A day in the life!

Yesterday was one of those days where nothing amazing happened, we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, no special trips or anything like that.  But makes you think if this is humdrum life it really isn’t a bad life to have.

We started late as I was naughty and got distracted by yesterday’s blog post.  But Maths and English were done efficiently and together were wrapped up in comfortably under an hour.  Spanish practice using Petralingua, history – still reading our Prehistoric People book, Geography and read a lesson of Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography – discussed how we could see the curve of the Earth, led on to discussion of Ancient Greeks.  By then it was only 11.15 but we’d done enough absorbing of information I felt so we browsed the Natural History Museum website.  Have a vague plan to go on Friday but have had the same plan about once a week all year – weather and lethargy keep changing our mind – I don’t do booking ahead, I love London but we have to be in the right mood.  Unless it really is awful though suspect we will make it this week, this Prehistoric Peoples thing is just drifting and need to draw a line under it and move on, seeing the skulls in the NHM is my plan to draw it to a conclusion.

Well…we still will do some stuff on Prehistoric Britain, fancy a trip to the new visitor centre at Stonehenge, the Iron Age Museum at Andover and possibly Butser Farm (well definitely fancy the trip the getting there part is tricky though!).  Notice the big difference between myself and car drivers, London is a wake up on the day, fancy it and go trip to me – simply go to station and get on a train, 1/2 hr or so drive away but down country lanes is a major trip that needs lots of research and planning and possibly roping in Grandfathers to come from Wales!

We then got out Sam’s Young Archaeologist Club stuff for a look to see where we got discount entry and plan a few more places we’d like to visit.  Realised we’d not really looked at the magazines so spent the rest of the morning reading them and doing the puzzles.

After lunch it was down to the village for a nurse visit.  Cue embarrassing moment with some lip reading and vigorous head shaking when she had to ask if I might need a test for Chlamydia (was a pill check up), sometimes always having a child in tow is a bit awkward! 😀

We then went down to the park where we met a family researching home ed for their 3yo and another family who are long term home eders but new to area.  Lovely afternoon, kids played nicely, adults chatted and froze!  It is one of the things I love about home ed meeting new people. I always try and make time to meet anyone who wants to who sounds new and scared.  I was reminded a couple of days ago of an earlier blog post where I had said we need to remember we’re not home ed volunteers and we have to put our own kids first.  Not changed my mind on that and the reminder was timely, but I do think it is important to reach out when people are new and scared, home ed is so often a leap into the unknown.  I never tell anyone my way is the right way, because I firmly believe there is no right way there is what is right for that child at a particular time.   And we have gained many pleasant afternoons and friends from these ‘blind dates’ so everyone wins 🙂

Home and tea and a cold, wet, windy hike over the Alver Valley with Cubs (I gave it a miss 😉 )


…and breathe!

Very, very busy few days.

Friday was a messing about at home day. Maths, Latin, history and geography were all touched on.  Geography was another lesson from our Charlotte Mason book, this time a poem about all the wonderful sights of the world (it is also a lesson in history as we’ve had to touch on the lack of air travel and that there was still a lot of exploring to do – pre climbing of Everest, reaching South Pole and of course Space travel).

We followed up by looking at a picture atlas (Usborne) and then drawing own version.  Influence of Minecraft evident as lots of showing of diamond and gold mines.

20140129_7 20140129_5Strategy games are still the order of the day, rest of Friday passed in chess, 2001, Stratego and Minecraft.


Saturday passed in homework, chores, Scout/Cub chess tournaments, running errands in town for me and messing around on Sporcle.  Boys (Jack in particular) are very good at naming countries.  Before cuddling up and reading Percy Jackson, Jack and I are long term Rick Riordan fans and while Sam listened to the Egyptian series, we’ve never done Percy as a read aloud and he’s loving it.


Sunday was another chores and paperwork day but kept getting distracted and ended the day thoroughly frustrated and fed up.  Getting roped into this by a desperately keen child who lost interest very quickly, didn’t help my mood.

20140140A couple of games of 221B Baker Street did help lift my mood though, heartily recommend it for those with older kids (Sam is too young to play independently).

Monday started a lot slower than I wanted. With a migraine threatening it took me ages to get out of bed so just had time to get everything ready for group and get out the house.  It was the first day of the new bus timetables and it was chaos on the buses and they were packed and uncomfortable.  Really should learn to drive but it scares the life out of me.  Will just have to adapt plans and not go into Fareham very often – Gosport is easier now and now bus goes along Stokes Bay and outside splash park so it isn’t all bad.

Group was Australia Day, was a bit hectic and confused but the kids loved the ‘trials’ and the coins which is what matters.


We had to get some library books for Guides so we went to Fareham library for the first time in ages…


…may have got a touch carried away.

Bit of shopping, home, printed lots of resources for Guides, ordered supplies for Geography, more stuff for Guides, went to Guides and then spent several hours making Maths resources for Sam.  Very tiring day.

Tuesday was maths and english followed by our annual concert.  Every year we go to a classical concert at the Guildhall for school children.  It is fabulous, I can not recommend it enough!  We started as we do every year with lunch and a play at Victoria park, when we were at the park as school arrived, so we fled!


Sam singing the song.  He gets really into it, it’s funny 🙂20140129_29


We had time for coffee and penguins in Waterstones and a bit more shopping.20140129_30

Before a very wet ferry ride home.20140129_31

Tea and Sam was off to Cubs (more codebreaking), while I treated myself to letting older boy watch FIFA videos while I had hot bath, then wine and Call the Midwife 🙂

Busy few days, frustrating at times but generally good.  Ready for a rest now.


I Think I May Have Seen Some Sun!

Tuesday was one of those rare perfect home education days.  We definitely have a lot more good than bad days, but the odd one shines out.

We started as ever with Maths and English, the chopping and changing – lots of short activities are working well, variety definitely helping keep attention.

The rest of the morning was spent curled up on the sofa with books, atlas and a globe.  Reading more about prehistoric man for History.

Then for Geography looking at the fact that the world is round.  The ‘lesson’ in the book (Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography) was incredibly weak.  Basically the Earth is round, God understands why but it is very complicated so you won’t, and we’ll come back to it in two lessons???!

Hmm, this chatty approach and dismissiveness of children’s ability to understand winds me up with a number of American curriculums, Story of the World I am looking at you!  I know the approach is a different educational style to the UK where they introduce an idea and keep going back to it adding further information/awareness and I can see a lot of positives to that.  My issue is in the presentation of it, covering a subject to the level the child can follow/understand is fine, saying something is too complicated for them is insulting.  Needless to say the books are being used very, very loosely.

Back to Geography and having tossed the book aside in disgust, I concentrated on answering Sam’s questions on which countries have mountains.  We dug out the atlas and compared physical and political maps and strayed onto tectonic plates and the formation of mountains.

After lunch we jumped on the bus to Stanley Park to enjoy a rare afternoon of sunshine .  I’ve wanted to set up a ‘tree diary’ – choosing a tree and going back regularly to visit it and chart the seasons – for years but never quite got going and this time was no exception.  When asked to come and pick a tree, Sam explained it to a friend as ‘one of Mum’s crackpot schemes’.  Know when I’m beaten – left it in favour of letting him run around with friends and climb trees, sunny afternoons are too precious not to enjoy.  This is how we like our socialising, low key and relaxed.  And he actually climbed a tree!  Not more than a few foot but for him that is high!


20140158 20140156         20140154 20140159

20140151Back home we just had time for ‘Sketch Tuesday’ – something in a bottle – champagne in our case.


20140115_60Charcoal – and yes it was messy.

20140115_61Bath, tea, emotional meltdown to take the gloss off the day – didn’t want to go to Cubs, hadn’t all day (and often doesn’t and was the same with Beavers) but doesn’t want to give it up.  Tricky.  We ended up not going as he was to upset but element of delaying the problem.  Truth is we don’t mind if he goes or not but can’t have him dipping in and out as not fair to them and there are plenty keen for the place.  The old problem of children running around and shouting and giving him a headache!  Yet it is the games he likes…  Kids do like to test us.

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands (Geography and Charlotte Mason)

He’s got the whole world in his hands
He’s got the whole world in his hands…

It is going round and round and round in my head!

Geography is one of those subject areas where home ed resources are thin on the ground and what is available is very American.  Of course it is easy to cobble together projects on countries and landforms but I have been looking for a more cohesive, flowing approach.

I came across this – based on the original work of Charlotte Mason

20130926_46Well it definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste!  Not surprising for a resource written by Charlotte Mason it has a Christian bias.  I am not Christian but am very open minded about religion, suppose my religious views are best described as agnostic.

Anyway the book is a mix of poems/readings designed to spark discussion and non-fiction texts with questions to follow up.  Definitely not a full ‘curriculum’ more of a discussion starter to be followed up by reading around, watching videos etc.  With a groaning bookshelves all over the house this approach works really well for us.

Having skim read through it the only sticking point from the religious aspect looked to be the first lesson

How All Things Praise the Lord
by Lord MontgomerySun, moon and stars, by day and night,
At God’s commandment give us light;
As when we wake, and while we sleep,
Their watch, like guardian angels, keep.The bright blue sky above our head,
The soft green earth on which we tread,
The ocean rolling round the land,
We were made by God’s almighty hand.

Sweet flowers that hill and dale adorn,
Fair fruit trees, fields of grass and corn,
The clouds that rise, the showers that fall,
The winds that blow – God sent them all.

The beasts that graze with downward eye,
The birds that perch, and sing and fly,
The fishes swimming in the sea,
God’s creatures are as well as we.

But as He formed for better things,
As servants of the King of kings,
With lifted hands and open face,
And thankful heart to seek His grace.


Considered skipping it, while I am open-minded, I do (and if you ask Sam he does to) firmly believe in the ‘big bang’ and evolution.  But decided that was definitely over thinking it and a form of censorship, where there is obvious bias my approach is to read and then discuss why it might be told a certain way and what we believe (not always the same thing – I am keen the boys make up their own minds in matters of religion).  We discussed how Sam believed the Earth was formed and then read three variations on the Christian story of creation.


We then read the Barefoot Book “Whole World” which takes the Christian hymn “He’s got the whole world in his hands” and by alternating between between he and she turns it into a message about ecology and how everyone on the planet holds the world in their hands and has a duty to protect it.


We finished off with a piece of artwork.  We cut a circle from 12by12 scrapbook card and decorated it with pictures of animals/landforms etc cut from magazines, then added brightly coloured cut out handprints.