Contrasting Home Days

We  have had 2 days at home so far this week, two very different days.
Monday was an at home pj day. Efficient though, lots covered. Mainly from the sofa or by the fire as we read and watched documentaries. Today, by contrast, the only work done was sorting out our visiting flat travellers travel journal to send him home. 
Our Citizenship group officially finished last week but we met up today at our house to blow the remainder of the kitty on chocolate. 13 children making things out of chocolate in my living room, I sometimes wonder if I am mad or at the very least I am thankful for forgiving neighbours :D.
They came out really well. We acually got through 2kg of Maltesers on these puds, not a lot got eaten.

One child got left behind (on purpose 😉 ) so they could spend the afternoon on Roblox while I tidied and wrapped.


Someone on my local group wanted a word to sum up home ed; I decided that I wanted a change from freedom so plumped for opportunity. The last few days have been a perfect summary of how that works in practice.
On Thursday we had tickets for a free Winter Concert at the Globe. This is a community concert of songs and poetry, schools, nurseries, staff of Borough Market and all sorts of community groups. We went last year and this year despite getting drenched on the way there and being in the Yard (aka standing outdoors) it was another lovely experience. An opportunity we can seize being home educated and also make the most of in ways that you can’t with 30 children in tow (hot dog and chips shelting by a van on Southbank and hot lattes from Starbucks to warm up after).

With no need to be back by a certain time and our newly purchased Art Fund cards begging to be used we went to the Tate Modern for a while. First stop was the swing installation again. 

Then we visited the Red Star Over Russia exhibition.

Then we went back to the swings until they came and chucked us out. There you go home ed gives you the opportunity to get chucked out of art galleries 😀 A brilliant day.

Today we were tired.  So we took the opportunity for a pj clad relaxed day. I unfortunately was wide awake at 3.30 so took the opportunity to do some reading and sewing. Sam slept in until 9.30. We still managed maths, English, geography, science – inc setting up an experiment to test factors that can affect germination, reading and a history documentary before I retired to soak in the bath and do some of a Future Learn course and Sam played on the computer.

Perhaps not the best trip ever

Wednesday is our group event/day trip day usually. Today we went to … the doctors. Wahoo!

On the positive, I now have an even heavier handbag to carry about as Doctor’s given us some bits to try to lessen the symptoms/impact of these sudden bouts of stomach ache/sickness/headaches Sam has been getting and we ruled out any real physical problem.

That set us back by what we could achieve today but did still manage to look at more percentages (one of his favourite bits of maths as they are very easy, do some dictation and work on adverbs, do a mapping activity for Florida and look at the need for new housing in Britain and some of the issues that surrounds it. Sam had the idea of developing the Falkland Islands more to provide jobs and shelter for the homeless and others if Britain gets to cramped. He’d also train everyone who went over with guns in case Argentina invades.

We watched another episode of Secrets of the Castle. Science has moved on to reproduction in plants. A lot more comfortable a topic. He watched some videos, read the chapter and verbally did the exercises and then he dissected a flower. Then he retreived my vase and dissected most of the bunch…
I bribed him with Norad games to try and come up with a Christmas list!  Well he put on four books which he could easily buy with the voucher he has but won’t use.  Christmas and Birthdays shouldn’t be so hard!  

Shut Down Mode

I decided that I would only blog every two days this year (apart from Weds because we usually have a trip/group) as having shifted to a more textbook style of learning I don’t have a lot of interesting photos anymore.

Trouble is 2 days is an awful long time to have to remember things for so I feel I am just scanning our planner churning the todolist back out.

Life is giving one of it’s periods of hurling balls of minor crap at us one after the other. Nothing major but I’m exhausted and lacking motivation at the moment. Ready to cocoon for a bit.

Anyway what have we done…
Monday was an at home day so we:
Used OS maps to identify patterns such as the CBD, Victorian terraces, interwar housing, business parks…
Carried on reading Machine Gunners
Learnt a bit about Florida
Read about and started planning a short essay on the development of castles
Sam did his online computer science tutorial
We sorted out some donations for various charities

Today was our social day. We had the last of our  Community themed Citizenship sessions and a county councillor came in to talk to them about what the role entails. Have enjoyed this group, definitely doing what a group activity should to me, got them talking, engaging and bouncing ideas of one another. They most certainly did not shame us with their questions to a politician this time (bad – aka hilarious – encounter with MP several years ago had given grounds for nervousness).
We had given ourselves an hour at the end of the session to sort out the group donations to charity. But the Councillor managed to last all session so there was 10 minutes of hurried throwing stuff in a bags and divvying jobs up between the adults before we ran off.
Afternoon was spent painting pottery with friends. A much needed piece of calm and I love watching kids chatting when really you wonder what they would find in common – 12yo boy/8yo girl. They always find something though, it’s one of the loveliest thing about home ed the lack of caring about age/gender.

 Considering that it might be time to start the big pre-Christmas house clean. Although we have 12 of Sam’s friends around one day next week to do something messy so might leave the living room until last 😀

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas

Drawing population graphs

I am cold and sparkly, the advent calendars are up and we spent this afternoon at the Dockyard’s Festival of Christmas, all big signs that it is nearly Christmas.

Thursday was a quiet day at home, productive too. Lots of reading done and jobs ticked off list. Nothing exciting done really though.

Today was a busy one. I had my under 10’s group in Fareham this morning so we were off there to get all glittery. Sam went Christmas shopping while I was there.
Then it was to Portsmouth to catch up with friends for our annual pilgrimage to the Festival of Christmas. Think this may well be last year as it gets worse every year and it was impossible to imagine how they can justify charging entrance any longer, on show was all the entertainment on offer out of the tavern. It was a pleasant enough afternoon though even if Sam did take one of his colour draining sick turns. We also have a fridgeful of nice cheese! 
Oscar’s sleeping over. They voluntarily took themselves to bed at 8.30 with books 😀


I think one of the hardest things about parenting and home ed is accepting it’s okay not to be perfect, doing it all and giving our all to everything all of the time just isn’t possible, compromises are needed.
Today I put work first, above my child. There was something big I felt the need to do (so big I am typing this over a glass of wine at nearly midnight). And you know what, he’s okay! Happy and filled the day easily enough. He watched a documentary that wasn’t at all connected to anything we’re ‘studying’ but I knew would interest him (Countdown to the Russian Revolution for anyone interested), read a book on American history as well as the new Beano and How it Works magazine.
We did go out for about 3 hours so I could freeze in the park and he could get ridiculously caked in mud wrestling and playing.
Then he filled his time with a much needed bath and a play on the computer.
For a few days now work will go on the back burner as we have plans and things to do. 
I’d love more hours or a clone but hey ho, muddling along is the best I can manage and I think that is good enough.

Discussion and Conversation

Is the way Sam learns best and we are doing loads of it. Doesn’t make for pretty blog posts full of interesting photos though. More just lists of things we’ve talked about and other bits and bobs we’ve done. Which these last two days has been more decimals, continuing reading and using the Machine Gunners as our English text, he drafted a letter to a newspaper about why WW2 should be taught in schools which then went into him detailing what he wants to know about the war and asking lots of questions that I really didn’t have a clue about so first chance we get I spot a big order at Amazon coming. Science was fertilization and growth of a fetus – he was slightly appalled – the microsope is him looking at sperm and eggs. History all we have done is watch a couple of episodes of Secrets of the Castle. Geography we have moved on to why and how settlements grow and factors that affect where they are placed.

Today was our Citizenship group. We were looking at what makes some one a good and active citizen and what sort of actions they could take and planning some actions for next week.

Online Advent Calendars

Sam has been asking if we can do the Norad advent calendar again this year. 
Reminded me I promised to share some of the online advent calendars I know. 
When Sam was younger I found we could pretty much cover everything with advent calendars. Found them perfect for helping maintain a feeling of ‘doing something’ and focus when excitement, a packed calendar and the inevitable seasonal bugs turn normal routines on their head. Or for those who could benefit from a spell of deschooling but don’t want to let go of all structure.

Haven’t found a good one of literacy but we have so many Christmas story  and poety books it’s always been easy to tick that box.

I’ve only include ones that look like they are up and working this year. Suspect more will come on line in the next week so worth watching Fb pages of sites of interest.


Primary Maths

Secondary Maths

Christmas Science hand on


RI usually do a video one, can’t find one for 2017 yet but looks like 2016 and 2015 still work.


Liverpool Museums



Project Britain – learn about Christmas in a different country everyday


Exploring Nature with Children – link takes you to supply list, calendar will be blog posts


Explore works from the Tate collections


This is an app , has a piece of classical music every day.


Norad advent calendar – games

Ones to Print

Random Acts of Kindness

I can’t miss these colouring ones as they have been such a big part of my life for years. Have to be a member now for them now. Activity Village colouring calendars.

The White Stuff

The story of this week has been dominated by a non-stop battle to try and clear up cornflour. I made 24 batches of a white clay for a group activity which took some clearing up after!
Late afternoon sun came out on Weds to allow us a lovely group session playing with the clay and charging about in the garden.
The rest of the week has been spent at home mostly reading and discussing stuff so no photos. We have looked at decimals, adjectives, mapping, grid references, contour lines and OS symbols, the feudal system (and I’m pleased he made a link with a poster he’d seen at the Russian Revolution exhibition back in the summer and compare it to the neat and tidy pyramid in the book), daily life in Colonial America, human reproduction, started rewatching Secrets of the Castle and began reading The Machine Gunners. Pandemic and Hearts of Iron IV (one of his military computer based games) have featured highly.

For those who worry about the writing side, Sam hardly wrote from the ages of 7-10/11, said it hurt. All I asked him to write was maths and some handwriting practice, everything else I scribed or we did verbally. Weds morning he knocked this out while I was getting dressed so 10 mins tops. Yes it’s not his neatest writing, yes he’s missed paragraphs and punctuation. But I know he can do all those things so I trust it will come together, more happy and pleased that he’s keen to get his thoughts on paper.


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.