Taxes, Adolescence, Map Scales and more

Just some of the things we have covered over the last few days.
Monday is what I hope is our productive day in the week. We have fallen into the habit of trying to cover maths (currently decimals) before his computer science tutorial and then English and world geography after before lunch. We also managed to finish off the Just So stories  and he wrote a quick review while I made lunch.
Somewhere in the day we also slotted in some science on the subject of adolescence, we went in to quite a bit of depth on this last year as was concerning me how uncurious he was so we skimmed it really. Geography was also something we’d covered in depth before; map references so we did the unit in the book quick and verbally as a revision exercise.
History took longer as we spent quite a long time debating whether various sources could be believed and the rationality behing why William the Conqueror might have done things one way. A lot of thought goes in to the best strategies to seize and maintain power in this house!
Tuesday was a quick maths and some English before we had our Citizenship group where we were looking at funding of public services, what taxes we pay and where it goes. I do not want to get old if that lot are in charge!
They then organised themselves in to games for a while.
At home we finished English and looked at map scales, then cuddled down for more reading aloud. Really enjoying Anglo Saxon Boy by Tony Bradman.

Just So Stories

Just So Stories is a collection of short stories about animals, the stories are usually about how animals got certain features. I enjoy these stories as they are quite silly and very funny. They are quite easy to read and the stories are very short so  you can get through a lot in one sitting. My favourite story  is the one about how Armidillos were created.

Test of Strength

I’ve been getting a bit overwhelmed and losing the plot lately with trying to keep all the balls in the air; got behind on where I wanted us to be HE wise, holidays and events coming thick and faster than could keep on top of workwise, one HE/school event after another and the house disintergrating about me.
A quiet week HE wise with a few days off and skipping all groups (although did meet friends for a lovely afternoon in the park), and slowing down in the non-stop holiday calendar that need content for work, plus Sam having his own computer has giving me the break I needed to pause and get back in control of it all.

We’ve nearly caught back up with our reading home ed wise having complete Melusine, spent a long time reading Anglo Saxon Boy (on the list to check for more in series we’re enjoying it) and the Just So stories have been a huge hit. We have had a fun few days looking at the working of joints and muscles and ‘playing’ with a set of Newton scales. A ‘pocket’ of our US history project completed on colonial villages and houses. Plus we finally made it to our new park to meet up with friends on a glorious sunny winter afternoon. One of those afternoons that showcase the best of HE, where you get to sit in the sun chatting watching an eclectic mix of kids play happily. Totally managed to miss all photo opportunities so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Birthday Treats

Our Weds trip this week was to do whatever Sam wanted as a birthday treat.
Turned out that was sleep (definitely still under the weather) for 3.5 hours on buses in order to eat some raw fish from a conveyor belt – Yo Sushi.
For a fussy eater (very) this taste for Japanese food is a bit of a mystery.
We window shopped a lot, then to sweet shop for spending some birthday money (he’s not good at big purchases) and ome sweets and drink from the oriental store next door.
He was happy enough with his day. I managed some Christmas shopping too.

Now Sam is 12

In a year’s time Sam will be a teenager! Find it very hard to imagine Sam as a teenager even now. Jack at 12 was very much on the cusp of teenagerdom, Sam is far too happy and mellow to feel teenager like.

Day has been a peaceful one. He’s been under the weather this weekend so when he preferred not to go to HE group this morning it seemed wise. We did send cake though and got a video rendition of Happy Birthday back 🙂

We spent the morning reading (3 out of 4 new books devoured!) and playing Pandemic board game.

Afternoon was about setting up gadgets. A new phone and a new laptop with a decent enough graphics card for the games he likes were the main presents. Pete and I had totally forgotten that Sam had a game that the old laptop hadn’t been able to play, Sam had obviously been brooding on it though as it was almost the first thing he said when he worked out what the box contained. The rest of the afternoon was spent failing to conquer Europe.
He’s just told us after a Subway and chocolate cake tea that he has had a very good day 😀 Lost track of the amount of times he has said thank you for the laptap. It’s about 5 times as much as we have ever spent on a present so not something he’d have dreamed of asking for. However, is something that I suspect will definitely get money’s worth from.


Melusine is a book written by Lynne Reed Banks.

It is about a boy called Roger and his family who go on hoiday to an old, decaying chateau. He meets the daughter of the chateau owner and they become friends. The chateau owners daughter is called Melusine. As Roger’s relationship with Melusine continues he realises that something is wrong. He suspects that Melusine’s father – Monsieur Serpe – is abusing Melusine.

One night he realises that Melusine can turn into a snake. When he and his dad explore a tunnel they found near the chateau they end up inside a tower that was locked away from the rest of the chateau and find a weird shrine. When Monsieur Serpe finds them trespassing and tries to shoot them Melusine comes in snake form and attacks her father causing him to fall out a window. Roger and his family head for home bringing Melusine with them but they crash and Melusine disappears. After looking for Melusine they find her back at the Chateau, safe and sound.

I liked this book a lot, it was a bit long but it was made up for by its ability to always make you wonder what happened next. This book did not have any fighting or wars or big exciting events so it may not appeal to some but I liked it anyway.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Considering Sam and I have been really under the weather this week with colds, and in my case a humdinger of a sinus headache, we’ve been incredibly productive.
Maths has been fractions and English poetry.
We’ve read loads and caught up a bit with History and Geography that we’ve got behind on.
Science we’ve moved on to the human body. I used the fact that we were looking at breathing to get started with some breathing exercises we’ve been given to help Sam manage his asthma better. We’ve a ridiculously expensive set of horns from a therapy place (sure I could have bought it all from the party section of Wilkos much cheaper) so determined that must get money’s worth.

We’ve also looked at the skeleton and labelled some bones.Tuesday saw us at our Citizenship group where we wer looking at designing communities for inclusion.  The session finished off with them designing a home ed commune. Not sure they applied the spirit of what we’d been looking at to this one but they had great fun doing it.

Weds, Sam opted to stay home while I went to home ed group with out him (I had planned the activity so had to go). Was a very calm, chilled session. Sam made himself a paracord bracelet when I got home (I won’t say how many I’ve made the last few days, very addictive).
Thursday afternoon was spent playing games and messing about with my Dad before a bit of a stressful evening at a 6th Form Open Evening with Jack. Bit stressful in own right but they dug up a WW2 bomb on the local airfield which closed roads and combined with rush hour and the local firework display result in complete melt down of the local traffic situation meaning we lost Pete for hours which worried Sam who had stayed at home since we expected Pete any minute.  I was the awful parent who had to run out of meeting to take a phone call!

We’ve finally started reading through this one to go with Sam’s breathing exercises. He’s not happy to hve Anthem for Doomed Youth on his birthday 😀

Tower and Tate

Yesterday we were up in London to visit the Tower as our history course moves on to the Normans and castles. We’ve been a few times now and the Tower is so cheap to get in to (wahay for HE rates) that luckily the fact that the Tower was probably the worst part of the day didn’t dampen day. We walked there and back along the Thames (a long walk, we clocked up over 8 miles) and great fun was had was on the way there. The Tower is actually an amazing place and well worth a visit, home education families can book as a school group making it fantastic value. For some reason it didn’t capture Grace and Ronnie’s interest and while it definitely did engage Sam about 1/2 way round the White Tower he did his trick of suddenly going grey and feeling very ill. An hour of sitting outside while the others explored and some vomiting later and he picked up but we all were ready to go by then!

Sam picked up so much on the walk back that we decided to chance the One, Two, Three Swing exhibition at the Tate Modern. They loved it, we loved it, he didn’t vomit so all good 🙂

Boo and Busy

The last few days have all been about adapting to changing plans and inevitably Halloween.

Monday felt like it was our one chance this week to be productive home ed work wise and never really got into our stride. I was having trouble with printing too (trying to prepare for Tues group) just one of those collating going to pot times really. Multitasking never turns out well. I know this so why I keep attempting to do it who knows.

We did manage lots of Maths, plus English , his online Computer Science tutorial, some geography and an activity in preparation for the group that we had on Tuesday. Plus painted some pumpkin tealight holders.

Then it was time for him to suit up in Halloween gear to go to a party with friends.
Tuesday was all go! At the weekend I’d discovered that I needed to use our voucher to get our new Dockyard pass by end of Oct so had to squash in a quick dockyard trip. Then having persuaded Sam that we wouldn’t do Trick or Treating this year a friend messaged me in the morning to say she’d told her kids they were coming with us, so trick or treating needed fitting in too 😀

The day started at our ‘Citizenship’ group. It’s a 6 week block of activities put together by a group of us, replacing the Mindstorm sessions. We talked about communities and groups that they felt part to. Briefly touching on what makes a community. We did some physical sorting of themselves by certain factors about their identity. Then they had a go at filling in a census form. 

We compared the sort of information on the form to what they’d included on collages that they had made about themselves.

We then used a list of things that could be used to define identity and prioritised them.
Finally as we had a birthday in the group it was cake, singing and ending with a few group games.

A friend kindly dropped us at the ferry so it was time to nip over to the Dockyard, pick up pass, quick snack and play at Action Stations and then back to Gosport for a pumkin hunt. I had ordered some with the groceries but hadn’t come. Supermarkets had removed them in favour of Christmas stock but greengrocers in the village had some.

Home, bath and then a bit of carving, decorating and then Sam painted my face before we headed out with friends (group had grown) for some trick or treating. Lovely evening as local community really goes in for it now.

Not my house I should say. A more enthusiastic neighbour!




Half term here so we’re on a go slow. Lots of lazing about and catching up on rest after a busy half term. Sleep routines seem to have gone to pot though so dreading the clock change at the weekend.
No real work being done. I’d hoped that we’d do some reading and catch up of bits but not really happened but will just have to adjust the half terms plans, need to shake the bugs that plagued us last term.

We’ve none of our regular groups on this week. Tuesday morning we went out with friends to do the Halloween walk at Keydells and look at their Christmas tat.

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Wednesday saw us all (Jack too) head to London for the History of Magic exhibition at the British Library.
It’s definitely an exhibition for older fans and fans of the books rather than the films.  I love old books so it was right up my street. Rooms were broken up by subject, I think Divination was the favourite as a bit more hands on. Favourite exhibit was a marvellous scroll explaining how to make the Philosopher’s Stone, and the planning for the Order of the Phoenix. It doesn’t blow you away the way the studio does and to be honest if you took out the actual Harry Potter stuff no one would notice, it’s a geeks exhibition really. We enjoyed it 🙂 and it gave us the best ‘odd things that come out of your mouth’ moment for a long time, when I said to Jack “We’d better wait, Sam is listening to a plant pot.”

Since we were early we decided to pop to Kings Cross and see ‘Platform 9 3/4’. There was a huge queue for a photograph with the wall, sign and disappearing trolley. Shop was a horrible place, same overpriced goods (apart from the clothes which are oddly are decent value) as the Studios but in a tiny cramped space. 
Today has been about my errands; library, catching up on blog and nipping to pick up our glazed pottery. Boys have spent the day playing on screens, watching wrestling and then play fighting. Innocent fun 🙂