Battle and Hastings

When working on Julius Caesar for work over the weekend I came across this quote attributed to him – “Experience is the teacher of all things.” It’s one that I try to apply to our HE style. I do believe that lots can be learned from books but it’s experience, seeing and doing really adds context and helps that knowledge take root. Obviously there are somethings that it is impossible to experience – I can never take him back to the actual Battle of Hastings of course but we could go to the battlefield and see the layout with the hill where Harold mustered his army, the marshy valley bottom where the Norman had to fight upwards from, we can take what we’ve read about and stand there and imagine it all.

And go to Battle is what we did last week. It’s about 3 hours on the train from here so to allow us time to enjoy it fully we stayed in Hastings for a night either side to give us a full day in Battle.

We spent the first day exploring Hastings Castle

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playing in the park

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and having fun in the dark walking through Smugglers Caves.  We kept poking the walls as they looked like polystyrene but were definitely real stone.

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Day two took us to Battle Abbey. We started with a long play in a brilliantly designed park. They made the the play equipment look like things that would have been done in that little courtyard of the abbey.

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When the billions of school children had passed through at pace we then headed into the exhibition to explore.

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Before taking the long (and very muddy) route around the battlefield.

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After a snack and drink pitstop several hours were spent exploring the Abbey. Huge amount to see and do there. Might be the best EH visit we’ve done.

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A quick walk about Battle and a nose in the small local museum rounded too the day and we headed back to the hotel for food, baths and bed.

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Final day saw us exploring Hastings seafront, visiting a few tiny museums, walking through the fishing quarter, riding the Victorian cliff lift and having some ice cream and arcade fun.

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A lovely few days away and definitely need a return trip to Hastings when the summer season is in swing, Sam and I loved the place

On the Trail of Alfred the Great

I have had a fair few stresses around HE workshops of late that have been making me think time for a break. Today’s though was brilliant so has restored my faith somewhat. It had it’s herding cats moments as ever. Booking and arranging the workshop was so easy though. The education officer really, really seemed to know her stuff and passionate about it too.
I found it hugely interesting and learned lots too.
We started with a tour of Winchester Cathedral, looking at evidence of the earlier Saxon cathedral and influence it might have had and differences.
We then had a workshop tied in to King Alfred’s push to exband liteacy; where they painted an illuminated letter, made a brooch and translated runes.
A few of us stopped in at the museum on the way home too.
Lovely day with a nice balance of old friends and some lovely new people, the two best things about home ed.

Flashcards!

Had a bit of an insight into how life could have been the last few days. Jack is off school with a bug. He’s not retire to bed ill, absence is more about not spreading germs far and wide. So we have been taking the opportunity to work through various science topics making revision flashcards and checking understanding and trying some exam questions. Plus playing online maths games.

So I have been splitting myself between the two in a way I don’t normally have to. A reminder about how much easier the education side is when only have one at home.

Another huge lack of photos post as life is very reading, discussion and documentary heavy at the moment. There have been things like weaving projects on the go but I miss photos as usually reading while he’s crafting.

I did get one photo of the last couple of days. Sam’s Python etch-a-sketch. Took Pete to find an error in the code that Sam and I spent most of Monday afternoon looking for. Other wise we have looked at comprehension exercise in English. Continue to read Oliver Twist. Lowest Common multiples and Pascal’s triangle in maths. New York state and global problems in Geography. Have finished of our In Search of the Dark Ages dvd.

He’s also had his 4th Lego Mindstorms session. A friend kindly took him so I could stay in with Jack. But I am told they did fun things with sensors.

I put Animal Farm on his Kindle last night and he’s loving it. Currently now working on building a Communist Russia on one of his computer games.

New Routines

It’s been a hugely busy few days. We’re getting used to new materials and new styles of working. Definitely can feel the increase in structure and amount of writing, he’s got a good attitude though and I’m pleased and impressed with what he’s managed.

At the weekend we finally managed to put our flat traveller through the laminator and into the post.And took our visiting one down the beach.We are into researching things and answering textbook questions in exercise books. 
In English we’ve been looking at extracts from Oliver Twist and non fiction works on hunger. Science we’ve been looking at how to think and investigate scientifically. I messed up and we may have had a false start and done some work on cells (which we’ll get to properly in a few weeks).
Maths it’s the usual revision of place value and addition. History we’ve been looking at early humans in Britain as part of a brief pre 1066 overview.Project wise we are looking at Maine and reading about lobsters and lumber. Tues morning saw us at our new group for the first in a 6 week block of Lego Mindstorms sessions. Sam enjoyed it. I had to leave the room as struggled with the way it was presented. Hopefully teething issues though. In contrast the lady providing our Saxon archaeology workshop this afternoon was excellent, so good with them. Definitely need to do more. We’ve also been reading lots – an Anglo Saxon non-fiction book, an adaption of Beowulf by Rosemary Sutcliffe (love Sutcliffe’s books for bringing history to life) and Oliver Twist.  Started watching In Search of the Dark Ages by a very young Michael Wood. From the clothes and hair I doubt I could have been much more than 5 when it was filmed.

 

Romsey Abbey

We began our look at Saxon Britain with a trip to Romsey Abbey. Actually our whole project on this was based on a workshop I fancied here. In the end we didn’t have enough interest and I cancelled the workshop! But I decided to take Sam and a couple of friends for a self guided visit.

Good call as we had a lovely day and the Abbey proved fascinating. The website had some interesting looking resources that I printed (and read on the train 😉 ).

The Abbey can be traced back to 907AD and it was believed there was a wooden church on the site as early as 600/700AD. It’s believed that King Edward the Elder (son of Alfred the Great) settled nuns here as a home for his daughter Elflaeda, who became abbess and was canonised and become one of the two patron saints of the site.

The current building is very early Norman c1120-1140 but there is a surprising amout of Saxon history still visible. The building was bought from Henry VIII in 1544 by local people as a parish church (you can see the deeds) which is presumably how it survived the Reformation.

We started with a trail outside.
Saxon wall Civil War musket ball damage. Some weird bird that looks like it was made on Terraria. Tiring work! A Saxon rood. A rood is just the name for a place to pray (I asked!) Part of the original Saxon church.Then it was inside to see Saxon hair – really. Story of it is here. The Saxon foundations. Since it was there it was a pity not to nip into the museum opposite (at the very least it was likely they would have toilets). It’s very small and not much to it and some frightening dummies so not high on our favourite places. Although there were some fabulous capes for dressing up, very HP or Jedi. They do seem to have an interesting schools programme and the coffee shop that we managed to get stuck in getting in the staff’s way looked nice and the garden was worthy of more than the glance we gave it. We were rushing off so we had time to make it to Romsey Rapids/ Rapids and slide closed (as expected) but still huge amounts of fun had and 3 happy. tired children on way home.