Coke cans and Changes of Plan

We had the community tables booked at the library on Friday.  Once more we had them to ourselves. I need to make a call on whether to cancel them or organise an activity from them.  Will leave decision to over the summer as going along works quite nicely for us anyway and that was why I arranged it.

Sam spent most of the time we were there drawing.  We returned to where we’d started our Pop Art project – Andy Warhol.  We looked at the Campbell’s Soup Cans talked about recognisable brands and tried drawing a coke can.  I’m impressed with the effort.


He went on to do a collection of sketches, because he decided he wanted to, looking at reflections.  We did do some maths and English even if most of the stuff for maths was on the table at home!

We had a picnic lunch down by the waterfront.

20160527_120854 The plan had been to do a treasure trail around Gosport after lunch.  However, despite the tourist office having copies whenever we’ve nipped in for the last few years, did they when I wanted one?  Of course not!

We had a quick charity shop rummage collecting this gem.

It was then home to spend the afternoon in a sunny garden looking at the science of oceans and coastal erosion.  We’ve done this before in geography so just a reminder really.

We read lots.  Made waves.20160527_144142 Showed how waves refract around round objects – headlands or macaroni cheese 🙂20160527_145048 We then made a sandy beach and gently rocked the fish tank to make waves and watched the beach erode.20160527_150545 20160527_150609 Toy knights were brought out to join in and I left Sam to make a huge mess and sat down to a coffee.  Unbelievably (if you ignore my attempt to cover RE) we have kept up with my spreadsheet of HE plans made in August 2015 and we’re drawing close to an early summer holiday.  Feeling quite satisfied at the moment.   20160527_150842

Liberty Owl Centre

On Thursday we headed to the New Forest to make use of a Groupon voucher to Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile centre.

Mixed feelings on the day as a whole. On one hand Sam was much more interested than I could have hoped for, the sun was shining and we had a pleasant day.  On the other the whole place just felt a bit shoddy and uncared for and the enclosures on the small side.  Definitely wouldn’t have felt comfortable there with young children, was a bit worried about my dad on the paths

We’ll focus on the good though.

Looking cool while waiting for Grandad.

20160526_091734 Trying to be a vulture!


Bird and reptile pictures.  Lots of!

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For any one interested who did the owl pellet workshop with us – more pellets.  Lot bigger than the ones we dissected.

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Fun and Games

Wednesday was our monthly home ed social group.  We started with board games and out door play.  There isn’t anything to play with just a large garden but doesn’t matter they had a ball and there was a long complicated game of Stuck in the Mud.


Then we added a little twist.
We made a maze of tables and they had to ride through lying on skateboards.


Then we played Hungry Hippos.  I won’t bore you with how you’ve seen the videos.  Great fun had by all.  I had a go!

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We finished off with one of my favourites, human battleships.  Players sit either side of a curtain and can’t move.  Direct strike with a ball thrown over the curtain gets some one out.  Have to look for direction ball comes from to try and work out where other players are.  Needed a few more for a good game but went down well.  Lot of cheating went on.

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Time goes by

I seem to have dosed off one day with toddlers tearing about the place only to find that those toddlers are teens/pre teens!

Tuesday marked Sam’s last day at Cubs.  He’s been bridging to Scouts and he was happy enough about the move up (he’s moving on with friends).  It’s me who is sorry, the Cub leader is superb and I have always had complete trust in him to look after Sam with his allergies.  Looks like connection might not be broken though as Jack is possibly on his way back to train as a young leader.


Before the Cub farewell we had Code club.  We had planned to head directly home after, however hunger won out and we ended up picking up a Graze pitta for me and a Greggs sausage roll in town.  Rather than eat in the unpleasant smoke filled streets of central Portsmouth we nipped to Victoria Park and ended up staying for about 2 hours.  I forget how much we like Victoria Park.



Sam spent a lot of time practising coming down the slide in various positions and ‘rule breaking’ by climbing up.  Still such a big thing for him 🙂  I sat under a tree and sewed.


20160524_125459We took a little walk to see the animals.  The rabbits smelt.

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Then I spent nearly an hour pushing the swing for him to practice jumping off.

Then we headed home via the book shop as we missed connecting bus by a couple of minutes. Lovely relaxed, going with the flow day.

Planning Pleasure


I really love planning if you haven’t noticed!  I have spent much of the last 3 days mentally making plans for history next academic year.  Whether we follow them or not making plans keeps me happy.  Pete has been catching the bug too and coming up with little small related projects for him to be involved in.  Also as part of researching ideas I have reminded myself how good the BBC’s History and National Archive websites are.

Catch up on what we have been up to.  Friday was spent on housework and continued creativity.  We carried on with Pop Art project and made clay food as we continued looking at Oldenburg.  I’ll add a photo when they have been painted.  We then looked at George Segal’s The Diner and made a plaster cast of my hand and a LOT of mess, got to love modroc!


We also managed some baking in prep for Pete’s Dad coming to stay.


I went over to the Dockyard with my father in law on Saturday to catch the new Jutland exhibition.  Not something I knew anything about but was interesting.  Was definitely a good idea to leave Sam at home to go out with a friend though.  Firstly he’d have been bored and secondly I appear to have mislaid his Dockyard pass.  We also popped in to a couple of churches and the latest exhibition in Gosport Gallery on the history of the High Street.

Rest of the weekend went in work, chatting to FiL and this.


My sleep has been worse than usual the last few nights and today it caught up.  I dropped off mid sentence!  After father in law headed home we’ve had a leisurely day.  PJ day for Sam.

English, Maths, Latin and Spanish took up most of the morning as we were late starting with seeing off Grandpa and Sam spent a long time on Live Mathletics.
I carried on reading from our Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece.

We finally got around to watching the first of the RI Christmas lectures over lunch.  Turns out we haven’t watched the ones from 2014 either!  Oops.

Another long overdue job was creating some cards to add to our index timeline, it has been sadly neglected this year.

20160523_133753We spent some time this afternoon looking up the links from the encyclopaedia (it’s an Usborne one).  Sure there must be far more interesting sites than the ones they pick and they should do a better job of checking them as a lot of broken ones.  This lead on to doing his own research and spending most of the afternoon working on a Mycenaean city on Minecraft while I read aloud (until I dosed off) from Rosemary Sutcliff’s Iliad adaptation ‘Black Ships Before Troy’  I love Rosemary Sutcliff for historical fiction for children.

Tears and Creativity

Yesterday did not get off to a good start at all.  I had a plan in my head to go out with my Dad and a voucher to use for the visit.  Sam awoke late though, I’d let him sleep in as I expected him to be tired and in fact much of the motivation behind my plans was they were good ‘tired day’ plans.  However, this meant discussions on plans happened too close to waking up, and before antihistamines could kick in.  He was too tired it turned out and the idea of going out was not greeted with joy and excitement, but me saying ‘fine it is completely your choice’ wasn’t the right answer as he agreed with the logic of my plans and deciding was hard.  Sigh!

Took half an hour cuddling on the sofa before all was right again.

Over tiredness and a ridiculously high pollen count are too blame I think.  Despite the magic spray I have had tears running down my cheeks for about 24hrs 🙁

We stayed home and did maths and English.  Then went for a walk to the village for the Beano and bakers (lunch decision nearly went in to a wobble but deflected it!) and library.

We spent the afternoon chatting with my dad, working on Scratch (Sam!) and making lotus flowers and mandalas for work (me).  Ended up a nice enough day.

I also managed to finish and frame this.  We love Alice in Wonderland.


Time to start slowing down I think.  We could both do with more days at home.  It was nice not to feel rushed over work.  The crafts are what I was originally signed up to do but finding the time has become harder and harder.  I do really enjoy it once I start and despite himself so does my assistant.

Owl Pellets Workshop

The big activity of the day was an owl pellet workshop.  Went down a storm.  When I’d talked to Sam about it yesterday he was appalled at the idea.  He really enjoyed it though.  There are times Mum does know best 🙂
20160518_2 20160518_3 20160518_8 20160518_11 20160518_14 20160518_16 20160518_18 20160518_21Although the activity was good I must admit I was completely drained after in a way I haven’t experienced after a group activity for a long time.  I did find myself shouting at the kids which is never good.  Miserable shouty lady is not something I like to be (and nearly always gives me a headache) and they were just being kids really. It’s me, I have no patience for running about while there are activities going on (not a moan at other people’s kids as mine was right in there too – grr) we all have our buttons and that is one of mine.  What I should have done, of course, is exactly what I would have done as a guider and organise a game to direct that energy, they’d finished and were bored.  Out of the mindset though, it just didn’t occur to me!  Perhaps I was already a bit mentally kicked by the twin blows of turning up to find our coffee had vanished (particularly as I had remembered milk) and having a bit of drama with issues with key.

Big cup of coffee and seeing how happy and proud Sam is with his card of bones picked me up though 🙂

Some days are sent to test us!

After Monday’s really good day, Tuesday did it’s best to be a real bummer.  Life is what you make of it though and we were still smiling at the end of the day.

Morning got off to a bad start, Sam overslept and I didn’t notice.  Then with no printer taking work to the library was out as I normally photocopy what we need.  We would have missed the bus we normally catch anyway.  However I tried to fit in the work before we went, along with getting the bin and the washing out,  failed completely and ended up rushing out rather frazzled.

On the bus I received an email saying my card had been declined on purchase that morning – of a £4 dvd.  So therefore I worried and fretted until we were in Portsmouth and I could go and check my balance and establish that no one had hacked my account and stolen my money.

We were now running far later than normal.  Anything less than 10 mins early for something gives me a nervous twitch.  I don’t do late!  Still first there 😉

Only to find when we got to coding club the computers were down and had been since Friday.  If they had gone on the morning I would have sighed but with days of notice I was annoyed that they hadn’t contacted us – I think they may know that.  It takes us well over an hour each way and about £16 in transport costs – overall it is worth it but…

Any way actually we just sat around for an hour and chatted.  I think that is all Sam really wants from Code club anyway a chance to sit around with his friends and talk computers and other geeky stuff that goes over my head.  He was perfectly happy with the morning.

Having nipped into the shopping centre (for toilets), spotting BHS open I went to get Pete some trousers, only to have my card refused again!  Since we were out anyway and I had money it wasn’t the disaster it could have been, just a trip into the bank to work out what they had marked as ‘potential fraud’ this time!  Turns out my ‘unusual activity’ was buying an exercise bike 😀  Have to see the funny side of that one.

Home and the afternoon passed pleasantly enough.  Sam spent ages looking up random bits of tech he apparently wants, worked on his code club project and I read, did housework and played Fifa on the Xbox with Jack when he came home.

Apart from the initial dip that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago I seem to be keeping the seasonal bad mood at bay.  I can put a lot of it down to the purchase of some ridiculously expensive (they were bad I was desperate I’d try anything) eye spray as I can’t do drops.  My eyes are still a bit puffy and watery but this spray is magic!  The biggest difference seems to be that my eyes are not swollen shut by 7pm and I am not getting the head aches. There is a dull ache some evenings but normally Spring is a time for a permanent dull achy head with crippling, stabbing migraine like headaches of an evening.
I have also planned well when I set up our yearly schedule it seems and managed to make things low stress.  Groups are fun enough that I’m still feeling sociable too!
Touch wood, I’m doing okay and feel like a functioning human being!

Amble around Hamble

Some days seem marked as good days before they even start and yesterday was one of those.  Sun was shining and mood was light.  Whatever we had done I think we were in the mood to enjoy.
What we did was finish off our river project.  I’d picked a book about a local river so we did the exercises on Friday and read the rest today on the bus.  Then we took a trip to the river.  An hours easy bus ride away.  We paused in Warsash to look at the river and point out features we knew.  Then took the cutest little pink ferry across to the village on the other side of the river.
This was somewhere I’d never been so we explored the very quaint village and the edge of the common.  Sam says’s it’s like Wales without hills!  There was a cafe on the river side with a roof garden for a lovely view over lunch.
The plan was to walk up alongside the river to Bursledon (or maybe further) and bus home from there.  However all the marinas meant walking along the river itself was not possible and about 1 1/2 mile out of the village the road got nasty, no pavement and too many bends and fast going cars for my liking.  So when we spotted a footpath across the road I decided to accept we’d got all the learning about rivers we were going to out of the day and we’d take a route that kept us alive.

So we walked along the edge of the old air field (I think!). Sam kept his eyes open for bits of broken Spitfires as they were tested from the airfield, no joy.  We did find a stream, friendly horses, blossom and bluebells though.  Back in the village we stopped at a little playpark and took the time to visit the Norman church.

We ended the visit with an ice cream.  I have never seen Sam enjoy one more. He normally likes the idea of ice cream more than the reality.  The raspberry and white chocolate was very nice apparently.

Lots of pictures of sparkly water below.






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From Bouncing to Bubbles

We really, really haven’t stopped this week.  Been a good one but rather tired now and have a weekend of catching up on stuff that has been ignored in the week to look forward to.

I’ve been trying to co-ordinate a time to have a phone call and chat with our new museum officer and it just hasn’t happened, taken me a week to find some gaps in the schedule when I can promise to be in and it’s another week before there is one we can both do.  Have I mentioned that I am a little traumatised by the retirement of the out going museum officer?  I’ve known her 10 years and she has run many activities for us HE and community and we got on well and she understood the complexities involved in booking HE trips and we could laugh through gritted teeth about the time keeping of HEers and all the other stuff that organising HE trips requires me to normally apologise for.  Actually back when the job was 2 jobs I had a lovely chat with the two museum officers one day when they told me horror stories about visiting schools that made me feel so much more relaxed on HE trips – we could be worse it seems.  Touch wood,  the new lady seems nice enough though.  My days of organising trips to local museums are drawing to a close anyway.  They only seem to cover Primary ages.  We’ve still technically a year to go but most of the KS2 workshops now aren’t that interesting or challenging.  I’m hoping to do a Harvest event at the local Windmill, I never got around to it last year.  Plus I must do one more at Search for old time’s sake.  May even take a younger group too on the hope that one of the ‘next generation’ will take on the mantle of working with them as it is such a fantastic resource.

Anyway I have rather digressed.  Monday started with Maths and English and then a trip to a local(ish if by bus) trampoline park.  I wish I’d gone on!

20160509_9 20160509_10 20160509_11 20160509_15Tuesday dawned, hot, grey and oppressive.  Rare I suffer from asthma now but the walk from town to coding club triggered a nasty attack so afternoon plans got shelved and I accepted a lift home from a friend and can’t remember at all how the afternoon went.  I think it was more coding, lots of coffee and sitting in a bath trying to breathe.
Sam went up to  Hundred Acre Woods in the evening for den building with the Cubs. He made his own tea first 🙂

20160511_2Weds, weather was better fortunately.  As well as maths and English some science was managed before it was time to go out.  We were looking at the the impact of ice and glaciers on the landscape.

We started off with a pile of cards on a tray with weights on top and tilted the tray until they slipped down showing the cards on top moving faster.

20160511_3 20160511_4We discussed that it isn’t so much the ice doing the eroding but what it carries.  We dipped a melting ice cube in sand and then rubbed it across a piece of balsa wood to see the scratches it made.

20160511_6 Finally we showed the formation of moraine by pushing a full bag of water across a tray of sand.

20160511_12Then made a mess!

20160511_16 The afternoon was DIY group.  This is my favourite group I think.  I like the fact that there is a slightly educational angle but it is fun and practical.  I like that there is a lot of collaboration but it doesn’t feel forced.  Sam is about in the middle age wise and that is perfect!  It’s a nice bunch of people that come.  Need a few more regulars to make it sustainable long term I think which is a pity.

The session was based on game design.  We started off with story cubes and a go at a word game which failed.  We then did a beetle drive which went down surprisingly well.20160511_18 20160511_19 Finally it was on to some game design.  We split into two groups and gave the children cards to make for 1000 cards.  This took way longer than I’d planned for.  In fact making the cards and playing took them to 20 mins off the session end and they were asking (even the teens) to go out for a run about in the garden, so off they went.  They found a rounders bat in the undergrowth last time.  This time they came out with a hockey stick!

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Thursday is normally Grandad day but we had a birthday picnic to go to.  We combined them both in the end.  Rushed through maths and English and then headed into town for breakfast with my dad before catching a bus on to join friends at Portchester Castle.  We had quite possibly the most chaotic game of rounders I have ever seen.20160512_5 20160512_7 20160512_27 20160512_45 20160512_73 20160512_89 20160512_105Today we were off to Gosport library as had the community tables booked.  Maths, English and some working through of a book on the River Hamble and a lot of reading and choosing new books.  We picked up some craft supplies for work and had lunch in McDonalds as ‘big’ drops of rain were falling.  I am a firm believer in the no such thing as bad weather just poor clothing.  Well in the 2 minutes we were out in it my blouse was starting to stick to my chest.  Much longer and it would have been pointless, welded to me and transparent.  I was wearing poor clothing!

At home the afternoon vanished in playing with some pocket money toys we’d picked up in the week when buying for his friend, a lot of reading and a long time in the garden playing with bubbles (no photos as I was making the bubbles).  There was some Minecraft which he hasn’t played for months and now he is at Scouts, Jack is at Explorers and I have a glass of wine!