All’s well that ends well

I felt totally unprepared for this last week.  Half term did not feel like a break at all, too many other things took priority over home ed planning.  I have a few little niggles about things that aren’t working for me, which I need to sort out but they involve others and a need to be sensitive to avoid upset and I know I’m not the most sensitive particularly when tired.  But trying hard to mentally shake myself off and by the end of the week thanks to a bit of mood lifting sunshine, everything looks better and problems look very minor.

Maths, English, Spanish and Latin plod along.  Spanish has had a resurgence in enthusiasm since we moved to using the Duolingo app.  Means we both have accounts and he has the motivation of trying to stay ahead of me 😉

Maths is where I had hoped to manage some planning.  Relying heavily on Mathletics at the moment and it is starting to bore.  He’s learning from it still so we’ll plod on until Easter and then hopefully inject a bit of umphh into things.

Monday and Tuesday were mostly about ticking stuff off.

Inspired by our visit to Southampton Art Gallery last week we made a wire sculpture and wrapped it in modroc.  Not exactly sure what it is.  Sam kept changing his mind.  Will have to see when it is painted. Bit of very messy fun.


We started off our farm project with the first episode of Victorian Farm over lunch.  Afternoon was spent doing a bit of Cub badge work and expending some energy on Kinect Sports.

Tuesday was another day near to home.  Besides the usual core work we had a walk to the village to do a couple of errands and back via library.  More Cub badge work followed.  Aiming to fill the blanket at Cubs since the Scout badges are pretty much impossible.  Then we had friends for the afternoon.  Four boys disappeared into the conservatory to play Lego for the afternoon.  I played with my friend’s 5 year old daughter for a while, indulging in some ‘girly stuff’.  Until she found the knights which were far more interesting and I was tasked with making her some bracelets by myself :).

Weds was home ed trip day.  Tesco’s Farm to Fork trail.  Bit of a nightmare to organise this one but ended in a nice morning.


Afternoon plans were torpedoed when the museum was closed (opening hours changed on Monday!).  We had planned to go and at the strawberry farming display.  Instead we picked up a bit of shopping and went home.  I spent the rest of the afternoon on HE group admin while Sam built a farm on Minecraft.

Thursday was home day.  Corework, a bit of strawberry stuff for our project, art group, Spanish tutor and another episode of Victorian Farm.

Friday and the sun burst through and outdoors was calling.  We started off with core work and were done and dusted by 10am.  So we headed out with my Dad to Titchfield Abbey for an explore in the sunshine.  Titchfield Abbey is one of my favourite local places, one of the Abbeys gifted by Henry VIII to his supporters as a private home it has fascinating history yet is now a ruin.  It isn’t staffed and is completely open to the public, a favourite place for locals to walk dogs it is a brilliant place for climbing, exploring and playing.  My Dad fell in love with it too so suspect it will become a frequent haunt now we have car use.

20150227_19 20150227_16 20150227_6 20150227_1 20150227_17 20150227_11 20150227_8 20150227_4 20150227_2We headed up to Garsons Garden Centre from there.  Looked at the fish and reptiles, played in the park and explored the farm shop before heading home for lunch.

After lunch it was out again for a scoot to the village for a few ingredients for our afternoon topic plans.

20150228_23Back home we watched the online field trip about Strawberries from Tesco and completed some of the activities connected to it.


We then had a go at planting some strawberries from seed!  And herbs.


After that we greeted the arrival of Jack home from school with homemade strawberry milkshake.20150227_2320150227_31 Jack had scouts so Sam and I cuddled down with the first of the Hobbit movies.  I celebrated finishing our work on strawberries with a treat for me for a change.


Self portraits in the style of Da Vinci

This half term art group moves on to Leonardo Da Vinci.

We started, as we start every new artist, by reading our Anholt’s Artist book.  I really do love these – much better than the Katie series that people often recommend as an intro to art for little ones.


That took quite a while as we kept getting sidetracked down avenues of conversation.  Da Vinci really was an absolutely amazing character.

We looked at this picture.  Discussed that people believe it to be Da Vinci but due to the length of time and the patchy records it is not certain.

da vinci

The picture was drawn in red chalk so using mirrors and chalk we drew our own self portraits.

Tesco Farm to Fork trip

Yesterday we had a school trip to Tesco and it really was a ‘school’ trip right down to the bright tabards, clipboards of worksheets and no real in depth learning taking place at all.  The subject was Farm to Fork – ask any of those children where the food they were looking at came from and they won’t have a clue unless they already knew.  That said it was designed as an activity to get children out of the classroom and offer an experience, the shop had put a lot of effort in and the children enjoyed it, held the interest of even to youngest.  Was something a bit different.  For us it was a nice way to introduce a new topic and we’ll look at the online field trips to cover the farm side (plus we have a few farm visits booked).

Touring the storage area
Touring the storage area


In the freezer


Seeing the cookies go into the oven


Computerised oven control
Learning how to fillet a fish. The faces 🙂
Cheese tasting

Also did some work in the fruit and veg aisle and some fruit tasting.  Before going away with more fruit, a goody bag of recipes and the all important baked cookies.

20150226_18We had planned to follow up with a trip to the local museum to view the strawberry gallery but it was closed!

Map Project

Lessons (re)learned on this one.  Don’t over plan and workbooks are the quickest way to kill interest in a subject (for both of us).

We got off to a good start and had fun with the route planning aspect.

20150122_1 It is when we started on the worksheet element that it started to drag.  Never got around to a number of the hands on activities planned.  Although we did get out and about using maps a fair amount.



If I look back over my original objectives though I’m happy we achieved all but the last one.

  • Be able to follow simple routes marked on maps
  • Be able to navigate simple routes using local street map, road map, public transport map, OS map
  • Understand key, symbols, grid ref and contour lines of an OS map
  • Know 8 pt compass and use.
  • Understand how to use an atlas and be able to interpret different types of maps.
  • Be able to use online maps.

Definitely been reminded by this one that I can over plan and generally things go better when there is some element of ‘winging it’.

Half term

Where as we do actually observe half terms since Jack went to school it doesn’t make them a quiet time as there is always the next 6 weeks to prep for and all the things that we can’t fit in normally to squash in.

We’ve had days out…

On Monday to the Mary Rose

20150218_2 20150218_3

And Thursday to Southampton.  Sam and I met friends at the art gallery to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition while Jack went shopping with his friend.  For some reason all my photos vanished (camera failing) so stole Kathryn’s as it is lovely.



There has been no Guide’s but we had a Guiders meeting instead, which takes far longer.  Then there was a table top fundraising sale which took up a morning and the updating of paperwork.  I’ve lost hours on the phone trying to deal with mass incompetence relating to a HE trip 🙁

Took a good while to update the diary.  May possibly have over booked us :/ Yet again!

Have done some HE planning (need to do more too).

We’ve had a massive sort out and have 6 large boxes ready for a jumble sale in March.

Plus some very messy (but fun) projects for work.


And of course there were pancakes 🙂


Picasso’s Baboon and Young

AKA Junk modelling.

We ended our study of Picasso by looking at some of the sculptures he made from materials scavenged from skips.  Then let the children loose with my ‘we can make something out of this’ box (well one of them ;)) and a load of tape.

Sam’s space ship


Michael’s fantastic man

Home day

It has been a full busy week, lots achieved (all ‘work’ ticked off) and lots of fun had along the way (plenty of ‘socialising’ ticked off) so today was a pottering about at home day.

Our copywork and narration this week has been on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Sam is now brave enough to read Dahl so decided to read the full book.  He started last night after Gang Show and lay in bed reading it to the end this morning.

We had some ‘jelly stones’ lying about so spent some time this morning playing with them, mixing the colours and making them expand.

20150312 20150311 20150310 20150246Then for good measure made some real, edible jelly.  No I don’t know why the expression.

20150314 A good long spell on Kinect Sports followed until Sam had thrashed me at everything and I was completely exhausted.

After lunch we had a long, messy crafting session for work – powder paint, ice, shaving foam, spraying water, squeezing paint.  Great fun!

20150230 20150215 Some baking followed.  All I had to do was take it out of the oven!  Oops 🙁

20150316Not bad for a taking it easy day 🙂



Chemical reactions, compass points and coughs/colds

One of the great advantages of home education is that no one is putting pressure on you for attendance figures it is your call what your child does.  One of the disadvantages of home education is you find yourself having to make calls on how well your child is all the time and it’s hard!

Sam has a cold and chesty cough, he’s wheezing but not particularly asthmatic but I know how quickly he can tip meaning we have had tricky calls over the last couple of days.  We opted not to visit a friend, mainly to avoid passing it on because that would be bad.  But chose to go to laser quest (I would be worst mother ever if he missed that – high point in the month).  Cubs we decided to skip as he’s been worse at night and they were hiking.  Think in the end that was over cautious as he wasn’t as bad last night and seems pretty much fine today.

In between the toing, froing and decision making we’ve covered maths, English, Latin and Spanish as normal, been working on atlas skills and exploring chemical reactions.

Vinegar and baking soda
The brown things are airfix soldiers – aka explosion casualties
Using cabbage water as an indicator to test for acid/alkali
Moved on to testing random contents of the fridge
Moved on to testing random contents of the fridge

Besides laser quest we’ve also had a trip to Stanley Park to practice our map skills ‘in the field’.

Using 6 fig ref to find location of geocache on the map – that we then failed to locate on the ground.
We made pictures using the 8 compass points instead after a second failed cache!
We played catch each other with the string.
And hide and seek with squirrels.

Then having jettisoned the dead wood  sorry parted company our friends we went on to find a cache on the way home :).

One of those days where he gets so involved it is lovely to see.  Testing the acids took us beyond 7pm and then he still wanted to play a maths board game 🙂

Feed the birds…

…75p a bag.

Not quite the same ring to it.

Last Friday we spent a cold but sunny morning making use of our Culture All pass to feed chickens and ducks.  Now comes lots of photos 20150206_44 20150206_42 20150206_40 20150206_36 20150206_34 20150206_32 20150206_30 20150206_27 20150206_21 20150206_20 20150206_15 20150206_13 20150206_11 20150206_9 20150206_5 20150206_45 20150206_39 20150206_22 20150206_1920150206_1620150206_2My favourite photo of Sam for a long time.20150206_6🙂


Picasso’s Guitar

A move away from portraits this week.  Still enjoying Picasso.  This week we followed this activity.  We prepared a collage of ripped up scrap paper a few days ahead.  On the day they drew guitars with Sharpies.  Sam’s is a rock guitar if not obvious.  Then painted blocks of colour with poster paint.