Home Ed Groups Galore

Yesterday we started our new book of the week

We experimented with changing textures and made bread (Sam told the lady in the co-op tonight that it was horrible).

Time for Maths and English. Then we headed over to Stubbington to meet some members of FareGos for a new meeting in the new Guide hall. Was only a few families there but the kids had great fun running around the hall. We didn’t bother with setting up any activities, a ball and frisbee and open space and that was all they needed. There was also time for some tree climbing before Sam’s gymnastic class.
Today we headed over to Portsmouth to join the home ed group there for book group. We were looking at the book Flat Stanley. Jack and Sam were very vocal during the group discussions.
Then they made a new flat traveller and passport each.
The room is attached to an Adventure playground which Sam was so excited by – especially the sandpits. Jack got stung by a bee about which he was very stoic.

At home I decided to test out a recipe for next months session which the boys decided to take as an invitation to empty various things out of the kitchen cupboards and mix them up to see what happens. Various pots of green salty water with tissue paper in and things like that are now sitting in the kitchen.
Finally Jack had Cubs at the Tennis club.
Tiring but enjoyable few days.

Amberley Working Museum

Today I’d organised a group trip to Amberley Working Museum . Must admit at 6am when we all ‘awoke’ streaming with cold I was cursing myself. And I use the word awoke loosely as Sam had been awake most of the night coughing and I had been awake most of the night stroking his back.

However, as ever once up and out we all picked up. Wasn’t the least stressful trip I’ve organised, not recognising most of the faces who were there and the museum being completely ill-organised with the talks. That aside it was nice to meet so many new faces and catch up with some old ones. The boys best friends were along too so they were happy.
Museum itself was fascinating full of old machinery and vehicles – lots of buttons and knobs to press. We took a ride in a 1920’s double decker around the site and there was a small omnibus that took you from one side of the to the other.
Camera was playing up unfortunately so photos are not the best.
Jack and an old fire engine.
Another old fire engine
Helping print certificates with their names on.

Engine that made lots of noise.
They liked that engine a lot!
Electricity – completing circuits
Boys weren’t impressed but I liked this model of Stephenson’s rocket made out of keys and pipes and other junk.
Oh and the boys got a broomstick each. No idea what they wanted one for but hey .
Arrived home 6pm ish having left house at 7.30am, sneezing, coughing, very tired but happy.

Back to Work

With one thing and another we really came off the boil over the summer and didn’t seem to achieve anything and behaviour definitely seemed to suffer as a result. Therefore, decided to start the new academic year with a new ‘structured’ approach. How long it will last time will tell but so far so good and everyone seems happier.

The idea is that for Jack morning is work time. I give him a list of things to do in a book and he manages them. After that he is free to do as he wishes. Haven’t told him but I have relaxed my computer/tv rules as to be honest if we are working all morning then out late afternoon for whatever that day’s activity is there isn’t a huge amount of time for him to play on them anyway. However, he does seem to be self regulating and is happy grabbing the last of the summer sun in the garden.
Workwise Jack is using CGP for Maths, Galore Park for English, Science and History, DK Spanish and Geog and everything else I make up as we go along.
For Sam, we are trying to follow “The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading” as well as learning the dolch words. I’m not convinced by phonics personally but Sam seems to struggle a bit with picking out sounds in speech (and as a result it can be difficult to understand him sometimes) so thought I’d see if this helps. Maths we are finishing off his Heinnekken books but plan to start Math-U-See in the next few weeks.
For everything else for Sam I am hoping to use an approach inspired by “Five in a Row
The idea is that you read a book for 5 days on the trot and each day follow up with an activity, covering art, science, humanities, creative language and applied maths. I loved the idea and some of the books were nice but having seen the manual it left me cold. There was little progression of ideas and there was still an awful lot of planning needed.
Therefore I have decided to raid my bookcases and the library and come up with my own version. Advantage being I can feed in from what Jack is doing, home ed trips etc. Having sketched out a term I still have loads of books/idea so hopefully will
manage at least a year or so.
Anyway this weeks book is
Part of a vegetables/healthy eating theme as I try to inspire Sam to not be so fussy.
Monday, Jack worked through Maths, English, Science and labelled some maps of America, including playing the states games on here and the joined Sam for his ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’ activity of making food pyramids.
Then Sam started his new gymnastics class which he loved.
Tuesday – while Jack and I explored physical maps Sam played with the blocks from his Math-U-See.
Then we tried identifying vegetables
Tying together Jack’s science (human body) and Sam’s vegetable theme we used all of our senses to describe a carrot.
And then turned it into poems

A Carrot by Jack

Long, orange gun
Snaps with a bang
Sweet tasting
Smells like a rabbit hutch
A Carrot by Sam
Smells like dino poo
Rough and cold
Crunchy like crisps
Afternoon left time for an Egyptian v’s Persians battle

And bubbles. Always time for bubbles.

Jack had his first recorder/piano lesson which was a hit and then started Cubs coming back buzzing and excited.
Jack wrote and with a bit of help laid out a magazine article about foxes.

On the vegetable theme Sam made some dye from onion skins and dyed a t-shirt
Then I showed that you don’t need to be a ‘dangerous boy’ despite what the book says to build a fab den.

Isle of Wight

Had a lovely fortnights holiday on the Isle of Wight.

As much time as possible was spent on the beach.
We also managed a trip to Blackgang¬†Chine where we watched some of Jack’s childhood peel away as he realised it wasn’t the magical paradise he remembered but was really quite gimicky and shoddy. Still had fun climbing on the dinosaurs and in the Wild west¬†town.
Sam and I also made a trip to Dinosaur Isle, where Sam loved digging in the sand until he spotted a model
dinosaur above his head.



Lost last few days in wash of pre-holiday chores.

Did manage to fit in time to run over to the library so boys could complete the reading challenge. Sam was very pleased with his medal. Although he was a bit put out the lady only wanted to hear about one of his books when he wanted to keep talking and talking and talking and…
Also managed to fit in some crafts Sam has made something out of pink pipe cleaners, pink pom poms and double sided sticky tape – apparently a decoration for his halloween party (what party I ask?). Blue Peter presenter in the making.
Jack has spent too long playing Word Soup on the computer but is shockingly good, definitely snapping at my heels.
Bags are packed and tomorrow we’re off to the Isle of Wight. Fingers crossed it may be dry enough that we may make it down to the beach more than once!

Not Back to School

Yesterday was Portsmouth Home Education Group’s ‘Not Back to School Picnic’. We went along and caught up with some old friends and made some new.
Stole the picture off Susie’s blog as was too busy trying to persuade Sam to sit in a better place to get one myself.
Sam especially had a fab time blowing bubbles


and playing with Oscar.


He had less fun with balloons after having 2 popping on being blown up and another popping as he tried to shape it, we left with 3 full size (not modelling) balloons. One blew away at bus stop in Southsea, one spontaneously burst at bus stop in Gosport, third blew away outside Chinese on the walk home. Pete heroically chased it into the road though and retrieved it earning ‘superdaddy’ points!
As ever we were ridiculously early so even had time to visit Portsmouth Natural History Museum first.
A tiring but good day and thank you to everyone from Portsmouth for making us welcome.

Hello world!

Over the last few weeks various things have given me reasons to consider our reasons for and our approach to home education. These musings have come down to

The reason we home educate is because we believe it is best for the boys both in terms of their short-term happiness, preparing them for their future adult life and enabling them to reach their potential (both academically and more important personally).
How we home educate – however best suits the family at that particular moment, we vary between autonomous and structured, between child-led and adult steered. A bit of classical, a bit of Charlotte Mason and from time to time even a bit of unschooling all creep in.
Like most home eders our approach doesn’t fit any label and I’m perfectly happy with that.