Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 101

We've spent the last week on holiday in North Wales. Getting away for a break during term time is one of the great advantages of home education, and we have enjoyed a gloriously sunny trip away.

A major highlight of our trip was a day walking up Snowdon. This was not the first time we have climbed this mountain, but it was the children's first experience of reaching the summit on a clear day. There was a wonderful moment shortly before we reached the peak when we were able to see the spectacular views over the opposite side to the one we had been climbing; the children were clearly stunned! In previous years, it has all been cloud.

On the way up, with the summit in the background.

Nearly at the top!

Just walking down from the summit.

We also enjoyed going to the beach. Playing in the sea and building sandcastles are always popular.

Harlech Beach


We visited Conwy castle one afternoon. There are so many towers to climb and rooms to explore - great fun for all of us.

Conwy Castle

There is also a parkrun in Conwy, which we also enjoyed taking part in.

Running Boys

We also visited the Rabbit Farm; the children miss their pets when they go away, so we promised them a bit of bunny cuddling while we were away.

Bunnies to Cuddle!

Michael Helping Out!

We've spent lots of time outdoors, eaten many ice creams, played some board game, read some books, and generally had a good time away together.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 100

We have taken a break from our usual routine this week for half term. I have been trying to get on top of my planning for the rest of the term while the children have enjoyed various activities.

My 10 year old spent a day baking with a friend, and has also been making cakes at home. He wasn't happy with the results of his day of baking - it didn't turn out as he hoped - but I am encouraging him that when a cake goes wrong that's part of learning to be a good cook! It still tasted amazing (and I thought it looked okay too!).

Mini-cupcakes Made by my 10 Year Old

I took my 9 year old on another trip down to the Thames foreshore with his group of junior archaeologists. This week they were cleaning some wooden platforms that once would have been used for boats which needed to be mended. My son ended up pretty wet and muddy, but had a great time.

Cleaning Mud Away

There was added excitement when Tower Bridge was opened while we were there.

Tower Bridge Opening

We had more archaeology fun today when I took my three boys to visit the London Mithraeum together with their Young Archaeologists Club. They had a chance to examine and handle some artefacts, and to try to work out what the occupation was of the person working with those items. Some were easier to identify than others!

Examining Artefacts

After that, we all went down to look at the remains of the temple of Mithras together. It was a fascinating experience.

Temple of Mithras

In their spare time, the children have been drawing using tutorials from Art Hub for Kids. This has been great fun.

Turtle - by my 10 year old

Angler Fish - by my 6 year old

R2D2 by my 10 year old

My 12 year old also tried out one of the origami tutorials, and made a penguin.

Origami Penguin

Already we have reached the end of the week, and I haven't managed to get as much done as I hoped; this seems to be a pattern - I may be overly optimistic about what I can fit in! Nonetheless, it has been good to have a break from our usual work.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 99

The tadpoles we have been looking after have been changing into frogs at a steady rate. We released 5 more a day or two ago, and will have to do the same for a few more very soon.

Although the tadpoles have been thriving, one of our guinea pigs needed a trip to the vet to sort out a sore eye. Nearly a week later, it is now looking better after a course of eye drops. The children have been good at holding her while the drops were administered.

I have been back to a normal week of running again (after a post-marathon rest), and it has been good to be out and about again. I've also been doing a bit of cross stitch once more, after having quite a number of months of crocheting blankets. I like to have something to do while I am teaching reading or spelling!

We weren't planning to break for half term next week as we have a holiday coming up, but we have ended up with trips out or other plans for so many days next week that I thought we might as well have a rest from our usual work. It will give me a chance to do a bit of planning for our final half term, and make sure that we finish the books that we need to complete before the summer.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 98

On Monday this week, we attended my Grandad's funeral together. Although there were many tears, we also remembered together the lively and vibrant man that my Grandad was - full of jokes and humour. It was good to be with family and share those memories together.

Our home education group met today. We had a session learning about fungus, which turned out to be an interesting topic. We made bread rolls together to start with, prepared some kits for growing our own mushrooms, learned about why fungi are classed as neither plants nor animals, and discussed the uses of fungi. My daughter is an aspiring mycologist, so she was particularly thrilled to give a short presentation as part of our session.

Mushroom Spores

My children are very keen on their cooking and baking at the moment, so most days I have at least one request to do some cooking! My 9 year old has always particularly enjoyed baking bread, and we gave him a bread cookery book for his birthday. He made Fancy French Bread from his book earlier in the week.

Fancy French Bread

A highlight for my middle two children was a visit to the London Mithraeum, the remains of a Roman temple to Mithras. This would be exciting enough, but there was also a short (and very engaging) talk about the cult of Mithras given by Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mysteries and the Roman Quest stories - books that my children have really loved.

Caroling Lawrence and my 9 Year Old

Temple of Mithras

Finally, we were also very pleased to have our first frog from our batch of tadpoles! It has been released back into the wild now. There are a number of froglets too, so we will hopefully have plenty more frogs soon.

Our First Frog

Friday, 11 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 97

We've ended the week by celebrating a 9th birthday.

My 9 Year Old

My 10 year old made the cake for his younger brother, and he had to make it over two days as it was an ambitious project that he wanted to manage without much help (which he did!).

My Baker

He was very pleased with the results, and the birthday boy was happy too.

One HUGE Castle Cake

Cake with Candles!

My 12 year old also contributed to the birthday tea; he made Oood Head Bread from his Doctor Who cookbook. It was tasty as well as impressive to look at.

Oood Head Bread

On Monday, I ran the marathon that I have been training for. It was very hot - which certainly made the run harder work, and slowed me down - but I was still really glad to have done it; I enjoyed quite a bit of it, and found some of it very hard work, which was to be expected. I'd like to try another one at some point, so it hasn't put me off running yet!

I made it...

In between the marathon and the birthday, we've had a quiet couple of days. The children have done some work, and also found time to relax.

My daughter decided to paint some pictures of our guinea pigs.

Painting in the Garden

My 10 year old made milk shakes for everyone.

In the Kitchen...Again!

We still did some book work, but it was lovely to have a few quieter days too!

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Friday Reflections - 96

We've had a fairly quiet week for the most part, with a steady flow of our usual activities. However, we ended the week with a trip out to a fellow home educators to learn about the life cycle of chicks.

There was a short talk, followed by a chance to handle some chicks (very popular!), then a craft activity for the children.

Holding a Chick

As part of the craft activity, the children carefully broke open a duck egg so that they could examine the different parts more carefully.

Taking Apart an Egg Carefully

It was a lovely day out for the children.

On Monday, I will be attempting to run a marathon for the first time. I am somewhat apprehensive about how it will all go - but also looking forward to getting on with it now that I have completed all my training. Hopefully I will make it to the end in one piece!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Friday Reflections - 95

At the moment it feels like there is very little breathing space in the week, with one commitment following hard on the heels of the next. Although it is busy, hard work, and at times overwhelming, there have been plenty of bright moments along the way.

Last Saturday we enjoyed a very sunny parkrun together.

This was followed by a trip down to the Thames foreshore with my 8 year old.

He has been very much enjoying his archaeology trips, and his various finds.

Most of the week has been filled with our usual work and activities. We finished up with our homeschooling group today, where we were learning about sound. My group particularly enjoyed making pan pipes with straws.