Retail Therapy

E was being very squirrelly today. I was making banana flapjack, cleaning the oven hob and making breakfast crumpet pizzas for L and me (very yum!), and she kept running in and asking for egg boxes, and celebration tins  and the dreaded sellotape. She then raided my purse, and suddenly declared her shop open:

We took it in turns to play shopkeeper/shopper. Her homemade till had everything:


A scanner for beeping, a display monitor, and a place for keeping her coins, and a hole for her pen which she needed to write the prices and total costs on the ‘screen’. She even had holes cut into the cardboard box till to keep carrier bags!

We had a fun time making up prices and working out change. Halfway through E announced that it was a really good game for practising adding up and learning about coins. She commented to a friend later that we played shops and that I had sneaked maths on her without her realising!

It was really fun and E is really proud of her creation and the game she made up 🙂

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Home Education


Westonbirt Arboretum

We recently took out membership at Westonbirt Arboretum which is a fab place for families. They have extensive grounds, and several fantastic play trails. Yesterday we spent the afternoon there with three other families, and explored the Silk Wood, and found their play area made of criss-crossed logs covering a large dip, and a huge slide made of a hollowed out tree trunk. Last time we went it had rained continuously, so it was a mud bath. This time it hadn’t rained for about a fortnight, so was lovely and dry! We found lots of exciting things to explore, and the puppy loved it.

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There is an Old Arboretum, with a more condensed play trail, which the kids love. There is den building, a series of tree stumps connected with planks, totem poles to climb, and a troll bridge to hide underneath.

They only really have two main rules: don’t pick anything from a tree or plant – if it’s still attached, the plant still needs it; don’t climb on any branch smaller than your wrist.  Good rules to go with!

I can recommend a visit!

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Home Education, Nature


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Jubilee mess making

We’re holding a Big Lunch at our local park this weekend. We hold one every year, but this year it coincides with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  I’ve been put in joint charge of craft activities :-O We picked up some things from our local scrapstore and set the kids to work this week to see what we could make out of scrap.

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That was the mess created by 4 kids. Imagine what the mess created by 50 kids is going to look like???! Why do I volunteer for these things…

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Home Education


50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4

The National Trust recently launched their list of the coolest 50 outdoor things to do before you’re 11 3/4 with an interactive website where kids can add photos of themselves doing each of the activities with any comments they want to add.  This list has been apparently supported by research which shows that a third of children have never climbed a tree :-O

Usually lists like these drive me crazy (who should tell me what we should or shouldn’t be doing??!) but actually this list of things IS pretty cool.  I did a quick count the other day and worked out we’ve done at least 35 of the 50 things already, and the ones we haven’t done were already on our ‘to do’ list.

National Trust list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 (from the Daily Mail)

I’ve been doing my best to take photos wherever we are, so I have actually got some evidence we’ve done them! I haven’t quite got to grips with the website though which I am finding quite annoying! So rather than filling it in there, I’ll post our photos here 🙂

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There are a lot more we’ve done but have no photographic evidence. I will work on that!! Has anybody else joined the 50 things site? How have you got on?


Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Home Education, Nature


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Happy Birthday Mum :-)

Think this is what I would be doing to you today if you were a bit nearer!!

I was going to sit the kids down and make a birthday day card for you and take a picture and email it you.  Obviously I failed, instead we did this:

Balancing on tree trunks

Examined stone carvings of scary creatures

learned about Gothic architecture

This was on a visit to Woodchester Mansion, an unfinished Gothic Mansion in deepest, darkest Stroud. Home to large colonies of Lesser and Greater Horseshoe bats too, which we got to see on infrared cameras. It also involved a mile walk through woods to get there. All in the continued, beautiful sunshine we are enjoying at the moment.
If I had the forethought to produce our birthday works of art yesterday, I would have failed too. As we were doing this:

Skating in the ‘snow’

Attempting to ice skate at the pretend ice rink at our local leisure centre. I could have done with having those little penguin things when I was little!!

L with his penguin

E with her penguin

H in the ‘snow’

Even the morning was taken up doing this to the poor puppy:



After – a shadow of his former, hairy state!

Tomorrow though, I have pencilled in for art and craft activities, so fingers crossed we’ll have something for you then 🙂
Hope you have a fantastic day today xxxxx
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in history, Home Education, Nature


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Wow a vacant laptop, I can update my blog!

I had a flash of inspiration earlier, so thought I would use the moment to nudge me into updating my blog for once!

Today we have made a second trip to a new Home Ed group in our area.  This was yet another opportunity to have a picnic (we’ve been having them daily for the last week or so) and enjoy the fantastic sunshine we have at the moment.  As well as running round with sticks (L), drawing beautiful pictures of rainbows and snails (E), and making up complex role play games with friends (H), we had a fun time playing with some ‘squishy circuits’, which if you haven’t heard of, then you need to have a go! The main details and ingredients can be found here, there is also a pdf ‘classroom guide’ under the ‘publications’ section which is well worth printing out as an easy to follow guide. You essentially make 2 types of playdough, one with lots of salt, and one made with sugar and distilled water. One is a conductor, one an insulator. You then alternate your playdoughs to create your circuit structure, add a battery, some LEDs or a motor, and off you go. Very simple, cheap and easy.:And if you’re H, you can just play with the playdough…

I then had to rush home, and walk the puppy with L.  Well, I meant to rush the walk to as we were meant to be meeting B at Ikea, but L will not be rushed.  He came armed with a bowl of snails (his sisters had been racing them earlier), which HAD to come on our walk with us. After they had fallen out of the bowl at least 3 times, I managed to rehome them into a happy looking hedge to save them from any further trauma. L was mortified when he realised what I’d done, but I distracted him by looking for tadpoles in the ponds. We recently hatched and raised a batch of frogspawn, which we returned to our local pond as froglets a couple of weeks ago, so we go and check on them regularly. Armed with his bowl, L scooped up some water and was delighted to catch several tadpoles (obviously a bit behind developmentally from the ones we released), and prodded them, examined some water snails, and puzzled over little whizzing insects he also scooped. The bowl was emptied and refilled several times, examined and oooh-ed over, before I made him hurry along. L then spent the rest of the walk gathering stones and other exciting finds in his bowl all the way home.  That bowl turned out to be a brilliant thing to bring on our walk…though the snails probably didn’t think so.

Girls racing their snails yesterday

We then bundled ourselves into the car and dashed to Ikea. We’ve decided to buy a double bed for H and L to share. We’ve tried bunk beds and midi-sleepers, and no bed arrangement has so far worked for these two. E has her own room and bed. L still co-sleeps with us, but we are all for encouraging him out of our bed 😉 H sleeps in her bed sometimes, sometimes wanders into ours in the middle of the night. She claims she needs company. They both sleep beautifully in our bed together, but I would like to sleep in our bed too! So we’ve invested in a double bed in the hope we can get them to sleep together in their own bed, in their own room. Its always good to have goals and aspirations right?!

It’s not often that L gets to spend time with us all on his own, so he was quite spoiled this evening. We bribed him round Ikea, letting him choose a toy from the children’s area as we passed through. We then went to pizza hut, which he thought was the best thing ever: “Me love pee-ba” says L. I have a fab photo of L eating ice cream covered in sweeties, with a huge grin on his face! Will have to add it in later.  Ah, found it:

L (Buzz) enjoying his ice cream without sibling interference!

H is at a friend’s house for a sleepover, E has a friend here for a sleepover, so while they’ve sorted themselves out watching Springwatch and having a bath, I’ve painted H’s room ready for her new bed to be installed. I’d forgotten how quick it was to paint a wall without small children wanting to ‘help’ me!!

Typical Home Ed day huh?!


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Time flies, particularly when you’re having fun!

I feel like we are so back on track at the moment, reading my last blog post has actually made me laugh, which  I guess is good, in a cleansing sort of a way!

Here’s today in pictures…awful, grainy pictures from my horrible phone, but at least they give an idea of what we’ve been up to 🙂 Actually, I say from today, they are all from this afternoon, as I spent the morning completely clearing this room and sweeping the floor :-O Then look what they did!

Toddler L painting his aquadraws - d'oh! After scattering magnetic letters everywhere :-S

L playing with his favourite toy, and H drawing beautiful pictures of her family with 'flowers in their hair'

We drew round L's hands and feet and turned the shapes into fish, birds, penguins, ghosts etc.

H's plate monster, with smile, letter H and necklace!

Inside the monster - shows his tongue, oesophagus down to its stomach!

E constructing her mummy case

The books and equipment required!

Constructing the mummy

E constructing her mummy from kitchen foil - look at the concentration required!

E has been very focussed on finding out all about Ancient Egypt for a while, and it has become an obsession over the last few weeks. We started with a ‘Read it Yourself’ ladybird book ‘Mummies’ which was simple, easy to understand, and provoked too many questions for the poor little book to answer. So we skipped to this amazing book: Egyptology – the search for the tomb of Osiris, which E bought for with birthday money last year, which answers many questions, but sidetracks you a lot! I also trawled Pinterest for ideas, and made a board of all the things I found. E particularly liked the paper dolls and we’ve printed these a few times now, for different eras. E also found this audiobook: There’s a Pharoah in Our Bath by Jeremy Strong, at our local library and found it hilarious 🙂

We also made a disastrous trip to Bristol Art Gallery and Muesum. Their newly refurbished Egypt exhibition housed some amazing exhibits, but they were poorly explained, and really hard to interact with – everything was accompanied with a touchscreen for ‘more information’ except they either didn’t work, or were appallingly slow. It did not engage E at all 😦

I’d also bought her the usborne ‘Egyptian things to make and do’ which led to the activity in the photos above. First she made the mummy case – cutting out the base shape, self-drawn, then using the base as a template for the lid, making the edges, and sticking it all together. Covering the whole lot in metallic-coloured tissue paper and pva glue. Then she wanted to make a mummy to go in the mummy case, luckily they have instructions for that too, so she constructed her mummy parts from silver foil, and wrapped them in strips of wet kitchen towel, dried them, then covered in pva glue too. Tomorrow she is all set to draw hieroglyphics all over the mummy case, ready for her ‘museum’.  After her rubbish museum trip, a lovely lady on twitter (@mamacrow) gave us the idea of making our own exhibition. This has totally gripped E’s imagination, and this will be the first exhibit! The intention is to create some canopic jars, some egyptian jewellery, and other ‘artefacts’. It’s all keeping her busy anyway!

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in art and craft, history, Home Education, housework


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