It’s still Pokemon

It’s still all Pokemon here. Although we have managed to fit in a few other things over the last couple of days!

Sunday was Pokemon, in Sutton in the morning for some shopping and pokegyms/pokestop spinning and then in the afternoon we went for a walk around Nonsuch Park to see what Pokemon we could find. It has been good for Pokemon in the past but not so much at the moment. We did catch 2 or 3 new Gen 2 ‘mons each but it was mostly boring basic Gen 1 stuff. We had a really nice walk round though.. we went to the woody side and the kids had a great time running and jumping though mud and over logs. They really are happier when out and about in woodland 🙂

On Monday we had an early start for the Recorder lesson. Unlike last time when the kids didn’t get ready in time to park at Morden Hall Park and walk over, this week we managed it and had a lovely walk through the park. The weather has been so nice over the last few days its great to not need a big thick winter coat suddenly. We caught some Pokemon (I got the Wobbaffet that ran from me on Saturday) and took in the sights and sounds of the lovely morning.

The Recorder lesson went well and the kids are really playing well. After the lesson we stayed and chatted/played for a while, then walked back through Morden Hall Park, collecting more Pokemon and battling gyms, towards Morden and a trip to Lidl for treats before heading home.

In the afternoon Ben did a Reading Eggs lesson and then we went for a quick walk through Sutton High Street to spin pokestops again!

Today has included a library trip and more Pokemon at Morden Hall Park. We went to the library this morning to return old books and get new ones. Jasmine also did some research on Egypt for a Brownie Thinking Day task and she typed up a few bullet points on the computer while we were there. We emailed it to me to print at home. There was Pokemon on the way there and back!

This afternoon we met friends at Morden Hall Park for Pokemon and running/playing/general getting muddy play!

And this evening Jasmine had Brownies, where she read out her facts on Egypt. She was very happy with herself 🙂


Gotta catch ’em all again

So the last two days of our lives have been dominated by Pokemon Go and the new Generation 2 pokemon release! When it released late on Thursday I knew that we’d be busy collecting for a few days, but I hadn’t realised quite how much we’d manage to do!

It is amazing how quickly the kids can get dressed, clean their teeth and do all the other morning jobs that normally take ages (and lots of nagging!) when new pokemon are released and we were out of the house well before 11am yesterday! We absolutely loved having shadows on our pokemon “nearby” again (having all completed the Gen 1 Pokedex over the last month) and it was so exciting finding and catching new pokemon.. kind of reminded me of when we first started playing and it was all new. We walked and walked and over two hours later realised we should stop for lunch at some point! We bough a random selection of food from a supermarket and ate in a local park where there were three lures on a group of pokestops. After lunch we set off again and did another 2+ hours of hunting. We got home some time after 5pm, and we’d walked around 15km in total!

We had caught 22 new pokemon…  Sentret, Furret, Hoothoot, Noctowl, Ledyba, Spinarak, Chinchou, Lanturn, Natu, Xatu, Marill, Hoppip, Aipom, Wooper, Murkrow, Dunsparce, Sneasel, Swinub, Piloswine, Remoraid, Mantine and Skarmory. I also managed to evolve Blissey, Slowking, Espeon and Umbreon and the kids hatched a Slugma and evolved a Porygon2.

Yesterday evening was spent quietly recovering .. well for me and Gordon anyway, the kids seemed fine!

Today I wasn’t sure whether to go on another big hunt, or have a quieter day and go tomorrow instead. But with the 6 hour lure event finishing today, and the big two claiming to be “fine” after yesterday, we decided that Jasmine, Thomas and I would go into London while Ben would stay at home with Gordon who had some work to do on his motorbike.

We left the house at around 10:30am and got the bus and tube to London Bridge. We walked from there to the Tower of London and immediately found 3 new pokemon! So we grabbed some takeaway lunch from Costa and stayed around the Tower for a while. As we finished our food we spotted another new pokemon a short walk away so went to find that, found another at the same time and then walked back to the Tower to find more! In just over an hour we’d found Sudowoodo, Gligar, Snubbull, Phanpy, Teddiursa and Octillery. I also hatched Pineco and Tyrogue.

I was also keeping an eye on trackers and fb/discord chats about sightings and discovered that Hyde Park was a Houndour nest, so we decided to get on the tube to St James Park and walk over to Hyde Park next. The last 2 times we’ve been to London pokemon hunting we said we’d go to Hyde Park but never actually got there, so this was quite an achievement! And both Jasmine and Thomas really liked it. We didn’t see much as we were pretty tired by this point so we stayed close to Hyde Park Corner and didn’t venture far, but using Pinap berries and tracking we got enough candy to evolve Houndoom reasonably quickly. We also found a Skiploom and a Cyndaquil (which the kids caught but it ran from me.)

Thomas declared he was far too tired to walk back to St James Park (and to be honest I was getting that way too!) so we got on the tube at Hyde Park Corner and once back at Morden phoned Gordon to come and pick us up from Morden Hall Park. We had just enough energy to get to the park and catch a Shuckle and a Wobbaffet (again not me as it ran).

Back at home we really were tired this time! While we’d not covered the distance we did yesterday we’d still walked around 9/10km. So this evening was a very quiet affair! We each did some evolving – I got a Crobat, the kids got Azumarill and Crobat and Gordon did Umbreon, Espeon, Azumarill, Quagsire, Politoed and Crobat. We watched TV, I read Harry Potter aloud and the kids went to sleep in record time!

So as you can see, the last 2 days really have been taken over with Pokemon Go! So much so that it is now 11:30pm and Gordon has just taken all our phones out as I spotted another “shadow” on our nearby!



Half Term days

For the first time ever I am blogging from my phone, while waiting for the kids to have their fill of Pokemon TCG at the local library club! The club is on every Thursday evening but because of Beavers and Cubs we normally can’t go. This week is half term so no Beavers or Cubs .. it’s Pokemon instead!

It’s been another reasonably quiet two days. Yesterday we saw a friend and her son L. He goes to school so we only see them in school holidays but the kids love getting together. It’s an old neighbour of ours and we’ve known them since Thomas and Jasmine were just months old, so the kids have grown up together. While us mums chatted the kids played mostly Lego Ninjago and running around the house!  Jasmine and Ben also did some Crayola Colour Explosion colouring. Ben got a book for his birthday and they’ve both been loving watching the  patterns appear.

Our friends stayed for lunch and L told us there was a new Dragons series on CBBC, so I set that to download and record ready to watch later.

After lunch, once our friends had gone home, we went for a Pokemon walk. It was the last day of the Valentines event so we were keen to get some distance on our buddy and make the most of the double candy while we could. We also took 3 gyms and caught a wild Muk!

Later in the day we watched 2 new episodes of Dragons Race to the Edge, I read Harry Potter aloud, quiet reading for Thomas and Jasmine and bed.

Today we had a very slow morning. The kids played Lego for a while and about mid morning Jasmine asked if she could do a Pokemon TCG battle online. She is nervous about doing it by herself as she is always so worried she’ll lose, but I was free so I sat with her and she managed to win the first battle, meaning she had enough coins to buy a new deck, and she then won 2 more battles to finish her daily challenge (that she’s had for over a month now!)

This afternoon we went to our HE group and the kids played outside for the whole time. It was quite quiet at group today so there was a really nice calm feel to the group… not that it is normally not but it was just so quiet today that it was more noticeable!

And this evening is where we are now .. at the library playing Pokemon TCG. I’m not sure it is quite what Jasmine and Ben expected … Jasmine did ask at one point if it was JUST Pokemon! But they’ve all enjoyed a few games so I think it could become a frequent holiday event for us.

Lego, Pokemon and a Party

Firstly, my most exciting news is that my laptop is fixed 🙂

I’d love to say my lack of laptop was the main reason I haven’t blogged all weekend but while that definitely had something to do with it, mostly I’ve just been too tired in the evening and not wanted to sit at an old computer trying to make sense!

So, a quick catch up is in order.

Saturday saw us enjoying mostly a quiet day playing Lego, Pokemon Go and then late afternoon we went to Messy Church – arts and crafts at a friends Church. On Sunday we met up with some friends for a Pokemon Go walk at Crystal Palace Park. I’ve wanted to go there for ages.. we drive past it every so often on our way to and from other places but haven’t ever got round to going. Until now anyway! Its a really nice park, loads to see and do. It kept the five children occupied for about two hours despite the cold! And there were plenty of Pokemon to catch too 🙂 Highlights of the walk were the old Palace, the dinosaurs and the maze. Some of us even managed to complete the maze without cheating! We’ll definitely be going back.

Yesterday was all about Ben’s party. These days I try not to say the word “party” as it sets the kids off hyper, so we just have friends round for making pizza and watching a film. It suits us and the kids enjoy it.. although they still get hyper! So anyway, yesterday morning was the Big Pre-Party Tidy! Gordon and I spent the morning cleaning, tidying, hoovering, icing the birthday cake (at least I’d made that over the weekend!), turning the breadmaker on and off to make 3 lots of dough, stretching and cooking 15 pizza bases (!), and generally doing all the stuff that needs doing when you’ve got 8 children coming round for a party! The kids, despite our best efforts to get them to help, stayed out of the way and played Lego all morning! We were still at it after lunch, and the kids returned to their Lego.. we finished just as the first guests arrived!

The afternoon was taken over with a house full of 11 children, 1 toddler and 3 adults.. 14 pizzas made, cooked and eaten, a Pokemon film and lots of episodes watched, and generally fun had by all 🙂 Thomas had one moment towards the end where it all got too much for him but he got through it and was soon back playing with everyone.

Once everyone had left Ben built his new Lego models and we all did some quiet reading to calm down before bed.

Today has been a much needed quiet day. We went into Sutton this morning for a bit of shopping and Pokemon Go but the rest of the day has been spent in the house just relaxing. I made heart shaped cheese scones as a Valentines Day lunch, which everyone enjoyed 🙂 The kids have all played more Lego, Jasmine and I have done some colouring, Thomas and I played some Pokemon TCG online, I made dahl, chick pea curry and coconut rice for dinner (which didn’t go down very well.. Gordon and I enjoyed the curry but the rice was slightly weird!), we read Harry Potter aloud before bed.


100 Ways to Home Educate – Doing it our way

Over the last week the 100 ways to home educate blog hop has celebrated home education and has already shown how no two families are the same. We’ve seen autonomous, unschooling and structured home education and read about how these styles work for each family, and yesterday Katie from At Home with the Grays talked us through her semi-structured approach. Today is my turn…

Our style of home education is, well autonomous I guess. But our days will be nothing like the previous family’s. And that is what I love. Our days are ours to do with as we please. If we are feeling really keen we might sit down and do some work at the table. Most of the time screen based learning works best though and so we use Reading Eggs and Khan Academy on the computer and occasionally Apps too. We usually have a semi-project type thing on the go, but the learning around this can be anything from project folders of colouring, writing, craft, worksheets etc, to solely verbal discussion based learning. We have two large display boards in our living area and I always have one based on our current topic/project. At the moment this is Africa as we have friends who spent Christmas in South Africa with family and the kids spent a lot of time looking on a map to see where they were and asking questions about it. This is how I/we usually choose what the next topic will be .. someone will show an interest in something and we go from there! Some of the things we’ve done in the past include the Stone Age, the human body, life cycles, energy, WWII and the Great Fire of London.

We have several group/planned activities throughout the week. Some of these are paid for termly activities that I am slightly more insistent that we attend such as swimming and Forest School, some are paid for but I am more relaxed about (Brownies/Cubs/Beavers) and some are pay-as-you-go ones such as our HE group and HE ice skating. While we do usually go to all of these every week, if something else comes up we will amend our week to fit. We normally also have a couple of social get togethers/playdates with friends throughout the week too, both indoor and outdoor, but these are very much ad-hoc and are arranged on a weekly (sometimes on the day!) basis.

One thing both Gordon and I are quite keen on is limited screen time and more outdoor time. While the kids do have access to computers, TV, adapted iPhones (no SIM so more like an iPod) and we do own a PS4 and Nintendo DS we limit the time the kids can spend on any device and don’t really let them play many screen-based games. And, to the great annoyance of all 3 kids, we have a blanket ban on Minecraft because it seriously affects their behaviour. Jasmine’s personality in particular means that she struggles to switch off from the game, she gets very cross when she can’t do whatever she wants with a game, and she frequently ends up crying because of a game. This is no fun for anyone, including her (although she doesn’t always see it like that!). TV is limited less than “devices” but I know how lucky I am that the kids all love watching documentaries (especially Planet Earth/wildlife type ones), Horrible Histories, wildlife based kids programmes (Deadly 60, Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature) as well as the usual stuff like Pokemon and CBBC. We also all play Pokemon Go every day and the kids have an account between them. I am fully aware that the reason I let them do this is because I want to play and that makes me a hypocrite of huge proportions! I justify it to myself by saying that we are at least outdoors, and we do have rules around it such as if they look down at the screen when there in nothing going on and they are just fiddling with the game, then the phone gets taken away for a while.

And then while we probably have more screen time in the winter, when the weather warms up we can usually be found in the garden, in a local park or woodland, or exploring the beautiful countryside we are so lucky to live close to. And we can go days in the summer with no screen time at all, including no TV (the kids that is… I admit that Gordon and I do struggle when we can’t at least check our emails and Facebook!)

So, autonomous for us means no “typical” day as such. We can spend a few weeks at a time doing similar activities but then the season will change, our mood will change or an interest will change, and with it our “typical” day will change.

You can see what this week has looked like so far here, here and here. Thursday included french homework, a quick Pokemon Go walk, HE group (including a french lesson for Jasmine and Thomas, a Trivial Pursuit team quiz that J&Ts team won, and a group Happy Birthday to Ben!), Beavers for Ben and Cubs for Thomas, Harry Potter aloud and quiet reading before bed for Jasmine and Thomas. Today is more relaxed and so far we’ve had super quick breakfast eating and getting dressed so all the kids can get on and finish building Ben’s birthday Lego model. Now their friend has arrived and they’ve finished the model they are all upstairs playing Lego Nexo Knights and I imagine that’s where they’ll stay until it is time to go ice skating this afternoon! (EDIT: I was wrong, they’ve had an argument and now come down to watch TV!)

Ice skating will take up the majority of the afternoon.. it includes a 20 minute lesson and probably one and a half hours play and skate with a group of their friends. After that, well I don’t know.. probably more Lego, maybe some TV, definitely more Harry Potter, chores, maybe a walk out for Pokemon gyms or Chansey catching if it stops raining!

And that’s us. That’s our way of doing it and at the moment it works. Next Monday, head on over to Paper and String to find out about how she facilitates learning with her two girls.


The 7th Birthday

Its a quickie today for a few reasons.. I’m not on my laptop as my cooling fan is broken (or something like that) so I’m using the kids PC and I don’t like it! I’ve already spent half an hour just trying to remember my WordPress password and eventually I resorted to resetting it, the space bar on this keyboard is rubbish, the keys on the keyboard don’t feel right so I am struggling to type.. well you get the idea!

So today was Ben’s 7th birthday! I think he’s had a good day.. he definitely liked all his presents 🙂 He got some Lego Nexo Knights sets and a Pokemon TCG deck. I didn’t make a cake for today, (I’ll do that when I finally get round to organising him a party next week), but I made birthday cookies instead and they were delicious!

Other than birthday things, today has been the normal swimming and forest school for the kids. Thomas recently switched to the morning forest school group and today he came home and told me he’d really enjoyed it 🙂 This is huge as last week I wasn’t sure I’d get him back after half term. So that made me much happier 🙂

Jasmine did well in her swimming lesson again and did some more good diving (well, not really diving as she only started learning to dive last week, but she’s making a good start!)

Gordon, Thomas and I managed a 3.5km Pokemon walk while the others were at forest school this afternoon.

To keep it real I also feel like ought to be honest and mention the moments of meltdown and shouting we’ve had today as both boys struggled with the birthday idea.. but it was only a few moments really and a few calm words helped them both.

The day ended with Harry Potter aloud, excitement as we saw a Chansey on the Pokemon tracker I use, disappointment after Gordon went to get the Chansey but failed, and in the time it has taken me to type this Gordon has taken my laptop apart and discovered it is too broken to fix and needs a new part 🙁

Waves of Learning

Day 2 of the #100daysofhomeed challenge, and day 2 of me blogging again 🙂 I actually started writing this blog five hours ago but didn’t finish in time and then got caught up in dinner, chores, Brownies drop of and collection and general evening shenanigans! But the kids are in bed, lights off now so I can finally sit down and write.

This morning started with me filling in our weekly planner and then Thomas helping me get today’s dinner in the slow cooker. The kids have chores to do every day – I put out a selection and they choose what they want to do – and Thomas really loves helping me with meals. Tonight was Bean Stew so he peeled the carrots, opened all the tins and drained the beans and then added them to the slow cooker and got the spices out of the cupboard. He never wants to add the spices in case he adds too much!!

Once we’d done that Ben completed a lesson on Reading Eggs while I tried to get logged in to Khan Academy on the new PC. I totally failed as I couldn’t remember any passwords or figure out how to reset them, so Thomas had to wait for Ben to finish and then he did Khan Academy on my laptop where the passwords are saved. We haven’t used Khan Academy for months… it goes in waves like that in our house .. we’ll use something every day for a while and the nothing for months. But that definitely doesn’t mean the kids aren’t learning. In fact today Thomas was doing the section on multiplication in 10s, 100s, 1000s etc and was flying through. Most of the questions had been multiples of 2, 3, 4 and 5 and he knows those times tables. He came to the question “90×90=?”. We have talked about the 9 times table and I have shown them how to do it using fingers, but they’ve had no “formal” teaching/learning. We do also have a times table poster up in the house. So, back to the 90×90 question.. before I’d even had time to suggest I help him he said “Oh that’s easy, its 8,100”. I was gobsmacked!!!

EDIT: Since I wrote this i have discovered that it *may* in fact have been a total fluke as, while chatting to Granny (who is staying with us for a couple of days) when I mentioned 9×9 being 81 Thomas interrupted and said No, 9 add 9 is 18! So it is entirely plausible that he got the sum wrong, mixed the number order up and therefore fluked the answer!!! Either way, he got the right answer and I am still impressed 😉

So, back to today, after Thomas had done 20 minutes on Khan Academy Jasmine also wanted a go so she was next. She worked on strategies for addition and subtraction and understood it really quickly. She also did a few larger addition sums (100s without carrying) and then because I needed to make lunch and she won’t do it without me, she turned Khan Academy off and asked me to write some sums for her on paper! And she worked through them all really happily and confidently 🙂

After lunch we went to Morden Hall Park to meet up with friends, Pokemon and play. We had a lovely walk round before our friends arrived, listening and identifying bird song, trying to spot the Heron nests and of course, catching Pokemon. When our friends got there we met them in the playground and once everyone had had several turns on the zip wire we walked along the new boardwalk.

Back at home and it was general play, dinner, Brownies for Jasmine, Pokemon TCG online for Thomas, drawing for Ben, TV, Harry Potter aloud, quiet reading for J&T and bed.


Welcome to 2017 & #100DaysofHomeEd

I’ve been wondering for a while now how to get back in to blogging. I told myself I’d do it in January .. well obviously that didn’t happen! And now its February. February! I was starting to think I’d never manage to reach the end of the day (or even the middle of the day!) and feel inspired enough to write again. But then something happened in the HE world last week – I’m not going to rattle on about it and I’m not going to point it out if you’ve missed it – that has meant I want to blog again. I want to join in with #100daysofhomeed and #100waystohomeed and I want to help show that there is no right or wrong way to home educate your children.. there is simply the way that works for your family in the here and now and that could (and probably will) change over time.

So I am going to (try to!) blog, maybe not daily, but at least a few times a week with a round up of our home education life. It won’t all be exciting, it will probably feature quite a lot of Pokemon and there may well be days when I’d much rather spend half an hour watching television and so just about manage a sentence and a couple of photos! But it will go some way to show that there are many different ways to learn, learning does not have to happen in a classroom, at a table or from a book, and if its good for nothing else, Pokemon Go is an awesome way to teach the 3 and 4 times tables to children (you’ll probably have to play the game to understand that!)

And so on to today. The start of our week is much quieter than the end.. Monday and Tuesday are relaxed and we only have our Recorder lesson on a Monday morning and Brownies for Jasmine on a Tuesday evening. Other than that we fill our time differently each week. This week I had planned to go to our Recorder lesson via a local NT park and enjoy the 15 minute walk through the grounds from the car park to our friends house on the other side, but Thomas didn’t get dressed in time and then I couldn’t find my car keys so we left the house with just enough time to park outside her house instead. After the lesson we came straight home and the kids went upstairs to play. Mid-morning Ben’s birthday present from my mum arrived from Amazon so he got straight on building that (it was a Lego Nexo Knights model) with a little help from Thomas, while Jasmine did some colouring.

After lunch we went for a Pokemon Go walk around town. We are big gym battlers and today we managed 5km and 5 gyms. Once we’d done the 5th we had just over a minute until we could collect our coins and the kids phone battery was down to just 6%. We spent an agonising 1m16s counting down the seconds while hoping the battery lasted! Thankfully it did!

Along the way on our walk the boys had started talking about Runes and that led to talking about hieroglyphics, which then led on to the history of writing, how long ago Ancient Egypt was, Romans and how long ago that was, reading and writing historically being a privilege of the rich and the Church, why reading and writing is so important and how reading and writing can teach us things! So much covered from one starting point!

Back at home again Thomas played Pokemon TCG online, and Ben and Jasmine did some drawing and colouring while I made bread and sorted laundry. The kids then all moved on to some imaginative play while I made soup, then after dinner we watched Horrible Histories, I read some Harry Potter (Book 6) out loud and then Thomas and Jasmine did half an hour of reading themselves before bed.


30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 27 & 28

Yesterday we had a great Wild time at Garsons Farm, a local Pick Your Own farm near to us. We all love going to Garsons and the kids get so excited about the fruit and veg they can pick – Jasmine (huge vegetable fan!) absolutely loves it as she gets lots of fresh veg, but even Thomas enjoys picking stuff for everyone else to eat (he’s not really a green veg fan!) I think its great as the fruit and veg always taste delicious, I feel much better knowing where it has come from and when it was picked, and in the years we have been going it has taught the kids loads about how their food is grown and given them a love of really fresh food. The farm has only recently opened for the season but already they have lots available. Unfortunately when we got there yesterday we saw several waterlogged fields and some of the crops have suffered due to the amount of rain we’ve had recently, however we still managed to get some carrots, courgettes, sugar snap peas, garden peas, broad beans, gooseberries and strawberries. The rain seems to have done wonders for the strawberries and they are the best I have seen for years! .. So good in fact that we ended up with four punnets full (over 2kg!)1Today the kids have played outside almost all day. Jasmine and Ben have been tending to their bug zoo and discovering more creatures in our garden, and Thomas was blowing bubbles and playing with his radio control toy. We’ve also eaten a lot of strawberries! And this evening I have made strawberry jam with most of the remaining strawberries, leaving just enough for breakfast tomorrow.TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_27 TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_28


30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 25 & 26

We’ve had two really good wild days this weekend.

Yesterday we went to Mayfield Lavender, an organic lavender farm really close to us. I wasn’t sure how much lavender would be flowering at the moment as it is still quite early in the season, so was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to see how much purple there was already. We parked in a local park and walked through the meadow and woodland to get there – it is a really nice walk – and then spent over an hour walking among the lavender. In order to keep the organic status of the lavender the owners of the farm use a great method to control the pest species, the Rosemary beetle.. they ask the local children to collect the beetles in jam jars and then reward them with a sweet! My three love collecting the beetles, spotting all the other insects and I always find we are much calmer after being there for any time. That wonderful smell! Yesterday we collected hundreds of beetles (so if you are local then please go and help out too!), we saw lots of cuckoo spit and froghoppers, a couple of grasshoppers and crickets, flies, bees, ladybirds, and bugs and beetles.

12And today, as well as playing in the garden all the time we’ve been at home, we took a walk to our local ecology centre this afternoon and had, in Jasmine’s words, a brilliant time! On the way there Ben spotted a June Bug (Summer Chafer beetle) and whilst at the ecology centre we saw butterflies, moths, newts and slow worms galore, two toads, a couple of grasshoppers and plenty of small insects. The spot of the day was the largest Slow worm we think we’ve ever seen! It was easily over a foot long! Jasmine confidently picked it up and held it safely so we could all get a good look at it.. she is amazing that girl! She now, of course, wants to go back as soon as possible to look for it again and has told Gordon that, in future she is to be in charge of picking up the slow worms because she is better than him!1 2TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_25 TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_26