The Week is Whizzing By!

New term routines are pretty well established by now and time is starting to pass at a bit of a gallop.  So another rapid catch up post.

Saturday saw us at the Mayflower for Horrible Histories.  We’ve seen quite a few of these now.  Think this may be our last though, we’ve enjoyed them but I think Sam’s outgrown them and Jack didn’t want to join us.

20150928_1 - Copy We rarely go into Southampton so we took the opportunity to explore Toys’r’Us and discuss ideas for Christmas and Birthday.  Sam has never really done toys that much so has always been hard to buy for as he never ‘wants anything’.  We then ran back to Argos (who had a 3 for 2 offer on) to actually buy some toys with his own money that he has been hoarding since Christmas!20150928_2 - Copy

Home ed wise there has been more verb and sentence work.  Maths we’ve moved on to multiplication and division.
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We spent most of the rest of Monday playing with codes and ciphers.  Plus a bit of Scratch.

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We didn’t bother with ‘work’ yesterday morning.  I was running the activity at localish HE group so wanted to get there early and also as it was the last day of Argos’s 3 for 2 sale I spent some time shopping!

Acid and alkali reactions were the order of the day.  Lemon volcanoes


and dripping food colouring on to paper coated in a dried bicarb of soda paste and then coating it in vinegar so it fizzed and the colours ran.
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Plus lots of play.  After initial 5 sec grump when I said his best friend wouldn’t be there, he decided it was fine as he had other friends :).  As it happened none of his usual friends were there but he didn’t seem to notice and moved happily from playing with one person to another.  20150929_8


End of Week bits and bobs

On a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the moment so the 100 days happy thing is proving very timely.  Here’s not the place for that though so on the home ed front we’ve…

Finished the first maths ‘block’ on numbers.
Been working on similes


Been to a friend’s house for play.
And to the park for play and exercise and Grandad time.20150924_3
Target practice with a new dart gun.
20150924_5Started working through the Harry Potter films yet again in preparation to visit the studios.20150924_7

Reading about spies and from the bible and our book of bible stories.  We’re not religious but I feel the history of this country and the world is so tied into religion a knowledge of the views and stories of the major religions is vital to try to make sense of the world.  The focus this week was on the books of the Bible and their different authors/styles/genres.  We read some stories of Moses and talked about the plagues of Egypt.

Working on his Spy book.

20150925_5Making a Lego vehicle with Grandad for a project.

20150925_9 Trialling an art activity for a group using bicarb of soda and vinegar.  Definitely what I think of as ‘process art’, the process of making it is more important than finished product.  In this case the end product won’t last long as the bicarb flakes off but it is fun to do.

20150925_14 20150925_22Lemon ‘volcano’.
20150925_25 20150925_29That still left an afternoon for reading (mostly Asterix I think) and games.

Making it up as we go

I’m sure if you don’t know us and read this blog I actually look like I’ve got it all sorted and we’re working to a time table or something.  Really not the case though.  I woke up today, as I do most mornings we don’t have a group activity, having no plans besides just over an hour or so of Maths/English/Latin and Spanish.

This is where my summer planning really comes off.  All of that is set up so all we do is follow the books/spreadsheet/programme.  I’ve set a really reasonable amount and finishing in an hour is doable most mornings.

After that I glanced at the plans I’d drafted back in summer and it told me we didn’t have the stuff in I wanted for Science so that wasn’t happening but that at some point this week I’d wanted to do something based on Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles.  Today seemed as good a time as ever so I dug out a box and some cardboard and he made a model.

20150923_7We compared the 3D and 2D versions, talked about perspective and vanishing points and then played about on some isometric paper.


The need to run down fridge before the arrival of yesterday’s new one led to shortage of suitable food for lunch, we needed an orange for Science and as Weds is known in this house as Beano day into the village we walked/scooted.  As a bit of a maths/budgeting activity I gave Sam the list of requests from the local foodbank and £5 and sent him off to spend the money as wisely as he could.  Doesn’t go far in the Co-op unfortunately but they do have a collection box there.  Think we’ll try and do that as a habit.

After lunch and reading the Beano to be honest I was starting to droop after getting up far too early.  But I realised that the rest of the week is filling up with plans and I want some time to work on Friday as losing time to a home ed activity on the weekend.  So we read this week’s Science about the size of the Earth, how it was measured and how maps are made and how they distort.

Sam drew the countries on an orange and then we peeled it and tried to flatten it.

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Then we cut the top off a 2l plastic bottle and the bottle top bit off so we had a sort of plastic hemisphere.  I drew of lines of longitude and latitude on, when you shined a torch through you could see how the lines projected out over a sheet of tracing paper.  We then rolled the tracing paper into a cylinder around the plastic and saw the effects on the projection then and finally made a cone from tracing paper, popped it over the plastic and shone the torch inside.

We finished the afternoon with a chapter of Alice in Wonderland and some Animal Jam/online shopping (food, books, craft supplies).

We did as a random activity while tea was cooking, pop some celery in coloured water.  Feeling guilty as I said we’d do the science badge for Cubs back in the summer as they had a couple of weeks that really weren’t Sam friendly and I agreed with his leader we’d do our own thing instead.  We did as well but seemed to have a few fails and never got around to pulling it together.

Happy Days

We’ve done nothing spectacular the last few days but they’ve been good ones.  Relaxed and filled with things we enjoy doing.  They’ve not been with out downs and niggles but I am trying very, very hard not to let my frustrations on a matter that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) effect my family influence my mood too much any longer.  With that in mind when an email landed in my inbox from the 100 Happy Days challenge suggesting I sign up to do it again for the last 100 days of 2015 I thought it would be a good idea.  I’ve a few ‘challenges’ to get over between now and Christmas so could do with a daily reminder to focus on the stuff that matters most.   Album of photos is on the Facebook page here.

Anyway we’ve been looking at linking verbs in English, making paper chain sentences and having fun with making sentences from cards.  Sam decided ‘delicious’ was the adjective of choice, resulting in some amusing sentences and ‘the best English lesson ever’.

20150922_220150922_6Monday afternoon was spent in Action Stations and in particular laser quest.  This still remains the highlight of Sam’s month.  20150922_3

20150922_4 Tuesday was a stay in to sort new fridge sort of day.  I’m not sleeping well and wasn’t feeling up for anything that needed too much motivation from me.  So after the Maths/English/Latin/Spanish we curled up and read some of Enid Blyton’s Nature Book, Bible stories and Aesop’s Fables.  Then stretched out and watched an episode of Orbit as part of our Science project.20150922_7 After sorting out the fridge and having lunch we talked about some of the spies we’ve read about.  Did some secret writing with milk as it is one of the inks used in Francis Walsingham’s time. 20150922_8 Then we made a scytale, a coding device used by Greeks and Spartans.20150922_11

We submitted it and Friday’s blackberry picking to which led to distraction.  So the boy busied himself with Scratch and I had a bath and tidied up.  Then he was off on a Cub hike while I got to enjoy time with older one.

P.S. I’ve managed a fair amount of sewing in the background too which makes me happy 🙂

Autumn Days

We are definitely being flexible this week to fit around the weather.

On the to do list for the week was a sundial for Science.  There was some sun on Thurs morning.  It was coming and going though.  We were lazy and just divided the circle into 12.  As my neighbour pointed out (ex navy!) we have 24 hr days and thanks to latitude adjusting angles of the lines is necessary.  But time was not on our side so I settled for something that would show the sun was moving which it did well enough.

20150917_1 We had fun playing ‘place value mastermind’ for maths.  I remembered why I hate playing Mastermind against Sam, he has a habit of giving me the wrong clues.

20150917_9  We looked at creating scary characters as part of creative writing.
After that we managed to look at how the bible fits in to history and translate a ‘biblical’ document (code on a piece of tea stained burnt paper).

20150917_23We fizzled out then as I got distracted by Tesco not bringing the right shopping!

After lunch it was time to head out for some exercise.  Sam is not the most active of children and team sports will never be his thing so I feel the need to schedule something in (also for me as I’m on a health drive).  He’s vetoed all group and club options I’ve put to him, apart from Laser Quest and bowling but we need more.  We’ve settled for booking my Dad to drive us up to the leisure centre once a week to swim.  If skin is bad (we’re both prone to eczema and infections) I’ll try and book table tennis instead.  After Weds downpour it felt a pity to be indoors on a sunny afternoon though.  Instead we headed into Gosport where the park has gym equipment.  I love it, it’s a playground for grown ups!

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Interesting visitor.  Think it’s a little egret.20150917_15 20150917_17 20150917_18 20150917_19 20150917_22Took a long time to build up confidence for this but he loved it when he did.20150917_2020150917_21 We stopped at the library on the way back so Sam spent the rest of the afternoon reading while I sorted out paying for a big HE trip.

Today had a leisurely start.  Well it did for Sam, I was up before 5 and working at just after 6!  But by our 4 day week we’d finished the planned ‘core work’ so I let the boy sleep in.

With no real plans for the day we filled it quite well.  While Sam was getting ready I dyed some pasta and rice for craft projects and got very messy!


The sun was coming and going so we braved going out.  This is a tiny local lake full of giant fish.  We have to stop when we happen to pass.20150918_3

It was beautiful on the front.20150918_5 20150918_6

We walked up to Browndown for probably last blackberrying of this year (bit squishy). 20150918_7 20150918_9 Few smears of juice on the lps there 😉20150918_10 20150918_11 20150918_12We walked back along the beach to the village in beautiful sunny weather.  Stopped in the arcade for a treat.

20150918_15 20150918_16 After a lunch stop we went to the local pottery painting place as by a complicated but boring scenario I had a £10 voucher that needed using.  Lets ignore the other 3 things we ended up painting 😉20150918_1820150918_19 20150918_20While there the weather changed completely and the rain came.

At home we looked at our art project for this week. Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  We focussed on the swirls.  We marbled the background using shaving foam.
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When the background was dry, he drew on a silhouette landscape.
20150918_30 20150918_31 Bit of tidying up including adding some lovely bright flowers.20150918_33 Plus the blackberry crumble that the morning’s work allowed.20150918_35Lovely couple of days.

Food and Lego

That is pretty much it as far as my list of essential teaching aids go.  Ignoring the obvious of a computer and books (library card would do).

English, Latin and Spanish were rushed through today as we wanted to get on with finishing off Sam’s Scratch game (I’d done some research myself to see about fixing a glitch).  Maths proved a distraction as we had fun with some logic puzzles about place value.

After a bit of playing about Sam got a Scratch game he was happy with and submitted it to  It’s his third Scratch project for it so should earn him a patch (which I have to buy and get shipped from America!).

We read more of How the Earth Works looking at the Earth’s relationship to the sun and moon.  Wasn’t the day to make a sundial – due to severe absence of sun!  We did, however, demonstrate the seasons.


Sam is being the sun!  Then added a worksheet (yes 2 in 2 weeks!) and a seasons spinner.  I think the spinner may be on the website by now.  Seasons spinner.  On a side note the seasonal tree stuff is some of my favourite stuff we’ve done for ages, the illustrator did a better job with the images than I’d hoped.  Must go back and do more with them.


We had a bit of lunch and then carried on with more science.  Demonstrated how the moon spins while always presenting the same face to the Earth and then made the phases of the moon out of oreos.  He still pokes his tongue out when concentrating 🙂

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After that we snuggled down for the days reading from our book basket.  We’d missed it yesterday so read yesterday’s too, a story from Enid Blyton’s Hedgerow Tales.  The reading for today was from a Year Full of Poems.  I love the idea of this book, it’s a pretty book with a few pages of poems for each month of the year.  The poems are dire however so think we’ll give this one up as a bad job and just pick up one of our other poetry books, we’re not short of good ones.

I then sneaked off for bath while Sam built a new Lego kit. 20150916_15He then used what he’d built to create a vignette to submit to DIY.  I don’t think I need to explain the story 😉

Rest of the day passed in Lego play, bath and computer time.

20150916_22Lovely day and while I’ve been typing this we’ve heard that he’s passed his first DIY patch (Scratcher) and his Lego scene got awarded a ‘staff favourite‘.   Successful day too.

Out of Hibernation

We’re back out and about again.  Not much, but enough :).

Jack is settled into school routines.  We’ve had a couple of weeks of Cubs – become a seconder.  I’ve gone back to Guides but hopeful that it may well be that there are enough adults that I can leave long before Christmas.

We made it to the home ed adventure playground yesterday for the first time in about 3 years.  Don’t think we’ll go every week, perhaps every other – non laser/bowling weeks.  Plus if weather is bad may divert to Action Stations instead, it’s a faff to travel to and be crammed in a room that gives me the heebie jeebies.  Sam enjoyed himself yesterday though and I had some time to catch up with an old friend and new home eders.

On the home front we are definitely in comfortable levels of work territory.  We’re both up and down with this cold so not maybe achieving as much as we could but doing well enough.  If anything it seems I’ve under not over planned this year so far.

Have done well with the Maths/English planning this year, everything is proving easily achievable and we’re easily done in 1 1/2 hrs (inc Spanish and Latin).

Sam has embraced the reading aloud aspects of work this year.  Something he was prepared to tolerate as better than alternatives, but has remembered that actually with the right book he enjoys it.  We spent a long time snuggled on the sofa reading first Aesop’s Fables and then Alice in Wonderland.  Much to my surprise and delight Sam loved Alice and was the one pushing for one more chapter (and then another … I was thinking it would take us until half term but we’re at least 1/4 in after one day!).

The one of the other big things of interest at the moment is Scratch and he’s been happy for me to sit with him and help work through a book to aim for a bit of pulling together what he already knows from playing.  He’s completed a couple of projects and submitted them to  DIY has led to sparking other interests too and Monday afternoon was spent building a 4ft long Lego bridge.

Lego bridge



Sam said to me today that we should go to the park more.  He was right!

Last year Sam seemed to crave company and was asking to see people most days, add the fact that my Dad moved down and we were suddenly trying to factor in extended family and we always seemed on the go.  It drained us both!

This year I think we both feel the need to cut right back.  Sam is very happy about the idea of attending the Adventure Playground regularly and catching most of his friends in one place.  He’s even happier about the fact that on most occasions we’re not committed and don’t have to go if we’re not in the mood that day.

Bowling and laser quest we are committed because I organise but he will only miss laser quest if very ill and in that case someone else will have to sort it on the day.  Hoping bowling will end up being as equally easy and passable on if needed.  Time will tell.

I’m trying to have 2 weekdays a week with no regular activity.  Not even Grandad!  Oh I’m sure we’ll fill them up quickly enough but trying to take it slow.

Maths and English, Latin and Spanish happened quickly and efficiently.  Sam then wanted to play MagnaHigh until his friend arrived for a bit of Minecraft and some Lego.

After lunch we were waiting for someone to pick up some books so we read some seasonal poems.  With more time than expected we read some of our science about the movement of the Earth in space.  Had fun playing with an orrery app I’d put on the Kindle and then made a mini card version for the Earth, sun and moon.


We then got out the torch and globe to demonstrate day and night.

20150910_8 And did a worksheet!20150910_9

We gave up waiting then and went to the post office to return giant wellies (I could tell form the size of the parcel they’d messed up!) and buy milk.

Weather was beautiful so spent happy hour in the park before nipping home to sort out the books.

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We ended the afternoon experimenting by making cakes using just Betty Crocker mix and cans of pop, no eggs or fat.  Very successfully too!  Ginger cake with Cawstons rhubarb and apple juice – lovely!  Also made a chocolate cake with diet coke.


Slowly does it (Start of Term Lurgies)

There was a definite taking it slow about Wednesday.  Sam got up late, complaining of sore eye and with a very noticeable case of the sniffles.  I was feeling rather sluggish too.  Seems Jack’s ‘back to school lurgy’ has spread.  A day to take our time over things and accept any thing done as a bonus – pressure in this situation will only result in tears from someone.

Sam did some Duolingo while I set up a maths game, I’d sneaked ahead on the leader board and that needed fixing.

We then played the maths game.  Numbers 1-50 on cards and a base card (or scribbled piece of paper) each with numbers 1-6 down the side and space for a card next to each.  We drew a card and had to place it on the paper.  The idea was to fill your card with numbers in ascending order.  Once a card was down though you couldn’t move it.  Winner was the first to fill their card.  After a few goes, we each wrote 10 numbers between 500 and 1000 on cards and played with them.

20150909_63 20150909_64We then had some fun on Mathletics with Roman numerals (well I thought it was fun!).  English consisted of copywork, spelling and starting memorising a poem.


Which he illustrated – with vomit :/

Rest of morning disappeared in playing on Live Mathletics, Reading Eggspress and reading from Enid Blyton’s Nature Lovers Book.  If you are even slightly interested in the Charlotte Mason approach I can not recommend that book enough.  For every month of the year it has two stories describing nature walks.

I was expecting us to fizzle out after lunch but Sam picked up.  So we introduced our artist of the half term – Van Gogh.  Again another huge recommendation for the Anholt’s Artists picture books!


Sam then spent nearly an hour in the conservatory painting his own sunflowers.  He used cotton buds to dab on the paint for a more textured look (standard poster paint thickened with pva for more texture).


20150909_71 By this point in the day I was flagging and had got distracted trying to get our membership of sorted.  We joined well over a year ago but have never actually used it and log in details were long forgotten.  Think we may have a go at some this year.

While I was pottering on there Sam read through an introduction to our spy topic.


Then we started working through one of our computer coding books.  It is nearly identical to the kids version with Carol Vorderman on the cover.  Hadn’t realised that when I bought it, but sold on the other one now.   He’s comfortable with Scratch so nothing new really just adding a bit of structure and logical progression.

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After doing the project I left him playing on it.

A lot better day than the start suggested 🙂

Beaulieu Motor Museum

This week my dad has a friend visiting and wanted a big day out.  His friend loves cars so we opted for Beaulieu Motor Museum.  It’s one of the few ‘big’ local attractions that I had left to visit (I think!).  Can’t say cars interest me at all (I don’t even drive!) but I’d heard good things about the grounds and Abbey from friends.  Had also decided to use the fact that there is a small exhibition about the SOE (Special Operations Executive) that had a training school there to be the spring board of a history project for this term – Spies!

That said we didn’t do the house or Abbey really.  Both Sam and I were a lot more interested in the car bit than expected.

I was very taken with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 🙂  Sam’s favourite bit was the Top Gear simulator.


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Grounds were lovely as was the drive through the New Forest – had fun pony spotting.  Leaves are starting to change colour, berries are ripening and acorns and conkers are forming.  Love Autumn 🙂