Butser Farm – Saxon Workshop

Yesterday’s home ed trip was only the second I’ve ever felt the need to email and complain about. I suspect age has something to do with that, getting stroppy with age.
It feels odd complaining when my son did enjoy the day but when you’ve paid a lot of money you are looking for a bit of substance and the workshop was not well delivered, factually inaccurate at times (shockingly!) and really didn’t suit quite a few of the children. I checked my document trail this morning to know that I had informed them about SEN. Glad that Sam enjoyed it, but for once it’s a case of hoping that he wasn’t listening to the educational stuff rather than hoping he was.
Having about 6/7 school groups there so at times the group were merging as some of the activities were really close together really didn’t help. Never again and don’t recommend it as a trip. As a place though, if you ring ahead to check no schools in, it’s lovely.  Spent a very pleasant hour and a half there at the end with Sam and a couple of his friends, feeding goats and looking around.

Word Tag Poetry

Using the word tags we made last week we were making up poems today.  Sam’s choice of words did lead poems in a certain direction.
I also spent a long time trying to get on to the website for Kid’s Week, but did get some tickets just not to first choices.
We did exercise and measured heart rate at intervals in order to draw line graphs.
Read lots about inventors and Sam had to put forward a case for the inventor/engineer of his choice to win an award.
Watched more Full Steam Ahead.
Read some of our Stories of Inventions book.
Played board games.
Made a game on Scratch.
indulged in a bit of clothing design and had the necessary baths after.
Tried a bit of manga drawing.
Good day but far, far too hot!


It was hot today.  Very hot.  Morning was spent taking far longer than usual over ordinary bits and bobs but not worrying about it.  We abandoned history for a hair cut in an attempt to help Sam keep cool.  I unfortunately had a spasm and made a huge mess of the fringe.  Been cutting hair for over 20 years and reasonably competent but huge oops there.

Besides that there was more Story Factory and science, mainly in the form of marshmallow arches.

Afternoon was spent at Flip Out which was surprisingly quiet and cool.  My grumbles about going were wrong.

Not feeling the blogging love

Still feeling bleugh from Monday’s pollen overdose and too headachy to write anything of interest.

So here are a couple of photos of the investigative maths he’s working on.  There’s been lots of reading, documentary watching and plan making going on too.

Also had a lovely workshop from a microbiologist friend of a friend today. Went down a treat. I was hiding away in the kitchen though chatting to a friend and playing peekaboo with some of the younger siblings through a window.


Sometimes we all need some.  I feel like we’re happily cocooning at the moment but in reality we’ve been out most days, I think it is not so much that we’re staying in, more that we’re happy in each other’s company and not feeling hugely sociable.  It’s felt a quiet week with all academic stuff has been put to one side in favour of reading, Lego and (mostly) Civilization V.  We’ve made it out to see The Jungle Book, again by sheer chance finding the same friends we found at Monday’s cinema outing.  We also took a wander into town on Weds as I had a headache and decided it would be better out and it was.  Sam spent one of his birthday vouchers on books and sweets and we bought stuff to pack a shoebox with gifts.  Then of course he’s never too antisocial for trampolining ūüėČ







Project Distraction

With Pete and Jack away, a gas engineer coming to try where plumber had failed, our plan for a day with friends in tatters and an ill Sam, Saturday needed a project I felt.

A quick search of Argos revealed that they could deliver a K’nex ferris wheel that day for not too scary a price (anything worth doing Lego wise was prohibited by cost).¬† We did go through a spell of K’nex years ago and even had the same kit but it has been in the cupboard for ages.¬† Need to get it out I think and see if I can ignite an interest in K’nex, there are some interesting looking education K’nex kits which aren’t ridiculous price wise.

Took most of the afternoon but ta da

Evening was spent celebrating having heating up water by indulging in wine and puzza.¬† We watched Clash of the Titans which was not a good idea with my little expert in Greek Mythology.¬† The plot line did not meet approval ūüėÄ

Annual Clearout

Listing these for locals who can ideally collect or get stuff passed on via mule train.  Please comment on the Fb link if you want anything.  Easiest way to keep track.
Pretty much everything we’ve used at KS2 level, except some of the more textbook type things which I’ve kept for a while so may be a bit of KS1.
Any questions on any of the resources particularly the US curriculum stuff please ask.
Many of the books are pretty much as new, where they are battered hopefully price reflects.  If it is important to you probably everything predates the NC changes of 2014.



Usborne Stories of Knights and Castles Р£2


First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind level 2 Р£3

Writing With Ease РLevel 1 (all student pages there РI bought a pdf version and printed them)  £5

Writing With Ease Level 2 (all student pages there) £5

Usborne Improve your English Р£2

Scholastic Writing Guides Fantasy Stories age 9-11 Р£2

Scholastic Writing Guides Poetry Рage 9-11 Р£2

Scholastic Literacy Skills Spelling Year 6 Р£2

Scholastic Literacy Skills Vocabulary Year 5 Р£2

Collins Primary Focus Grammar and Punctuation book 3 Р£2


How Much is a Million Р£1

You Do the Maths Activity Books (4 books) Р£3

Galore Park Junior Maths Book 1 Р£3



How to Teach Primary Programming Using Scratch – this is a teacher’s book covering 7-11yo not something you can give to a child to follow on their own definitely a ‘teaching’ one. ¬†Excellent but mostly too simple for Sam and doesn’t fit with way we work really. ¬†You can get workbooks to sit alongside – ¬£10


DK Rock and Fossil Hunter (stickers are unused)- £2

Totally Weird Natural Disasters – 50p

The Way Science Works Р£3 this topped up with Pinterest and science story books was our science curriculum for a year the year before last.

Scholastic Create and Display Science Р£1 Рthese are inspiration for classroom displays but I like the inspiration for hands on fun ideas.


The Danger Zone Avoid Being in a Medieval Dungeon – 50p

How to be a Knight Р£3

Hands on History (4 books РCelts, Romans, Egyptians, Greeks) Р£3 set

Spies and Spying Р£2

The Spy Book Р£3

Art Рbeing ruthless.  Held on to much of this for years with view I may do a HE art group again 

I Dreamed I was a Ballerina Рpicture book about Anna Pavlova using Degas paintings Р£2

Art Explorers Make it Pop! Р£2

Craft and Cookery

200 Crochet Blocks Р£2

Storyland Cross Stitch Р£2

Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook Р£1


My Spanish Sticker Dictionary Р£1

Usborne Spanish for Beginners and First 1000 Words in Spanish (both looking battered but still very usable Р£2

Singing Spanish Р£1

Collins Very First Spanish Words Р£2

Formar palabras Рgame making words in Spanish Р£2


Galore Park So You Really Want to Learn French Book 1 and CD Р£10 (this is KS3 level)

Scholastic Create and Display РNature and the Environment Р£1

Scholastic Create and Display –¬†Performing Arts – ¬£1

Belair Projects inspired by the Olympics Р£1

D-Day Museum Colouring Book (and Mary Rose one too with 1 1/2 pages coloured) – 50p

Scenes of Wonder Colouring Book – 50p

London Underground Activity Book Р£1


Saxon Math Рtbh I am not sure exactly what I have.  Definitely the Teachers Guide for Math 3 (not sure what edition Р1994!) because we used that and various bits picked up second hand from 5/4 and 6/5.  Very old and battered versions (some marks too from owners before me).  Free to anyone who can make use of them.

Blogging Black Out

Appear to have left it quite a while since last post. ¬†We survived Gang Show week yet again. ¬†Never quite sure why I find it so exhausting, as I am not the one on stage all week or providing lifts, but I do. ¬†It sort of takes over the entire family’s schedule for the week. ¬†Worth it though! ¬†I think Jack gets more out of Gang Show than school.

The other big issue of the week was trying to get Sam’s sleep rhythms back to sensible levels. ¬†I don’t know why the clock change throws him out so much, there were days of not falling asleep until 3am or later and then obviously not getting up until late. ¬†Of course, theoretically, being home ed we don’t ‘have’ to be anywhere or out of the house at 8 for school. ¬†In reality, of course, in order to get out of the house in time to have a social life he needs to keep sociable hours. ¬†For my sanity too! ¬†I go the other way and 5am is a lie in.

We had a few days of virtually no screen time as that usually helps (and it did). ¬†They are days that require a lot of effort on my part to keep the smile going as he is over tired and emotional. ¬†Think we managed to submit 15 projects to DIY.org in a day! ¬†We didn’t do them all in the day but reviewed what we had done in Science and used what we could for the Geologist and Palaeontologist skills.

Turned out we’d not done that much of the palaeontologist so he made a Lego dinosaur and made up a prehistoric creature.

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He moved on to spend a fair amount of time making memes. ¬†None of it makes any sense to me. ¬†He also upgraded to ‘Scratch master’.

creeper meme one does not simply

We managed to stretch going out to buy the Beano into about 1/2 day by catching bus into town. ¬†He’s also grasping his freedom so I’ve been able to get him busy and active by sending him to the library or in to the village on errands. ¬†We had a nice evening walk one day.

There was also still a fair amount of screens, we watched a few bits with Jack (Sam even stayed about for Dr Who), lots of Horrible Histories and some kindle.  The end of the week disappeared in some very long work days (very, very long!) for me in order to try and get my contribution to something done before we reached the end of the holidays.  So my efforts earlier in the week slipped back a bit.  Touch wood I think things are getting better now.

You can’t pour from an empty cup

Sorry this is another self-indulgent post (although quite a positive one ;)). ¬†Seemingly not tied to home ed but of course it is all inseparable from life. ¬†I know I’m a much better at giving my children what they need and deserve when I’m feeling ‘together’ myself. ¬†I’m sure we all are.

As anyone has read the blog for a while has probably spotted I’ve not been that ‘together’ for a good 6 months, possibly longer. ¬†There have been some very embarrassing on reflection, over-sharing, quite frankly raving posts. ¬†I fixated on one particular aspect of my life as a major (if not only) cause and I really thought once I’d removed that stress from my life, ping I’d feel myself again. ¬† Hasn’t happened unfortunately.

A good few months ago a friend queried if I might be hitting the perimenopause. ¬†I had never heard of it and said ‘don’t be daft I’m 36’. ¬†This last week though quite a few coincidences have pushed it into my consciousness and I suspect that actually I may well be, I seem to be a walking textbook case of symptoms and even Pete can recognise a lot of them.
The mood swings and crippling anxiety that are the things I’d most picked up on and probably most evident here. ¬†But lack of ability to concentrate (have really struggled to be on form with work), mixing up words, general ditziness (I¬†tried to put a tassimo disc in the washing machine drawer to make coffee yesterday ūüėÄ And things like that seem to be occurring almost daily… ¬†not since the seriously sleep deprived baby days have I been this bad) have all been there. ¬†Plus a long list of physical symptoms, the most obvious being really bad insomnia, nightsweats and frequency of migraines that I haven’t experienced since a teenager.
Unfortunately (sorry for the tmi) the most clear symptom that something is awry won’t work for me so am left with arm chair diagnosis based on other symptoms or going to the doctor for tests. ¬†Don’t like doctor and not ready to resort to treatment yet so going to delay that option for now.

Instead I am going to settle on I don’t know if it’s the perimenopause or just the fact that I’m 37 in a few weeks and there are hormone fluctuations as I get older. Or even that it’s not that at all and I’m just a bit stressed and all the symptoms are in a way contributing to each other, lack of sleep can account for a lot. ¬†Whatever the cause the treatment needs to be to look after myself better!

So plans are

  • Work on diet. ¬†Both for weightloss as put a bit back on over the winter (still well over a stone and a half lighter than this point last year but could do with losing that again) and also on quality of what I eat and upping intake of various vitamin etc. ¬†Not sure I completely subscribe to the food as medicine view but can’t hurt.
  • Supplements/herbal remedies. ¬†I’m wary of many of the herbal treatments I’ve seen listed for menopause, some of them have listed side effects I really don’t want. ¬†But prepared to try some of the milder concoctions. ¬†At the very least replacing some of the coffee I drink with herbal tea has to be good. ¬†Having seen my Mum really suffering in her 40’s with osteoporosis I know I need to do something with calcium in my diet and suspect that I don’t and never will (milk doesn’t agree with me) eat enough.
  • Exercise. ¬†I’ve sorted out pilates and yoga classes. ¬†Yes I know! ¬†Exercise and other people, two things well out of my comfort zone ;). Whether I’ll keep going with¬†both I don’t know, probably too much in terms of money/evenings out. ¬†I’ll try both anyway and see which fits in better. ¬†We’ve sorted a good time in the week for me to go for a long walk alone. ¬†Plus trying to build more opportunity for ‘activity’ for Sam as well into our weeks.
  • Mentally give myself a break. ¬†Much easier said than done. ¬†But will try.
  • Get out more. ¬†I’ve been really anti-social lately and the less I speak to people face to face the harder I find it to do. ¬†Even people I like very much! ¬†I will never be a social butterfly but I do need contact with others or I’m going to become a mad hermit, so need to make more effort.
  • I also need a project, probably something voluntary, ideally with not huge commitment (probably not weekly). ¬†Something that can give my organising need a bit of outlet, somewhere I can make a difference. ¬†Organising stuff home ed wise just isn’t doing it, need something outside of my family. ¬†Have a few ideas.

A plan in place already seems to have shaken me out of the doldrums a bit. ¬†I’m in full on planning mode which makes me happy ūüôā


It’s that list time of year. ¬†Everything feels like it’s galloping to some conclusion with Christmas on the horizon and the urgency that inspires on the work front (knowing that the rush carries on well into February). ¬† There is a shift in home ed too with a more crafty/practical aspect creeping in, some regular groups finishing, lots of extra activities/people to see to slot in. ¬†But there is the conflicting need to keep some routine and reach a ‘nice point’ at which to leave the ‘work’. ¬†Home has all Christmas prep, not a lot but I do like a good clean through the house and there are cards to make and send etc. ¬†No Guides this year to fit in but have reached the painting part of sorting out the boys room at last.

So lists!  Lists are the answer.

That is what you are going to get here too. ¬†Lists! ¬†Life has been full and busy. ¬†Every day this week deserved a full post but I just haven’t the time so here goes.


Basic core work.  Started shapes in maths.

Helped with disposal of old bed and mattresses.  Quite a few skip runs.

Read the last walk in November from our Enid Blyton’s Nature Book.

Bowling. ¬†None of his friends along but didn’t bother him and if anything he seemed to enjoy it more than any of the other sessions.


Scout carol concert

Setting up advent calendars

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Basic core work.  Enjoying shapes.

Bit of Geography workbook looking at physical landforms of Europe

Sciencey sort of day. ¬†Watched a documentary on the San Andreas fault. ¬†Read the How the Earth Works book and our Geography encyclopaedia. ¬†Looked at the earthquake map in What’s Where in the World (brilliant book) and compared the earthquakes to the Richter scale. ¬†Looked at waves by dropping food colouring into water and rippling a length of rope. ¬†Built structures from marshmallows and cocktail sticks. ¬†Stuck them in trays of jelly and shook them to see if they would stand up.

Looked at the story of John the Baptist and compared different baptisms.


Cub trip to the aquarium.

Home to hot choc and lebkuchen (for German theme)

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We potato stamped Christmas cards
Handwriting (from book)
Dictation (one sentence)
Grammar (follow lesson from a book but the work is done verbally)
Maths – was worksheets and some computer
A Walk to post presents.  Sam stayed at the park while I went to PO.
Free time spent reading
Art, shading with pastels an apple
RE lesson plan suggested writing a letter to show he’d picked up bits of info, we did it as a chat show interview verbally instead. I hadn’t planned this just thought we’d done enough written stuff.
For humanities project we’re looking at Europe so we baked Stollen and some other German Christmas biscuits as we’re doing Germany this week.
Played computer, wrote cards, watched Harry Potter.

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Maths and English including creative writing. ¬†Something he thinks he doesn’t enjoy but is getting better at and most of the time does end up enjoying if presented right.

Walk/scoot to village for sweets for gingerbread house.  Back via beach and library.

Afternoon of reading library books and playing games with Grandad while I worked (but did join in a game of hare and tortoise).

Evening reading by the fire (although too warm for fire really), the bookbasket is full and he’s into Christmas books and Barefoot anthologies.

Bedtime reading continued the German theme with books telling the stories of advent calendars and the carol Silent Night and some of the Brothers Grimm.

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