Walking! Lots of Walking!

That has how we’ve spent the last two days.

Yesterday it was London. We met up with my Sister in Law and family and explored the Olympic Park.
Afterwards we headed over to Whitechapel. 20 years ago when I was only 18 I went to London for the first time to stay with a man I’d only known for a few months and he took me on a tour of the East End showing me sites linked to Jack the Ripper! Well the short story is that that didn’t scare me off and ‘reader, I married him’. Yesterday we did a shorter and tamer version with Sam, looking at relics of Victorian London.  There were a lot fewer pub stobs than last time.

Today’s walk was closer to home. We did the Treasure Trail of Old Portsmouth. Can’t recommend these enough, we had great fun and caught the murderer 🙂

It was a rush to make it to the theatre for our show and lunch ended up being crisps and ice cream! Love the building this theatre is in but show was ridiculously short and organisation is rather rubbish. A real pity as could be so, so much more. 
All in all a lovely day though.

Things you can’t teach

Kindness, compassion, respect for and awareness of the needs for others, compromise…

This week has highlighted that so much on a national level. My facebook feed has been full of ‘look for the helpers’ quotes and memes and there was plenty to see.

On a much smaller scale my boys have given me plenty of encouragement that they are growing up in to fundamentally decent human beings who, ignoring the fact that they are my children so of course I love them, I can like as individuals because of who they are.

I’ve commented already on what a star Sam was earlier this week when I was struggling, immediate response was what could he do to help?  On Thursday we were out at a home meet and a new child Sam’s age came along, a quick wave of the hand was all it needed to get Sam out of a game to say hello and take new child off to join in with Sam and friends.

Friday was what really prompted this post.  We had a day out ‘for me’! Sometimes I can dress up a visit I really want to do as educational and interest him in it (art exhibitions in particular) but a trip to a couple of Jane Austen exhibitions held no interest for him and being selfish I wanted to join them myself without worrying about involving him. He was perfectly happy to accompany me though, made no complaints at all and we worked the day so there was stuff he’d enjoy too.

As the exhibitions were in a library Sam ended up taking himself off to read in the children’s library leaving me free to potter at leisure collecting him at the end to show him a few things of interest to him.

After we finished up there we went to a toy shop to get a present, Sam loves picking presents for boys a few years younger than him 🙂 We spent ages pottering in there.

Street market for a browse and collect lunch and then to the park we went. I think this is our second favourite park after Jubilee Gardens in London. Not sure why, I think it is the setting.

Sam played happily while I sat in the shade with my sewing. Overheard a pair of mums near me (who hadn’t connected him to me) commenting on how lovely Sam was. He was spinning their toddlers on the roundabout and I think they were relieved to not have to venture out of the shade.  It always makes me smile to see the chain of small children he seems to gather around him in a playground 🙂
We spent some time watching the eels and fish and playing ‘Pooh leaves’ (leaves in plentiful supply, sticks weren’t) on the bridge before leaving the park.  Ice cream on Cathedral green before heading home hot but happy.


It was hot today.  Very hot.  Morning was spent taking far longer than usual over ordinary bits and bobs but not worrying about it.  We abandoned history for a hair cut in an attempt to help Sam keep cool.  I unfortunately had a spasm and made a huge mess of the fringe.  Been cutting hair for over 20 years and reasonably competent but huge oops there.

Besides that there was more Story Factory and science, mainly in the form of marshmallow arches.

Afternoon was spent at Flip Out which was surprisingly quiet and cool.  My grumbles about going were wrong.


When Pete asked Sam if he’d been playing games all day, he said yes, dumping me in it somewhat. He did clarify he’d been playing the metaphorical Game of Life, which made me laugh.  I’d hope life feels more like a game than work anyway.

This morning I let Sam sleep in.  Heat is not our friend he was pathering about until gone 1 am when he went to sleep in our bed, coincidentally helping end my sleep for the night (been a very long day!)  When he got up he did his maths and accidentally tomorrow’s too.  The extra activity involved laying a treasure hunt for Jack, unfortunately he told him the prize was an ice lolly which made the steps between start and freezer a bit pointless 😀 English, Latin and Science were polished off too.

Then we did some science. Sam made an arch dam.

We looked at water pressure, comparing the outflow from holes positioned at different heights. A small water fight followed.

Final bit of science was investigating tsunamis. The afternoon was a lovely home ed group session. I’d set up some story telling props to make. We’d made versions at home before though so Sam happily settled for an afternoon of comic strip drawing, some collaboratively before playing bulldog outside.

Finally at home it was games time. I missed the photo before the game started. He’d spent about 1/2 hr setting it up as a pretty faithful map of 1939 pre-WW2 Europe.

Over the Hill

We were watching a documentary yesterday that featured a ride downhill on a gravity powered train (on the Blaenau FFestiniog railway actually 🙂 ) and that is what we feel like we’re on now, a downward slope to the summer break.
Sam had a bad night’s sleep and ended up napping on the sofa until quite late.  Despite that maths was done, English too including lots of making up of silly stories, Latin and Spanish.  We finished the last of the My Story books we’ve been reading for History and watched an episode of Full Steam Ahead. Finished the last of our Asia unit study and the book we’ve been looking at about Japan. We watched some youtube videos on Japanese theatre and kendo, tried counting in Japanese and drew some Pokemon.
Day ended with some rare Minecraft playing on a Harry Potter server and then finishing off the latest Trials of Apollo.


I didn’t have the best morning! I’d somehow forgot to checkout when I amended my Tesco order last night meaning they only showed up with part of the order. Plus I have a seriously manky painful toe which is greatly impeding mobility and seems to act as a magnet for things to fall on.
Sam was a star though, he managed to do all his work, go to the shop for me and take over tidying the conservatory when I dropped marbles everywhere (they hit bad toe before going everywhere of course!).
The afternoon was our science group, thanks to trips and holidays the award they are looking at has gone on the back burner and all about fun.

Today we looked at chemical bonds and made plastic out of milk and vinegar.
Then good old oobleck which we used for two art activities; as a solid to paint on and a liquid to paint with (mixed with food colouring). All got very messy.  Both boys ended up in the bath (poor Jack bumped into the shed on his way home – oops).


Busy Days

We’ve had a hugely busy couple of days, good ones though and bits woefully short of photos with others perhaps over represented but hey ho.
We started Thurs with an early morning Tesco shop and a early start to Sam’s work as we were expecting someone round for coffee.
Again a no show but taking the deep breath and ‘be kind, you never know what others are going through” mind set.
We spent much of the morning getting frustrated with an origami set for making geometric shapes.
After lunch we decided to crash a home ed coffee afternoon in a local cafe.  Pleasant afternoon, Sam went to the park to play with others, I drank coffee and chatted.  It was gone 4pm by then so we caught a bus to Gosport for tea in KFC as a treat and then headed to the Submarine Museum for one of the twilight tours they are laying on for home educators. Was not what I expected, the tour was not of the big sub you see here but a smaller one and we didn’t really go into the museum it was all in the education suite. However, I suspect we had more fun as a result. We’ve toured the big sub many times and been in the museum many times. Plus we have passes and can go whenever we want so nice to do something different.
A couple of Sam’s friends came back for a sleepover after.

Friday was a morning of play before Sam’s friends were picked up about lunchtime.  We spent the afternoon finishing off the treasure trail of Gosport we’d started with friends a few weeks ago. Sun was out and it was a lovely afternoon and we’ve located a lovely picnic venue for one day.

Nets, Dancing and Robots

The morning disappeared making nets in maths and then learning about Japanese holidays. We had some fun practising a dance outlined in our book.
After lunch we had a trial Lego robot session.  Lots of fun had 🙂

Home Days

We’ve had a quiet few days at home ready for a busy second half of the week.
We’d expected a new home educator around yesterday but something came up last minute so Sam played with the Lego we’d got out and I booked home ed trips for Sep 🙂
Today I decided to be organised and get the stuff ready for science first thing before Sam was up properly as we’re reaching drifting stage with science, losing the hands on move.
With it set up we had fun with what we did; made canal locks in a tin and made a rubber duck sail through, tested materials to see if they were waterproof and made a hovercraft.
Then we spent a long time playing air hockey with the hovercraft 🙂
Taking it easy sort of day.

Going with the Flow

We’re well and truly off the boil now and drifting towards the summer break.  Ideally we’d stop now and take ourselves off to beaches and cliffs of Pembrokeshire to clear the muzzy heads and cleanse the soul. Humidity and hayfever is no good for any of us. Unfortunately with one in school and sitting a combination of mocks and real GCSEs then escape is a distant dream at the moment.

Days are still passing pleasantly and productively if less follow the plan and more roll with it. Just crashing of an evening so expect blogging to get more erratic. We’re close to the end of what I’d planned for us any way as I know this dip is coming. I’d hoped to keep momentum up until half term but hey ho, lesson is that a nice day in the woods isn’t worth the week long headache after, need to try and persuade nature loving home eders that the beach is better, we can do that 😉

I say it a lot I know, but I think it is easy to take for granted the positives of home ed when you’ve been doing it a while but every now and again get a mental reminder that really do love it. 

Had a good example of the benefits on Thursday. We were reading a book about Japan together and looking at a picture in the book with lots of different flags on. Sam started pointing out ones he knew and it turned out to be quite a lot more than me and this is something I pride myself on being good at.  So we decided to do a jigsaw that I’d bought on spec a few weeks before and we spent the rest of the morning on that and quizzing each other about it.  We did pause to consider where he’d gained this knowledge as not something we’ve really done formally or informally, not one of his pet subjects that he’s taken up him self either. We could only conclude it was all the hours playing military strategy games on the computer 🙂  Knowledge he’d probably still have gained if he was going to school but whether he’d have the same time for the hobby or the time and scope to spend the time demonstrating what he knows is questionable. Also to be honest whether he’d have the same pride in knowing these things or whether it would have been displaced by shame because he doesn’t know what a subordinate clause is, or kicked out of him on the playground for being geeky, I wonder.

Friday and I fancied a day out. Actually it was more I didn’t want a day in. Sam was very amenable, although he did point out that we’d been out Monday, Weds and Thurs to home ed activities.

We decided that the main aim was to get sushi for lunch as he was keen and we’d been reading about Japanese food this week. We were a bit flummoxed as I was sure there was one at Gunwharf but apparently not any more. So we headed to Southampton instead, quite happily as we quite like Southampton and really, really hate Portsmouth.

We spent an hour pottering in the art gallery. Quite pleased to find a Lowry and there was a very intriging Mounties and Geishas picture that we spent an awful long time discussing.

  Then lunch in Yo Sushi! Sam even had raw fish, I didn’t!

Finally a bit of shopping. We found an oriental shop that sold us some Japanese sweets and biscuits. Sam also found a man willing to teach him how to play Warhammer.  He’s teetering on the brink with this one as he could fall headlong into it as a hobby as ticks so many Sam boxes but he is seriously put off by the price (phew!)