SeaCity Museum 2

Although I do enjoy doing trips as a group sometimes it is nice not have the hassle. About 10 days ago (still in catch up mode here) we went to SeaCity in Southampton with one other family and enjoyed it a lot more than last time (I have been copying posts over from old blog and found post of last time we went).  A lot of that would be that we went in on a groupon offer so much better value for money.

Exhibition was closed so it was just the museum which also helped as we had had enough by the end of the exhibition last time as that was a bit dire.  Definitely enjoyed the museum more than last time but probably won’t go back, just doesn’t grab us.  Very hands on which you’d think engages the kids, but in reality there is little substance behind it.  They had great fun pulling levers and pressing buttons, but could Sam tell me anything about what the museum was about an hour later – nope!

But a fun morning out non the less.  Sam and Sam really enjoyed raising to see who could blow up the Titanic’s boiler first – no need for icebergs with those boys in charge.

Apologies for slightly disjointed post – got distracted and had a weeks break midpost.

Blue Reef

Last Friday was home ed trip to Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea.  Started with a lovely, sunny but cold walk along Southsea seafront and ended with a play in the arcades and a warmer but much wetter walk back.

Aquarium is small and definitely not worth full price entry, but schools price with a workshop and friends to play with makes it a reasonable trip.

Wasn’t the least stressful trip I have ever organised.  Bookings were slow and doing it through the website meant I didn’t really feel in control (on plus side spent a fair few emails catching up with Ursula who organises the website booking, as we very seldom cross paths),  Blue Reef are difficult to deal with (don’t reply to emails or answer phone. The workshop was embarrassingly loud, to some extent it was the nature of the workshop with animals being taken around so lots of sitting and waiting and we’d taken in some of under 3’s (an open fire door was a pain – just too much temptation for toddlers), but still felt sorry for the poor girl running it who had to virtually shout by the end, my head was throbbing by the time we got out.

Did enjoy the fish and the chat with friends but will be a while before I book Blue Reef again.

Spanish and Stuff

We are just coming out of what I think of a bit as the wilderness years. The final year or so of Jack being home when his dog phobia was at it’s height making it difficult to go places and the fact that he’d decided that apart from the odd exception he wasn’t keen on home educated children (boys his age anyway of which we didn’t encounter many, and there was only so long a 10yo boy can play with 7yo girls) and refused to go to groups and the first year he was in school when I felt a bit lost, constrained a bit by school events and when I started to look about for stuff that Sam and I wanted to go to and found a big fat zilch.

Anyway we are definitely coming out of that phase.  Taken some effort but building up nice groups around us.

We have a weekly Spanish class now, before it started the only person coming that I knew was one with a 6yo girl, but it just seems to be gelling well.  Well all the mums get on – the kids are busy with the tutor.  I back myself to be able to cover most things (or assist in research) educationally wise but languages and music are plaes I will buy in support.  Ali who teaches them used to help me at Rainbows and not only is she brilliant with the kids she is also happy to be very flexible (and it works both ways) so everyone happy there.

Tuesdays we have started meeting friends round about the local area for walk and a play.  All very relaxed – I’ll be here if anyone wants to come thing, usually after we have finished ‘work’ for the day.  Few conker collecting trips and a very nice sunshine walk on the beach.

All good 🙂


Helos and Goodbye

Last Monday was our second group meet at Lee Community Centre.   Went nicely although we have all agreed that no one likes the venue so we are relocating to Fareham (will have to stop being Helos really).

Sam’s science group worked in groups on investigating raft designs and making them from paper. I think a lot of fun was had sinking them.

While he was doing that I was working with the under 7’s group.  We continued with the colour theme – moving on to the colour spectrum.  They are a lovely little group the youngest is only 3, others are on the autistic spectrum so perhaps not particularly arty crafty but every single one has really engaged with what we’ve done and we’ve got some lovely pieces of work.

We started off making powder paint rainbows.  Using thick paper (watercolour paper) they sprayed it with water then sprinkled (some scooped!) on powder paint in red, yellow, green and blue stripes.  Sprayed a second sheet of paper and pressed it over the top, peeled it away, gave each another spray over so the paint ran (a couple managed a third print as there was sooo much powder).


We then made Waldorf window stars from kite paper.  I thought this would be mostly adult done but most of the kids had a very good go themselves and certainly waited patiently until they could stick the points together.


Then we swapped.  Under 7’s did some bug hunting in the garden and I worked with the 7+ group on the videos they had planned the previous session.  For most of the kids it was their first attempt at stopframe animation and the idea of taking several hundred photos for a 30sec video was a bit too much and it was very much a group project which is not how most of them are used to working, so not easy task.  I’m really pleased and proud of them that we’ve got two finished products.



In the afternoon we trialled the Fareham hall with a coffee afternoon.  We set up loads of crafts and some toys (there were some spinners that were a massive hit) and had a lovely afternoon, lots of new faces along.

Really like the hall – have my eye on the spare Monday between science/geog for a ‘fun theme’ session at some point.

Life…and not much else

Last week was one where life stepped in and took over.  Our gentle picking up of pace ‘school wise’ ground to a halt.  These pictures may give a hint of why…


We still need to get some plastering done, put down a floor and move in!  Much of the furniture for it is coming from Jack’s room so we have sorted out the boys rooms (well started!), swapped them around so J has bigger room and ordered them some new furniture.

‘School’ has been limited to a bit of Education City and MangaHigh and discussions. Oh I am not in any doubt that he has learnt stuff but have to say sadly won’t be much; concentration, behaviour and willingness to engage have all slipped and I am keen to get things sorted as we need to get a bit of routine back for everyone’s sanity.  I still believe in the idea of autonomous education in principle and there are times when it works well for us.  But it is very labour/mentally intensive from an adult perspective – to get the most out of it I think you need to be constantly alert to your child’s needs and wants, be there when needed, step back when not, suggest occasionally, be able to help with whatever project they want at the drop of a hat.  Tidying drawer after drawer, cleaning cupboards, entertaining themselves so I can crack on is not me providing an education – autonomously or otherwise.  But here is the beauty of home ed – a couple of weeks ‘off’ don’t matter – life gets in the way sometimes but he isn’t ‘missing’ stuff at school we’ll get there in our own time.  But as I said routine =’s sanity in this house so sooner we are sorted the better now.



Staunton Country Park

Well it was a bit of a stressful start to the day.  Having to get out by 8.30ish, make picnic, deal with builders arriving at 8, sick husband, people chopping and changing plans and a toddler hiding car keys.

BUT in the end it all came together, only lost one family, we were less than 10 mins late and as I’d allowed 15 mins between asking people to show up and workshop start time as far as the venue was concerned it didn’t impact at all, and actually as everyone was there waiting and had made a start with the money it was very easy.

Workshop was lovely, mostly out of doors – exploring the senses

Sight - matching a colour palette to colours in the walled garden
Sight – matching a colour palette to colours in the walled garden
Picking herbs and making a 'smelly cocktail - I had more than one thrust directly up my nose!
Picking herbs and making a ‘smelly cocktail – I had more than one thrust directly up my nose!
Just a sweet picture - not seen each other for a while as life has got in the way and obviously was felt
Just a sweet picture – not seen each other for a while as life has got in the way and obviously was felt
Listening (and climbing) - don't think the idea of silence was understood ;)
Listening (and climbing) – don’t think the idea of silence was understood 😉
Blind centipede went down very well
Blind centipede went down very well
Making prints in playdough
Making prints in playdough
Treasure hunt in the rainforest/greenhouse
Treasure hunt in the rainforest/greenhouse

Then we had a lovely afternoon, picnicking…

Picnicking with extra guests
Picnicking with extra guests

…playing in the park and playbarn and chatting to old friends and new members.  Then a long play in the maze.

At home, boys played minecraft together, Jack went to Scouts and Sam and I investigated the parcel that came from Learning Resources a few days ago.  We played a game that is similar to Connect 4 but you have to use primary coloured tiles to make secondary colours – surprisingly difficult and good fun, and good reinforcement as Sam wasn’t entirely confident on the colour mixes.  Then we looked at the base 10 kit, discussed what the pieces represent and then Sam built with it and I read to him.  We’re reading Maroo of the Winter Caves to tie in to our Stone Age theme in history.

Model home education day (after 9.30am 😉 ), they don’t happen that often!

And finally one more photo just because it is a lovely one.

Best Friends :)
Best Friends 🙂

Swanwick Lakes

Spent last Friday up at Swanick Lakes Nature Reserve.  Have done a lot of trips up there and the staff are lovely.  Nature is not my strong point so like to bow to experts sometimes

Won’t go down as a vintage home ed trip, no real reason apart from I was in a grumpy, unsociable mood, and had had enough by lunch time.  Was a lovely Autumn day, we were out of doors, I got to see Fin (which local friends will know is a good thing as he is just soooo lovely), had friends along…but I had pmt and was in an irritable frame of mind.

Sam didn’t notice and enjoyed the day though.

pond dipping
pond dipping
Identifying catch
Identifying catch
Tree Study - 'find any free that is not an oak as that is the only one you recognise' I said - so he found an oak with high branches :D
Tree Study – ‘find any free that is not an oak as that is the only one you recognise’ I said – so he found an oak with high branches 😀
Getting help to id the oak - he managed it by looking up and say 'oh look it has acorns and oak leaves..."
Getting help to id the oak – he managed it by looking up and say ‘oh look it has acorns and oak leaves…”
Looking for tracks and signs of animals
Looking for tracks and signs of animals

Do think if these are the bad days than things aren’t too bad.