Friday, 19 October 2018

Friday Reflections - 106

Since I haven't written a post for a while (see here for the reason), here are a few of the highlights from the past few weeks rather than just from the past few days.

Baking has featured quite a bit. My 9 year old particularly enjoys making bread, and his cinnamon loaf went down well. My 11 year old has baked so much I can't keep up, but his birthday cakes have been particularly impressive this year.

Cinnamon Loaf

The Pandorica (from Doctor Who)

A Dolls' House

My youngest is keen to keep up as much as possible, and made some delicious mini sponge cakes just a few days ago.

A Baker with her Cakes

We've all been enjoying Bake Off again this year; my 11 year old has an even longer list of bakes he wants to attempt now!

My daughter has also recently started sewing, after we were given a small sewing machine by a friend from church. She's made little bags, a cushion for her brother's birthday, and a skirt for herself (she chose the material herself!).


My Daughter in her Dog Skirt!

As ever, running, and especially parkrun is popular. Both my 7 and 9 year olds have reached their milestone 50 runs over the last few weeks. They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their parkrun 50 milestone t-shirts.

Volunteering at Parkrun

We have also, of course, been working pretty hard at our day-to-day studies. There's a lot to fit in, but overall we seem to manage to do most of what I plan most of the time - which is pretty good.

Friday, 12 October 2018

A Season of Suffering

Over the last year, one of our children has gradually been struggling increasingly with growing anxiety and other issues It's fair to say that he is going through a very tough time right now. At the moment it isn't appropriate for me to write more about this (for his sake). Although his struggles are the most acute, he is not the only one in our family who is facing mental health difficulties at the moment; we feel hard pressed, worn down, tempted to despair at times - but held by the Lord in his faithfulness.

It has been a season of tears and suffering - for my son and for the whole family. We have been endeavouring to support and help him while still teaching and caring for our other children, and persevering in serving in our church family.

We are reminded again of our weakness and fragility, and of our need of our Lord who loves us. I  have been reading Mark's gospel again recently, and seeing the compassion that Jesus had for those around him - the sick, the sinful, the suffering- has been a comfort in the midst of this hardship. My husband has also been preaching through the book of Job, and the depths of Job's grief as he clings to the Lord by a thread has been moving, and given voice to our own struggles.

I plan to continue blogging about our home education journey - what we are learning, resources we are using, good days and bad days. I will endeavour to be honest about hard times as I don't think it is helpful to anyone to give an idealised version of our life together, but I won't be writing in detail about the struggles of my children when it isn't fair for me to do so.

 A happy time on holiday at an Awesome Cutlery concert.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 105

We are limping towards the end of our academic year - almost there now! We are all but finished, with just a small amount of work left for some of the children to complete next week. I'm ready for a break, and I have a number of lists of jobs to do around the house that would fill more days than I have available over the summer; not long to go now.

I'm also conscious that I need to evaluate where each child is up to with their studies, and to prepare thoroughly for the year ahead. More than ever, I will need to prepare differently for each child, and this will take plenty of time and consideration to do well.

Although we're not quite finished yet, we are doing considerably less book work now, and the children are enjoying having time to play or create.

My 11 year old made lime macaroons earlier in the week:

My 9 year old has been crocheting, my 6 year old has just been learning to cross stitch, and my 12 year old has got us all playing a Doctor Who board game he found in one of our local charity shops. It's surprisingly good!

We have also started our Summer Reading Challenge (after being badgered about it for about 3 weeks by all 4 children). They are all enjoying a bit of time to get stuck into some books. It's particularly encouraging to see my 6 year old immersed in proper chapter books this year, and to see how much her reading has improved since last summer.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 104

We are still working, but definitely winding down towards our summer break. My nine year old has been continuing to work on learning to crochet, and has begun to make a blanket.

My 9 year old's Crochet

My 6 year old has also learned French knitting; she wanted to crochet too, but I thought trying something simpler for now would be less frustrating - and she has really enjoyed it.

Learning French Knitting

The highlight of the week was a trip to the beach. It's always a bit of a trek from London to the seaside, but I took the train to Littlehampton with my younger 3 (and a friend), and it was a glorious day of sandcastles and sea swimming. It was well worth taking the day out.

On the Beach!

Sandcastle Building

Sea Swimming

Today was our final home education meeting of the term. It felt like a bit of a rush to get anything together this week, but we seemed to have a good afternoon.

We looked at the which places yielded the most bacteria growth from the samples we collected last week. The door handle and the bin had the most impressive results.

Bacterial Growth from the Door Handle

Our topic for the week was bones and muscles, and the children enjoyed icing skeletons onto gingerbread men, and also making a model of a diagram of a joint out of cake and jelly (for the synovial fluid).


Model of a Joint in Cake

I am now very much ready for term to end and the holidays to begin. We have a little for finish up next week, and then we'll be done for the year!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Reflections - 103

Last weekend began with a parkrun PB from my 9 year old. He's been getting faster over the last few months, and wanted to attempt to run 5K under 30 minutes - and he did. He even managed to jump back up and keep running after a fall, finishing with grazed knees and a scraped elbow.

Another highlight of the week was a trip to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition with the three younger children. We've visited for a few years now, and it is a great opportunity for the children to engage with scientific research.

There were many highlights, but the children were particularly excited about the Quantum Brain exhibit where they were able to operate simple games by concentrating hard!

They were also fascinated by the lab grown bone material:

And they thoroughly enjoyed using Virtual Reality to learn about detecting neutrinos.

The children have all been creative in different ways this week.

My 11 year old made some lemon cheesecake cupcakes to bring along to church lunch. His homemade lemon curd was particularly tasty.

My 6 year old has had a knex project on the go for a while, and this week she found time to finish her windmill.

I have been teaching my 9 year old to crochet, and he has been getting the hang of it pretty well. He's almost finished a practice square, and is planning to embark on a bigger project soon.

My 12 year old has added to a picture of Marvel film characters as hamsters!

Today we met for our home education group. We were learning about bacteria. My group swabbed various places to see which would yield the best bacteria growth; we will see what grows in our petri dishes over the week.

They made junk models of various bacteria, and also of a typical bacterium cell.

We've managed to fit in quite a bit this week, and it's good to look back and see all the positive times we have enjoyed. For various reasons, it hasn't felt like an easy week - and has been challenging in many ways - but it has been good to make time for some fun activities in the midst of the difficulties.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday Reflections - 102

We were busy celebrating my Mum's 60th birthday last weekend, so it has been two weeks since I have had a chance to write about what we've all been up to.

A fortnight ago, we visited Banstead parkrun for a different kind of run. Out in the countryside, and with a decent hill in the middle, it was probably a little more challenging than our local run. We all made it to the end in spite of my daughter falling early and finishing with scraped knees (again).

Peach Parkrunners

We had a few days of trying to keep going with our ordinary work before we headed off to spend Friday and Saturday with my family to celebrate my Mum's birthday. We had a lovely evening at a hotel enjoying delicious food, good company, and balloon modelling provided by my 12 year old!

Admiring Grandma's Cake

Enjoying a Balloon Hat!

Maybe too much coke...

On the Saturday, we spent the day at a farm together, which was also a lot of fun. We had a great weekend, and enjoyed marking the special birthday of a very special mum and grandma.

This week we have been once again trying to have a fairly normal week. We still have some work to finish before we have our summer break, so I am keen for us to keep moving with it. Nonetheless, there has still been time for baking and running, drawing and reading, and watching to see if our mushrooms would ever grow (they finally have begun!). I also squeezed in a 10k run yesterday evening.

Baking Bread Rolls for Lunch

Mushrooms (nearly!)

Today, however, has not been an ordinary day. I took the three younger children back to the home of a fellow home educator who has been kindly running some life-cycle sessions for us. Today was a social occasion, which meant spending a number of hours sitting by the Thames while the children played on the "beach" - digging a trench and building dams, splashing in the paddling pool, and finally going for a swim together. It was a beautiful day, just perfect weather for outdoor swimming.

Helping with the Digging

Perfect Weather!

Time to Read as well a Swim

 Next week will probably be similar - ordinary days where I try to get as much done as we can fitted around various trips out or other activities.

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.