Sunday, 26 March 2017

Looking Back Part 1

I'm hoping that my hands/wrists are sufficiently improved to start blogging again.  I have carpal tunnel syndrome and the past few months I have been trying to learn to manage it better - I stopped doing quite a few things I like doing and have recently started re-introducing things slowly and in moderation.
So looking back to our homeschool year from September 2016, I'm pleased to report that although the blogging paused, the learning didn't ...

Dd1 discovered the perils of listening to a conversation whilst trying to fill in her timeline: 

We visited Smallhythe House one sunny Friday afternoon.  It's very near us and is a small house so just enough for a quick change of scenery.  There is a particularly amazing dress covered in beetle wings which caught our attention, along with the wax death mask and the very uneven floors:

Some opportunities to look at construction methods:

and to observe pond plants:

I often take pictures of our work in action, especially when there are many things going on at the time.  I think it's my antidote to the pressures of perfect looking homes:

By chance, I discovered that the author, E Nesbit was buried about 30 minutes' drive from us.  This was very exciting news and once I realised it could easily be combined with a trip to the beach, we made plans and set off:

In late September we went to London to visit Buckingham Palace as part of Dd2's project on Royal Palaces.  We took in a few other sights in London while we were there, including a tribute to Edith Cavell:

and were thrilled to spot the Ugandan Embassy.  We are studying Uganda with our local Christian HE group so this was a great find:

By far the most impressive door handles I've ever seen: 

Walking towards Buckingham Palace Dd1 spotted this advertising poster, with Iniktitut writing on it:

And finally we made it to Buckingham Palace, which was a very interesting experience:

I'm reminded again how many opportunities there are in HE - just walking around London they seemed to simply fall into our path.  I don't have any pictures, but Trafalgar Square had been taken over for an event to promote Malaysia so we watched lots of Malay food being cooked - it smelt delicious, then we spent some time in The National Gallery, picking out a few paintings we like.  On the way to Buckingham Palace we had to make a detour as a movie was being filmed on The Mall which was also fascinating (if a little frustrating). After our visit to Buckingham Palace we walked up Regent Street and along Oxford Street - these are big challenges for country kids (not to mention their small town parents) but I have recently been making a much more concerted effort to build in opportunities to develop skills in things the dds don't like doing but need to be able to handle.  

Monday, 31 October 2016

Injury time

Due to ongoing problems with my hands and wrists I am going to take some planned time away from blogging but hope to be back in 2017.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Home schooling in a school-centred family.

Although we are now a seasoned homeschooling family (my youngest is now entering the final year of the primary phase) we are a very school-centred family due to dh working in a school.  We follow the school year quite closely (homeschool holidays tend to be a little bit longer than school holidays though) and when dh is at home we don't get involved with homeschool events and meetings. Consequently August isn't a very homeschooly month for us.  I think a lot still gets learnt though - books are read, role play games are invented and resourced, musical instruments are played, television is watched (dd1 is now our resident Olympics expert), cakes are baked, DIY is helped with, the wonderful stories of older relatives are listened to, shells are found, friends are played with, beaches are explored, historic sites are visited, neglected science kits are completed, toys are played with, new places are explored, museums are visited and much, much more.

There has been a lot of arranging ...

and re-arranging of the Playmobil.

Dd1 made these vegan Viennese biscuits to give to a relative.

Left over chocolate did not go to waste.

This kit had been waiting around for a while and finally had its day ...

and the crystals are still growing over a week later.

Shells at Hythe beach.

Hythe beach.


The stones.



Plymouth museum.

Plymouth museum.

Plymouth museum.

Amazingly, this 'statue' is made of ...

plaster!  It's very light and fragile, despite its appearances.

Fishing for plastic ducks at Saltram, Plymouth.

Saltram, Plymouth.

Saltram, Plymouth.

Hmm ...

That's better.  Kind of.

The Barbican, Plymouth.

Bodmin Jail - we were wedding guests, not inmates.

I was surprised at how many holding cells there were at the jail.

The adults loved the sweet cart at the wedding as much as the children did.

Dd1 baked something every week - this one is a blackcurrant swirl cake - delicious.
Having started back to slightly more formal studies yesterday (we ease ourselves in gently by starting just a few bits and pieces, normally on a Thursday so that the weekend is in sight) I am yet again relieved to find that having 6 or 7 weeks off doesn't seem to do any academic damage.  I'm looking forward to telling you about later this month which is already proving to be a hit with dd2.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Not quite the usual end of summer term

This time of year usually involves lots of going out for us, but a sudden and serious illness changed all that this year:

This end-of-summer-term was more about thinking of others and making sacrifices, than previous years.  These are, of course, valuable lessons in themselves, but after several weeks of not being able to go far or leave our dog home alone, we were all getting cabin fever.

Some traditions carried on as normal.  We made emoji cakes as thank you gifts for tennis coaches, Girls Brigade, Guide and Brownie leaders:

Dd1 made her first batch of chocolate brownies unaided (except for the in and out of the oven bit) for dh to take to work on his birthday.

We also had our annual end-of-school-year lunch at Sainsbury's.  Marking this point has become more and more important as the years have gone on, and having this carrot to dangle has made it easier and easier to get the last of the work finished off.

On the second day of the holidays, the girls had a couple of friends round to play and asked me to make them a parachute challenge - to give them identical 'kits' and they had to make parachutes for playmobil people.  As always, it's hard to tell where homeschool stops and holidays start:

I'm pleased to report that Honey, the dog, is making a great recovery, and we are getting out and about a lot more now.  

I have managed to start quite a bit of my planning for September, but still have the bulk of it to get through and a few books to order.  Usually this gets left until quite late, but I'm planning on getting it done earlier in the holidays this year.  Next year I will be doing more separate learning and less shared learning with the girls which will be a new challenge, but hopefully I can get it to work.  Time will tell!