The big event of the half-term was Wednesday’s trip to Kidzania.  I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest.  The concept sounded great but we all know promise isn’t always realised.  Reviews I’ve come across from home educators have been a bit mixed, seems the make up of the visitors has a lot of impact on the overall experience.  I was a bit concerned after I realised it was half-term in some places.

We had a fantastic time.  It was busy but it didn’t feel overcrowded, mostly families and the only real waiting was for the next activity slot.  Tbh I’m not sure I’d like it too quiet I think it would feel a bit ghost town and creepy.

There were 54 of us and it ran so smoothly right the way through the booking process.  Few issues of people leaving paying until last minute but everyone did.  Few issues with people being late because they struggled with parking but I knew they were all near so not a problem.  Venue accommodating.

As an educational trip I don’t think there is much to be gained for the over 8’s but I think the older ones probably enjoyed it more and really embraced the ‘play’ aspect.

Sam’s thoughts “On Wednesday we went to Kidzania which is kind of like a warehouse with small buildings in it and children do jobs like police or fire brigade. My favourite job was air conditioning because I got to crawl around in vents. I also enjoyed the radio station and chocolate factory. there was also a smoothie factory and a ice cream factory. You get paid for the jobs in money which you spend in the gift ship and food stalls. The entrance is made to look like a airport. They give you wristbands to make sure you don’t leave without permission. there was a fire station and a British airways simulator. for some activities you had to pay in the money they pay you with.”

Some photos, they aren’t great as through glass and it was dark and children were moving and I was trying to avoid getting children I didn’t know in shot.  Missed several of the activities he did.

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Down but not out

I think this might be one of the longest breaks from blogging in quite a while.  Nearly a fortnight to catch up on!

It’s been a meh one really.  Had Jack home for 3 days last week ill and then Sam was full of cold.  I’ve very much felt like I’m going through the motions and not up for things that require a lot of energy and drive from me.

We’re on target with Maths and English though.  Not so good with reading, Latin and Spanish.  We do seem to be making very good progress on the English and Maths front though so will take the success and be happy.  He’s starting to embrace creative writing and the drawing of comic strips has restarted.


Science we’ve looked at tectonic plates, nothing exciting to report as not really doing anything new.  We have been watching Rise of the Continents which is really good!

Finished off our look at the origins of the Bible with some drawing, thinking of the images and emotions displayed in the Bible.  This is the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve being banished.

20151023_1In art inspired by Van Gogh’s Prisoners Exercising we looked at light and shadow.We went out and sketched a tree looking at the light through the branches and the shadows on the ground.

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We’ve moved on from Spies to Europe as a project.  At the moment we’re mainly plodding through worksheets from a study pack but actually they are working well for us in current frame of mind.

Other things we’ve done is start to get in the Halloween spirit.  He made a costume for the cubs party.

20151020_5 We had laser quest with a huge turn out.  While we were at the Dockyard we visited the WWI ship M33.20151020_1

We’ve also nipped in to the new exhibition at Gosport Gallery about the evolution of dinosaurs to birds (something that was a pet subject of Jack’s) and had quite a few trips into various libraries.  Lots of books read.  We did manage a big trip to Kidzania in London but that one is worth a post of it’s own.

Glad half term is upon us.  I need to find my mojo again.

Blowing away the cobwebs and knuckling back down

Took a long time to recover from the coldy bug that was afflicting us.  Definitely was still affecting patience and mood up to the end of last week.

On Thursday, the sun shone.  Things were slow to start and I could feel my patience fraying early on, so as we weren’t expecting Sam’s friend round for usual play and I didn’t really feel up to swimming or gym, I made the snap decision to make some use of our Culture All pass and rang my Dad to suggest a day out at Staunton Country Park.  Sam changed his mind while I was on the phone and we had strop and tears (really was that sort of week).  Glad I pushed on though as once there he absolutely loved being out and the October sunshine really worked it’s magic.  Sometimes Mum really does know best!

Playing in the maze.  He beat me through it nearly every time.  He said every but there was some debate at what constituted the end of the race 😉

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Walled garden and glass house.

20151009_4 20151009_5 20151009_3 Autumn colours and a little bit of the Enchanted Wood.

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Didn’t bother hugely with the animals, but couldn’t avoid the peahens, miss the donkeys or pass up the opportunity to see piglets about 12hrs old.

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Plus just enjoying being outside 🙂

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Cold was finally going on Friday.  A very procrastinating start did unfortunately snap my frayed temper first thing.  To the level I had to send Sam upstairs for 5 mins and ‘start the day again’.  Never pleased with myself when I shout and I don’t often.  We did however manage to put that behind us and have a fantastically productive day.

All core activities managed for the first time that week (Spanish and Latin had got a bit put by the wayside).  English involved writing an application to be a ‘fantasy hero’.


Maths involved looking at ‘split strategy’ for multiplication.  I am still unsure what I think about the teaching of lots of different ways of doing the same thing (this is the first year that we’ve ever really done anything so tied to NC).  I like the idea there is no right way of doing something and as long as you can show how you are getting there great, means that if you don’t get it one way you can try another.  However, think there is a very high risk of muddying the waters and losing some kids completely in a school set up.


In science we looked at the the magnetism of the Earth.  Made a compass.

20151009_22 Demonstrated lines of magnetic field with iron filings and a bar magnet under the paper.20151009_25

Then had fun collecting the iron filings.  Getting them off the magnet was harder.20151009_28

We looked at how the bible in English is a translation and listened to a clip of some of the reading in Hebrew, unfortunately the end of the first sentence sounded very like a swear word and things rather degenerated in to giggling (I have a juvenile sense of humour).  We then looked at different Children’s versions of the story of creation and discussed how they were different.  The Brick Bible was a hit.

We then watched an interesting documentary about William Tyndale.

After lunch we caught up on art.  We did some refreshing of ideas about perspective and vanishing points.  Then we looked at a colour wheel and the idea of complementary colours (colours opposite each other on the colour wheel).

The picture was Van Gogh’s Cafe terrace.  The idea was a collage with pastel highlights but definitely more pastel than collage.

20151009_32 20151009_33We finished off by rounding off Sam’s spy project by designing a spy watch.

20151012_1We looked at Enigma and made a mini enigma machine from a kit we’ve had for years.20151012_2Then completed two more Cryptographer challenges on to earn master level.  He encrypted and sent a message in morse code and with the help of Pete who was home learnt a bit about and decoded a message in Base 64 (please don’t as me).


Little Woodham

Just across the country park from us is a little gem.  It is a reconstructed C17th village, set in 1642 on the cusp of the Civil War.  The thing that makes it a gem is not so much the buildings but the people, staffed by volunteers all in character, they really do bring it alive.

New since we last went is a kiln and pottery.

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Visiting one of the cottages – a braid weaver.

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The table of ‘the wise woman’ with her herbal medicine.20151008_16 The weaver.

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Sam got dripped on by a candle he was sitting underneath – half a candle by the look of it (seems they operate C17th Health and Safety 😉 ). When they had established that it was mostly a clothes problem (as in possibly ruined jumper and trousers!) and although some did go on the skin he didn’t seem to have a burn and seeing I obviously wasn’t too worried they went for distraction and successfully diverted him from complaining about sore hand be showing him a musket! 20151008_20 20151008_21 We spent a long time watching the blacksmith.20151008_24 Then a bit of tree climbing.20151008_27Before heading home.  Perfect trip for a recovering from illness day.  Near enough to home and small enough that a couple of hours did us.

At home Sam got changed so I could try and soak off the wax and we had an afternoon by the fire watching Orbit, playing All the Kings Men (it’s a chess style game for those like me that are rubbish at chess – that said Sam always beats me at this too!) and then Sam’s new book arrived!  It’s the new novel by Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame) and by bed he was over 400 pages into it 🙂

Before we went to Little Woodham we did spend half and hour practising division.   I was feeling guilty at being short of patience yesterday.  We used pattern blocks, bottle tops and cubes as different place value levels and showed how you would swap downwards as needed.


Before I wrote this post I had to look up when the last time we went to Little Woodham was – 4 1/2 years ago it seems – that is why I love to blog 🙂

Bumping Along

We’re struggling at the moment.   Nothing horrendous just head colds we can’t shake.  Sam is going through a really bad spell regards sleeping which really isn’t helping, hard to tell what’s illness and what’s exhaustion.

Anyway we muddled through Monday morning before heading to our first full bowling session of the term.  Hopefully we have a decent size core group that will make numbers easy to maintain.

Sam picked up while we were there but I was exhausted and soggy by the time we were home and settled for hot bath and bed.  Only 2nd time in nearly 10 years of guiding I’ve missed a session!

Tuesday we were supposed to be attending a home ed event at the Science Centre in Winchester but on Monday I suggested that our place be offered to someone on the waiting list as I was very unsure we’d make it.  I slightly regretted it on Tue morning as woke up feeling loads better.  But was definitely the right decision, mid morning we walked up to the post office and half way there I had legs of jelly, day on my feet would not have been good for me.  Sam ended up skipping Cubs too and was flat out on the sofa by 5pm (but still awake at 12.30!)

We did some maths and English yesterday but my patience wasn’t what it should be so decided not to push much else.

So Sam wrote a long overdue letter to his penfriend and we parcelled that up with a sorry we’re so late gift and some wool which his mum has kindly offered to turn into crochet leaves for me.  We also sorted out a birthday card as part of an appeal to make the day special for a poorly young man.  We then walked up to the post office.

Exhausted then, afternoon went in Lego play, documentary watching. reading, and baths.

We did make some bouncy balls from a kit we had hanging around though.


Oh and had a play with a ‘spy watch’.



Sick Day

One of the huge benefits of home education is the flexibility to absorb sick days.  Okay, if you’re ill and you’ve a healthy child and plans to go out it’s a nightmare.  But those days when your child isn’t quite right and you don’t have to make that horrible call of school or no school its a godsend.  Then if you are both meh it is wonderful to put everything away and snuggle down.

This is where we were on Friday then.  Both full of cold, all aches and muzzyness.  We did manage maths, English, Latin and Spanish and then gave up.  A hot bath and an afternoon on the sofa followed.

We read Alice in Wonderland for a while.  Then I put on a documentary that I’d recorded the night before – Oak Tree: Nature’s Great Survivor  – highly recommend it.  I’d put out some Lego for Sam but he pretty much sat there for 1 1/2 hrs focussed on the documentary.  I did some sewing though 🙂

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Sunny Days

I may possibly have mentioned that I love Autumn!  October is my favourite month, cool nights and sunny afternoons.
We’ve both got colds and despite my best intentions I am still stressing far too much about something I can’t fix – a relaxed comfortable, clear the head day was in order.
We managed maths and english but that was all.
Sam had a friend around for much of the morning and the afternoon was spent down the park with my Dad.  I managed some baking and crafting and shopping for more crafting as well as watching the rugby.
Very pleasant day.
Feeling properly ‘coldy’ today so definite quiet one in order.
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Layers of the Earth

For some reason Sam’s Duolingo app seems to have upgraded and mine hasn’t.  Means he is only getting about 1/2 the number of points I am, which is going to affect his motivation I expect.  Something to fix there.

Anyway good news of the day was finally getting a gold certificate on Mathletics.

20150930_3He likes maths that has an element of ‘trick’ to it and multiplying by 10s. 100s etc fits that.
We’re using the worksheets from Mathletics which are working really well so far.20150930_2He’s started to learn and copy out a new poem in English, making a booklet.  Notice some science creeping in there 🙂20150930_1Sun was out so we took a walk to the village for milk, lunch, Beano and to collect our pottery.  I keep saying it – but I love living by the sea.

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Linking to the foraging skill on DIY we spent quite a while talking about the health benefits of dandelions.


The afternoon was given over to talking about the internal structure of the Earth.  Not a new concept at all so reinforcement and a bit of fun.

We had a quiz.

20150930_15Made and dissected an Earth

20150930_10 20150930_11 And squished it to make a ‘flat Earth’.20150930_14 Labelled the layers of the Earth using a hardboiled egg.


Made a minibook to go in our project scrapbook.



Sam’s favourite bit though was layers of the earth pudding.

Biscuit bashing20150930_18 Jelly making20150930_4 Jelly core, angel delight mantle and crushed choc digestive crust.  All topped wih some Cadbury ‘pebbles’.20150930_19Here’s the pottery!