Party time

It was a weekend bookended by parties.  Teenagers, from which I was banished upstairs, on Friday.  Then some home ed friends on Monday.

There was a big group party that day but it was just too tricky to face on public transport.  At Halloween we’d been invited to a local friend’s with a couple of mutual friends and we all decided that we should do Christmas too.  After a lot of discussion about whether we should throw it open and have a bigger party, we gave up on finding a venue (very hard locally unfortunately) and ended up the 4 families at mine.  I shouldn’t but I always feel guilty about not inviting people, I’ve spent too long in the home ed scene feeling on the fringes that I overly worry about doing that to others.  That said my house is small and 8 kids and 5 adults was just about right.

We did have a lovely time.  To be honest it is the adults who are friends more than the kids I think and make a good team for this sort of thing.  Although the kids all get on well and are a nice balance too.

They started by decorating pots for goodies.  I had a plan for Santa style pots but ended up just throwing them some stickers.  Sometimes easy option is definitely the way to go!


One of the other parents had made a really lovely game with a quiz and little handmade personalised stockings.
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Next game was blocks of ice with counters frozen in.  They melted the ice with warm water and pippets and swapped the counters for plastic tat prizes.20151221_182925 20151221_182933 Stick the nose on the reindeer.20151221_184519

I’d made play dough from cornflour and shaving foam (highly recommend it, I had fun mixing it – will do with the kids mixing another time).  They had buttons and sticks to make snowmen.20151221_192635 20151221_192819 Food time.20151221_193518 Making and decorating human Christmas trees.
20151221_194318 20151221_195034 20151221_195331 A fun evening.  Even if I did spend a lot of time (for the second time in 4 days) hoovering up Pringle crumbs after.  20151221_200324

Another fizzled out week

I always have this idea in my head of a nice Christmassy themed week or two in the run up to Christmas; baking, crafting, film watching etc.  Don’t know where I get the image from as I can’t tell you when it last happened.

We were still finishing off bits of work having taken a random week off at the start of the month.  I was full of cold and rather lacking in motivation.  Sam was showing the manicness of someone who had had too much screen time.  I struggled to engage him in most things and he was lacking concentration to do anything on his own either.    One of those weeks to put behind you.

What we did manage was to finish the terms plan for maths and English on schedule.  We also finished off the workbook side of Europe project.

We painted the replastered wall in the living room.  Well gave it a base coat any way.  Then treated ourselves to lunch out to avoid sitting with the fumes.

Sam had his Cub Christmas party at a local soft play centre.

We baked mincemeat crumbles and a giant (spread a bit much) rocky road cookie.

20151215_14 20151215_17 20151215_25We had a trip to a local garden centre to see the reindeers and reptiles.

20151215_19 20151215_23 We put up the decorations.20151215_32 20151215_36We went into town so Sam could do his Christmas shopping.  He’s now of the age to wander off to shops on his own which means I get a surprise gift 🙂

There was an afternoon of board games with Grandad.

Bread baking for a DIY patch

baking bread Then some tidying up and hiding upstairs as the house filled with teenagers who broke up from school.

Written down it doesn’t sound a bad week so I’ll focus on the positives and ignore the frustrations.

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Christmas at the Castle

Friday, we escaped the paint fumes for a morning at Southsea Castle where they had a Christmas festival on.  To be honest there was not a huge amount there so I can well believe they had lots of complaints.  That aside we had a very pleasant relaxed day with friends.

We had our moneys worth from the astro slide alone which is good as there were only 2 or 3 free activities.   With no queues the boys just went up and down for a long time.  We’re talking at least 30 goes 🙂

Over lunch (somewhere warmer!) they swapped presents and discovered they’d bought each other the same thing 🙂  It was decided that their mothers must communicate 😉

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Decorating and Coding

That was pretty much last week.  Sam coded, I decorated, we both tidied (a lot!).  Not a lot else happened tbh.  We managed bare minimum of maths and English and played with  plasticine made fold mountains for science at some point.

20151211_5 An asteroid for the DIY Astronomer patch.20151211_13

Coding was mostly of the Scratch variety.  He has been going back and improving old projects.  Here are his shared games.  I did sit down and do the Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial with him.  He enjoyed it but it was very basic.

I hate decorating very much so it wasn’t the most enjoyable week ever.  Boys have tidy, clean bedrooms with lots of storage space for Christmas presents though.  Sam’s is a box room with no space/angle for a decent photo.

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Salisbury Christmas Market

Oops a week seems to have vanished!
Last Friday as part of our ‘German’ theme we took a trip to Salisbury to visit the Christmas market.  The sun came out for us and it was a lovely day.  Had never been to Salisbury, only through it, but instantly liked the place and I think a trip back to the museums is definitely in order at some point.

The train ride featured appropriate reading and a Christmas activity book.

A leisurely stroll through town.

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We visited the Cathedral which is stunning.  I don’t like taking photos inside so didn’t get one of the font but Sam was very taken with it.

20151206_820151204_12102420151204_120533 We went to the exhibition to see the Magna Carta (sort of thing that makes me a bit shaky with excitement being a bit geeky).

Sam as an elf!  Actually it’s a liberty cap.  He did point out the irony of US being called the ‘Land of the Free’!

20151206_15 Jigsaw of the ‘Prisoners of Conscience’ window.  Real thing is spectacular!
20151206_14Then on to the point of the visit.  Christmas market, bratwurst and a glass of mulled wine.  Love home ed.



It’s that list time of year.  Everything feels like it’s galloping to some conclusion with Christmas on the horizon and the urgency that inspires on the work front (knowing that the rush carries on well into February).   There is a shift in home ed too with a more crafty/practical aspect creeping in, some regular groups finishing, lots of extra activities/people to see to slot in.  But there is the conflicting need to keep some routine and reach a ‘nice point’ at which to leave the ‘work’.  Home has all Christmas prep, not a lot but I do like a good clean through the house and there are cards to make and send etc.  No Guides this year to fit in but have reached the painting part of sorting out the boys room at last.

So lists!  Lists are the answer.

That is what you are going to get here too.  Lists!  Life has been full and busy.  Every day this week deserved a full post but I just haven’t the time so here goes.


Basic core work.  Started shapes in maths.

Helped with disposal of old bed and mattresses.  Quite a few skip runs.

Read the last walk in November from our Enid Blyton’s Nature Book.

Bowling.  None of his friends along but didn’t bother him and if anything he seemed to enjoy it more than any of the other sessions.


Scout carol concert

Setting up advent calendars

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Basic core work.  Enjoying shapes.

Bit of Geography workbook looking at physical landforms of Europe

Sciencey sort of day.  Watched a documentary on the San Andreas fault.  Read the How the Earth Works book and our Geography encyclopaedia.  Looked at the earthquake map in What’s Where in the World (brilliant book) and compared the earthquakes to the Richter scale.  Looked at waves by dropping food colouring into water and rippling a length of rope.  Built structures from marshmallows and cocktail sticks.  Stuck them in trays of jelly and shook them to see if they would stand up.

Looked at the story of John the Baptist and compared different baptisms.


Cub trip to the aquarium.

Home to hot choc and lebkuchen (for German theme)

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We potato stamped Christmas cards
Handwriting (from book)
Dictation (one sentence)
Grammar (follow lesson from a book but the work is done verbally)
Maths – was worksheets and some computer
A Walk to post presents.  Sam stayed at the park while I went to PO.
Free time spent reading
Art, shading with pastels an apple
RE lesson plan suggested writing a letter to show he’d picked up bits of info, we did it as a chat show interview verbally instead. I hadn’t planned this just thought we’d done enough written stuff.
For humanities project we’re looking at Europe so we baked Stollen and some other German Christmas biscuits as we’re doing Germany this week.
Played computer, wrote cards, watched Harry Potter.

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Maths and English including creative writing.  Something he thinks he doesn’t enjoy but is getting better at and most of the time does end up enjoying if presented right.

Walk/scoot to village for sweets for gingerbread house.  Back via beach and library.

Afternoon of reading library books and playing games with Grandad while I worked (but did join in a game of hare and tortoise).

Evening reading by the fire (although too warm for fire really), the bookbasket is full and he’s into Christmas books and Barefoot anthologies.

Bedtime reading continued the German theme with books telling the stories of advent calendars and the carol Silent Night and some of the Brothers Grimm.

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