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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.

 

Small steps, big achievements

Monday and Tuesday this week have been pretty standard as far as Monday and Tuesday’s go. Yesterday started off with swimming for Jasmine and Ben. Both did well in the lesson and enjoyed themselves. Jasmine got her confidence back swimming on her back and Ben put his face in the water a few times. While I was at the pool with them, Gordon took Thomas over to the local uniform shop to buy his Cubs uniform. This seems like a huge step for Thomas and hopefully means that he is looking to stay at the group for a while at least!

Back at home after lunch we made pin-wheels as part of our science project. I struggled to think of anything to do this week and this popped into my head as a good demonstration of “wind” energy. I found a couple of ways of doing it and we tried them out. They were pretty good and the boys enjoyed making them, but Jasmine got upset that her design wouldn’t go right so she didn’t actually finish hers.

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Today began with handwriting. jasmine and Thomas are still working on joining up and both are doing well. In the handwriting books today I wrote Pokemon names for them to practice, which they enjoyed! Once everyone had finished we had drinks and snack and then decided to go into town for a bit of shopping and lunch. As Ben still had some birthday money we went into the toy shop and he chose a Nexo Knights Lego set. Jasmine and Thomas also spent their pocket money and bought a smaller Nexo Knights set each. We enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Debenhams restaurant/cafe and then came home to build Lego.

Thomas had his swimming lesson this afternoon and once again wasn’t keen on going (he wanted to stay and play with the new Lego) but I convinced him. We had another good chat about how good he was in the car and when we got to the pool I could see he was much happier. His teacher really wanted him to go in the main pool today and I had spent quite a lot of time preparing him, but once there he still wasn’t sure. His teacher was amazing though. First they sat on the side and splashed their legs, then splashed water on their faces and hair and pretended to brush their teeth! After a few minutes the teacher measured Thomas against him and got into the pool to show T where his head and shoulders would be (above the water). This convinced T to get in 🙂 They blew bubbles for a bit and generally jumped round, and then after less than ten minutes he had him swimming! By the end of the lesson they’d managed at least 8 whole lengths! Thomas mostly used the floats but he did do some (in the shallow end) by himself! When he came out at the end you could see the pride he had, it was fantastic! He said that he was sad he hadn’t wanted to go at the start because he’s had such a brilliant time, and he can’t wait to go back next week and swim in the “big pool” again! I must remember to keep that confidence going this week 🙂

After we got back home the kids all played Lego for a while before we discovered that the stationary set we’d bought in the morning had a compass in it (for drawing circles). This kept Jasmine busy for the next hour! Thomas spent a while playing with the new calculator too.

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Finally, this evening Jasmine went to Brownies and the boys watched TV.

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas…

Friday was a shopping day. We started off in town where we needed to get a few bits and also return a couple of books to the library. We had quite a late start though so by the time we’d finished it was lunch time. As we still needed to go to the garden centre we decided that rather than go home for lunch and then drag the kids out again we’d just eat out so we enjoyed a McDonald’s lunch.

And then off to the garden centre to buy bird food, but also to see the Reindeer they have at this time of year, and to look at the Christmas display/trail they set up. We’ve done the trail for years now and it doesn’t really change much at all but the kids still love it!

woodcoteSaturday was another pretty busy day. The morning was spent cleaning and tidying so we could put the Christmas tree and decorations up, and then putting it all up. We always have to move some of the toys and stuff around so we have room for the tree but this year it didn’t seem so bad! It made me realise we are definitely beginning to see less toys around the house these days as the kids really do spend most of their time playing with their Lego which is all kept upstairs in bedrooms!

We all helped put the tree up, Gordon did the lights, I did the tinsel (that is my obsessive part and I can’t let the kids do it!) and then the kids got free reign on the baubles and other hanging decorations, They also took some tinsel upstairs and decorated their beds!

After lunch we had to make a very quick trip to a local Curry’s to look at dishwashers as ours broke on Thursday night. After not having a dishwasher for years I am amazed by how reliant I have become on one in a relatively short space of time! We’ve only had it six months or so but it has become almost a necessity in the kitchen and I reckon it saves me about 30-45 minutes a day that I used to spend washing dishes! So when it broke I was quite upset! It was a few years old (we’d bought it second hand) but I think both me and Gordon had assumed it would last longer than a few months. So anyway after several hours (or what felt like hours!) discussing and, dare I say, arguing about whether we could afford a new one  we went to have a look round Curry’s and did finally buy one on finance.

And after Curry’s it was time for Messy Church! I was helping to run one of the activities this time so needed to be there early.. I only managed to get there ten minutes early as we’d spent so long in Curry’s! The kids had a great time.. they made Rudolph cupcakes and decorated biscuits, made marzipan sweets and an origami box to put them in, made a sheep out of cotton wool and a cardboard tube and Ben made a crown. It was a busy session!

treeOn Sunday I went Christmas shopping in Croydon with a lovely friend and we left the men at home with the children. We had a great time and everyone at home survived 😉 The kids had got rowdy at one point apparently so they all went to the local playground to run off some energy and once back at home it was much calmer I’m told. When we got home about four hours after we’d left it was all pretty quiet and everyone was playing together nicely.

Today my new dishwasher arrived 🙂 Jasmine went swimming but I didn’t take Ben as he has a bit of a cold and was up in the night coughing. This afternoon the kids have played Lego.

More of the same

Friday was another busy day, but in a nice-busy kind of way. We started the day with a trip to the library. We didn’t have many books to return this time – I managed to get the kids to choose a couple each (mostly ones we’ve had for several weeks already!) and we also returned the two audio CDs we’d borrowed, so they could get three new books each during this trip. Thomas had chosen his books within about five minutes of being there! Jasmine wasn’t far behind but Ben took a little longer as he was more interested in playing on the computer! He did find a couple of books in the end and I also found Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets audio CD was available so we got that too.

After lunch we went swimming with our friends again. I was quite keen to go, mostly so I could make up to Jasmine for trying to get her to swim without her float on Tuesday. And we had a great time today 🙂 Thomas did some brilliant swimming again, Ben went properly underwater several times and Jasmine had a great time just swimming around by herself (with her float!) We didn’t have long in the water as our friend could only get there at 2:30pm and we needed to be out of the water at around 3:10pm so we had time to get changed and get back by 4pm for Gordon to have the car to get to the dentist on time. But it was just about long enough and the kids all enjoyed it .. in fact they enjoyed it so much the keep asking me when we are going again! It has made me more keen to take them regularly outside of there lessons, but we won’t be going next week as it is half term and I’m not sure I fancy going when it is so busy. We enjoy having the pool to ourselves too much!

Yesterday was an altogether quieter day spent mostly at home. We did venture out to the shops at one point, but only the local Tesco down the road. The kids all went on the laptop for Reading Eggs, they all did some drawing and colouring, I did some baking and Ben helped me make the banana loaf. There was TV watching and Lego playing. It is most definitely Harry Potter based at the moment! We are still reading the first book .. Harry has just arrived in Hogwarts.

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In order to help me with the reading (it is SO long since I read the books I can’t really remember what happens!) I watched the first film last night once the kids were in bed. I’m not a fan of books made into films and this one did annoy me at the start as they missed so much out (and that was just based on the five chapters we’ve read so far!), but all in all its a good film and maybe at some point the kids will watch it .. but I want to have finished the first couple of books first!

 

From four back to five

Yesterday the boys seemed much happier about Jasmine not being at home and got on with playing quite nicely. It was still noticeable that they needed much more input from me and Gordon than is required when Jasmine is around. It has been interesting to see how they dealt with a missing sibling. But bedtime on Tuesday went much better than I anticipated.. Thomas only mentioned once that he was in the bedroom by himself and after being reassured that I would stay upstairs as normal he went quiet very quickly.

Yesterday morning we made separate trips to different shops. I took Ben to the post office to post my old iPhone to my mum while Gordon and Thomas went to Asda to buy laundry powder. Ben didn’t stop talking for the entire trip but he was happy to come with me so I treated him to a sweet on the way home! After lunch we took the boys and their bikes to Nonsuch Park. We had been wondering about going somewhere different but Thomas started talking about dogs again so we decided, after the success of last time, we should stick with dog-free for a while and Nonsuch has some great dog-free fields that they can ride in. We also had a little stop by a pond that has shrunk to about a quarter of the size it was when we last saw it! All of the boys had a good time clambering on the branches to reach different “islands”.

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Back at home and we watched more new TV.. Lego Atlantis and Lego Marvel Superheroes, both from Amazon. Having never used our Prime Instant Video before I think I am beginning to wonder why! It has some great stuff for the kids on it!

Today started lazily for everyone except me. I was up at least an hour before everyone else so got some tidying done before settling down with my Kindle to read in peace 🙂

After breakfast I walked a very long way round to Tesco to pick up a couple of bits while trying to get my 10,000 steps in as I knew once Jasmine was home we wouldn’t be doing anything much at all. While I was gone the boys and Gordon did some Lego building and playing. I also picked up some Lego Ninjago T-Shirts from Tesco.. three of them, one for each child. Despite what Tesco think (T-Shirts in the “boys” section), Jasmine loves Ninjago as much as the boys.

(as a note, when I showed it to her once she was home she did immediately ask “is it a boys T-Shirt?” My response, “No, it is a Ninjago T-Shirt”)

At 3pm we collected Jasmine. She happily reported she’d had a great time, didn’t miss us and wished she could stay longer!! From a girl who has never been away before, or indeed go to school and therefore used to being away from us for long days, I think that shows she is pretty amazing!

She wasn’t as tired as I thought she would be on arriving home and was happy to tell us all about it and play with the boys. All the Brownies had been given a copy of The Borrowers, which was their theme for the 2 days they were away and when I looked inside Jasmine’s I saw the note.. awarded to Jasmine for being the best moth catcher! Good to see she was the same on pack holiday as she is at home!

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By 7pm however, she was showing signs of needing her bed so we read stories with her while the boys tidied upstairs and by 8pm she was tucked up. She told me that the bed on pack holiday wasn’t as comfy as her bed at home so I think she’ll sleep well tonight!

 

 

Meal Planning Monday 8th June 2014

Nothing to do with meal planning really but we had a disaster last week when our car broke down terminally. We managed to find a replacement pretty quickly and have put a deposit down on it, but this will have a fairly long term effect on our cash flow. So meal planning and cost cutting has become even more important all of a sudden. Its a good job I enjoy the challenge!

And bearing that in mind, here is my plan for this week:

Monday – Fajitas

Tuesday – Pasta Crumble, garlic bread

Wednesday – Quorn Korma, rice

Thursday – Spaghetti bolognese

Friday – Toad in the hole

Saturday – BBQ

Sunday – Sausage, mash, onion gravy

mrsm

Meal Planning Monday 1st June 2015

Woah, hello June! You sprung up on me rather quickly!

I seem to have missed almost the whole of May on my blog.. but hopefully with a new month comes new inspiration and my aim is to get back to blogging *fairly* regularly (that’s the plan anyway!)

We are a bit back to basics this month as things got a little tight at the end of last month and I don’t want a repeat of the cupboard scrounging I found myself doing.. although to be honest it did get several things used up! I don’t think it is the food that is the problem but if I rein in the spending on that, the rest seems to follow. So this month will see lots of rice and pasta, casseroles and stews and maybe a little less barbecues than we’d ideally like! But needs must as they say.

So, this weeks meals look like this:

Monday – Gnocchi Primavera

Tuesday – Spaghetti with lentil bolognese

Wednesday – Chinese homemade takeaway-style meal (chow mein, dumplings etc)

Thursday – Jacket potato with lentil bolognese

Friday – Quorn sausage paella

Saturday – Green vegetable omlette, potato wedges

Sunday – Sausage casserole

mrsm

 

 

Meal Planning Monday 4th May 2015

We seemed to have turned a corner this week and everyone is eating again! Its about time! I’m not going to tempt fate however so this week its another week of regular, favourite and simple meals..

Monday – Veggie Sausage rolls, home made chips, beans and sweetcorn

Tuesday – Macaroni Cheese, garlic bread

Wednesday – Quorn sausage, mash, onion gravy

Thursday – Quorn Tikka Masala

Friday – Green Veg Omlette, potato wedges

Saturday – Pizza

Sunday – Meadow Pie

mrsm

Project 365 (2014) Week 44

Week 44#299.. Today was the last day of Grandma’s visit so we went to Wimbledon Park for a walk and play. We’ve not been before so the kids had a great time exploring the playground before we went for a walk round. I really liked the waterfall gardens, it is all so pretty.

#300.. For the first time in about a week we had a day with Daddy so we packed our bags and headed for WWT London Wetland Centre. It was a glorious sunny day and we saw loads of wildlife including butterflies, dragonflies, a lizard and all sorts of birds. It really is one of our favourite places to spend a day.

#301.. A slightly weird photo from today but I am so happy to have a working CD player in the car once again that this really is my “photo of the day”! Journeys are so much easier when we can listen to Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss or Julia Donaldson along the way!

#302.. A pretty quiet day at home today. Thomas built a line of 100 Duplo bricks and did all sorts of sums with it!

#303.. Halloween costumes all ready to go. We had 2 Halloween parties this year, the first on Thursday and the second on Friday. I was astounded at the cost of costumes from the shops so I made Thomas a ghost one from pillow cases, the bat one we already had and the cat is a black TShirt and trousers and a mask and tail set from the £1 shop! I do love being frugal!

#304.. Halloween. Before our second party this afternoon we carved our pumpkins and did some Halloween themed Hama bead crafting.

#305.. All the talk of ghosts and ghouls, and a game at yesterdays party, has seen the kids obsessed with Mummies today. We Mummified the Barbie dolls and various soft toys and then did some simple craft with fabric strips, cardboard tubes and googly eyes!
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Legoland Fun 2014

Last Friday we went to Legoland Windsor for the day. This was our second trip to Legoland, the first being two years ago, so we had an idea of what we wanted to do and the kids were extremely excited!

Once in the park we thought we’d walk right to the other end while we had the energy, and then work backwards so that by the end of the day when we were tired we would already be by the exit. Well of course this lasted for about five minutes and we were distracted by pretty much the first thing we saw.. the Star Wars Miniland Model Display! Last time we came the kids were all scared of this display and they knew nothing about Star Wars… move on two years and they loved it! The boys faces as we walked round showed such joy as they recognised scenes, identified planets and saw favourite characters! Jasmine was a bit nervous at first but she enjoyed it and loved seeing the large scale figures at the end.

LL 1After the Star Wars display we headed off down the hill and again on the spur of the moment, and using everyones good mood to our advantage, we decided to go on Viking River Splash (the rapids!) The kids would never have agreed to go on if they’d seen the ride beforehand but somehow we got them on and I think everyone enjoyed it. Well, Gordon and Ben definitely did, I would probably go on again now I know what it is like but I wasn’t sure at the time, and if you ask Jasmine and Thomas they’ll say they hated it but I don’t believe them as they seemed to be enjoying it at the time!

Once off the rapids and a little drier (who knew.. family driers that blow warm air out at you!) we decided to walk over to Atlantis. On the way we noticed people starting to sit and wait for the Pirates of Skeleton Bay live action show so we decided to watch that while eating our lunch. The show was just as good as I remember from last time and the kids loved it.

LL 2Once the show was over and we’d all eaten some lunch we headed over to Atlantis. This is still my favourite ride at Legoland!

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Next up was the DIno Safari. Last time we were really lucky on this ride and a member of staff rode with Thomas meaning we could all go on together, but this time we weren’t so lucky. With no spare member of staff Gordon took the boys on one at a time while I waited with the other two kids at the start (it is two people per car and kids under 1.3m have to be accompanied by an adult – all ours are under 1.3m so none of them can go by themselves). Jasmine didn’t want a go on this ride despite enjoying it last time and although I did try and persuade her it did make things easier as it meant Gordon only had to go round twice and not three times!

Next up for us was the cars. Jasmine and Thomas are now old enough to ride the bigger cars so we split up to save time and I took them over to the Driving School while Gordon took Ben to L-Drivers. All three kids have ridden electric cars several times before so they all knew what they were doing and thoroughly enjoyed this. It was Jasmine’s favourite part of the day!

LL 3After the cars we stuck to the traffic theme and went on the Orient Expedition and tried our hand at the Boating School. Both these rides were enjoyed by everyone, even though we got wet again on the Orient Expedition!

The last attraction of the day was the Fire Acadamy. The boys were really keen to go on this so they went and joined thre queue with Gordon. Jasmine did initially want to go as well but when we got there she changed her mind so we sat and watched. The queue for this ride was the longest of the day and it seemed to take ages before we saw the boys on their fire engine. They did enjoy it though, although Thomas did come off and ask if that was really the whole thing!

LL 5By the time they’d finished at the Fire Acadamy it was time to go to Miniland to look at the models. We’d set a time limit on the day so we had time to spend in the BIG Shop at the end. We knew we’d need at least half an hour in the shop choosing Lego! But we also wanted to see the models in Miniland as we all enjoyed it last time.

LL 6 LL 7We had such a fun day at Legoland! I was both amazed and impressed with how much we managed to fit in even though there were some things we didn’t have time for.. I guess they’ll be first on the list next time we go (probably in another two years)!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall