Journey into Unschooling

New Year, New Adventures!

April 2nd, 2018 by becki

We started 2018 with a playdate with friends. The children all had fun.

The next day we met friends at Walsall Art Gallery for a look around the galleries, followed by a coffee stop and visits to the toy and book shops.

We spent a lovely day at Shugborough with friends, going for a walk and playing in explorers wood.

Poppy and I spent a day shopping for new clothes after her recent growth spurt, including a lovely pub lunch together and a visit to Nanny and Grandad.

Alfie, Amber and I went to our animal care session twice. We cleaned out some of the rabbit hutches, then got to hold some of the guinea pigs. We also hd to look fter our own chicken, poor Bluebell, who sadly passed away later.

We had fun at our HE group, building cardboard forts and playing with friends.

We were glad to get back into our weekly swimming session with friends.

We had a lovely time with friends at our local rescue farm.

We went to Airea 51 trampolining park with HE friends, but this was declared not a favourite venue by the kids, although they managed to have fun.

We spent a lovely day exploring Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with friends. After getting the bus into town together, we had lunch at 3Threes then headed to explore the galleries.

We had fun at Jump In trampoline park with friends.

We had a great time at Enginuity museum of science and technology, and the Museum of Iron with friends.

We expended some energy running around Come Into Play with friends.

We met friends at the cinema to watch Coco.

We enjoyed our HE group that was all about the Victorians.

We headed to Liverpool to stop in the youth hostel there. On the way we went to Formby NT where we walked on the beach and got up close to the red squirrels. We had amazing vegan curry at Sanskruti restaurant.

The next day we went to the Walker Art Gallery, where the children completed a trail around the galleries. We then went back to our old favourite, the World Museum, for another explore.

We collected our new rescue chickens – Frost Queen, Zelda, Raven, Midnight, Autumn and Dusk. We spent a lot of time on chicken care and integration. They all needed health checks, mite powder and some needed treating for scaly leg mites.

We attended a sugarcraft session run by a HE mom who makes cakes for a living. We learnt how to make a sugar paste dog.

We enjoyed our HE explorers meet at Wolseley wildlife trust. We really enjoy walking around the reserve spotting wildlife and seeing the changes as the seasons pass. We also planted some peas.

We started participating in the 100 days of home ed project.
#100 Days of Home Ed – Day 1

Today we sadly had to miss our home ed group as Poppy was unwell. She had stayed at home yesterday whilst we volunteered at animal care (with Daddy who was working from home), but asked me to pick her up to go to IKEA. Unfortunately she regretted her decision, struggling all the way round with a terrible headache and unable to eat. She was still feeling very fragile today and needed a day resting in her room.

The rest of us have continued with Operation Mouse Proof in the pantry, and Alfie commandeered the old crisp holding drawers to organise his Lego in his room. Amber helped sort the different types of food and pack them into containers.

We watched the documentary, Animals with Cameras, which was fascinating. Amber played Teach Your Monster to Read and made play dough food. She helped me catch and treat two of the chickens for scaly leg mite. Alfie and Amber went through all the new seeds we had bought to start deciding when and where to plant them, and Amber watered the peas she had planted at Wolseley, and Alfie the sweet basil that he planted.

#100 Days of Home Ed
Day 2

Today we went ice skating with HE friends. Amber was really pleased with herself for skating without a penguin. Alfie researched some of the place names we passed on the way home and was disappointed to learn that Lizard Hill was named after the leper colony that lived there not because it was full of lizards!

We watched Back in Time for Tea, all about life for working class Northern families in the 1920s and 30s. Poppy read the ration guide for WW2 and discussed how difficult it would have been to be vegan then. She is feeling much better today and is making up for two days of silence by talking and asking questions *non-stop* 😂


Day 3

Poor Alfie was ill today, with a raging temperature, so he spent the day resting at home (with Daddy who was working from home) I took the girls to Water World with lovely friends where we had lots of fun riding the flumes. It’s fab to go with friends so you can swap children around and everyone gets to go on what they want 😁

Now we just need everyone to be well. We have cancelled two lots of plans this week and the remaining days have left an ill child at home. Here’s to wellness and family times ❤


Day 4

Today we cancelled plans to go out as Alfie was still ill with a temperature. Amber had written “Experiment Day” on our ideas board, so we decided to do that instead. We made some awesome plastic bag bombs and a homemade fire extinguisher, and read a science book for future ideas.

Today is National Pizza Day so Alfie made pizza dough, which he later moulded and topped. It was delicious! Amber made a chocolate cake and Poppy made a Victoria sponge. Both weighed and mixed the ingredients independently, leaving me only with the washing up 😉

Amber boiled and mashed eggs to feed to our rescue hens. She also refilled her robin feeder that sticks onto the back door. She saw one of these at animal care and requested one, and now has a regularly visiting robin.

We watched the next episode of Animals with Cameras. Alfie did his daily Spanish lesson that he has been doing for the past couple of years. Amber played on her DS and tablet, Alfie on his Wii U. Poppy read through a recipe book for some future ideas.


Day 5

Today the kids have spent the day at home with Daddy. I have been out doing shopping for my parents, having lunch with a dear friend of over 40 years and visiting Nanny and Grandad. Alfie is on the mend and everyone has enjoyed a quiet day.


Day 6

Today we went to B&Q for DIY supplies. Poppy picked up some colour cards to plan the redecorating of her bedroom. We also popped into the town centre for some supplies.

Alfie has been continuing the great tidy of his bedroom. This has involved lots of rebuilding of smashed Lego and Meccano models so is taking an amazingly long time. It may be done before he turns 16…..

Amber has been playing various games and spent time grooming and playing with the cat, her best friend.

Poppy has rediscovered some very old craft sets on top of the toy shelves. She has been making Fuzzoodle models and working out how to refill used marker pens with her Marker Maker set (not the manufacturers intention 😉 )


Day 7

Today we had a last minute change of plan as our chosen venue to meet our friends (Shugborough) was closed due to snow and ice. We had a lovely day at a local nature reserve instead. All the children had a lovely time walking, duck feeding, swinging, colouring and drawing, chatting ten to the dozen 😁 They all had a lovely day and it was great to be out in nature after all the illnesses recently.

On the way home we stopped to collect Poppy’s glasses. She is currently marvelling at how clear everything is and how people have freckles she didn’t know were there 😂

Everyone is currently relaxing before dinner (except me, I’m cooking it lol) and book time before I go to my class tonight.


Day 8

Today we went to do some shopping for Grandad (and us!) A good lesson in money management, working out best value, meal planning and navigating a shopping trolley around people 😂 We also recycled lots of plastic bags.

We went to the library to get new books out. Our books were only a month overdue and our cards not blocked which made a very welcome change 😂 We need to work on library book return management 😂😂 We get books from both Walsall and Birmingham libraries and always have at least one set overdue 🙄

Amber made a card for one of her best friend’s birthdays this weekend. She did lots of moulding with her moon dough.

Poppy used her clay to craft the most amazing bakery of different shaped breads. My Saturday job at a bakery came in useful suggesting different bread shapes, and she researched bread types on her tablets, finding many I had never even heard of before!

Alfie continued to tidy his room, finally putting away the mountain of clean laundry I had left outside his door 😂

Amber made pancake batter, so that we could celebrate pancake Day 😁

Poppy sewed a hole in Amber’s trousers. The girls collected jars together for a friend. Amber was pleased to see that the peas she planted at a HE meet were sprouting. We also packed and planned for the busy week of fun we have ahead, hopefully!


Day 9

Today we went swimming with lovely friends. There was lots of imaginative play, chat and even some swimming 😉

Back home we watched episode 2 of Back in Time for Tea. Poppy made smoothies. We carried out some chicken first aid. Poppy painted the clay bread that she made yesterday, and learnt how to make macaroni cheese. Amber introduced Alfie to Toca Pets.


Day 10

Today we spent a lovely day in Lichfield with some of our favourite people.

After a chilly but fun play on the playground, we walked through the park to the town for warming coffee and vegan cake. A brief diversion into the game and toy shops, a peer at the cathedral, then a visit to Erasmus Darwin House. The kids did a trail where they had to find 26 mice hidden around the museum, and got a certificate, badge and knitted mouse as a prize. We had great fun dressing up, trying out some of Darwin’s inventions and learning all about him.

Back home, Poppy did more clay bread painting, read her RSPB Wild Explorer magazine and smelt every spice in the rack. Amber and Alfie unpacked the organic boxes then joined worlds on Minecraft. Lovely day 😁


Day 11

This morning Amber and I went to post a card for one of her friends. We then headed over to Coalport China Museum to meet friends. The kids did their new Chinese dragon trail around the museum, and had a great time painting earthenware in the craft area. They made dragon puppets and designed their own birds, and learnt what life was like for those working in the pottery industry. It fitted in well with Poppy’s recent interest in making, painting and glazing clay models.


Day 12

This morning we took a big box of things from our declutter to the charity shop. We had some shopping to do for us and Grandad too.

Back home, the mouse eviction plan continued, with the last possible access routes being sealed off and the garage cleared out. Amber made a necklace for Poppy with the beads she bought in the charity shop. Alfie finally got his month long room tidy to the point where he could vacuum it.

Amber came with me to visit Nanny and Grandad. She chose some daffodils for Nanny whilst we were shopping this morning, figuring that as Nanny is bedbound she wouldn’t see any spring flowers otherwise. She snipped the stems and arranged them in a vase for Grandad. She also challenged him to lots of games of Hungry Frogs, introduced him to Tomadachi Life, and started making a necklace for herself. On the way home we stopped to get Daddy’s favourite takeaway as a belated Valentine’s treat and Chinese New year celebration 😁


Day 13

Today the mouse proofing reached an end, hopefully. We will be so glad to have our weekends back to do fun things rather than mouseproof or sweep up poo! Now we just need to get rid of the ones sealed in with the supposed super duper traps from the vegan pest controllers. Watch this space!!! The free range cat seems to be keeping them out of the actual house now, but it will be good not to hear them in the lofts and walls!

Poppy and I went to the shops this morning, then she independently followed a recipe to make Gazpacho. She now knows how to peel tomatoes using boiling water, and said that she never thought she’d be squeezing out wet bread 😂😂😂 The good news is that both she and Alfie love gazpacho – another summer picnic option!

Amber used up some over ripe bananas to make some tasty banana bread.

Poppy went through the seeds and sorted them into edible and ornamental, and we noted down when we needed to plant them. We decided to mark in some gardening days to our calendar as the next 5 or 6 weeks are looking bonkers busy, and nothing will get done if we don’t block it out!

Alfie helped spray an injured chicken purple (kindly including my hand too. I am assured purple hands look cool…..) Amber helped spray 2 chickens struggling with scaly leg mite. Again, I don’t think I will have scaly leg mite on my hands any time soon……


Day 14

We had tentative plans to go to an outdoor meet today, but the weather was vile, it is dreaded half term and the kids were all desperate for a PJ day. I think they saw the calendar for the next few weeks – I *may* have overbooked slightly 😂😂

Alfie and Amber did Doodlemaths. Alfie made a vegan lasagne. Poppy made smoothies. Alfie and Amber played on the PCs. Poppy glazed some more of her pottery. We watched episode 3 of Animals With Cameras. Alfie stood on his head for a while. Poppy did some art and reading. A chilled day 🙂


Day 15

Today we went to home ed group, where the activity was papier mache and wire figures. Of course none of mine wanted to do that 😂 Amber spent most of her time playing inside and outside with her friends, Poppy sat with her best friends and made a freestyle creation, and Alfie ate Pot Noodle and generally subjected us all to his dry sense of humour 😂😂

We stopped off at the supermarket enroute home for unsweetened soya milk so Poppy could make vegan toad in the hole for Daddy. She did a great job! She also brought the laundry in for me and helped round up the chickens.

Alfie has been playing Terraria and is now having pencil sharpening lessons from Poppy 😂 Both Alfie and Amber have been doing Doodle maths too. Alfie has added a daily maths lesson to the daily Spanish lesson he has been doing for the past couple of years.
Now it is time for books, before I head to visit a lovely friend.


Day 16

Today we drove down to Mandarin Buffet, Weston Flavell, for Grandpa’s birthday lunch. Everyone enjoyed their Chinese food. Afterwards we went into some charity shops. Amber got a book and a jewellery making set, and Poppy got 2 fiction books and a book of sewing projects.

Back home, Alfie and Amber have been playing Sims together on a console. Poppy borrowed Daddy’s drill to make nargle charms for her and friends, as part of her nargle project. Daddy has gone into Birmingham for a meet up so we are just about to settle down for book time. I need an early night before a *very* exciting day tomorrow!


Day 17

Today I have had a HE mom sanity day with 3 of my very favourite ladies at Alton Towers spa. It was truly awesome 🙂 The children have had a PJ day, again much needed 😁


Day 18

Today we blew the cobwebs away at RSPB Sandwell Valley with lovely friends. It was lovely to be out in nature.

Back home, Poppy has made pesto cheese swirls and a pie for Daddy, and Amber made jam tarts. Alfie is trying to rebuild the digestive system model which someone broke 😂 Poppy is packaging some presents she has made for friends who have moved to Wales. She has written a beautifully clear address on the third attempt 😉


Day 19

This morning we went to Kids AM at the Light Cinema to watch Ferdinand. We all enjoyed the film, and especially appreciated the animal rights message within it. Afterwards we used a voucher we had for lunch at Bella Italia. Alfie enjoyed doing the sodoku so much he brought it home and finished completing it 😁

Afterwards we popped to a couple of shops. Poppy bought a Harry Potter backpack for carrying her art stuff and other things when we go out. We then went to the New Art Gallery to see the National Portrait Gallery Masterpieces Tour. After looking around the exhibition, in the craft area, Amber drew a portrait of her and her favourite pets to go on the activity wall, and Poppy drew a family crest.

Back home, Poppy has been drilling more corks to make nargle charms for friends we are seeing this week. Alfie completed his sudoku and is Minecrafting with Amber. I have sorted out Amber’s old summer clothes for her slightly younger best friend, and rushed around doing lovely chores like cleaning the cat’s litter tray and sorting laundry! I can’t complain though – this week I have been to my class, been to a lovely friend’s for coffee, had a spa day with my 3 best friends and tomorrow am out with some of the most awesome HE moms. No excuse to be a grumpy mommy 😉

Ooh, and check out Amber’s amazing top tie dyed for her by her bestie 🙂


Day 20

This morning started off with a brunch out in a cafe with an amazing bunch of lovely HE momma friends. It was so nice to have a child free chat and some time out together 🙂 Afterwards we fitted in some charity shop trawling 🙂 I even got a couple of things for myself – as well as a jigsaw for Amber and a ceramic jewellery set for the girls.

Back home, Amber and Poppy painted some of the ceramic beads from their set. Alfie wrote a list of all the chickens ready for their MOT tomorrow. Amber helped me make kale, mushroom and broccoli fried rice, which two out of the three kids loved at least!


Day 21

Today was chicken MOT day. It was very cold but we managed to get all fourteen of them health checked and coated in lice powder. The new ones all had lice, but the old ones seemed to have escaped catching them luckily.

Poppy put all our seed potatoes into egg boxes to chit. She also helped me to make a roast dinner, and did some more ceramic bead painting. Amber completed the 250 piece jigsaw we got from the charity shop. Alfie started building his wooden owl model. We also went through Alfie’s wardrobe, putting all his outgrown clothes into charity bags or Amber’s drawers.


Day 22

Today we had great fun with lovely friends painting pottery at a community cafe. Alfie painted an owl, and Amber a squirrel. They will be fired and glazed ready for us to collect. The concentration levels of all the kids was amazing. Poppy chose to do some artwork instead, and challenged me to a game of snakes and ladders. Afterwards everyone played various board games, then took to the playground for chilly running around fun 😁

Back home, Alfie is doing more of his wooden owl model, (there was a slight setback last night when Amber accidentally kicked it over whilst trying to walk and play Doodlemaths at the same time 🙄), Poppy is making roast garlic and Amber is playing Tunnel Town.


Day 23

Today was spent with lovely friends at the museum of childhood. It is such a lovely museum – educational but great fun! I love seeing toys from my childhood, and the adults spent some time reminiscing 😂 After a warm in the tea room, we went into Sudbury Hall, where a lovely volunteer captivated the kids with interesting facts. The visit ended with Poppy putting her foot through the ice on the fountain, of course 😂

Today also involved Poppy looking at different shapes (I hadn’t even heard of a megagon!) and painting ceramic beads, Amber testing out a melon bath bomb and reading lots of books 😊


Day 24

Snow. Stupid, stupid snow. We should have been at Conkers with lovely friends, but the snow has ruined it. Our plans tomorrow are cancelled, and my curry night out is looking likely to be cancelled. I am worried about getting to my parents, and it looks like even more plans will be cancelled too. Has anyone guessed that I hate snow???

Anyway, we made the best of it. The kids made a trifle, tofu and vegetable kebabs and smoothies. We tried our best to look after the poor chickens that were cowering in their coop, defrosting their water and cooking them scrambled egg. We are really worried about them tonight. We did some housework. Lots of Minecraft was played, along with Doodle Maths and Tunnel Town. We watched Back In Time for Tea. We planned a craft project. We watched the snow. We read books. We drew.

I am grumpy, sorry!


Day 25

Yet another day of plans cancelled by The Beast. Including my curry night – bah humbug 😂

Four out of five of us were up very early for the boiler man to fit the new expansion valve, so there has been a lot more day than usual 😂 We spent the morning making cards and did painting. We made chick pea burgers and potato wedges. Alfie did the puzzles in his RSPB magazine and read some of it out to Amber. We watched Back in Time for Tea, 1970s. We are now in my era 😂 We cleaned out and refilled the robin feeder and did some cleaning jobs. The kids all joined Minecraft worlds. A snuggly sort of day!


Day 26

More cancelled plans, but at least we got out! Well, Amber and I did. Our main road was clear but the side roads were lethal so we had a lovely walk down the canal to our local shopping centre. We saw fox prints on the frozen canal, as well as duck and goose footprints.

Amber was pleased to get a blue lolly as a freebie off the pound shop owner, and even more pleased to have a warm in our local Costa 🙂

We treated all the kids to a magazine each. There has also been lots of Terraria world joining, as well as running round in the snowy back garden.


Day 27

I should be writing this from a beautiful youth hostel in the Peaks, but guess what??? Yes, snow strikes again 😂 The Beast seems to be receding now though, so hopefully normal service can now resume 🙂 At least Alfie and I got to visit my parents today. The roads are pretty much back to normal by this evening 🙂


Day 28

Today we had friends round to play. We barely saw the children, apart from judging the bubble blowing competitions, so I’ll take that as a good sign that they all had fun 😉

We were excited to get mail after nearly a week of no deliveries. Our new RSPB cards came, along with Poppy’s Aquila magazine, which was great 🙂

The kids have been joining worlds on Terraria, helping me round up the chickens, and laying the table for dinner. Book time soon as I have my class tonight 😁


Day 29

Today we went to our HE group. The activity was papier mache, which none of the children wanted to do. Poppy sat drawing and writing then played outside with her best friends. Alfie did his Minecraft dot to dot book, and Amber played with her friends and went on an exciting excursion to the shop with them 😉 I got to chat to some awesome people ❤

Back home, we packed a bag for a trip away later in the week, and the kids helped bring in our shopping order. Poppy sorted out some clothes that were too small for her to pass onto Amber. She is carrying on with the drawing challenges from her art magazine, both digitally and on paper.

Alfie sat with Amber to do the activities in her Curiosity Box, whilst I made packed lunches for tomorrow. They constructed a spider web, and tested it with homemade flies both before and after covering it in homemade sticky snot. Of course they then came up with their own take on it – taking turns to be spiders and catch the flies thrown at them 😂 They read about spiders’ webs, and about how mosquitoes transmit malaria. Alfie then helped Amber make a 3D model of formic acid, the acid that makes ant bites sting.

The kids are now joining worlds on Terraria.


Day 30

What an awesome day 🙂 We headed to Stratford upon Avon with lovely friends. Our quick picnic and play in the park turned into a many hour epic as the kids all disappeared off together playing happily and it was so warm and sunny and spring like 😁

We managed to tear ourselves away eventually for a sunny walk by the river to the fabulous MAD Museum. The automata and machines were awe inspiring! The kids had fun building their own marble runs too.

Back home, Poppy chose a birthday present for Alfie from the animal sanctuary catalogue and is now designing a logo for The Odd Knights of the Hexagon Table, a club she has formed with her friends. Alfie is doing his Duolingo and Doodle Maths and Amber is playing Tamadachi Life 😁


Day 31

A lovely day with fab friends at Belton House. Fun on the adventure playground and a walk around the beautiful gardens.

Off for a pub dinner with friends shortly 😁


Day 32

Twin Lakes!!!!!!!


Day 33

This morning Amber and I went to the library to pick new books for everyone, and to the shops to get a birthday present for Uncle Matt.

Back home, Amber made chocolate chip cookies for relatives, sausage rolls and jam tarts. Poppy did some art with the professional markers we got for her. Alfie wrote the Mother’s Day card he made for Nanny. Amber and Alfie played Lego Dimensions together on Alfie’s WiiU. We all watched the 80s/90s episode of Back in Time for Tea. The best era ever!!


Day 34

Happy Mother’s Day! Ours didn’t quite go to plan. My brother Matt and his partner Mei Mei flew over from Singapore for what is potentially Mom’s last Mother’s Day. We planned a family gathering to celebrate. Sod’s law, Poppy and I developed colds, which could prove fatal to Mom, so our plans had to be abandoned.

Instead, Alfie and Rich went for a walk in the local nature reserve, where they saw lots of signs of spring, from flowers to birds to frogs. I dropped Amber off at Mom and Dad’s house to spend a couple of hours with them and Matt and Mei Mei. Poppy and I took Dad’s shopping list and went into Walsall to get it all. We also got some more art supplies from The Works for Poppy. At least we got a chance to very briefly see Matt and Mei Mei (especially as it’s Matt’s birthday tomorrow) and I even quickly popped upstairs to wish Mom a happy mother’s day. She had no idea what I was on about but I got a lovely smile 😁

There has also been board games, gardening, packing for a trip away, vacuuming plushies and reading 🙂


Day 35

Today we went to pick up our pottery now that it has been fired. They had all turned out lovely 🙂 We stayed in the cafe for lunch, chats with lovely friends and board games, before very wet fun on the skate park 😁 Amber was thrilled to have a go on her friend’s new stunt scooter.

Amber decided to draw up a chart to remind her of all her cat care duties, and fill up the robin feeder. We have seen a robin pair in the garden so she is hoping for babies. Apparently they lay 5-6 eggs.

Poppy is making stewed apple.


Day 36

Today started off with breakfast at a local carvery, then we headed to Alton Towers Water Park to meet lovely friends. The big two loved the Master Blaster, blasting at high speed on inflatable rings in tubes around the top of the water park, and getting soaked by giant buckets on the Wacky Water Works. Amber loved the lazy river. We had an amazing time.

This evening has involved dinner with friends, a lakeside walk and, for Amber, a sneak peek in the CBeebies Hotel.


Day 37

We woke up in the Alton Towers hotel to a cooked breakfast, before checking out and meeting friends at Shugborough NT for walks and playing prisons in the playground.

Back home, we made lunches for tomorrow’s adventure, cooked vegan spag bol, and Amber made a vegan lemon puddle pudding 😁


Day 38

An amazing day today at RSPB Sandwell Valley. We spent the morning pond dipping and caught lots of things – mayfly nymphs, midge larvae, blood worms, water fleas and much more. We managed to identify them all and complete the pond survey sheets. We also completed food chain and life cycle games. Then we went into the mini beast meadow to see what insects we could find.

After lunch, we headed out to spot birds in the woodlands and from the lakeside hide. We saw an oyster catcher, a gossander and many more. We also looked out for fungi. Back in the visitor centre we played some games to identify different bird songs.

On the drive home we saw beautiful double rainbows. We also had a really good discussion about managing anxiety on the way home. Alfie used to have meltdowns all the time and now controls his anxiety amazingly well and hasn’t had one for years. Poppy also copes a lot better with her anxiety than in the past. They were able to pass on some tips to Amber. She was an absolute superstar during all the activities but found the children being noisy and running around very difficult to cope with at lunchtime.

Back home, we sorted the organic boxes that had arrived and discussed some meals that we might make. Now everyone is off doing their own thing and chilling out. I am feeling grateful for wonderful friends that helped today to go smoothly when I couldn’t be in two places at once 😁


Day 39

Today we went trampolining with lovely friends at Jump In, for one last bounce before they shut. We also unpacked lots of deliveries and spent time reading, playing Terraria and playing in boxes 😁


Day 40

Today the big two have had a quiet day at home. Amber and I got the bus into Birmingham to watch a play at the town hall as part of Bournville Bookfest – I Believe in Unicorns. It was very cleverly done, and Amber really enjoyed it. Even better, all the children got a free book at the end. Amber chose Fern the Green Fairy.

Afterwards we went for lunch at 3 Threes (where Amber may have also sneakily eaten some fries 😂) and to the shops. Amber wanted to choose a present for Alfie’s birthday. We experienced the full force of the blizzards as the worst ones hit whilst we were choosing mangoes at the outdoor market and waiting for the bus home!


Day 41

What a day! Our original plans to meet friends were cancelled due to the snow. We also couldn’t get to Nanny and Grandad due to the conditions on their estate. Several important things have been lost. A bit of a nightmare!

There have been lots of positives too though. We got a close up view of both a blackbird and a robin in our door feeder. Amber finished her cat chart and carried out her cat duties. We made a big roast dinner with Tofurkey, which Alfie and Amber helped to make. Poppy arranged her clay mini baked goods in her dolls house. Amber watched Alfie play on his Wii U. We watched the final episode of Back In Time for Tea.

Onwards and upwards!


Day 42

Today we met some of our very favourite people in Wolverhampton. We had an amazing lunch at Zuri Coffee, where the kids chatted and drew together. The dosa were awesome 😁

We went to the art gallery for the puppets exhibition travelling from the V&A. Some teenage eye rolls at the adults exclaiming over Bagpuss and Button Moon 😉 We explored the whole art gallery before heading into town to do some shopping. We explored a massive charity shop, where Poppy found some thin knitting needles that she has been wanting, for 25p!

Back home, Alfie tested out the Lego Dimensions fun pack that he bought, and built some more of his wooden owl. Amber played with her small animals. Poppy helped me to fill our new eco egg, then cooked a spaghetti bolognese for dinner.


Day 43

Today we went to our HE group where the subject was Europe. Amber threw herself into the day headlong, apparently having “epic snowball fights” and playing with “all my friends”. Poppy struggled with the loudness and busyness so built herself a den to regroup. She was later able to emerge and have fun chatting with her friends. Alfie helped clean up as usual and was his usual laid-back self 😁 We stayed late to mop and help out with the cupboard sorting, which is when most of the kids had the most fun playing in a smaller group in the other room whilst the adults worked 😁

Afterwards we went to visit Nanny and Grandad.


Day 44

Today we were sad to find out that our elderly neighbour had died. Amber particularly got on well with her. Otherwise we had a lovely day, so it has been a little bitter sweet.

We met lovely friends at the local pool for a swim. We also spent lots of time cooking. Alfie made pizza dough which he turned into a fully loaded vegan pizza. Poppy made another batch of pizza dough which her and Amber made into dough balls and twists. Amber made a batch of scones which were delicious warm from the oven 😁 We also made packed lunches for tomorrow.

The kids’ nature detectives packs came today, with sunflower seeds to plant and lots of spring things to spot. It has even felt like spring with the sun shining and chickens dust bathing! We sorted lots of laundry, did some chores, looked through some of the resources from yesterday, put away our grocery delivery and discussed some ideas for our upcoming activities.


Day 45

Today we spent a lovely day at Blists Hill Victorian Town with friends. We rode the inclined lift, had a go at pouring plaster into moulds, learnt all about the apothecary and dentist, visited the drapers and, of course, the obligatory sweet shop visit 😁

Back home, Alfie made a delicious mushroom risotto for dinner. Poppy wrapped up the present she bought for Alfie’s upcoming birthday and made nargle charms for friends we are meeting tomorrow. Amber sewed some holes in her cuddly toys.


Day 46

A lovely day playing in the park with friends. Lots of role play games – and even a little sunshine!


Day 47

This morning Amber had her eyes tested at the opticians. All was well. We popped to the cobblers to get a key cut and to Wilko so she could choose a new toothbrush.

I went out to do Grandad’s shopping, get the treats for Alfie’s birthday gathering and meet a lovely friend for lunch. Whilst I was out the children planted sunflowers and potatoes. They also played out on the trampoline. Poppy is currently designing Alfie a birthday card.

We have cancelled tomorrow’s plans due to this cold. Hopefully we will all be well for the week ahead 🙂


Day 48

Today we had to cancel plans with family due to colds on all sides, making a long drive difficult. Instead we had a chilled day at home. The kids played in the garden, on the trampoline and skipping. They cleared up the rubbish that had blown into the garden and did some weeding. We all enjoyed seeing the chickens sunbathing and dust bathing in the lovely sunshine.

Amber made a “chicken” tikka masala. Poppy made smoothies. Alfie refilled all the bird feeders and made a treats pot for Wednesday. Let’s hope for more lovely sunny days like this!


Day 49

Animal sanctuary ❤


Day 50 – halfway there!!!!

Fun with friends in the woods, roasting marshmallows and rope swinging 😁 We ended up getting soaked, as usual, so home for PJs, showers and snuggles!

We watched Big Cats About the House, refilled the bird feeders and sorted laundry. Alfie didn’t feel very well so Poppy sat with him to put more stickers on their European passport book. Then she did lots of skipping – part of her self prescribed daily exercise programme 😁


Day 51

Alfie had an awesome meet up with friends at a trampoline park to celebrate his upcoming birthday 😁 We have such amazing friends ❤


Day 52

A very sad and feverish Amber today. She had been looking forward to seeing some lovely friends today but instead spent the day in bed 🙁

Alfie and Poppy did some melted crayon art. They look really good and will be put on the wall. Poppy made some special wrapping paper for a friend’s birthday present. We tidied the craft area and did a few chores. Alfie and Poppy played on Alfie’s Wii U.


Day 53

Today Alfie and I managed to get out to collect the birthday present he has been desperately waiting for – via a trip to the car parts shop and supermarket! He is a very happy boy 😁

Amber and I repotted her pea plant and planted lots of seeds – cucumbers, tomatoes, asters and marigolds. Poppy made smoothies and a carrot cake with butter cream icing. Great Uncle John visited to bring Alfie a birthday gift.


Day 54

A day of shopping with birthday money and vouchers and yummy vegan birthday curry in Parkfields Central. The best “chicken” tikka masala around!

Alfie has been demonstrating Super Mario Odyssey to us all, then Poppy helped me bring in and put away the Ocado order.

Alfie has just told me that he has learnt that peanuts grow underground, so his purchase of Botanicum in Waterstones today is proving educational already 😁

End of Year Adventure

January 9th, 2018 by becki

The end of 2017 has been as full of adventure as all the rest. The change and development in all three children is astounding. Amber is progressing really well with her reading and writing. Poppy is rarely without a book and her artwork is developing amazingly. Alfie is developing in confidence and skills. What an amazing bunch!

Here are some highlights from the last two months of the year 🙂

We had a wet but fun walk in Sutton Park with friends and the dog that they were looking after for a friend.

We went to the cinema with friends to see The My Little Pony Movie.

We went to the Quentin Blake exhibition at Walsall Art Gallery, then to Parkfields Central to celebrate Daddy’s birthday. We also made him a big chocolate cake.

We had great fun making Halloween themed crafts

We enjoyed a session at our favourite HE group building with Lego and making and decorating 3D card Lego people.

We had fun completing the Harry Otter trail at RSPB Coombe Valley with friends

We had fun at the library and park.

We also enjoyed the bat trail at RSPB Sandwell Valley. So much wildlife and nature too 🙂

We carried on with our monthly volunteering at the animal care centre

And had fun at gymnastics and in the park with friends.

We also carried on with our weekly swimming with friends. All three children are developing their confidence and skills in swimming enormously.

We enjoyed a pumpkin trail on Halloween at Wightwick Manor National Trust with wonderful friends, followed by a visit to Friendly Foods and the pet shop.

We had a lot of fun during our monthly HE trampolining meets at Jump In

Our monthly Home Ed Explorers meets were as full of outdoor fun and adventure as ever.

We enjoyed our fireworks in the garden at home, and also got to have bonfire fun with our friends in the woods.

Poppy and Rich went to see Fantastic Beasts as part of the Into Film festival, whilst the rest of us met lovely friends for a day of fun at Oak Tree Farm. Alfie fell in love with the emu 🙂

We had fantastic fun ice skating with friends at Webb’s of Wychbold. Poppy also bought some candle wicks for her recycled candle making.

The girls had an amazing birthday meet with all their friends at the National Forest Adventure Farm. They were spoilt with so many amazing cards and presents.

Amber and I went for a birthday trip to the cinema to watch Paddington 2, followed by a visit to Nanny and Grandad.

The girls chose to go into Birmingham on their actual birthday, for a lunch in Zizzis and some shopping.

We met up for a friend’s birthday meet in the park

We had a fun session at our favourite HE group making mosaics

The next session was all about the Victorians. We had fun making timelines, practicing cursive writing and playing Victorian games.


Our next session was making suncatchers. All three children made some masterpieces to hang in their windows.

The final session of the year was our Christmas party 🙂

We had great fun at Conkers, learning all about forest life in the Discovery Centre and completing the assault course.

We watched the Lego Ninjago movie with friends after a yummy lunch out.

Poppy and her best friend had an amazing trip to the Harry Potter Studios for her birthday treat with Rich. The rest of us went to Ash End Farm and the Big Play Barn with a voucher I won.

We went for lunch at Cherry Reds with friends then to see Awful Auntie at the New Alexandra Theatre. It was an amazing production.

We had a wonderful day at Thomasland Magical Christmas with friends.

We met Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby for an early festive lunch.

Amber and I met our best friends for a Frozen cinema extravaganza, complete with free Lego.

We had fun with Christmas crafts and making Christmas presents for friends.

We had fun at Rosliston Forestry Centre with friends.

We went rock climbing with lots of HE friends at Rock Up.

We met Granny and Grandpa for a festive lunch and charity shop trawl.

We had fun in the snow.

We had fun at the Adventure Farm with friends

We had a wonderful time at Come Into Play with friends.

We enjoyed the Xmas Vegan Fayre.

We had a lovely time building wooden models at one of our best friends’ houses. Since then more models have been built and painted at home, and Poppy made clay models for her Chinese Tea House.

We had a fun and educational trip to Think Tank science museum.

We enjoyed the advent trail at Calke Abbey NT.

We had a great vegan afternoon tea at a local artisan bakery with friends.

We spent lots of time cooking and baking for Christmas, and enjoyed our Christmas Day at home and with extended family.

We enjoyed festive walks at Chasewater and at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We experienced Christmas from the 1980s at Hanbury Hall NT

We enjoyed watching The Star Christmas story with friends at the cinema, followed by Mr Singh’s pizza.

Autumn Adventures

October 19th, 2017 by becki

September is our favourite time of year. The schools go back, the weather is lovely and Autumn is just starting to add her beauty to the world. As usual, we made the most of this wonderful month with adventures both at home and away.

We started off with a fantastic trip to Liverpool, staying in the great YHA there courtesy of a partial refund from the Eden Project youth hostel. We spent an amazing day at Formby, a National Trust owned stretch of coastline. We rolled down sand dunes, walked on the beach, explored the asparagus fields and, most exciting of all, saw lots of red squirrels in the woodlands.

We went into Liverpool for dinner at Zizzis to celebrate our wedding anniversary and had a wander around the Albert Docks

The next day we explored the World Museum. What an amazing place! The children all loved it and we learnt so much.

Back home, we had a lovely day at our nature explorers group at Wolseley.

It was great to start back at our gymnastics class too.

Our favourite HE group, Chase, carried on all through the summer luckily. Our first Autumn session was about the Vikings, which we all enjoyed. Making Viking bread, writing our names in runes, Viking quizzes and puzzles, and playing with friends 🙂

We all really enjoyed our Hama bead key ring and jewellery making session too. The children made some amazing creations

We loved our Jack’s Wood meet too – cooking and marshmallow toasting on the fire, and Autumn crafts.

It was great to get back to our regular swimming session too 🙂

We enjoyed our Not Back to School picnic with lots of friends in the beautiful Arboretum.

We had an amazing time with friends at Witley Court,catching the refurbished fountain, learning about the house and playing in the woods.

We started volunteering at a local animal sanctuary.

We had another lovely trip away to celebrate the 4th birthday of Amber’s best friend, Violet. We spent a fabulous day exploring the gardens of Belton House, and playing in the enormous adventure playground.

After a lovely pub dinner together, and a night in a Premier Inn, we all headed to Twin Lakes theme park for an amazing day of adventure

After another busy week, including a trip to Flip Out with lots of HE friends, and an afternoon with Uncle Matt visiting from Singapore, we headed off on our “big holiday” to the Isle of Wight.

After a stop enroute to visit The Living Rainforest, we reached our Ibis Hotel in Portsmouth.

The next day we headed across on the ferry to Fishbourne, then onto Thorness Bay holiday park, our home for the week in Oaklands 28, a caravan nestled amongst the oak trees. We explored the beach at Thorness Bay and settled into our caravan. We never knew that acorns falling onto caravan roofs were so loud!

The next day we went for a swim in the holiday park pool (and for some rides on the flume!) then headed to Carisbrooke Castle. We had a great time exploring the castle and museum.

The next day we spent an amazing day at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s summer home. The children were awestruck that the Swiss Cottage, play house to the 9 royal children, was as big as our actual home! The big two enjoyed completing the trail around the house, and we all enjoyed ice cream on the queen’s private beach 🙂

We spent two awesome days at Blackgang Chine. There was so much to explore! The Water Force ride was a big hit with everyone!

Our friends joined us partway through the holiday and we had great fun together. We went swimming twice, played in the arcade, walked to the local beach, and spent an amazing sunny day on Sandown Beach. We paddled in the sea, made land art, built sandcastles, walked down the pier and ate seaside chips 🙂

Back home, we arrived just in time to celebrate Grandad’s birthday with him, before returning to our normal routine of gymnastics and groups.

Our fourth and final trip away was to Alton Towers to celebrate Amber’s upcoming birthday. She decided a year ago that she wanted to stay in the beautiful woodland lodges there. So, after a day at Peak Wildlife Park, we checked in and explored before dinner with friends at the Crooked Spoon.

The next day we met more friends for a day of adventure in the theme park 🙂

The adventures just keep on coming!

Come Into Play with wonderful friends

Jump In with yet more awesome people. Alfie was very proud to be the first to climb the ladder and ring the bell. The determination of all the others who found it more difficult was humbling to see and there were lots more successes 🙂 The jumping pillow and battle beams were great fun too, as well as the trampolines!

We had a lovely time at the wildlife trust with more awesome friends.

And playing at Crash Bang Wallop with more friends.

So many amazing autumn adventures. So much learning and fun 🙂 What a wonderful life we lead 🙂


Sensational Summer

September 19th, 2017 by becki

We have had an amazing summer. The six weeks holidays normally strike dread into our hearts as our favourite places become so crowded. We made the most of it though, and managed to find our own quiet corners to be in fresh air and nature. We enjoyed seeing schooled friends, and keeping in touch with our home ed friends. Our favourite home ed group luckily continued throughout the summer too 🙂  Oh how lovely it is to have our quiet world back again though 🙂

Here are some of the highlights of our summer of 2017.

We spent the day with Nanny for her birthday, visiting with perfume gift and home baked goodies 🙂

We had a lovely day at Aston Hall with wonderful friends. Spotting Big Sleuth bears, playing with buddies, blowing bubbles and playing games.

We attended a memorial for an old friend in Cannon Hill Park.

We went on a train ride adventure to spot the Big Sleuth bears at Resorts World and the airport

We had fun picking fruit with friends, and making blueberry muffins with our haul when we got home.

We were very glad that our lovely HE group carried on through the summer, meeting fortnightly at Redwood Park and community centre, and monthly for forest fun at Jack’s Wood.

We had a lovely day at Lickey Hills with friends.

We spent a couple of days on a mini break to YHA Sherwood Forest with friends. We had a sunny picnic at Clumber Park and had fun completing the bugs and bees trail in the beautiful walled garden. An evening of board games and makeover fun in the youth hostel followed 🙂 The next day we were deluged with rain, but still managed to enjoy Sherwood Forest and the major oak.

We spent a lovely day with friends at Blakesley Hall. We weaved rainbow fish in the craft room, completed the scarecrow trail in the garden, and the bear trail in the hall

We spent fun days tracking down all 237 Big Sleuth bears and exploring the museum and art gallery.

We had fun in Solihull and Tudor Grange Park with friends.

We had two fun summer play dates with friends in Beacon Park.

We had a great time hunting for fossils with friends at Wrens Nest. We found some amazing and fascinating fossils, as well as having lots of fun on rope swings and with Sidney the dog.

A trip to Lapworth Museum of Geology was a great way to find out more about the fossils that we had found. They have an amazing collection of minerals too. Amber loved it so much that she asked to go back on her birthday 😂

We went fruit picking with some lovely schooled friends.

We had a great time at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Willard Wigan’s amazing miniature art on the eye of a needle, on beard hairs and eye lashes was fascinating. We also enjoyed our tour of an abandoned jewellery factory. Amber got to be the jeweller’s apprentice!

We met friends at a local playground after our Jack’s Wood meet.

We had fun at Sarehole Mill with friends touring the mill and doing the craft activity.

We had a lovely day at Baddesley Clinton National Trust with schooled friends.

We had a great time at Boarstall Duck Decoy with our extended family.

We enjoyed seeing the Emoji Movie

We had a great time with lovely friends at Wolseley nature reserve.

We had a great day at Shugborough Hall.

We spent lots of time cooking, crafting, gardening, reading, playing games and looking after the chickens.

Summer Spectacular

July 26th, 2017 by becki

It has been an amazing summer so far. The weather has been a curious mix of scorching hot, wet and cold, and somewhere in between! We have been on two trips to youth hostels, lots of amazing days out with friends, several theme park visits, lots of time spent in the great outdoors and a sprinkling of craft and art 🙂 Here are some of the highlights 🙂

We have had lots of trips to the swimming pool, where all three children have made great progress with their swimming, as well as having fun playing with friends.

We have been to gymnastics many times, usually following it with an afternoon’s play in the park with lovely friends.

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We have been enjoying our fortnightly home education group, where subjects have included cake designing, mosaicing, a session on science where we were in charge of a slime making stall, and the Tudors.

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We have also been enjoying our monthly woodland meets, with cooking over the open fire, tree identification, dog cuddles, rope swings and bark rubbings 🙂

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Our monthly nature explorers group has included hape zome and lots of fun and exploration with friends.

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We have been on an exciting trip to YHA Hartington Hall with friends, where we explored Dovedale one day, then spent a fabulous day at Gullivers Kingdom the next. The boys had great fun playing board games in the evening whilst the girls all played.

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We had a lovely day with friends at Wonderland in Telford.

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We had two fabulous trips with different friends to Tettenhall pool.

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A lovely day with friends at the Arboretum splash pad.

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Two lovely lovely day with different friends at Sherbrook stepping stones

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We met up with some friends from Australia that we hadn’t seen for 5 years!

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We had a great day learning all about animals at Peak Wildlife Park. A lady told us so much about the deer, and let us feel some discarded antlers.

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We also learnt lots at Gentleshaw Animal Sanctuary.

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We learnt all about the Victorians at Blists Hill Victorian Town.

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And did some Victorian (and other!) role play of our own at home.

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We had a great day at Think Tank science museum, especially exploring a fantastic disco ball constructed of hundreds of tiny mirrors each representing drawings and photographs of different stages of an eclipse. The man was very informative explaining it to us.

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We had a great time at a home ed session at Flip Out trampoline park.

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We spent a great day at Shugborough National Trust.

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A lovely day with friends at Kedleston National Trust

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Meeting with relatives at Stowe National Trust

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A lovely day at Trentham Gardens with friends

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We had great fun at a friend’s birthday party at Wildwood park.

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We went to a lovely park with Granny and Grandpa

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We have begun our Big Sleuth bear hunt, which will be carried on through the summer holidays.

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We had a lovely day den building, picnicking and playing with lovely friends at Hartshill Hayes.


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A lovely time with friends at Elvaston Castle.

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We have played board games.

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Alfie built his own flat pack shelving unit for his Lego Dimensions.

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We have done lots of cooking. We have harvested lots of fruit and vegetables that we have grown ourselves in our veggie patch too.

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We welcomed four new chickens into our brood and have spent lots of time outside caring for them and gardening, as well as playing outdoors.




We have had some science days.

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