We had a catapult building day at our home ed group today.  After a morning spent constructing examples. 
We demonstrated the spring action by bouncing a ball on a parachute.
They then designed, refined and did 3 tests on the catapult. Frame of the session was based on this resource.
Finally with the help of an exercise band they fired waterbombs at me.

Spinning, Swinging, Splashing, Socialising and Shooting

After a rather slow Monday, Tuesday was one of those – love home ed sort of days.

Quick bit of Maths and English.  Most books/courses are finished now so we’ve reached a natural slow down.

Friends joined us for science.  We were doing spinning and swinging.

Spinning cups to see if a penny would stay in,  Spinning at different speeds to see what happened.

20150701_3 Spinning cups of water to see if the water can stay in the cup.  Answer yes unless you hit a sibling mid spin 😉

20150701_5We then tried this pendulum experiment unsuccessfully (breeze, knot in wire …) so moved on quickly to pendulum painting.

20150701_7 20150701_8A bit of a play in the park before we all went separate ways.

We had a quick lunch before jumping on the bus to Stokes Bay.  A leisurely walk through Stanley Park staking out an area for a Guide activity and then down to the splash park.  It was incredibly hot.  We managed a dip in the sea.  We were also joined by a couple of other home ed families who we don’t see often but who Sam gets on very well with so we passed a very pleasant afternoon.

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After a bit of time at home it was out again for Cubs – laser tag on the field and archery.

Not a bad day for a 9 yo boy 🙂


Catapults, Capitulation and Castle Building

Seem to have built up a collection of started but not finished blog posts :/

Monday was a stay in doors and wait for the electrician sort of day.  Pete was pottering about having appointments.

Bit of English, last test to complete Mathletics year 4, some live Mathletics and a bit of Timez Attack took up first part of the morning.

We then got into some catapult building.  Firstly from the physics kit we have.

20150629_11 20150629_12 20150629_14 Secondly from a book and kit.  The cardboard catapult was surprisingly sturdy.20150702_3520150629_1620150629_17Then there was some Minecraft castle building.  A concentric castle.
20150629_18One of the hardest things I have to master home ed wise is when to give up an idea.  Our attempt to keep up with the 30 Days Wild had been limping for days.  High pollen counts and itchy skin flare ups made messing around outdoors not something appealing.  So take from it we had some fun and let it go (hard for me to do :)).

I took the guides to the pottery painting place and picked up Sam’s plate.


Best laid plans …

I’ve been trying to kickstart myself again by making plans for our days this week.  Not complicated or stressful plans just something to stop this doggy paddling feeling, the feeling of standing still.

Things have been conspiring against me these last 2 days  though and all plans have fallen through.  Despite this, or perhaps because of this as I’ve been determined to make the best of things and had a bit more ‘pep’ than usual, we’ve not had a bad couple of days.

The plan on Weds was a walk along the seafront from the Hard to Southsea Castle.  However Sam slept in late and while I was waiting I got stuck into a work project.  By the time Sam got up we’d already missed one bus.  He was also not in the mood to go further than a shop selling the Beano and I was in a work frame of mind.

So we pottered the day away.  Sam read, built and generally entertained himself.  I worked.  Sam helped a bit, doing a good observational sketch of a shoe sole.  20150624_6

We did spend a lot of time outdoors.  I’d been promising that the next time we went to the village we’d take the polystyrene gliders so we did.

20150625_3This gave rise to discussion about air resistance and the forces of flight building on nicely from the previous day.

While we were in the village we bought a toy parachute and a hang glider.  After lunch Sam built a marshmallow and spaghetti tower (Cubs science badge).   Activity that never grows old.

20150624_9  We spent some time down a very warm park discussing forces and playing with the parachute and hang glider.

20150624_16 20150624_15 20150624_11Back home to help Pete who had come home to drop car and collect bag before going to London with work.  Jack arrived home and the boys played electronic devices while I worked.

Then as still very hot we went back outdoors for the evening.  Burgers and cakes cooked in orange skins on the fire.

20150624_17 20150624_19 20150624_20 20150624_23Some random digging (kept him happy for a surprisingly long time).

20150625_5And a water fight.  As ever I took the brunt.

20150624_24Ended the evening with a bath and Dr Who.  Definitely had worse days.

Today’s plans weren’t so messed up.  Sam’s friend who was due to visit couldn’t.  Rather than stay at home with a disappointed boy I decided to take him to the pottery painting place and invited a different friend to join us.  Lovely morning, time to chat which we don’t seem to have had lately.



We all headed back to ours as the boys had Spanish.

Set up another experiment for the Cubs badge.

20150625_6This to show how flowers take in water though the stems.

Afternoon drifted away.  I worked and Sam built a big stone keep as part of a concentric castle on Minecraft.

Had a bit of a scare when Jack was over an hour late home from school.  He was very hot and bothered and covered in oil as he’d been trying to help a friend with a bike problem.

So it was tea, more Dr Who and a bit of sporcling to fill the evening.

Oh we made a catapult too


Relaxed, productive days.


Pottering and Planning

I’ve reached the time of year where definitely just pottering towards summer.  Feels like it’s a time for tying up loose ends and planning for the future.  Plans are still in infancy so won’t go into them yet.

Weekend went by fast.  Not sure what we did; chores, errands, clothes shopping, visiting family, sewing, FutureLearn courses, work … that type of thing.  Board games are having a bit of a revival as is Sporcle.  I managed to get out of Monopoly though, Cluedo I can live with.

Monday was very non-eventful.  Timez Attack is still proving flavour of the month and lots of the morning went there.  We watched a Castles documentary.  Took a rainy scoot to the village.


Messed around in the back garden with tracking symbols.20150622_7Built a wooden Motte and Bailey castle on Minecraft

20150622_6Tuesday was a science day.  I had completely forgotten to confirm that anyone was coming but was an easy session to grab everything for when they did show up.

Friction was the focus.  We recreated Galileo’s famous Pisa experiment using the climbing frame in the park.

20150624_9We also rolled a lego car down the slide over different surfaces (card, fabric) to look at the effects of friction.  Differences were too slight to spot though so we moved to pushing the car along different surfaces in the park (grass, tarmac, bumpy metal…) to see how far they travelled.

After a play in the park we left friends and went home for lunch.  For a number of reasons Sam has missed a few weeks at Cubs and I’d agreed with his leader we’d work on a badge at home in the meantime.  We had a look at them and he picked Science and chose his activities from the list.

The task chosen for the afternoon was building a wormery (I happened to have a kit picked up from a charity shop a year or so ago to hand).  Sam got on with it while I had another attempt at getting swingball far enough in the ground that is doesn’t wobble.  It is defeating me!  Sam had more joy.  Took us a long time to collect worms though!

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Finally Sam helped me with some crafts for work – disguises 🙂

20150623_3Then the day drifted away in Minecraft, cooking, baths, reading … the way days do.


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

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

Science of Siege Engines

In the last few years I’ve seen this workshop arranged a couple of times by others in the local group but for various reasons it has never worked for us to attend.  However with a science topic of forces and a history topic of castles this half term we had to have a go.  I wasn’t sure we’d manage to get a big enough group with it having been done a few times recently but we did comfortably.

20150610_17The workshop was based in one of the Palmerston Forts built in Victorian times to defend Portsmouth from the French.  You can’t go anywhere locally without falling over these things.  Fort Nelson has been converted to a museum and houses some of the Royal Armouries guns and cannons collection.  For good measure it also has a breathtaking view over Portsmouth Harbour.



In the workshop itself the children were split into groups and they had an introduction to siege weapons and identified the various sites of push and pull on a catapult.  Then in their groups they designed and built their own catapult.

20150610_6Then they had some attempts at firing it.  Firstly investigating how tight they needed to twist it and secondly the effects of different sizes and shapes of items being fired.

20150610_9Then we got to go outside and fire the trebuchet.

20150610_10 20150610_11Sam was relieved to find it considerably smaller than the one at Warwick :).

We didn’t really stay and explore as I’m still battling the lurgy and I’d left my Dad and oldest child (inset day) hanging about waiting for us.  But here are 2 of the impressive guns.

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At home there was lots of TV – Story of the Castle and Merlin to carry on the theme.  Wallowing in the bath.  Plus building an insect trap in the back garden for the 30 Days Wild challenge.

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Today was the last proper trip I’ve arranged before the summer break this year.  I’ve had the common sense to realise that I don’t need the stress when we’re hayfevery and woefully lacking in sleep.  I’ve learned the hard way not to rely on getting Sam out of the door.

I’ve organised more trips than ever this year.  They’ve been stressful at times but that has always been because of issues with the organisers not home educators.  I’ve joked before about the ‘herding cats’ analogy but some how this year on all but 1 trip I’ve had everyone turn up or apologise beforehand and pretty much everyone on time.  I’ve not had one trip I’ve ended up out of pocket on, after a few blips at the start of the year not had problems collecting money.  Children and adults have behaved well on every trip.  Not one trip has left me thinking ‘never again’ or even ‘never taking them again’  (had quite a few of them over the years).  I’d like to think I’ve finally nailed it but think luck and a truly lovely, huge bunch of local home eders are the key.