Heritage Days

It’s Heritage weekend! We are a bit too tired and soggy to make the most of it. Although we did finally make it to the ARP bunker in Alverstoke.  Supposedly the only remaining ARP bunker in the country. Been past it loads and always miss it. Interesting place.

We started the day with breakfast in a cafe and a long overdue catchup with an old friend, a bit of stone collecting and Pokemon hunting on the beach Soaked to the skin by then we decided that any plans to pop into other heritage events were best shelved in favour of home, bath and pjs.

Sam spent some of the afternoon programming an art project in Python and then submitting it for his Art Award.

This arrived in the post today too. American Horrible Histories 😀
Pete’s away so it’s pizza, wine and Sherlock to mark the end of the first week of term.

Mary Rose Detective – Home Educator Day

I am undecided as to what I made of this one. After being very grumpy at the idea of going Sam said he really enjoyed it so obviously that’s the main thing. I suppose I was put off by the poor organisation/communication before hand and workshop felt like it could have been something ‘more’ but can’t put my finger on how. Actually I think what it needed was more children. They’d kept numbers small and counted the adults in their numbers so that was a sizeable part of the group.  A bigger group and if it had been local group so kids were more familiar I think would have helped, also considering we have passes it felt really expensive for what it was. That said we may well do the next one as that sounded really interesting.

Anyway the morning was spent discussing different theories as to why the ships sank. Here he is comparing English, Spanish and French accounts.

After lunch the had the chance to look at and sort some replica objects. Then they were given this to choose a topic from then they went into the museum with iPads to take photos to either prove or disprove their sentence. Sam was working on “Warfare in the time of the Mary Rose was stuck in the middle ages”. Then using the iPad he created a 6 page book supporting the claim. He ran out of time so it’s 3 pages of content and 3 of photos. Waiting to have it emailed to us.

We nipped back into the museum to get a photo of our visiting flat travellor “Mr Duck” with the ship.

 

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.

First Day of Term

The glumness of the last few days of holiday has lifted and I’m ready to get on with new term now.
Jack was back at school before the start of the usual school day as he was on prefect duty welcoming and helping yr 7’s. He wasn’t jumping with excitement but managed to get up and sort himself out and go with no stress.
Sam made it up about 9am, later than ideal but better than has been. He made a birthday card for a friend and we had a big board game clear out to pass on to friends so we have space for new ones we’ve been eyeing up.
We then spent about 3 hours picnicking and playing with friends in a new playground that we’d heard good things about (well deserved too).
We got very soggy as it rained rather heavily for last hour but no one cared. It was nice to be out and catching up again.
Home and into pjs and a bit of work was done on his art award and then computer play followed by tea and watching the wrestling with Jack.
Good first day.

Revolution and Illustration

I may have used the words ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier’ yesterday and that was before we met Lucy Worsley :D. Looking down on original medieval documents and books will do that to me.  For a history geek with a love of books, yesterday was as good as it gets. Sam was very good natured and rustled up enough enthusiasm and interest to let me indulge.

The day started with a trip to the British Library for their Russian Revolution exhibition.  Was very well done, interesting, spacy and cool (BM could learn a lesson or two).


After a trip around the corner for lunch in what I think of as a proper London ‘caff’, the sort I’d have breakfast in to mop up the hangover 20 years ago, we went back to the British Library for a general look about.
We stayed about an hour exploring their Treasures of the British Library exhibition before deciding there was a real danger of never leaving. Bit like the Land of the Lotus Eaters that place 🙂  We’re back in October for the Harry Potter exhibition and can’t wait.  Need a general no agenda potter just to absorb the place too.

We walked over to Kings Cross to visit the House of Illustration instead. With a pause to goggle at the wonder of the St Pancras Hotel.
 Then a much, much longer pause to get very wet (no change of clothes this time – oops). House of Illustration, I would have been disappointed in if it had been our main agenda for the day. For a diversion while in the area it was enjoyed by all. I’ve spent years telling Sam he’d like anime, he’s finally convinced.

As an unexpected bonus the walk back to the bus took us past the Youtube offices and the very nice security guard let the kids go up and have a quick gander at the offices.  No guesses where they want to work now 🙂 There was a shop too full of ‘Youtuber’ tat.  I feel very, very old as I really don’t get the whole ‘youtuber’ thing :S

Summer Days

Blogging definite slipped way down list of priorities. Probably should be when I should try and make the effort to blog more really when we go more relaxed and unschooly as I miss recording exactly how much can be learnt this way. I no longer feel the need to though, I am happy with what we covered this year, he’s entitled to a rest and a holiday and if he was learning nothing for a month or so would it be an issue – no. In reality you can’t stop a child learning, he’s like a sponge, I just feel no inclination to analyse and document it.

What have we been up to practically since the last post?

We had a day’s home ed trip learning about Victorians and riding steam trains on the Watercress Line.
It was my Dad’s birthday last week so we spent some time with him on Thursday at Titchfield Abbey, playing with Nerf guns and treating him to lunch out. Sam very patiently spent a good deal of time helping a random toddler fire a small nerf gun (was scary to watch!) He is like the Pied Piper, collects small children about him whereever we go it seems.

Thurs afternoon was spent making vast quantities of playdough as Friday was the last under 10’s group of term.  Lovely session, 5 new families along and a lot of mess to clear up.  I do love playdough. 

Sam spent the time I was at the group shopping for a birthday present for my Dad and hiding out in Costa. We had lunch and shopping and a leisurely afternoon as Sam had bought Sim City for his DS.

Weekend was normal pottering (aka kindle/computer/ds play) with the exception of popping to see Grandad with cake and presents (birthday was Sat).

Plans for this week went by the wayside. We had a home ed session booked on bushcraft on Monday and plans to go geocaching yesterday.  Eczema flare up meant poorly cracked skin and swollen feet though and didn’t want to take risk of infection (we do get them).
Monday was spent finishing off cartoon strip for the HE comic we’re getting published, reading (History of the Russian Revolution in prep for tomorrow) and then computer play really.

Yesterday after starting off the day with a horrendous sick head ache I managed to make it out to see a hall for potential group meets with a friend and we followed up with tea and a chat while kids played Lego and Pokemon. Afternoon went in board games and then when Scratch wasn’t working he agreed to try a Python project. He ‘wants’ to do Python but wants to do it immediately and gets frustrated so needs coaxing. After a bit of a hiccup we did get it working to draw a robot though.

Today was my last Home Ed group session for rhe academic year. After an early morning BP check up Sam spent the morning programming a art project on Scratch based on Kandinsky’s Circles. Group was a  bit of a manic one (you can tell by the fact that my coffee was so cold I didn’t even attempt to drink it) but a lot of fun and messy children.

Westminster Abbey

The best thing about home ed from a selfish perspective is being able to explore and experience some amazing places that we just wouldn’t otherwise because of time, volume of people in holidays and cost. Got to love places that offer educational rate to home ed families – yesterday we spent the day exploring Westminster Abbey and it cost £10 for 2 adults and 3 children, amazing.
No photos from inside the Abbey not surprisingly but sufficient to say it was amazing. The children did a trail looking at the decoration and stained glass. While Rachel and I were very excitedly pointing out tomb after tomb of famous names (and we definitely missed a few). It definitely helped to have knowledge and context of history, wouldn’t like to go with children younger than ours, the more you know the more you appreciate what you are seeing. The guides were helpful and was easy to find people to ask questions of (we had quite a few).
I’m organising fewer larger structured trips in favour of self led trips like this. We were able to take our time and explore at our own pace. In the end (with the inclusion of a long picnic in the garden) we spent most of the day in the Abbey as although hot, it was decidedly cooler than outside.

 We were hit by a wall of heat when we came out, a quick discussion about whether we could be bothered to walk to Somerset House for a play in the fountains was a unanimous ‘No’ so we decided on an early train home. Until we spotted sprinklers across the road and spent an hour cooling off in them to the amusement of passers by 🙂It was an interesting day all round as our journey there was complicated by the State Opening of Parliament and the journey back to Waterloo took us past the anti-austerity protests.
Delays on the trains made it a long trip home but a brilliant (hot!) day.
Train daftness.

Quiet Days

It’s been a few days of being really sluggish. Finding it too hot to breathe properly never mind do much else.  We’ve read, watched documentaries, worked on graphs, kept up with English, Latin and Spanish.  We did make a paddle boat. Also spent a lovely afternoon in Flip Out, they have their air conditioning on so strong it was a reasonable temperature.  It was so quiet too, rather than fragmenting off in to small groups the kids all played together and it was easy to spot likely home eders so I had a walk round and found some new people and people I’d just not crossed paths with before even though I know they have been around for years.

At-Bristol

While we were in Bristol we visited the science centre there.  I’d checked before hand and they offered home ed rates making it more affordable. As a matter of fact we ended up going back the day after as we hadn’t done the Animation Studio the first day and the two trips were still cheaper than one full price rate.

I can’t rate this place highly enough. We’ve done quite a few of these sort of places over the years (Winchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Oxford, Science Museum…) usually we find them hot, loud and overstimulating. They range from a really dire experience that we’ve been put off ever stepping foot in again (Winchester, Science Museum) to the passable for a short time (Cardiff, Birmingham). This one though we spent about 6 hours in total in happily and would happily go again.

It was bright, airy and cool. We had easy accessible lockers for coats.  Even though there were hundreds of school children in there there were no queues and it didn’t feel over crowded.  Everything worked, was well explained and it didn’t have buttons for the sake of buttons.
The animation studio alone is worth entry at home ed rates.  Hope this link will take you to one of his videos.

Tried to limit photos.  The sand tray with contour lines probably took up 2hours of our visits.

 

Bristol

We couldn’t look at the industrial revolution without a trip to Bristol to explore the works of Brunel.
We had a very wet day exploring the docklands and SS Great Britain, a very windy day at the Clifton Suspension Bridge (and visitor centre) and a quite pleasant day pottering around the old city.