Summer Days

Blogging definite slipped way down list of priorities. Probably should be when I should try and make the effort to blog more really when we go more relaxed and unschooly as I miss recording exactly how much can be learnt this way. I no longer feel the need to though, I am happy with what we covered this year, he’s entitled to a rest and a holiday and if he was learning nothing for a month or so would it be an issue – no. In reality you can’t stop a child learning, he’s like a sponge, I just feel no inclination to analyse and document it.

What have we been up to practically since the last post?

We had a day’s home ed trip learning about Victorians and riding steam trains on the Watercress Line.
It was my Dad’s birthday last week so we spent some time with him on Thursday at Titchfield Abbey, playing with Nerf guns and treating him to lunch out. Sam very patiently spent a good deal of time helping a random toddler fire a small nerf gun (was scary to watch!) He is like the Pied Piper, collects small children about him whereever we go it seems.

Thurs afternoon was spent making vast quantities of playdough as Friday was the last under 10’s group of term.  Lovely session, 5 new families along and a lot of mess to clear up.  I do love playdough. 

Sam spent the time I was at the group shopping for a birthday present for my Dad and hiding out in Costa. We had lunch and shopping and a leisurely afternoon as Sam had bought Sim City for his DS.

Weekend was normal pottering (aka kindle/computer/ds play) with the exception of popping to see Grandad with cake and presents (birthday was Sat).

Plans for this week went by the wayside. We had a home ed session booked on bushcraft on Monday and plans to go geocaching yesterday.  Eczema flare up meant poorly cracked skin and swollen feet though and didn’t want to take risk of infection (we do get them).
Monday was spent finishing off cartoon strip for the HE comic we’re getting published, reading (History of the Russian Revolution in prep for tomorrow) and then computer play really.

Yesterday after starting off the day with a horrendous sick head ache I managed to make it out to see a hall for potential group meets with a friend and we followed up with tea and a chat while kids played Lego and Pokemon. Afternoon went in board games and then when Scratch wasn’t working he agreed to try a Python project. He ‘wants’ to do Python but wants to do it immediately and gets frustrated so needs coaxing. After a bit of a hiccup we did get it working to draw a robot though.

Today was my last Home Ed group session for rhe academic year. After an early morning BP check up Sam spent the morning programming a art project on Scratch based on Kandinsky’s Circles. Group was a  bit of a manic one (you can tell by the fact that my coffee was so cold I didn’t even attempt to drink it) but a lot of fun and messy children.

Small Pleasures

Been a lovely quiet peaceful day. 

Latin provided fun as he was working out roots of words.  Maths was easier than he expected producing glee.  English showed what huge inroads he has made into writing as he wrote a very competent advert.  And all done by 10.15.

We read for an hour, discussing in detail as we did, from a non-fiction book about the Victorians.  While I did a job about the house Sam read about and wrote a profile on Dr Barnado.  Then read some more about Victorian schools and gave me a verbal narration to summarise.  We got out the slate and he had a go and writing Victorian script and did some extra sums.

We dug out some more Victorian replica bits for a look and then watched Victorian Bakers over lunch.

We then got distracted by looking at my sewing and sharing stories about the different monarchs.We moved on to Sketch Tuesday whichthis week was feathers.  I got into awful trouble for not emailling off last week’s st today’s has already gone! I drew a peacock while Sam did an eagle.  We did print photos to copy.

Sam then programmed one of those touch the wire games on his Microbit.

Finally we read a report about the child we sponsor and checked out where he is.  Then it was over to Roblox and work.

A Schooly Looking Day

I was exhausted today.  Hands on fun stuff was beyond me so it was a catch up on quieter stuff.  Nice to have balance but a low photo post and not an exciting one, more a list of what we did.

So we did;

a dictation exercise from Writing With Ease 3 about Laura Ingalls Wilder
a writing exercise from his Collins book encouraging use of personal details to bring authenticity
a review and activities verbally on quotations mark
a lesson on finding percentages of numbers
a couple of Mathletics games
Spanish practice
Latin verbs
reading and a worksheet on children’s work in Victorian times
read some of a My Story book on a Sweep’s Boy
watched last episode on Victorian Slum
a couple of comprehension style exercises about natural resources in Asia
drawing for Sketch Tuesday

Changes of Plan

It has been a few days of having to adapt plans while battling a cold (Sam) or aches and pains (me).  We’ve done well though.

We’ve managed loads of sit down at the table stuff.  Great strides through maths.  Move to a new Latin curriculum is going well.

Tuesday morning was a peaceful work and reading and documentary watching.  My Dad popped by of the afternoon since we’re out on Thurs (usually Grandad day) and we chatted over structure building from natural resources.

Trying to kick start art again we have picked up Sketch Tuesday again. Today was a panic as the people running the afternoon’s group for us cancelled so it was trying to let people know what was happening, deal with Sam who was reluctant to go (until they finally cancelled completely he was happy enough with my plans). 

Anyway we did some teamworking games and challenges, made costumes from newspaper and held a fashion show and played games.  All good fun.

Water, Water Everywhere and a bit of Indian Culture

We’re in mopping up mode, finishing off units and wrapping up projects.  After some maths and English Monday morning was mostly sppent playing with water colours.

Sam painted spots over the paper and we left it outside in the rain (amazing how few rainy days we’ve been home – this one has been on the list for a while).  Produced a good effect.  The line is him dropping a pencil on it while it was drying.

Sam also painted a reflection with an oilpastel cityscape

And we both did a water silhouette – paint a simple outline then fill in with water and add splodges.

There was even more art work as Sam worked on his penguin scratch art while I read aloud from our Story of India book.

The afternoon was dedicated to Indian culture, we read info and stories, listened to sitar music, watched Bollywood videos, coloured in costumes and played snakes and ladders and ludo.

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 😉



Tuppenny Barn Workshops

On Monday we went to Tuppenny Barn which is a small-holding which offers workshops, all very nature based, sustainable living. 
The focus of the day was to tie in to Sam’s natural art theme.  We toured the venue, made natural paintbrushes and painted with them and natural paints the lady had made. 
In the afternoon they listened to and wrote Autumn themed poems, this isn’t the sort of activity we do that much it was a real stab in the dark, lets try something different and we got some lovely poems.  Really proud of them. 
Lovely session.
Definitely time for me to take a step back from trip organising though.

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Trying to find our Mojo

Monday was all about trying to get our mojo back after the various obsticles of the week before.  Unfortunately we have a leak in the new tank and appointments to rearrange and errands that should have been run to do.
In order to try and shake things off and start with a positive mindset we headed out for a walk along the beach first thing, manna for the soul.


The focus at home was on catching up with bits that had gone a bit by the way side.  Taking inspiration from both the photography side and Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition Sam spent time getting some close up photographs of a bunch of flowers.

img_1211 img_1213 img_1216 img_1226Then we turned our attention to creative writing.  I’d transcribed a story we’d made up with story cubes.  Sam then spent an hour tweaking, improving and making it make sense.  My ‘I hate creative writing’ son actually has a very passable 2 typed pages of story and despite the initial groan really enjoyed doing it.

Afterwards Sam brainstormed ideas for our own story discs while I painted them.

After lunch we spent a while looking at our What’s Where in the World book (this is one of my top 10 home ed books I think) and discussing what we could learn about landscape, climate, landforms etc of India.

We then spent most of the afternoon with me reading from a biography of Queen Victoria while Sam played Lego.


Harvest Group

It seems ages since we’ve had a proper group meeting at the hall and yesterday’s was lovely. We’ve had a huge influx of newcomers, not all new to the local home ed scene but new to coming to this particular group.  We ended up with around 16 families and a true mix of tots to teens.  Sam at 10 was far from being the oldest probably only just made it into top half, that was nice as many more social activities do get dominated by the younger ones. Sun was out and the garden was usable for run round, play and tree climbing too 🙂

Activities on offer were straw weaving, apple printing, salt dough leaves, lanterns with jars and leaves and vegetable sculpting.

Sam decided to ignore all the activities and spend all his time at the colouring table with a few of his best friends drawing comic strips.  I am always keen to stress to people that the activities aren’t compulsory and as long as the kids are happy and engaged it’s fine it’s a social session, so couldn’t really complain 🙂

I did persuade him to come and do some of the vegetable sculpting at least.  He made a slug! Here it is with a mouse and hedgehog that were left behind.

20160928_5Luckily other children were more enthusiastic so my efforts (and vegetable chopping) did not go to waste.  Various pets I am sure also appreciated the leftovers and I learnt that chickens like broccoli 🙂


Here’s my trial straw weaving.

20160927_27Before we went we’d managed Maths, English, Spanish and Latin. Plus some geography; workbook page on locations in Asia, some mapwork on India and Sam created a profile of India on his blog.

20160928_1We both spent a bit of time practising drawing too.  Loving this book!
Appear to have lost it all though as he’s preferring loose sheets to sketch books.

Creative PJ Day

PJ Day is the best day of the week according to Sam!  I’ve got to admit I really value having a day at home a week too.

The day was all about creativity. After the usual maths, English, Latin and Spanish out came the craft supplies and he worked on natural sculpture and collage.


It was Sam’s idea to use clay.  I need to stick to my guns next time and remember Sam likes the idea of clay but hates the reality! It is okay to say no!

After lunch Sam wanted to build Lego.  He hasn’t been interested for ages but the Lego club magazine had come through the post and he actually picked it up and read it for the first time in probably a year. Then he dug out the Lego ideas book.


Seemed daft to quash the creative burst so he built and I read aloud from the History of India for much of the afternoon.

20160927_142405 20160927_142328We then had another attempt at ‘Civ5’ which fortunately worked. So Sam spent the rest of the afternoon honing his military strategy and I made salt dough for a home ed session we had today.