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

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.

Enjoying being a child

I was intending to title this post ‘rivers and recycled art’ as that is what we have been learning about.  While the purpose of the blog is keeping track of that learning so it doesn’t all get lost in the business of living, in light of the news stories this week and my determination to enjoy the small stuff it is life we’ll focus on.

Our parcel showed up mid morning on Weds so we finished up the mornings work and headed out.  Not for the big adventure I am itching for but for a pleasant day enjoying what is on our own doorstep.
Picnic on the beach.

20160504_115322There was a lot of this unusually.  He doesn’t normally do slides but played for an hour happily on his own going up and down (well a collection of much younger children were entertained by pushing him down so not that on his own 🙂 ).  He was in slippery clothes too, got some pace up!

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When he’d exhausted that we stopped for a Penguin mixed ice cream (whipped strawberry and vanilla in a spiral).t3Then spent some time in the arcade.  Penny falls, air hockey and then one video game is the rule 🙂t4

20160504_133801 20160504_134515 Skate park.20160504_135117

Home for a long overdue haircut.  I am mum of many talents.  Even the teenager prefers me to the barber!  Although please don’t judge me on Sam’s fringe it was a bit of an oops.  I don’t have an after pic.


Thursday we had another parcel due and Sam wanted to stay in and do the science planned as it’sounded fun’.  It was too!  We tried to create a river in a tray.  It did work surprisingly.  It wouldn’t do the fancy things with meanders like in the book but then we were using a wooden tray from Wilkos and a jug rather than the properly home built ‘storm tray’ 4 times the size of ours and rigged up to a hose pipe.  So happy with what we did get which was the basic idea and a lot of fun.

We lined a large flat tray with a plastic bin liner, filled with sand and levelled it.  We raised one end so it was on a slope.  Sam then gently but steadily poured water in from the top.  We watched a channel form and eventually a delta.  Then Sam spent a good while creating a flood of biblical proportions and a right mess.  He had a lot of fun doing it!


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We then did this weeks art based on Rauschenberg’s Retroactive.  He had his sketchbook a couple of newspapers and Sunday supplements and the brief to make a collage based on news stories.  Love the result.  I love being able to take a subject he thinks he isn’t interested in and doesn’t enjoy and turn it so he doesn’t notice he is doing it. I’ve had very few misses he always enjoys the art activities so much and he’d never do them if down entirely to him.


We’d been efficient and it was still only lunch time.  So we had lunch and went to vote.20160506_2

Then collected Grandad and went to the park to use the exercise machines and get my sparkly water soul lift.  Unfortunately I forgot about all the INSET days for the election so we didn’t stay that long as park was far too busy.  We did find someone to show us one of the model electric boats they’d built.  It was nearly big enough for Sam and pretty impressive.

20160506_7Home and there was time for some coding while I had a bath and dragged myself off to Jack’s school for a meeting about an exchange he is going on.

Pleasant few days; lots of park time and work has been cutting and sticking and sand and water play 🙂

Catching up, chilling, coding, cake and camp

That pretty much sums up the week 😉

First an update on our never ending catalogue of physical woes.  The asthma attack of the weekend thankfully was a one off, still a bit sniffy and wheezy but not a hindrance. I’ve an infected toe, which is fine without shoes but turns into a painful bleeding mess when I wear shoes so that has definitely been a hindrance.  We’ve made it to groups but not managed the walks I had wanted to, think they might be out for this week too 🙁  Jack seems to have ‘grown in to’ asthma unfortunately and is suffering badly so have had him off school one day to make a start on getting a formal diagnosis and treatment sorted.

With Pete home one day and Jack another besides maths and english other things slipped by the wayside.  Taken time to relax and read, watch tv, code…

Sam still spends as much time as he can on Scratch (we found a book on Scratch games in the library last week and he is workingalthough he is enjoying Code Combat too.  I am plodding through the FutureLearn app course.  Outside my comfort zone by a long way but still trying.

We made it to code club on Tuesday.  I have no idea how Sam got on to be honest.  I left him to it and worked with the younger ones.  We need that separation sometimes.  We headed straight home after as my toe was a mess, I had next day’s group to prepare and it kept doing this.

20160426_114400 20160426_114404Snow and hail!

Weds was our ‘Great Home Ed Bake Off’.


So Sam spent Weds morning baking.  He had a plan to adapt a brownie recipe to make ‘golden crown jewel brownies’.  The event had a royal birthday theme.  Unfortunately they didn’t quite come off and while not as unpleasant cooked as they looked raw they weren’t nice.

20160430_1 20160430_4 20160430_7 20160430_10 It didn’t matter.  We had a lovely group session, made play dough cakes, modelled balloons, coloured, crafted, played with friends and ate cakes.
Here are some of the entries courtesy of a better photographer than me! I can model balloons though which I was too busy doing to get photographs 😉  The future is bright for cake eating at home ed events, the judging was tough!

13055039_225557371149028_933336636397604658_o 13055657_225557601149005_776524829201811593_o 13062888_225557254482373_5782605926534337976_o 13063232_225557267815705_237205071637193580_o 13071849_225557607815671_4613430398818304236_o 13072664_225557264482372_5902510056852363243_o 13087007_225557351149030_3470581774470422577_oThink this will be a regular event.

Thursday was supposed to be an at home day but turned into a take Jack to doctors day and then no idea what happened with the rest of it really.  There was cleaning and camp prep.

Friday started with more camp prep – edible brownies.  Camp tradition now, I always send brownies to camp.  Jack reckons he never sees them after they get there so the leaders must eat them.  I have pointed out that they will keep them separate as they know they are okay for Sam to eat but he’s not convinced 🙂

20160430_50  We spent most of the day catching up on all the hands on project stuff we haven’t got round to the last 2 weeks.

For science we continued looking at weathering and slopes in particular.
Angles of rest and failure.

We tipped jugs of different materials to compare the steepness of the slopes that they made. 20160430_14 20160430_19Then mixed the materials together for a small sensory tub 10 minute play 🙂20160430_17For the angle of failure we rolled a jar half full of flour to see the moment the slope slipped.

20160430_23 We did more investigating of cliffs by making a playdough slope, covering it with sand and then spraying the sand so it got wet.  Very wet!20160430_25 20160430_26 20160430_27 20160430_33

We looked at binding agents and compared the strength of sand castles made with distilled water or salt water. 20160430_20 20160430_2220160430_60   We moved on to rivers and looked for our local rivers on a map.20160430_49Then we talked about how rivers form and permeability.  We made a funnel from a plastic bottle and buried it and timed how quickly 500ml drained through.20160430_37 We then compared different soils.  We cut the top off plastic bottles, covered the end with dishcloth held in place by an elastic band.  Stood the top of the bottle in the base and filled with soil.  Then poured through 300ml of water and watched which drained quickest.
20160430_46 Exploring what happens if you put the cloth over the end of the tap.


We finished off the work with art.

Sandwich sculptures from cleaning cloths inspired by Claes Oldenberg’s BLT

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Plus another look at Jasper Johns.  This time at his Flag artwork.  I was aiming for a bit of discussion can flags be art but the answer is yes apparently.

I asked Sam to use bleeding tissue paper to make a flag.  Really pleased with result.20160430_53 20160430_55 20160430_57 20160430_66

Then it was off for a weekend camping with the Cubs.  Luckily the huge downpour that hit had stopped by the time they got there and it has been sunny but cold since.


Finding the Right Words

Is so important in home ed and parenting in general.  The right words can make a complex idea click or a chore into a game.

I chanced upon exactly the right choice of words on Friday that took him from edge of melt down defiance to excited embracing of a project and flowing with ideas.  I’d love to say it was a well thought out plan and there wasn’t months of cajoling and resistance beforehand but heyho.

I have tried everything to interest Sam in creative writing and failed.  He’s never going to write for fun like Jack but I think we’ve reached the point where a bit of basic skills are needed.  I don’t think he’ll be interested in going to Seniors next year but like doors to be open and this is probably our big gap.  I’ve laid the building blocks and he can be very creative at times but he finds it hard and shuts down.  We have spent all the academic year working on bits relating to writing fantasy stories, a couple of sentences here, character out line there, very small short steps.  We’re now at the point of trying to pull it all together, it is all there.  He thinks he can’t do it though and therefore won’t try.

The frustrating thing is he has spent hours this week describing plans for imaginative computer games, so I know he can be creative.  Inspiration hit!  ‘Don’t think of it as a story think of it as describing the route through a computer game; the quest you need do to win, the magic items etc’.  Never seen such a rapid change, suddenly there was a file with a detailed plot line ready to expand on,

It was bucketing down and Jack was home ill so it was a day for catching up with stuff at home.

We looked at rivers and marked some of the most famous ones on a map.  We talked about the importance of rivers to humans and how so many important settlements are on rivers.  I made cards which listed some of the world’s capital cities and matching cards with their rivers and he used an atlas to help match them.

20160415_180315 20160415_111424 We moved on in science to looking at weathering.  We had quite a bit of reading to do and I made the mistake of reading denudation as de-nude-ation which caused much hilarity.  We froze a very full glass of water with a plate and weight on top and saw how the ice expanded and pushed the plate up.  We also took too wet lumps of clay and froze one.  Comparing them today.  Photo doesn’t show clearly but the frozen one was cracked.

20160415_130526 20160416_182417 20160416_182435

We’re sticking with Pop Art for art I think there is a lot more fun to be had here.  We looked at Jasper Johns Map.  After some discussion we decided Sam’s take would be flood filling on paintshop a European map.

jaspar johns

Rest of the day went to play, baking and work.


We’re in yet another busy week.  I forgot to take an antihistamine today and am feeling groggy and ready for bed but I know if I don’t blog regularly I lose the small stuff.  Rather than divide things into days I thought I’d focus on what we’ve been up to when we’re in.

Position has remained the focus in maths and we’ve had some fun with maps, compass points and routes.  We’re still getting on so well using the worksheets that back up Mathletics, there is very little repetitive practice, the concepts are clearly explained and they are fun.  After a bit of a dip he’s found his enthusiasm for live Mathletics again and managed to spend about 40mins on there earlier.

Prepositions still the order of the day in grammar.  Still giving a surprising amount of fun.  We’ve been making up daft sentences from two nouns and a preposition and we spent a while using a set list of prepositions to describe position of things in Hokusai’s The Great Wave.  In one of those little tweaks I’ve opted to switch from 2 handwriting, 1 spelling and 1 vocab session each week to 2 spelling, 1 handwriting and 1 vocab.  His handwriting is actually really quite good now.  He doesn’t join up a lot but if I am honest I still print a lot.  His spelling isn’t bad either really, just has more pages left in the book 🙂  Spelling is more fun too.

We’ve talked about why we need water from a health perspective.

Made a poster

20160317_45 Set up an experiment to grow mould on bread.  We put a piece of bread in the bag touching as little as possible, one he handled a lot before bagging and then washed his hands and did the same to a third and finally rubbed one on the toilet seat.  Waiting to see which grows most mould quickest.


I had intended to do something on health risks of unclean water but forgot!  Might try tomorrow or leave to next week.

We did some baking.  Pig, chick and bunny biscuits for Sam, coffee cake for me.20160317_51

We’re looking a Pop Art still so read about Roy Lichtenstein.  Looked at some of his advertisement/product inspired art.  Sam drew a computer and outlined in sharpie.  To paint in dots he stamped from bubble wrap  for big areas and pencil rubber for small. 20160317_53 20160317_54

20160317_61 We went to the park.  Not technically home but in our ‘home day’ area.20160317_6020160317_56

Made a slow start with Python.  I think I need to read it and work with him though.  He has been researching costs of Raspberry Pis.  Music and appalling puns are the other big things at the moment.  He’s developed a taste for Green Day!

We even did a worksheet!

Been a very busy few days here and not sure where to start.

Title is a bit flippant, we do use worksheets/books for a bit of English and some of Maths on a regular basis and have a Latin workbook.  We do as much hands on or verbally as possible though.  We try and give them a wide berth for anything else as the overwhelming majority seem to add so little to learning, they are for practice/fillers.

We’ve been revising word types in English.  Sam wanted to draw the kitten he described.


Creative writing was looking at a setting and describing characters that might feature in a story set there.


Maths has been volume and capacity.

Lots of playing with centicubes, displacing water and making boxes.




Science has been more fossils.  We did a quiz and talked about how fossils are found and recovered.  We made fold mountains from plasticine and talked showed the effect of the top eroding.

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Then we got out the collection and talked about the fossils we have.  Sam did some observational drawings.


He compared the feel and look of chicken egg and bone to fossilised dinosaur egg and bone.20160226_20

We talked about Otzi the ice man (and had a bit of a stray into cryogenics).  Froze a cherry and shell in ice and saw the change (or not) in texture when ice melted.

Made cast fossils

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and track fossils.


We started work on our water project for this half term by looking at the water cycle.  Read about it, labelled a worksheet and played a game from Twinkl.

20160226_31 Made a water cycle in a jar.  We didn’t actually see any ‘precipitation’ but we could see the water condense into bigger and bigger droplets and see how they would fall.

20160226_2820160226_27 Art theme this half term is ‘Pop Art’.  We started with Warhol.  Sam drew (pressing hard to get an indent)  a ‘celebrity’ onto a piece of polystyrene foam (pizza base!).  It is grumpy cat.  Not having a roller or sponge to hand and not realising that until we were past the point of no return we fudged it and rubbed paint over the foam with kitchen roll before printing.

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We also printed out 4 black and white mugshots and coloured them in, cut them out and mounted them.

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We have also in the last 3 days; spent time outside, been to the library, baked, played games with Grandad, Sam went to the village on his own in the gallop to independence and had our first group study session at the town library.  Only a couple of tables reserved for people to gather to do their own stuff at but very well attended and tables proved insufficient really.  Went to the park afterwards but far too cold.

20160226_1 20160226_2 20160226_4 20160226_57There has also been reading, Horrible Histories, Minecraft and quite a bit of Scratch.  Here’s the two latest projects, both works in progress apparently.  He’s done the projects as asked by the book but now he can see things he wants to do to them.