It’s that time of year again. We can spend half the day on advent stuff.

This year we’ve moved our colouring in to book form and I have one too :). Can still download the pictures from Activity Village day by day.


We do have a soft spot fo online advent calendars though and there are some good ones below.


NRich Primary Maths Advent Calendar

NRich Secondary Maths Advent Calendar


London British Science Association

Royal Institution – new video every day based on thermodynamics

Complete a different Science themed activity every day


Liverpool Museums

Fitzwilliam Museum – Cambridge


Project Britain – learn about Christmas in differnt countries


26 Stories – not strictly an advent calendar but set up like one 26 Illustrated Christmas stories (for older children/adults)


Exploring Nature,


Shape – every day is an artwork based on a shape

For Fun


Crafting fun from Red Ted Art

Games every day from the wonderful Norad Santa tracker

Last but not least by any means (you can have no idea how much work goes in to this every year!) an advent colouring page and more every day from Activity Village


We’re also intending to do a reverse advent calendar where you pack an item a day for our local foodbank.

Can’t forget the chocolate! Homemade calendars still going strong. I need to source more Santas as Jack’s isn’t symmetrical and that upsets him.


P.S. We did do stuff on Tuesday! Proper work too of the making notes for a writing project and making a powerpoint presentation sort of work. The sort of thing even none home eders would look and think – that’s education.  Doesn’t lend itself nicely to blogging though.  Sam did bake biscuits though.



Brainy Boy

We’re definitely cocooning at the moment.  The big question on Sam’s lips all of the time is ‘are we going out tomorrow?’  He starts asking about tea time, has to check another few times before bed and then it is the first thing he asks when he gets up.

For me it’s more that I have so much to do at home that there are places and things I really want to do (and know Sam would enjoy once he was out) and no time to fit them in.  Need to get us out more, I suspect we’ll both feel better for it.  Need a proper big day out, a ride on a train.

Anyway at home we are getting jobs done. Yesterday we even managed an activity that has been on my mental todo list for at least 6 years!

Here is a bear practicing Latin.  He finished off the last of his multiplication and division unit. Come so far with this in the last 18 months I’m really pleased.


In science we moved on from nerves to the brain. This involved a lot of reading. I left him to the lift the flaps one on his own 🙂  The idea of right and left side of the brain having different skills interested him a lot.



Every now and again you spot an activity that you think – I must do that – one day…  The Ellen McHenry Brain Hat was one such, may have taken me over 6 years since first thinking it looked good but we got there in the end.


The other big activity of the day was a bit of long overdue art work.  Inspired by O’Keeffe’s bone landscapes.  We really need to pull together his Art Award stuff.  I think I am going to be sensible though and say we’ll do it over Christmas not get it done by Christmas.


  Here’s one last (very blurry) photo, from Saturday evening actually.  We attended the light switch on in town with friends.  I was sure there was a lantern parade so we hurriedly made some in the car on the 10 min ride there.  Of course we couldn’t find any parade when we got there so we held our own 🙂 Not the best parade ever but Vicki’s lit up hat made up for a lot 😉



Festival of Christmas 2016

5/6 years ago the festival was really, really good there was so much to do it was impossible to fit it all in.  The time table of entertainments were poured over trying to decide what to do. This year they didn’t even bother putting a timetable in the programme as outside the tavern there was only a travelling show (although he’s still no matter how many times we’ve seen it a hit) on with any timetabling.  There were members of the drama school singing and performing at regular intervals and bands about but it was a catch them if you see them rather than go and watch thing.  No gun demonstrations, no organised Santa activities, no flea circus, no craft tables, no special activities on the ships as there have been in previous years.  It was a market with a fair.

That said, we enjoyed ourselves.  We did miss it last year.  It doesn’t feel like Christmas until we’ve done the Festival and Sam’s winter coat has a layer of fake snow that we can never get off.

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Family Time

Thursday was a hanging about at home day again.  We really have needed it this week.  We spent the morning on schooly type stuff again but are close to caught up on last week.  Finished off watching Empire and reading the book on it. 
My Dad came round in the afternoon and it was a lovely chilled, playing and building Lego sort of afternoon. 
Had a lot of amusement when my Dad and Sam had a disagreement, so I was called in to add the deciding opinion.  I agreed with my Dad.  So my view was discounted as the deciding voice and I was kicked off the computer, where I’d been doing a bit of work while they played, so he could look it up.  I love that he has the conviction to try to support his ideas and doesn’t just accept what an adult says.  Even if on this occasion we were right.  Boy will go far with that attitude. 

Thanksgiving Home Ed Group

Yesterday was our monthly social home ed group.  Work and bed (suffering from one of those colds where everything aches) have taken priority this week so all the prep I’d done beforehand was brainstorm and shop for two activities.  I hadn’t tested the activities or even opened the box to check that I had the right stuff.  Luckily it all came good in the end.

The younger children made Native American headdresses and had their face painted.  There were totem poles and dream catchers to make.  As usual Sam opted to sit with and draw all session.  I got to sit and make woven bead bracelets with the older children.  That was a huge hit with parents as well, quite a moorish activity.



If the adults were taken with the beadweaving then I think it was the edible teepees we did as a group that grabbed the children (and coated them in chocolate).



20161123_151303Lovely afternoon and I was tucked up in bed with cold and achy legs and a good book by 7pm.

Division, Nerves and Roblox

They were the themes of Tuesday.

Sam isn’t finding the maths we’re doing particularly easy but he’s working at it and doing really well at grasping the concepts.  Same can be said of the writing course we’re working through.  He’s never going to sit and write stories or poems for fun, but he’d made huge inroads into being able to structure, summarise and add description.  Generally on pleased mum here.

Besides the basics most of the morning went on Science.  We were looking at nerves.  We did some reading, tested reflexes and made a neuron. The greatest fun came in testing reaction times.  I dropped a ruler through his fingers for him to catch and we could measure how many centimetres it took.  Then we took a poster tube and taped a piece of card to the bottom so we had time when you could see the balls.  Then we dropped coloured balls down the tube with the idea that you caught green and blue and left pink and yellow.  Surpisingly tricky.

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After another episode of Empire over lunch, we did an activity from his Asia unit, looking at identifying locations of different countries.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making a game and then playing on Roblox while I worked.

Poor Planning

While it was definitely a good idea to take last week off it is proving hard to pick up the pace again especcially as we’re playing catch up.  I would like us to reach the goals I had set for us to reach before Christmas.   Monday was also disturbed by the fact that the dining table was covered in Lego so the day started with another Lego building session to finish the station so we could move it. Plus had an ill Jack at home. 


We managed a decent catch up of Maths (working on long multiplication – slow but loks like it was successfully) and English.  Plus some work on the British Empire for history; another episode of Paxman’s Empire and reading and lots of discussion.  We also carried on with the Asia unit study we are working through (slowly). Photo is Sam looking thoughtfully at the ONS website, considering whether Pete might do something useful at work (we needed population figures).


A reasonably successful day, just feeling pressure that I shouldn’t.


Sometimes we all need some.  I feel like we’re happily cocooning at the moment but in reality we’ve been out most days, I think it is not so much that we’re staying in, more that we’re happy in each other’s company and not feeling hugely sociable.  It’s felt a quiet week with all academic stuff has been put to one side in favour of reading, Lego and (mostly) Civilization V.  We’ve made it out to see The Jungle Book, again by sheer chance finding the same friends we found at Monday’s cinema outing.  We also took a wander into town on Weds as I had a headache and decided it would be better out and it was.  Sam spent one of his birthday vouchers on books and sweets and we bought stuff to pack a shoebox with gifts.  Then of course he’s never too antisocial for trampolining 😉








My baby turned 11 yesterday.  That is really quite scarily old. 
There are so many benefits to home ed that it would be impossible to list them at any one time.  But being able to do what you want on your birthday is a good one.  No one would ever list it as a reason to home ed but it’s definitely a perk.
As I mentioned though Sam is not the most decisive for smaller things and birthday plans fall under that.  Therefore birthdays tend to end up being very lowkey and with one particular friend who is happy to put up with Sam changing his mind 3 times and mostly wanting to hang out at home!
What we did in the end was go and see the latest Ice Age film as part of the Into Film festival.  To show how long we’ve been home edding we saw Ice Age 2 as part of the film festival in it’s previous incarnation round about Sam’s 1st birthday.  We hadn’t planned it but we managed to find seats with one of Sam’s friends so worked nicely.
After the cinema we had half hour or so before picking up Oscar so went to Gap to replenish clothing supplies after the weekend’s clear out had left Sam with about 2 outfits and no pjs.  We had to get this onesie out of the discard pile so he had something.
Once we’d picked up Oscar we crossed the harbour and took a taxi to a local soft play centre.  Last time we were there was exactly a year ago.  Hate soft play centres, this one at least has comfortable sofas and drinkable coffee in proper cups and is not 100 degrees.
We lasted 3 hours before heading home where the boys played.  Oscar had bought Sam a Battle Chess game for the Xbox, they both loved it and spent most of the evening on it before they settled down to sleep on the sofas watching Star Wars.
Today was devoted to play and sorting out.  We had Oscar until lunch time so they played and I made a start on clearing out Sam’s room.  Sam helped for a while this afternoon deciding what could go, before setting himself up on new computer game.  I cleaned his room as it was thick with dust and listed some items on a local selling group.



Being Decisive

Decisions, even as simple as chosing lunch, can make Sam teary. I’ve a lot of sympathy with this. I am good on the big ones – buying houses, dropping out of Uni, deciding to HE etc but the ones that don’t matter – do I want a patia or a dansak – are head scratchingly difficult.
Anyway there are a couple of times lately where Sam has shown that he can rise to the bigger ones. 
Friday was one of them when he decided to quit Scouts.  He’s gone right through from Beavers to Cubs to Scouts so it’s quite a big jump.  But he was sure. I gave him plenty of opportunity to change his mind without pressure and there were no wobbles or tears he was sure.
Part of me is sad, this was the last ‘extra curricula’ activity he had left and the only activity with out me there; I think there is something being lost.  That said he is such a different character than Jack.  He hated going out in the evenings and the pack he was in was very physical and a bit rubbish tbh (I had Jack there for 4 years).  When I think about the HE stuff we do, while I might be there but it is definitely more a case of us being in the same place rather than him being with me.  I tend to focus on the organisation or the younger children and he gets on with it with friends (or in some cases goes off elsewhere to entertain himself).  Plus he’s out now somewhere in the village meeting local friends, he’s hardly tied to the apron strings.
Not having a tie on a Friday night does have huge practical benefits in how I structure our week too.  Huge!

In other news we received our extension pack for City of Zombies called Times Square and there went Friday.  I think we did some India themed stuff too but it was mostly about battling zombies 😀