Another thing that has got lost in the illness/Christmas slump.

This was a bit of an odd project, I had no particular learning objectives in mind and intended no ‘finished product’.  It is a subject I am sure we will come back to in the next 4 years with the benefit of added maturity so this time round the aim was simply to read around the topic, follow paths of interest, discuss and simply take whatever he did from it.

We read a lot!  Here’s most of the reading matter.




We had packs from Royal British Legion and Commonwealth War Graves, OU, newspaper specials and a replica pack to explore.


We found the BBC Schools site excellent as usual.

The Royal Marine’s Museum laid on a Remembrance workshop for us.

20141107_41There were the poppies at the Tower.


At the Tower there was also an exhibition relating to Wartime espionage.Exhibition about Wartime spies

Plus reenactments of WW1 recruitment WW1 recruitment reanactment

There were local exhibitions to explore.

Dressing up
Dressing up

We did some modelling and acting out of trench scenes with Airfix. Don’t think I have a finished product photo

There was fun with transfers.


We looked at poppies in art. Monet’s and Georgia O’Keeffe.


And in a nod to Gove there may have been a tiny bit of this 😉

Winter Rhythms

Bit of a mixed bag last week.

In one way it was a busy one, friends round 2 days, to a friend’s another, a few hours out with Grandad on another and finished the week with the Dockyard’s Festival of Christmas.  Plus, of course, Cubs, Gang Show and first Christmas party of the season.  However, only the Festival took us outside our immediate area so by some weeks standards felt bit more relaxed.

Education wise, part of me thinks we’ve got it right; work is completed in a reasonable time, Sam’s largely enthusiastic and we’ve a nice balance between worksheet/curriculum stuff, use of computers, playing, hands on stuff and reading and discussion.  Of course the other part worries we’re not doing enough…

Colds and bugs are also starting to hit.  House is full of sneezes and wheezes.

Few photos of the week.

Skate park

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Playing with lenses for science, making microscopes and cameras.

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We also had fun with optical illusions, the rolled up paper tube making a hole in your hand trick went down well, and later in the week we had some fun exploring this site.


Art was Monet’s Bridge at Argenteuil.  We focused on the reflections.  Dividing paper in half drew scene on a bank on one side with oil pastels – Sam did bathers.  Then the paper was folded in half and rubbed the back of a spoon over the paper to leave a print on the other side.  Unfortunately skin colour didn’t work well.  A blue watercolour wash was painted over the top as the sky and a watered down wash over the bottom as the river.  Ripples were added with the darker blue.


We continued reading about WW1, focusing on trench warfare.  We also junk modelled a trench system for the Airfix WW1 British and German Infantry to fight on.


Entirely self motivated he built a trench system in Minecraft.

Festival of Christmas probably should have a post in it’s own right, but it was no where near as good as previous years and with Sam not feeling well we headed off even before the lights of the Warrior were on.  So have a photo gallery instead.


A Soldier’s Journey

Tuesday we visited a special exhibition at Fareham about the role Hampshire played in the First World War.  Amazing the numbers of men that passed through Southampton Docks on the way to war and heartbreaking the numbers whom returned to Eastleigh or Netley hospitals injured.

Introductory video
Introductory video
Timeline covering Hampshire and the world
Timeline covering Hampshire and the world
Exploring the life of a cavalry officer through sound and smell
Exploring the life of a cavalry officer through sound and smell
Not impressed with the smell
Not impressed with the smell
Reading displays on women's role locally
Reading displays on women’s role locally
A sock knitting machine
A sock knitting machine
Dressing up
Dressing up
Making a memorial plaque
Making a memorial plaque
Finding out about different peoples lives
Finding out about different peoples lives
End of exhibition test.  Full marks.
End of exhibition test. Full marks.

At home we’re mainly learning about the war through reading.  Our book boxes are crammed with books on the subject.


These are the main ones we’ve been reading this week.


Did manage a rub on trench warfare scene for some variety.

20141120_55 Plus watching clips from this dvd from the free British Legion schools pack.20141120_59

Poppies at the Tower of London

I desperately wanted to see the poppies at the Tower of London so we dragged ourselves up there on Friday.  It really was worth it!

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We took the clipper from County Hall to the Tower to avoid the worst of the crowds.  Which gave us a wonderful view of London.

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The week before to give me a bit of extra motivation to get us up there I’d booked us into the Tower.  We’ve been before but it was a good few years ago and at £3.75 for the two of us (school’s rate) it was silly not to.

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To end a great day we spent about 40 mins in Sam’s ‘favourite park in the world’ – well that we’ve been to.

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Fantastic day and here’s one last photo.  Toy knights!


Royal Marines Museum – Remembrance Session

This term we’re looking at the First World War.  The anniversary of the start of the war plus of course Remembrance Day means that there are lots of special exhibitions and events on.  The Royal Marines Museum in Southsea offers sessions on Remembrance for 2 weeks every November and relate it specifically to one of a list of battles – we focused on Passchendaele.

The session starts off with 10 minutes of military drill.  We’ve done this before and it always amuses me how our usual chaotic, undisciplined, rag tag bunch get into it.  Tempted to start all home ed activities like this and include parents 😉



A bit of a tour around some of the galleries, with some group activities introducing them to who the Royal Marines are and their history and an introduction to WW1.  The group of kids were drawn from a much bigger geographical area than many trips, so weren’t familiar with lots of the others there.  Impressed with them how they gathered together, older ones steering and very little adult input needed.

Yes the old sick looking one is a dummy 😉

20141107_7 Down to the education room and the groups researched the lives of two soldiers who were at the battle of Passchendaele.  One of the people they were looking at was a pacifist, but worked as a medic so he could help without taking life.

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The men researched were either killed or injured at the Battle of Passchendaele.  The rice on this cloth is supposed to demonstrate every Commonwealth casualty (injury or death) at that one battle – a very powerful visual image.

20141107_16After ‘why we remember’ it was on to ‘how’ and right up all the stairs to the medal room.  After a look around poppies and medals as commemorations were discussed.  The really shiny ones at the top are those of the most decorated current serving Royal Marine.


These are WW1 medals.20141107_31Then it was back down all the stairs to the education room where some of the children were kitted out.

This is one of Sam’s friend as a WW1 Royal Marine.

20141107_39We managed a short play on the assault course and boat out side (making promises to go back) before a cold, blowy walk back to the bus.



Excellent introduction to a new theme.