Heritage Days

It’s Heritage weekend! We are a bit too tired and soggy to make the most of it. Although we did finally make it to the ARP bunker in Alverstoke.  Supposedly the only remaining ARP bunker in the country. Been past it loads and always miss it. Interesting place.

We started the day with breakfast in a cafe and a long overdue catchup with an old friend, a bit of stone collecting and Pokemon hunting on the beach Soaked to the skin by then we decided that any plans to pop into other heritage events were best shelved in favour of home, bath and pjs.

Sam spent some of the afternoon programming an art project in Python and then submitting it for his Art Award.

This arrived in the post today too. American Horrible Histories 😀
Pete’s away so it’s pizza, wine and Sherlock to mark the end of the first week of term.

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.

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.


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.

Pure Gold

Some days are just like pure gold and Weds was one of them.  We were up in London yet again and the day started with an early morning trip to Sam’s favourite park in hazy sunshine and had it blissfully to ourselves.

20160922_2 A walk and a sit on some of the rather bizarre benches that now adorn the Southbank followed.  Paused to recall visit to St Paul’s earlier in the year and spot where we’d climbed to.

20160922_9 Then we got to our destination! Finally got in to see this, wanted to since it opened.  No photos of course but it was wonderful, never enjoyed an exhibition more and considering a trip back minus the boy before it finishes.  He enjoyed it too, I’d picked up the audio guide to keep him entertained which did the trick, he isn’t a bad companion for this sort of thing (much better than Pete or Jack would be anyway).

20160922_10 View from balcony of the Tate.  Spent quite a while out here musing on computer animation. 20160922_13 In other words how they made this?

Having had my big treat (of the year!) I set about making it up to Sam.  Lunch at Pizza Express did it.  I wasn’t impressed but he loved it.  Look less manic I said!

20160922_15 After lunch we walked into the City.  Sam has been asking loads of questions about money, interest rates, inflation and exchange rates so we decided to take a trip to the Bank of England Museum.

Fabulous place.  Lots to explore hands on about trying to keep a steady economy.   Sam was so excited to touch real gold and feel how heavy it was.  Even did the trail!  Highly recommend a visit.

20160922_19 20160922_21 20160922_22 20160922_25 20160922_27 20160922_28 20160922_33 20160922_37 20160922_38 20160922_39 20160922_41 20160922_42 20160922_43 20160922_44 20160922_48 20160922_52After we appear to have misplaced 2 1/2 hours.  Slowly pottered back to the station via the park, at a very slow pace.  Caught a lot of Pokemon and visited a lot of Pokestops.  City and Southbank are teeming with them 🙂
Long discussion about ‘con artists’ in particular people dressed as Buddist monks who corner you when you can’t get past them under Southwark bridge and demand a donation of £20 for plastic tat that says peace on it and why Mum is not her usual polite self to such people!

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Home Schooling?

I hate how this term has come in to common use (even Sam uses it for heavens sake) real nails on a blackboard thing.  It just creates an image in my head of families sitting around a table with piles of national curriculum workbooks and a big planner on the wall.  I don’t know what the correct term should be but what we do doesn’t feel like school and we seem to seldom be at home.

With no trampolining this week (it’s fortnightly) I was thinking we’d try and stay in the routine of doing something active by going swimming.  As it was hot seemed daft to pay to use the pool and we went to Hillhead instead to swim in the sea.  I went in too so only one photo 😉


While we were there Sam found some burnt driftwood and had a go at drawing.

20160916_30We’d stopped at Titchfield Haven on the way there to work on our art project – wildlife photography.


At home we covered maths, English, played a lot of story cubes, dismantled more of the computer, read some of our Children’s History of India and did a lot of drawing.

He’s been practising perspective and shadows and is getting on well and really enjoying it.  Took me a while to see that the dark triangle was the pyramid’s shadow.

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Sounds a blissful day and if you ignore the pre going out tantrums, homework/state of bedroom arguments with teenager and the fact that I have either cut my foot or have something stuck in there and it really hurts and walking is a problem (wasn’t even on the beach, did it walking along prom with shoes on) I don’t suppose it was that bad 🙂

Art in the Park

Yesterday we took a trip with friends to visit the Art in the Park exhibition at Harold Hillier Gardens.  I really love it there and so does Sam.  If I could drive I’d definitely get a pass as they seem to have some fabulous weekend activities.  Can get there by public transport but is a trek.

We were both expecting a quickish morning trip but ended up there for most of the day, rushing back as otherwise I’d have come home to a locked out cross teenager.  There is so much to see and explore even without the art trail.

It has to be said some of the sculptures were really not to my taste but there were some really lovely and interesting ones too. These are my favourites.

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There are more sculpture photos on the Facebook page. Sam did look at the sculptures but much more time was spent playing.  Although the gravity defying anvil intrigued him and he loved the man coming out of the ground.

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It’s also a fabulous place for watching wildlife.  The borders were teeming with bees and you could see tongues coming out! There’s something about robins, have to love a robin! 20160912_34 20160912_74


Wildlife Photography

After the false start earlier in the summer, we finally started Sam’s art award on Saturday with a trip to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Gosport Gallery.  We did leave it to the last day unfortunately and ended up quite rushed as we had Pete and Jack waiting for us.  As ever Sam was reluctant to go and then spent ages there.  The lady manning the desk spent a while talking about it with him.

If it travels near you I advise you to see it.  I don’t think I’d appreciated how much thought would go in to the ‘staging’ of them.  One example was a beautifully lit view of elephants on the savannah but the photo had been taken through the legs of an elephant so the view was frames.  Another was a barn owl flying through a torn painting, another a chameleon’s eye through a hole in a leaf.  The time, effort and patience involved must be huge.  Sam and I have spent a while talking about what it is that takes some thing beyond being a ‘nice photo’ and makes it art.

Today he followed up the exhibition with a post on his own blog (more on that later) sharing his thoughts and favourites.  Hoping to further build on it practically by getting out with the camera.