Journey into Unschooling

Fantastic Fortnight

October 19th, 2014 by becki

What a fun fortnight we have had :-) It began with a road trip to Weston Super Mare for the sand sculpture festival.  The sculptures were themed around famous books, and were amazing. Afterwards, there was a chance to try your own hand at sand sculpture. holly made a house on a hill and a turtle :-)

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There was plenty of time for a play on the beach, including a dip in the sea up to their necks for some of the children – not bad for October!

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There is always time for geo caching and tree climbing too ;-)

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We went swimming twice in the past fortnight too. Amber’s swimming is coming on well, and Alfie has finally mastered putting his head underwater :-)

We had a fun day with friends at Funaticz soft play.

We went to Forest Arts Centre for a screening of BBC Ten Pieces – featuring ten pieces of classical music set to live action or animation. Alfie loved it, and Amber has been attempting to play the pieces ever since :-)

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We spent time at Nanny and Grandad’s house. sorting through treasures from the past that Grandad had unearthed.

Alfie and Holly went to two gym classes.

We had fun at a play date at a friend’s house.

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We had great fun at Friday Club making instruments, playing with our friends, painting and (in Holly’s case), making a giant flower sculpture.

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We collected three new rescue chickens – Buckbeak, Snowdrop and Matilda :-)

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We went for lunch with the lovely Charlotte and her baby bump.

We had a lovely day at the safari park with friends. Holly spent the day at Nanny and Grandad’s house making different designs of paper aeroplanes and loom bands.

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We spent a day playing with lots of HE friends at Just Play.

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We went on an amazing road trip to Blackpool with friends. Eleven children all sharing four apartments in the same house. fantastic fun :-) Madame Tussauds, Blackpool Tower Eye, circus, soft play, Sea Life Centre, beach, geo caching under the pier, ferris wheel, Terraria fests, shared meals, illuminations fun, tram rides and chips. What more can you ask for? The weather was largely gorgeous too :-)

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We went to the Rainforest Symphony play at Birmingham repertory Theatre, followed by lunch at Jimmy Spices for Daddy’s birthday, and a trip to Lush.

There was also lots of cooking, crafts, playing and fun :-) The children decided to draw, cut out and stick in the correct places all the organs of the body. Amber was the body model ;-) There has been card making, modelling clay crafting, painting, drawing, Nanoblock world famous monument building and much more :-)

Planting the seeds she got at the theatre

Planting the seeds she got at the theatre

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Drawing round Amber so they can stick all the organs of the body on.

Drawing round Amber so they can stick all the organs of the body on.

What an amazing fortnight :-) We love home educating so much :-)

Autumn Antics

October 4th, 2014 by becki

We have had so much fun since getting back from our holiday :-) Some sad times too. We lost both Tulip and Goldie Mario to egg yolk peritonitis within two days of each other :-( Goldie had been free for just over a year, Tulip only 3 months. Fly high little ones!

Back to the good times :-)

Alfie and Holly are enjoying their gym classes. Holly is really enjoying teaching herself to swim too. The girls and I went swimming with Bex and Violet earlier in the week. We have been to Walsall library, and to Sutton Library, to restock with new books and audio CDs. The Lego storyteller kit arrived, prompting lots of imaginative scenes and stories from the kids. There has been lots of cooking and crafting, and toasting marshmallows on the fire bowl.  There has been non-Newtonian fluids, play dough and paint.

Alfie and Holly had a fantastic time at their forensic science workshop at Think Tank science museum. Amber wandered around the exhibits with her friends whilst the big ones were in their workshop, and had great fun. After a play in the science garden, it was time for the cauldron chemistry show – with lots of bangs, flashes and cool experiments.

We had a lovely day at Birches Valley with lots of our HE friends, building a fantastic den complete with benches :-)

We had a lovely day at RAF Cosford’s HE day – learning all about flight through making and testing paper aeroplanes, building our own rockets (Alfie’s went the furthest out of everyone’s!) and exploring onboard the Hercules aircraft.

We celebrated Grandad’s 70th birthday with a day at Drayton Manor :-)

We went climbing and bouldering at Wolf Mountain with lots of HE friends. I am now belay trained ao the kids can climb whenever they like. It was the first time I had climbed for over two decades!!!

Friday Club at Kingsbury Water Park was great fun – full of Autumn crafts, Lego and playground fun with freinds, as well as finding another geocache :-)

 

Hafan Y Mor!

September 24th, 2014 by becki

We are just back from a wonderful holiday at Hafan Y Mor in North Wales. We stayed in a lovely luxury lodge in a private gated area of the park. The kids loved pressing the button on the key fob to open the electronic gates! The lodge was great, with TVs and DVD players in all three bedrooms as well as a big one in the lounge, ensuite, washing machine, big decked area with table and chairs, and lovely furniture. The park itself was lovely, with a fantastic swimming pool complex with waves, bounce pool, rapids, slides etc.  There were loads of play areas, three private beaches, adventure golf, pedalos on the lake, woodland walks – even a Starbucks and Burger king ;-) . It was lovely! The only downside was the dishwasher in our accommodation not working – but we were given a £40 voucher for dinner in the onsite pub which made up for it ;-)

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On the journey there, we stopped off at Chirk Castle. There was a fab natural play area to run off a bit of steam after sitting in the car. We explored the gardens, towers and dungeon.

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We spent a couple of days exploring the holiday park and rock pooling on the beach, catching a crab, sand goby, and lots of shrimp. We also found several dead jellyfish! We took to the lake on a pedalo and got right up close to the grey heron on his island. We completed the activity trail through the woods, visited the bat hotel (an original chalet from when it was a Butlins that the bats had colonised), went swimming three times (twice all of us, once just me and Holly) and tried out all the play areas and walks.

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We spent an amazing day at Greenwood Forest Park – sledging down the dry slope, riding the people powered rollercoaster and trying out all the other rides and activities. Holly had a go at archery too.

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We climbed up to and explored Criccieth Castle, before heading to the beach. We also found a couple of geocaches ;-)

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Cadwalader’s vegan sorbet ;-)

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We spent a lovely day at the beach in Pwllheli.

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And a wonderful day at the Centre for Alternative Technology. The vegan food in the restaurant and all the environmentally friendly ideas and technology were right up our lots’ street ;-) They particularly enjoyed the wind seat, powered by a wind turbine, and the earthworm composter slide ;-) An amazing place, and really interesting. A water butt and solar panels are next on Alfie’s list for home :-)

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An amazing week – 100/10 according to Alfie ;-) By the end though, they were missing Jasmine and the chickens, and looking forward to getting home, so all was good :-) After “the great holiday disasters of 2012″ (two holidays in the same year ruined by sick bugs), I am always apprehensive about holidays, but this one was an amazing success :-) :-)

September Shenanigans :-)

September 13th, 2014 by becki

September has been a lovely month so far :-)

It started with a visit from Nanny and Grandad, followed by the first meet up of the new Cannock home educators group at Go Bananas soft play. It was a lovely day, with about 30 children attending :-) Later, back to gym classes for Alfie and Holly.

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We had a lovely, sunny day out at Tamworth Castle with the Kellys. Playground fun, cycling and finding a tiny, tiny geocache :-)

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A lovely day at Bosworth Water with lots of other home educating families. Swimming in the lake, sand sculptures, playground fun and games, crazy gold and stick whittling.

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There was a lovely Not Back to School picnic at dartmouth Park, with a phenomenal turn out of home educating families.

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Lunch out at Pizza Express for our 11th wedding anniversary – followed by more geocaching.

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Yet more geocaching at the Swag and Swan Pool, coal mines that collapsed and are now beautiful lakes teeming with wildlife.

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Fun and games at home, including shelling borlotti benas, making pizza, board games and crafting.

Operation!

Operation!

Guess Who

Guess Who

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Meeting friends for geocaching at Chasewater – and a dip in the lake. Followed by gym class.

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A lovely day at Wolseley Nature Reserve.

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An awesome day at Alton Towers. Alfie went on the runaway mine train for the first time. Holly declared the rapids and mine train her favourite rides. Amber loved the Froghopper :-) Tea stop at McDonalds on the way home with our friends.

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Another visit from Nanny and Grandad, more geocaching in the local area, lots of time spent caring for the chickens. All in all, the first half of September has been fab :-)

Our Week :-)

August 31st, 2014 by becki

A lovely week :-)

Vegan brunch in Verdo Lounge, followed by fabric shop and the library. New sewing machine joy! We have had hand warmers and lavender pillows galore from Holly ;-)

Friday Club at the Arboretum. Making our own geocache, and finding an existing one. Bike riding and Lego. Rock bugs and making our own 3D version of the Arboretum. Great fun!

Lunch in Jimmy Spice and geocaching in Sutton Park. Identifying trees from our tree book, and water fowl from our bird book.

Bank Holiday baking and crafts.

Witley Court fun with the Tates and Kellys.  Den building, fountain admiring, hill rolling and tree climbing galore. A lovely day!

Fantastic day at Croome Park with Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby. Completing the big spenders trail, exploring the grounds and playing :-) Followed by a Crown carvery :-)

Nanny and Grandad visits.

Curry with good friends.

Birches Valley with the Jones/Thomas and Kelly clan. Den building and inventing :-)

Geocaching in holland Park, library books and playground fun :-) Plus a visit to the Craft Patch.

Fabulous week :-)

The Week in Pictures

August 20th, 2014 by becki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A fantastic day at Wolseley Nature Centre with Jenni, Eve, Faith, Idris and Rose, and Bex and Violet. Climbing trees, spotting herons and butterflies, swinging, playing games, climbing on sculptures and running through the woods.

A fun play date with Dylan, Aaron, Phoebe, Jacob and Jess.

Friday Club fun at the Arboretum – sewing scavenger bags on the sewing machines, completing scavenger hunts, and creating a giant collaborative picture of the park, before retiring to the playground for a well earned play (except Holly who carried on sewing ;p)

Monkeying around at Shire Oak Park.

Phoebe’s 3rd birthday party – bouncy castle and party game fun with lots of friends :-)

Fun at Baggeridge Park with the Webbs and Kellys – looking for geocaches, spotting baby coots on the pond, building sand castles with jelly pots and swinging with friends.

Fun with Nanny and Grandad whilst the car was being fixed.

Fantastic day at Attingham Park with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. Egg and spoon and sack races, walking on logs high over streams, getting up close to the deer, tree climbing and eating apples off the tree.

The most momentous moment of all – Amber is now in pants! At 3 years 9 months she declared herself ready :-) I would recommend waiting until they are ready. She has found it the easiest out of all three of them :-)

Also, I went to my first aquafit class for 12 weeks!!!!

August Antics

August 12th, 2014 by becki

Yesterday was my birthday :-) I received lots of lovely cards, gifts and messages :-) Big contributions to my Lush fund, wine, vouchers, a vegan baking book and lots more. We spent the day at Ryton Organic Gardens, which was deserted despite it being the summer holidays. The kids loved doing the spotting trails. We visited Fresh Rootz vegetarian and vegan cafe which was fab :-)

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I was lucky to be taken out to the Broadway for dinner by the lovely Sally H for my birthday a few days previously too :-) It was lovely to catch up :-)

This week has also held a lovely lunch at Pizza Express with my old and lovely friend Jo. She lives a long way away, and I sadly had to miss her 40th birthday party due to ill health. It was great to treat her to lunch and catch up :-) The children spent a fun day with Nanny and Grandad whilst we met up.

We also had a lovely, water balloon filled play date with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. The boys retired upstairs to play Lego whilst the three girls rampaged in the garden ;-)

We spent an awesome day at Weston Park with Sarah, Dylan, Aaron and Phoebe. Playing on the giant adventure playground, riding the train, collecting slugs and making habitats for them, rescuing a frog, exploring the formal gardens (which even has a cave!) and getting lost in the maze :-) A fantastic day indeed :-)

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We went to a lovely Friday Club at the Arboretum, all about butterflies. We spotted butterflies in the rose garden, made our own butterflies from scavenged treasures, made butterfly feeders, then played in the park.

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We went for lunch at Pickle Jack’s with Nanny, Grandad, Matt and Mei Mei.

We went into Brownhills to buy some vinyl for the pantry, which Rich then fitted. We had a big, big tidy out and rearrange in there too.

We spent time in the garden painting, gardening and with the chickens :-)

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Tilly!

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We had puppet shows, crafts, cooking, playing, cleaning and jigsaws :-) We received a fab “sorry” parcel from Dobbies after their Lego trail wasn’t set up when we arrived to do it the other week :-)

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Sunny Fun

August 2nd, 2014 by becki

What a lovely week :-)

Water bombs in the garden – leading to lots of experiments filling balloons with different proportions of air and water. Making summer pudding with blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and raspberries from our own garden.

Meeting up with Caroline, Lauren, Tom and Martha in Dartmouth Park. The playground was packed, so the kids played together making their own entertainment. There was den building using pushchairs and picnic blankets, gymnastics, tree climbing and Minecraft ;-)

A fantastic day at Rosliston forestry centre with Sarah, Dylan, Aaron, Phoebe and Elaine, Jacob and Jess. There was den building, playground fun, crossing a stream on a log bridge, discovering fairy doors in the forest, woodland adventures and lots of walking and climbing.

Cycling and puppet shows at Chasewater with Sally, Evie and Finn. The girls spent ages decorating branches with flowers and leaves. There was lots of cycling, climbing, duck feeding and even a Punch and Judy show ;-)

Friday Club was all about trees at the Arboretum. The children had great fun discovering some of the trees that grow there, then using real artists’ canvases to paint their own tree pictures. The different styles and interpretations were amazing. All three children concentrated amazingly well and are so proud of their pictures – now mounted on the wall at home in pride of place.  There was also some tree shaking to discover what bugs lived in different trees. Afterwards time spent playing with friends in the splash pad and play area – as well as some Minecrafting of course!

Today, our lake visiting plans were spoilt by the rain, so instead we went for lunch with Granny and Grandpa. Hopefully there will be more sunny days to come soon!

Heatwave Fun.

July 27th, 2014 by becki

The last week has been an absolute scorcher! It has also been the start of the school summer holidays so the avoiding crowds has begun :-/ Despite having two arrangements postponed due to illness (Caroline’s Tom, and Bex and Violet) it has been a fun week :-)

We had a lovely day out in Stafford. Alfie has now chosen to become vegan so we were excited to try the vegan options at Pizza Express. The vegan pizza is a winner! Holly designed a great sea monster whilst waiting for her pasta  ;-)

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We had a lovely time playing in Victoria Park, visiting the aviary, glasshouses and old mill.

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A trip to Dobbies to follow the Lego trail (which the hadn’t set up yet lol!) We had a nice time rescuing a sad, reduced tomato plant, looking at the fish, trying out their cafe’s vegan wares, and buying a 250 piece Where’s Wally jigsaw which Alfie has now completed :-)

A visit to the library in Mere Green and playground.  We attempted the mythical mazes treasure hunt around the library before leaving with armfuls of books and audio CDs.  All the water bombs bought from Stafford yesterday were used up, so we popped to the shop to get more  ;-)

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Followed by making a card for Nanny’s birthday.

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We had a lovely day at Blists Hill Victorian Town with Nanny and Grandad. The summer holidays brought crowds, but also some positives – the steam carousel was working, there was a steam road roller driving around the town, along with a horse and cart.

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We spent a fantastic day stream paddling, mud wallowing, bridge building and tree climbing with lovely friends, followed by red mountain and an ice lolly in the park :-)

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Cooking summer pudding, vegan stew and French bread.

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A lovely, sunny day cycling, tree climbing and roaming the gardens at Elvaston Castle with Charlotte and Bella :-)

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A meal out at Pickle Jack’s for Nanny’s birthday followed by Walsall library. Lots more books and CDs as well as completing the mythical mazes treasure hunt there.

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Trying out my old drawing machine and rollerskates in the garden.

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Busy Summer Days :-)

July 19th, 2014 by becki

We have been having some lovely sunny weather – with a few thunder storms thrown in for good measure! It has been ideal weather for enjoying our last few days of freedom before the dreaded school summer holidays ;-)

There has been lots of fun out and about.

A last gym class (until September) where the children were presented with their certificates.

Lunch in Sainsburys cafe.

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Fun and frolics with Rachel and her five lovely littlies :-)

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A fantastic Friday Club at Dartmouth Park with cycling, swinging, secret den finding and Minecrafting :-)

Scooting and sliding at Beacon park.

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A fun day at Boscobel House and the Royal Oak. The very loud cockerel was a real hit! We walked across the sheep field to the Royal Oak where Charles II hid from the soldiers. You can see Amber and Alfie in the family room looking at pictures of panels and paintings in the house which depict a minute king hiding in the tree. It was a real challenge to find him in the pictures, even with a magnifying glass. Back in those days the oak was in a thick wood, not a sheep field! There were also all sorts of objects that you could touch and try to guess what they were – including a cannon ball and a pottery grenade! There was lots of armour to try on and activities to complete. In the old hunting lodge the steward let Alfie go down the priest hole and see what it would have been like to hide in there.

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We had a lovely day at Think Tank with Elaine, Jacob and Jess.

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A lovely trip to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 at Empire Cinema with 14 home ed friends.

A beautiful day with scores of home ed family swimming and playing at Tettenhall Pool.

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A water filled play date with the Webbs.

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A fabulous Friday Club making lip balms, crafting and playing with friends.

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Followed by more paddling pool play.

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There has also been lots of fun at home.

Baking, sewing, crafting, chicken caring, jigsaws, games, books, magazines, outside play – and an experiment involving rehydrating dried apricots ;-)

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