Feeling Christmassy at long last.
Medical appointments done and dusted until first week of Jan and house nearly clean and tidy. Tomorrow is decorations day.
Today though was a trip out to see Santa at a Narnia themed experience. Okay we’re long past the believing stage but the advantage of home ed is we have friends who are a lot smaller and do, so having come out of the ‘too old’ mindset in to wanting to enjoy it all again and happy to play along with the younger ones off we went.
It was really well done actually, the forest especcially felt really magical.


Someone on my local group wanted a word to sum up home ed; I decided that I wanted a change from freedom so plumped for opportunity. The last few days have been a perfect summary of how that works in practice.
On Thursday we had tickets for a free Winter Concert at the Globe. This is a community concert of songs and poetry, schools, nurseries, staff of Borough Market and all sorts of community groups. We went last year and this year despite getting drenched on the way there and being in the Yard (aka standing outdoors) it was another lovely experience. An opportunity we can seize being home educated and also make the most of in ways that you can’t with 30 children in tow (hot dog and chips shelting by a van on Southbank and hot lattes from Starbucks to warm up after).

With no need to be back by a certain time and our newly purchased Art Fund cards begging to be used we went to the Tate Modern for a while. First stop was the swing installation again. 

Then we visited the Red Star Over Russia exhibition.

Then we went back to the swings until they came and chucked us out. There you go home ed gives you the opportunity to get chucked out of art galleries 😀 A brilliant day.

Today we were tired.  So we took the opportunity for a pj clad relaxed day. I unfortunately was wide awake at 3.30 so took the opportunity to do some reading and sewing. Sam slept in until 9.30. We still managed maths, English, geography, science – inc setting up an experiment to test factors that can affect germination, reading and a history documentary before I retired to soak in the bath and do some of a Future Learn course and Sam played on the computer.

Birthday Treats

Our Weds trip this week was to do whatever Sam wanted as a birthday treat.
Turned out that was sleep (definitely still under the weather) for 3.5 hours on buses in order to eat some raw fish from a conveyor belt – Yo Sushi.
For a fussy eater (very) this taste for Japanese food is a bit of a mystery.
We window shopped a lot, then to sweet shop for spending some birthday money (he’s not good at big purchases) and ome sweets and drink from the oriental store next door.
He was happy enough with his day. I managed some Christmas shopping too.


Half term here so we’re on a go slow. Lots of lazing about and catching up on rest after a busy half term. Sleep routines seem to have gone to pot though so dreading the clock change at the weekend.
No real work being done. I’d hoped that we’d do some reading and catch up of bits but not really happened but will just have to adjust the half terms plans, need to shake the bugs that plagued us last term.

We’ve none of our regular groups on this week. Tuesday morning we went out with friends to do the Halloween walk at Keydells and look at their Christmas tat.

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Wednesday saw us all (Jack too) head to London for the History of Magic exhibition at the British Library.
It’s definitely an exhibition for older fans and fans of the books rather than the films.  I love old books so it was right up my street. Rooms were broken up by subject, I think Divination was the favourite as a bit more hands on. Favourite exhibit was a marvellous scroll explaining how to make the Philosopher’s Stone, and the planning for the Order of the Phoenix. It doesn’t blow you away the way the studio does and to be honest if you took out the actual Harry Potter stuff no one would notice, it’s a geeks exhibition really. We enjoyed it 🙂 and it gave us the best ‘odd things that come out of your mouth’ moment for a long time, when I said to Jack “We’d better wait, Sam is listening to a plant pot.”

Since we were early we decided to pop to Kings Cross and see ‘Platform 9 3/4’. There was a huge queue for a photograph with the wall, sign and disappearing trolley. Shop was a horrible place, same overpriced goods (apart from the clothes which are oddly are decent value) as the Studios but in a tiny cramped space. 
Today has been about my errands; library, catching up on blog and nipping to pick up our glazed pottery. Boys have spent the day playing on screens, watching wrestling and then play fighting. Innocent fun 🙂

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.

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