on the lps there 😉20150918_10 20150918_11 20150918_12We walked back along the beach to the vil­lage in beau­ti­ful sunny weather.  Stopped in the arcade for a treat.

20150918_15 20150918_16 After a lunch stop we went to the local pot­tery paint­ing place as by a com­pli­cated but bor­ing sce­nario I had a £10 voucher that needed using.  Lets ignore the other 3 things we ended up paint­ing 😉20150918_1820150918_19 20150918_20While there the weather changed com­pletely and the rain came.

At home we looked at our art project for this week. Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  We focussed on the swirls.  We mar­bled the back­ground using shav­ing foam.
20150918_24 20150918_23
20150918_27 20150918_2820150918_29

When the back­ground was dry, he drew on a sil­hou­ette land­scape.
20150918_30 20150918_31 Bit of tidy­ing up includ­ing adding some lovely bright flow­ers.20150918_33 Plus the black­berry crum­ble that the morning’s work allowed.20150918_35Lovely cou­ple of days.

Posted in Art, Curriculum, How the Earth Works, Maths, Science, Van Gogh | Leave a comment

Food and Lego

That is pretty much it as far as my list of essen­tial teach­ing aids go.  Ignor­ing the obvi­ous of a com­puter and books (library card would do).

Eng­lish, Latin and Span­ish were rushed through today as we wanted to get on with fin­ish­ing off Sam’s Scratch game (I’d done some research myself to see about fix­ing a glitch).  Maths proved a dis­trac­tion as we had fun with some logic puz­zles about place value.

After a bit of play­ing about Sam got a Scratch game he was happy with and sub­mit­ted it to  It’s his third Scratch project for it so should earn him a patch (which I have to buy and get shipped from America!).

We read more of How the Earth Works look­ing at the Earth’s rela­tion­ship to the sun and moon.  Wasn’t the day to make a sun­dial — due to severe absence of sun!  We did, how­ever, demon­strate the seasons.


Sam is being the sun!  Then added a work­sheet (yes 2 in 2 weeks!) and a sea­sons spin­ner.  I think the spin­ner may be on the web­site by now.  Sea­sons spin­ner.  On a side note the sea­sonal tree stuff is some of my favourite stuff we’ve done for ages, the illus­tra­tor did a bet­ter job with the images than I’d hoped.  Must go back and do more with them.


We had a bit of lunch and then car­ried on with more sci­ence.  Demon­strated how the moon spins while always pre­sent­ing the same face to the Earth and then made the phases of the moon out of oreos.  He still pokes his tongue out when concentrating :)

20150916_10 20150916_13

After that we snug­gled down for the days read­ing from our book bas­ket.  We’d missed it yes­ter­day so read yesterday’s too, a story from Enid Blyton’s Hedgerow Tales.  The read­ing for today was from a Year Full of Poems.  I love the idea of this book, it’s a pretty book with a few pages of poems for each month of the year.  The poems are dire how­ever so think we’ll give this one up as a bad job and just pick up one of our other poetry books, we’re not short of good ones.

I then sneaked off for bath while Sam built a new Lego kit. 20150916_15He then used what he’d built to cre­ate a vignette to sub­mit to DIY.  I don’t think I need to explain the story 😉

Rest of the day passed in Lego play, bath and com­puter time.

20150916_22Lovely day and while I’ve been typ­ing this we’ve heard that he’s passed his first DIY patch (Scratcher) and his Lego scene got awarded a ‘staff favourite’.   Suc­cess­ful day too.

Posted in Curriculum, How the Earth Works, Maths, Science | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Out of Hibernation

We’re back out and about again.  Not much, but enough :).

Jack is set­tled into school rou­tines.  We’ve had a cou­ple of weeks of Cubs — become a sec­on­der.  I’ve gone back to Guides but hope­ful that it may well be that there are enough adults that I can leave long before Christmas.

We made it to the home ed adven­ture play­ground yes­ter­day for the first time in about 3 years.  Don’t think we’ll go every week, per­haps every other — non laser/bowling weeks.  Plus if weather is bad may divert to Action Sta­tions instead, it’s a faff to travel to and be crammed in a room that gives me the hee­bie jee­bies.  Sam enjoyed him­self yes­ter­day though and I had some time to catch up with an old friend and new home eders.

On the home front we are def­i­nitely in com­fort­able lev­els of work ter­ri­tory.  We’re both up and down with this cold so not maybe achiev­ing as much as we could but doing well enough.  If any­thing it seems I’ve under not over planned this year so far.

Have done well with the Maths/English plan­ning this year, every­thing is prov­ing eas­ily achiev­able and we’re eas­ily done in 1 1/2 hrs (inc Span­ish and Latin).

Sam has embraced the read­ing aloud aspects of work this year.  Some­thing he was pre­pared to tol­er­ate as bet­ter than alter­na­tives, but has remem­bered that actu­ally with the right book he enjoys it.  We spent a long time snug­gled on the sofa read­ing first Aesop’s Fables and then Alice in Won­der­land.  Much to my sur­prise and delight Sam loved Alice and was the one push­ing for one more chap­ter (and then another … I was think­ing it would take us until half term but we’re at least 1/4 in after one day!).

The one of the other big things of inter­est at the moment is Scratch and he’s been happy for me to sit with him and help work through a book to aim for a bit of pulling together what he already knows from play­ing.  He’s com­pleted a cou­ple of projects and sub­mit­ted them to  DIY has led to spark­ing other inter­ests too and Mon­day after­noon was spent build­ing a 4ft long Lego bridge.

Lego bridge


Posted in Curriculum, English, Home Education Group, Maths | Tagged , | Leave a comment