Walk in the Woods

We had a day in the woods today on a bushcraft course with our HE group.  Was a lovely relaxed day, learning about the woods around us, making fires and cooking over them and a bit of whittling.
Paying for it now on the allergy front but was worth it.

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.

20160912_18 20160912_55 20160912_75 20160912_92 20160912_116 20160912_122 20160912_144 20160912_149 20160912_154

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.

20160912_9 20160912_15 20160912_39 20160912_46 20160912_84 20160912_103 20160912_128 20160912_140

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


Big Butterfly Count

Organising a home ed trip even a casual meet up the day after you get back from holiday sounds a bit of a stupid idea but I knew Sam and I would benefit from a few hours out and without the prod to go we wouldn’t.
I was right it did us good.

We headed to the Alver Valley for a walk, picnic and to count butterflies.  We were joined by 5 other families none whom we know well, 2 we’d never met at all.  We met up at the car park so walked part of the park that I don’t know, down by one of the lakes and into the meadows.  Need to do it slower with wildflower guide.

In the end it was the adults who did the butterfly count while children ran about and foraged.  Ripe blackberries in the first week of August!!!
Lovely day with lovely company, nice way to get back to normal life.

Butterflies were too quick to get a photo of.  Very hard to identify too.  Was a ‘there goes a brown one’ sort of identifying.

20160803_182 20160803_184 20160803_185

On the way home we stopped to pick up some fruit from the shop as Sam had been inspired by the mixing of blackberries and water in various pots to want to do smoothies.

20160803_186 20160803_187

Liberty Owl Centre

On Thursday we headed to the New Forest to make use of a Groupon voucher to Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile centre.

Mixed feelings on the day as a whole. On one hand Sam was much more interested than I could have hoped for, the sun was shining and we had a pleasant day.  On the other the whole place just felt a bit shoddy and uncared for and the enclosures on the small side.  Definitely wouldn’t have felt comfortable there with young children, was a bit worried about my dad on the paths

We’ll focus on the good though.

Looking cool while waiting for Grandad.

20160526_091734 Trying to be a vulture!


Bird and reptile pictures.  Lots of!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For any one interested who did the owl pellet workshop with us – more pellets.  Lot bigger than the ones we dissected.

20160527_80 20160527_81

Other Stuff 15/16

All the bits not worthy of their own post


Last year’s plans didn’t really come to anything at all.  The ukulele was a flash in the pan interest.  Even our classical concert was cancelled – we did make it to a Gamelan one which sent me to sleep.  I’m not going to make any attempt to ‘teach’ music at all this year.  With only limited time available to cover everything we want to it seems daft to waste time on stuff that neither of us find interesting or useful.

That aside he’s become much more interested in listening to music this year and I aim to set it up so we can have music on in the background while we do work.  From time to time he’ll sit there with youtube piano tutorials and teach himself to play a few lines of a song he likes.  Will leave it at that though.

Nature Study

Just read my plans for last year and laughed out loud.  They were very ambitious for us.  We’re not nature lovers, we like being outside but too many allergies to enjoy anywhere with plants for much of the year and we hate being hot.  More jumping in puddles and home for hot choc by the fire sort of people.

Plan to take a more or less completely unplanned approach this year.  We’ve loads of spotters guides (good ones) and activity ideas books.  Whenever time, weather, health and mood allow we’ll try and get out.  We’ve lots of nice walks on our doorstep.

Will include readings from our Enid Blyton’s Nature Lovers book and her Hedgerow, Woodland and Country Tales in our reading basket.  Curled up on the sofa with a book is our sort of nature study 🙂

 Religious Education and Festivals

Plan to try and address this more this year.  We’ll include some of our collections of religious stories in our reading basket – I have a few 🙂  Also have the Usborne Encyclopaedia of World Religions to read though.

However I have a set of lesson plans bought from Planbee that I will try to build into our week.  Until we get some routine established I don’t know how realistic this is.  If it works we’ll start with looking at Christianity, where the Bible came from, stories from the Bible,  running up to Christmas.

I’ve been adding dates of random holidays and events to the calendar to draw on if we have time to fill 😉

Computer Programming

Sam has been dabbling with this for a while but looking for an ordered approach this year.  We have these to work through.

20150827_3In case any one else falls for it, the one on the right is not identical to the Computer Coding for Kids with Carol Vorderman on the cover but close.  But it has the advantage of not having Carol Vorderman on the cover so we’ll use this one and pass on the other 😉


I have had the IF Odyssey sat on my Kindle for about 18 months.  I am hoping to set up a monthly group to work through this.  Ideally 4-6 children of similar age to Sam.  Thinking that debating ideas with his peer group will add something different to just talking with me.


Organised sports are not Sam.  Thinking one afternoon a week for Laser Quest/Bowling?/Out door Gym/Long walk.  Then if my Dad will provide transport another afternoon for either swimming or table tennis (we’ll chop and change week by week as mood takes us).  This is work in progress!

Reading Basket

I’d like to get into the habit of reading aloud more again.  I’m thinking we’ll start the day with reading on 4 day rotation from the basket which will have;

Nature Stories (Enid Blyton’s as mentioned above)

Aesops Fables

Year of Poetry

Children’s Bible


We’ll also hopefully keep a longer story on the go.  Probably some sort of fantasy book to tie in to creative writing.  Going to start with Alice in Wonderland.



From wanting to see someone (ideally at our house) nearly every day setting us on a social whirlwind that nearly finished me off, he’s had an about turn.  He’s happy to go out a couple of days a week but wants to stay home the rest which works well for me.

We’re planning on attending one of the adventure playgrounds every week.  Plus laser quest monthly.  Working on monthly bowling and philosophy plans and if they come off will probably suggest a walk/soft play the other week.  That’s 2 group events a week possibly.

Looking around at who’s signing up for things I think numbers for trips might be an issue so will not bother with much trip booking this year I think.  Days out with family and friends instead.

We’ll continue to have friends round as we’ve fallen into routines.  Cubs obviously too.

Will also try and get things set up so he can skype etc.  I do a lot of my socialising through the computer I think I need to accept that that will suit Sam too.


That’s what it feels like I’ve been wading though this week.  I’m not sure why as on paper we’ve achieved a lot but just found lots of minor irks, decisions of what to do being hard to reach, energy lacking (even for things I want to do)…

Looking at what we have achieved.

Sam has finished his handwriting and grammar books.  Decided to leave the new ones for September.  He has also completed the final level in Timez Attack which means theoretically he knows all his tables.  Since that was the big ‘aim’ for this half term that has to be a big tick in the box.

I found myself setting up a new national support group for people who home educate and have children in school.  Not sure how that came about but hey ho, I mustn’t let myself get bored now.

I managed to accidentally book a Guide holiday, that I’m going to have to cancel or rearrange as arrangements are impractical :S  But I suppose I’ve done what I meant to do in researching costs and how you go about booking.  It’s easy – too easy 🙂

Besides the usual over the last 3 days we’ve;

diversified languages – been playing with the French and German versions of DuoLingo.

built a ‘gravity motor’


planted a butterfly garden

20150618_5Spent time in the playground

Gosport-20150618-02289 Spotted bugs

Gosport-20150618-02290 Been to the library and swimming

Spent some time bird watching at a local nature reserve

20150619_36 20150619_33   20150619_35 20150619_3120150619_32 20150619_2320150619_29 20150619_25  20150619_21 20150619_20 20150619_19 20150619_12 20150619_18 20150619_1020150619_8 20150619_220150619_7 20150619_6 20150619_5 20150619_4

Really not sure why it feels like a bad week it hasn’t been really.  I just don’t like being hot!

Alver Valley

We are so lucky in where we live. The beach is 5 mins walk in one direction, country park with meadows, river and woodlands 10 mins walk the other direction.  Unfortunately nature hates me and a trip to the country park usually needs a cold bath and very early night due to puffy, sour eyes (7pm early!) so have to pick our moments when we go.  Do like it up there though, just in the pollen season can only go when we have no evening plans.

The main purpose was a bit of butterfly spotting for our 30 Days Wild.  Very tricky to photograph butterflies.
20150616_2320150616_1 20150616_8 Did get these noisy characters though20150616_12I’d posted we were going on the home ed group so others joined us for a picnic and play in the woods.

20150616_4 This is an old motte (so we were doing castles too 🙂 )20150616_7   Always fun watching dogs swim in the river.20150616_13 20150616_20 On the home front, Timez Attack is back in favour and he’s come on so far and gained so much confidence with his tables.

More Quiet Days

Really have started to slip into a more relaxed mode.

We’ve had nearly a week now that we’ve not left the village.  It’s been lovely.

Weekend was spent mostly catching up on work (me) and doing ‘stuff’ (boys).  Not sure what stuff was but they were happy and quiet.  We watched a film (Wreck It Ralph – appalling), played games, researched possible reading matter and made holiday plans.

Sam and I made a butterfly feeder.  So we managed to keep up with 30 Days Wild over the weekend.

20150614_220150614_120150614_4 20150614_3 Monday we did Maths, English, Latin and Spanish first.  Read a book on siege warfare and castles.  I wanted to go for a walk to spot butterflies, Sam didn’t!  We compromised, went to the park and stick collecting instead.

267 266268 265 269 270 Sam then used elastic bands to make things with the sticks.  A sword (looks better than photo makes it )
272Stickman271 And a parachute for stickman,273We marked the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta with the Horrible Histories special.

By then Jack was home to play with and I got busy with Guide prep.  Some nights it just happens, others it’s a full time job.  If ever I wanted to run away I could pack all my stuff and tell the males of the house I was off to Guides, they’d buy it.



Slowing Down

After a busy, busy few weeks it is time time to slow down and enjoy the quiet pace of life for a while.  We’ve exciting plans for work and I’d like to give that a bit of focus.  Being self employed and in control of your hours is lovely, but when life is busy it’s the first thing to slip and I love my job.

Also time to relax and spend a bit more time enjoying all the joys our local area has to offer.  This is the view I got to sit and enjoy on Friday while Sam played at the skate park.


We’re filling our time by catching up on ‘core work’, chores like hair cuts (Dad and Sam – if I ever need a career change I could do barber, had enough practice) and getting outdoors as much as possible.

20150612_4 20150612_620150612_5
20150612_8 20150612_10 20150612_15Yesterday’s 30 Days Wild was a bit of whittling at home, day had run away with me.  On Friday we had a beach walk and collected seaweed to dry and press for pictures.

Here are before and after photos of the results of Friday afternoons labours.  Always looks so much older after a haircut 🙁

20150612_18 20150612_19


Home is Good

Had a pleasant day at home today.

Despite having to wake Sam his core work happened very quickly and efficiently.  Found an area of maths I thought he’d understood which he obviously hasn’t but this being HE we’ll just have another look tomorrow and if that doesn’t work we’ll leave it a week and try again and if that doesn’t work his brain isn’t ready to grasp it.  We’ll leave alone for a while and come back to it at some point, probably to find that by then he has processed and knows it.

After the core work we went to have a look at our pit trap from last night.  It was empty but Sam had a bit of a bug hunt.

20150611_4 20150611_5 We found some blackberry flowers and start of berries.20150611_6 20150611_7

Sam’s friend then showed up for some Xbox time and I caught up on some housework which had slipped while I’ve not felt well.

As we were eating lunch more friends showed up for Spanish.  So more chat, play and Spanish tutorial.

After Spanish when everone had left we tried to capitalise on the strength of the sun and build a solar oven.

It’s a shoebox lines with black paper sitting in at larger box packed with newspaper.  The flaps of the box are cut narrower before being taped into place.  Once the food was added we taped clingfilm over the top.  We rested an old picture frame with foil around it to reflect more sun into the box.

20150611_8 20150611_9

We tried baking cakes.  Limited success.  They definitely rose and started cooking but then I think the sun moved.  I think we needed to start earlier and site the oven in a better spot.

20150611_10 20150611_15

Sam spent some time trying to set fire to a piece of paper using a magnifying glass, but fortunately lost interest.

18 months after first getting it I finally (with not a little difficulty in the hole making department) set up the swing ball.  For Jack to spend an hour trying to kill me with it!  The boy is lethal.

20150611_14 I had put some of the cakes in the oven so the boys decorated them.

20150611_17Jack and I played cards, Sam and Pete played something to do with Dragons.  Then Sam built some foam gliders.  Plan is to take them to the field tomorrow.  I was trying to get him concentrating as he pokes out his tongue and looks cute.