As near perfect as days get

Friday was our last day of ‘flexi-schooling’ before Jack starts full time today and the sun was shining so we were determined to make the most of it.

After school drop off, Sam and I did a bit of Maths and English and some painting

a couple of minutes doing the planned project and about 1/2 hr mixing up paint colours and making a glorious mess.

Paint mixing

After a futile attempt to restore order we went to the meeting with Jack’s headteacher – general gist being he is absolutely fine 🙂

Meeting finished to early to take Jack away with us so we nipped to the library so Sam could finish his Summer Reading Challenge and spent 40 mins reading and chatting.

Collected Jack and took him to finish his reading challenge before going for lunch in one of the cafes in the village.  Everyone had a book with them so we spent a pleasant 1/2 hr lunching and reading.

Cafe has started doing whipped chocolate icecream.  Idea was irresistable if reality was a bit disappointing and VERY runny.

We then spent much of the afternoon playing in the sea.

At home boys settled down to watch episode after episode of Lego Ninjago cartoon via youtube and I had a LONG soak in the bath with my book.

Jack spent 1/2hr out on his bike, we played games through the iPad, watched the first half of the England match, boys went to bed and Pete and I had a curry.

Life really doesn’t get much better.

Pizza Express Trip

On Thursday we had an educational field trip to Pizza Express in Gunwharf Quays.

I’d have liked to see a bit more ‘educational content’ in the trip, bit of a tour of the restaurant/chat about food safety that sort of thing,the kids simply made a pizza and tried some toppings (or flatly refused to in Sam’s case) all stuff easily done elsewhere.  BUT the fun was doing it with their friends and getting to eat pizza at 10am in the sun and they all loved it 🙂  Thank you Louise for a fun trip.

Little Chefs
Making the pizzas
Pizza brunch



Jack has started school!  Very, very odd seeing him in uniform.

Feeling a bit of a freak on the school run as we are fairly well-known locally so there is a bit of downright nosiness curiosity, but it won’t last long and he can walk himself in a week or so!

I don’t know what the school was expecting as they seem to have been pussyfooting around us.  I took Jack in to the office with his registration forms on Tuesday and hung around until someone was ready to show him to the classroom.  I checked he didn’t want me to go through so planned to just wave him off there.  Next thing I know I am being steered into the school by the receptionist, Jack on spotting his teacher runs off with an over the shoulder ‘bye’, I acknowledge his teacher and call bye and turn round to go.  To be faced with a sympathetic smile from the receptionist “I thought it would be nice for you to see him off, are you okay?” “Oh actually it was bit uncomfortable for both of us, we’re not a touchy feely family…erm…yes thank you. Truly I really am, he is 10 not 4, I’ve sent him camping in thunderstorms. I might have home educated him but that doesn’t mean he’s been molly-coddled or actually that I don’t have a life outside my kids. I am going to relish the peace not mourn it, stop looking at me like I am about to burst into tears I really am not!.”  Jack said the head teacher did something similar to him.  Nipped in to see him in class on his first morning to check up on him and looked surprised when he said he was all right.

Actually joking aside I can not fault the school, they are always lovely and chatty and falling over themselves to reassure me how well he is settling, not that I ever doubted that he would but still nice to hear.  Phone calls at home to give me notice of things like football tryouts that he had asked about etc.  The pastoral care is wonderful.

We’ve seemed to time it beautifully, he is confident and sure of himself and keen to make the most of the opportunities school can give him (have I mentioned football teams! 🙂 ).  He’s also seeing some of the negative sides of school (the boredom of assemblies has been mentioned 🙂 ) but is mature enough to realise nothing is perfect.  He has thrived at home but just like school home is not perfect (I am not going to adopt or give birth to another 5 kids so we can have our own football team!).  Home has been right up until now but seeing him so happy and excited every morning I have no doubt school is right for now

Both of us will be very glad when he goes full time!  Lunch time finishes are a bit of a bind!

And no school

On the day one boy started school, one boy didn’t and we had our home education group ‘Not Back to School Picnic’.

These started up about 4or 5 years ago in the dark days of the Badman Report and have taken off to become part of a lot of local groups annual calendar.  There is no longer any national co-ordination as the need for large scale publicity statements seems to have passed us by (ignoring developments in Wales which I will try and find time to come back to in another post).  Rather each group does it’s own thing, some do wonderfully organised, publicised events, others simply get together for a gossip and a play.  I think they are a lovely idea whether they are coordinated or not. All over the country this week and over the next couple of weeks, home educators will be getting out there and celebrating.

Home educating is not always easy, you need a thick skin as an adult (and a child) as you will be ‘different’ and there will be bad days and the outside world will offer little support or sympathy.  The home education community is not a cohesive community, pretty much every one has entirely unique reasons for and approach to home education.  Many people have researched extensively and are very passionate about the choices they make which can give rise to infighting.  At the very least home educators in general are quite forceful personalities, we have all stepped forward and taken responsibility for our own child’s education.  A community of opinionated people will always have tensions bubbling away and occasionally erupting and I know many adults find home education groups difficult socially (I’ll put my hands up there).

This is why I love to see and hear about home educators enjoying getting out together and having fun.  The picnics are about celebrating our similarities,  I don’t know a home educator who doesn’t breathe a sign of relief in September when the playground, parks and museums become ‘ours’ again and have the urge to get out and enjoy it and when it comes to it all pretty much any parent wants, home educating or otherwise, is the best for their kids.  As for the kids, these poorly-socialised, stuck at the dining table, kids what do they do? They play, they enjoy being children 🙂

All over Britain, there are people getting together and saying I’m proud of the choices I’ve made, I’m proud of my children and if I want to sit in the sun and gossip and eat cake I will!

I tried really hard (well I made a vague effort – it was hot and I was chatting) to get a picture, but he was too busy running about. On every other picture it is just the back of his head or/and he is eclipsed by his larger friend 🙂


End of a Chapter

Well all the posters are up.


Maths books are on the shelf and terms worth of English is printed and filed.

Pencil case is decorated


Uniform is bought, labelled and ironed

Bag is packed and ready

There is a lot left undone but having stalled all summer until we knew whether Jack was going I was left with 5 days to uniform shop for Jack and prepare the skeleton of a curriculum for Sam and I don’t think I’ve done too bad.

If I am honest I may have done better if I hadn’t spent so long playing with my new blog.  With Jack moving on it is time for me to do the same (blogwise anyway).  Still very much a work in progress but working on turning it into a bit of a resource as well as a blog.

Anyway it is half 11 and I have to be up for the school run tomorrow so goodnight (and don’t forget to follow us here from now on 🙂 )

SeaCity Southampton

To mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, Southampton opened a new Maritime Museum with a Titanic exhibition.

Weren’t supposed to take photos but I sneaked a few before I realised.  For reasons I am yet to work out you can’t see the photos unless you click on the blog title – but they really aren’t that exciting.

We weren’t impressed with it.  It just sort missed the mark and didn’t really engage either kids or adults.  The only part which really captured the imagination was the section about the Titanic enquiry which they sited in the old court room which had been restored (the museum is housed in the old police station/court house).