Journey into Unschooling

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  ;-)


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  ;-)


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.


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.


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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Sunshine and Fun!

July 8th, 2014 by becki

Here is just a snapshot of what we have been up to this week.

Lego zoos with train tracks connecting them.

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A trip to two different libraries on two different days for new books and audio CDs, one followed by a pub lunch and the other by playground fun :-)

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Gym class fun. Alfie and Holly are really enjoying their classes and making great progress. They were tested for and passed their level 8 certification last week. Amber has enjoyed her classes too, but has decided not to carry on with them for now.

We spent time with Nanny and Grandad.

We went to Wolverhampton art gallery for the How to Train your Dragon exhibition. We are currently working our way through this series of books at bedtime, and are on book 6 of 11. There was also time for ice cream and playing cops and robbers in the beautiful church gardens.

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We had a lovely play date with the Webbs – Minecrafting, garden fun and cardboard cities!

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There was lots of cooking as usual – fairy cakes, vegan banana oat muffins, risotto, curry, homemade pizza and dough balls….

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We spent a fun Friday Club at the Arboretum – crafting, cycling on the skate park, playing with all our friends on the playground and in the water jets.

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We spent time in the garden and with the chickens. Tulip decided to walk all over the workbooks and steal the limelight ;-)

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We had fun on the Gruffalo trail at Birches Valley.

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We had a great day stream dipping and climbing red mountain with friends.  The children caught lots of pond skaters, water beetle larvae and a newt tadpole.

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Amber took a few snaps of her best friend Rabbitty!

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Our Week in Pictures

June 29th, 2014 by becki







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Potatoes harvested from our garden.

Garden fun.

Bike riding in Beacon Park before our solstice barbecue. Amber has progressed from trike to bike now!

Smoothie making and Peppa Pig fun.

Water jet fun at the Arboretum with lots of our friends.

Fantastic play date at the Webbs.

New chickens! Say hello to Pru, Tilly, Tulip and Enderdragon :-)

Hi! I am back!!!!

June 20th, 2014 by becki

I have been away sorting out this gallstones malarkey. After 6 months of  dietary changes, taking Rowachol and gold coin grass to dissolve them, doing a flush, and lots of other natural options, I was just getting more and more unwell. Pain and nausea were taking over my life – and as I have the best life ever, I do not want it ruined by illness! i had constant gallbladder inflammation, even needing antibiotics, plus constant pain and feeling sick. It really limits your life – and makes you grumpy. being pigheaded I never took painkillers and carried on doing things with the kids, but boy has it been an exhausting, painful, difficult 6 months :-( So, last Friday the 13th (!!!) I went for a laparascopic cholecystectomy at Sandwell Hospital. I have a terrible fear of general anaesthetics, being a control freak, but it was fine ;-) I was told that I had the quickest recovery from a general the theatre nurse had ever seen. Op shortly after 9, woke up 10.30 needing n0 oxygen or time in recovery, back on ward drinking tea and posting on Facebook by 11 and eating lunch at 12 LOL.  It is major surgery so i have been sore, but at the end of week one I am probably 65% better – although no lifting for another 4 or 5 weeks, which is the most frustrating bit! Goodbye gallstones! Well, actually, I have them in a jar so they are still here – but the pain they have caused is gone. Hurrah!

So, here is a brief round up of what has been happening in our unschooling lives during this past couple of unusual weeks.

The week leading up to surgery was painful and surreal, but we kept busy to keep all our spirits up.

Shopping and lunch at Morrisons.


Amber started her active toddlers gym class, whilst the big two started an evening gym class where they can work towards their badges. They already had several gym and trampolining badges from their old class in Sutton, and declared this class to be fantastic. I took them the first week, when it was a special fun week with bouncy castle and slide as well as gymnastics. last week was back to a proper gym class and they absolutely loved it. The instructors are a lot better than at their old class. Dad took Amber to her class whilst i was incapacitated last week and Rich took the big two :-)


A day cycling and playing in Dartmouth  park with Rach and her 5 littlies, plus Bex and baby Violet.

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The day before my op Alfie and Holly went to see Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain live at Birmingham town hall with Rich and lots of home ed friends. I took the opportunity to take Amber to ash End Farm, where we had a lovely day. The bigs are too old for farms now so poor Amber never gets to go usually! She got to feed the ducks, hold chicks and a duckling, stroke rabbits and guinea pigs, sit on a pony, go on a tractor and trailer ride, feed the animals…

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On the day of my op Rich took all the children to their Friday Club home ed group, and he has done so again today so that I can have a break :-) Alfie and Holly have been great at lifting things and helping me out, but with 3 children around rest is never possible lol.

Rich  has been a star, mucking in with housework and childcare whenever required, whilst still trying to do some work. He took Alfie and Amber for a ramble around the nature reserve, where they spotted lots of wildlife and had great fun. He drove us to Morrisons so we could shop and have lunch. I just ordered everyone else around as I can’t lift anything lol. Mom and Dad came and helped out, including mountains of washing up as all 3 children obviously had to bake a totally different type of cake each ;-) My fabulous friend Elaine came over for a play date, which involved lots of her sweeping up and pushing children on the swing ;-) Elaine and the lovely Rach came to soft play with us at Crash Bang Wallop and did all the tray carrying, wet trouser changing and child lifting duties :-) I am so blessed!!! The wonderful messages, cards, flowers and even a gooseberry tree off lovely, lovely friends have kept my spirits up too :-) I love, love my wonderful friends and family so much.

A few more snapshots of the last week :-)

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Our Fortnight in Pictures

June 8th, 2014 by becki

I am so behind on my blog! This is largely because my surgery was supposed to be last Friday, but got postponed for another week due to an urgent case taking precedence :-( This has totally thrown me, and my gallbladder seems to agree as it has been getting progressively more painful as the days passed. I am half expecting the same to happen again this week but am desperately hoping it doesn’t or I fear I will end up admitting myself anyway. Ho-hum. Staying positive!!! Here is a little of what you missed :-)

Whilst the car went for it’s MOT, Alfie and Grandad built the new swing. This has been so well used over the last couple of weeks! The kids have pined for a swing since we moved and left the old one behind in Sutton. Moving the chicken coop down near the house left just the perfect space for a double swing :-)

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Right next to the other garden favourite – the trampoline!


We went to Brownhills Library to get lots of new books and audio CDs.

We went to Crash Bang Wallop soft play to meet schooled friends – Sally, Evie and Finn, and Julie, Will and Evie.

We spent lots of time in the garden. Doing play dough, making cards, building sand castles, designing giant water slides, weeding, chicken keeping, playing golf and crochet, paddling, doing sticker maths books, swinging, bouncing, playing and working!

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We have been doing lots of fun things in the house too – cooking, crafts, Lego, jigsaws, board games, Minecraft, imaginary games, magazines….

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We cycled down to Oak Park and went to the Family Fit and Fun Day. The kids got to make smoothies using pedal power on the smoothie bike, try out the active gym classes, go on the bouncy castle, have balloon models made and get lots of freebies from the stalls. All three children have now joined the active gym class and will do their trial classes next week.  We had a picnic in the playground afterwards, before cycling back home.

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We had a lovely day at Alton Towers with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. We managed to try out some of the new CBeebies Land rides, as well as our old favourites.

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Alfie enjoyed his Morrisons meat free breakfast whilst helping me with the shopping :-)


We went to the library in Sutton Coldfield for yet more books and audio CDS, and got to watch the car tyre being fixed en route!


We spent a lovely day at the Arboretum with five other families (17 kids!) enjoying cycling, playing in the water jets on the splash pad and the playground. Amber had a ball pushing baby Violet on the swings :-)

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We had a lovely bike ride and play at Cannock Chase.

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Always flowers to be found amongst the weeds :-)

Marvellous Machines and Rainy Fun

May 26th, 2014 by becki

This week has involved lots of fun :-)

We spent a lovely day cycling and playing in the sun at Beacon Park on Monday with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. The ladies at aqua fit commented on my sunburn – despite covering myself in sun cream!!!

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We went to the Roland Emmett exhibition, Marvellous Machines, at the Gas Hall. The kids absolutely loved the mad, fascinating contraptions – and Holly discovered the joys of spirographs!

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We had a fantastic day at Conkers with three other HE families – 13 children, a sunny day, train rides, adventure playground, water play, barefoot walk with copious amounts of mud, baby coots, ducklings and goslings and fun in the discovery centre followed by ice cream. the perfect day!

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We had a great time at Friday Club in a special workshop making solar powered boats.

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There was also lots of fun playing Minecraft with friends, designing Lego contraptions and running a play dough cafe :-)

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We had a lovely day at Birmingham Conservation park, admiring the monkeys, ocelots, lynx, red squirrels, otters and meerkats, amongst others.

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There has also been lots of fun at home. Planting vegetables out into pots, weeding the vegetable patch, playing with the chickens.

Cooking – pizza, Malteser refrigerator cake, peppermint creams to name but a few.

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Holly and Alfie discovered the video making facility on their 3DSs and have been making all manner of inspired and mad videos :-)

There has also been the usual jigsaws, Minecraft, reading, drawing, clothes designing with her Crayola kit (Holly), puzzles, trampoline bouncing, strategy board  games, pretend cafe running, spring cleaning, and lots more fun!


Ups and Downs

May 18th, 2014 by becki

Last week we had a very sad day. A fox came into the garden during daylight, in the early evening, and attacked and killed Bowser :-(   It is so lucky that I was looking out the window and ran outside screaming or we would have lost many many more.  Poor thing only had three months of freedom, but she was happy, which is what mattered.  The chickens now have a 4m run instead of 2m, and we spend time supervising them completely free range each day.



We had a lovely time at Friday Club – making potions, doing crafts, playing in the garden and spending time with friends.

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Back home, Holly made a collage to remember Bowser, using some of her feathers, and both girls used acrylic paints to make memorial stones for Bowser and Butterfly.


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We completed week 3 of our kitchen chemistry course – looking at solubility.

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We went to Waterstones so the children could use their book vouchers from Easter, then headed to Wetherspoons and to Walsall New Art Gallery.

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We spent a fun day with Elaine, Jacob and Jess at Wibbly Wobbly World of Play. The kids even got to stroke a live tortoise!

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Amber and I went to the toddler swimming session where she had fun watering ducks and practicing her swimming.

She also made lemon cake when we got home :-)

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We spent a lovely sunny day at Drayton Manor Theme Park and zoo with Nanny and Grandad, admiring the meerkats and swinging apes and going on all the rides. Alfie was pleased that he has overcome his hatred of spinning rides, and went on various carousels and roundabouts amny times. Amber ventured on some rides she was previously scared of too :-) Holly declared herself too big for Thomasland and only wanted to go on the rollercoasters and main theme park rides :-)

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We had a lovely play date at Sarah’s house – 15 children, lots of outdoor play, a sprinkling of Minecraft, some canal dipping and lots of fun!


We had a wonderful day at Umberslade Adventure Park – tackling assault courses, lighting a camp fire, jungle drumming and generally going wild in the woods.

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We completed week 4 of our kitchen chemistry course – indicators, acids and alkalis.

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We spent lots of time playing in the garden – weeding, trampolining, cycling and skateboarding, water play, chicken run building, painting, cooking sausages and onions on a fire….

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There was also lots more fun this week, from sewing to playing to Minecrafting to dolls houses :-)

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Fun Times

May 7th, 2014 by becki

We have had another lovely week :-)

There was lots of fun at the Sea Life Centre with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. They have a new colony of gentoo penguins, which all the children loved :-) There was a new trail to follow too, with questions to answer and activities such as touching a crab and star fish.


Afterwards we went to the Library of Birmingham to chill out with our friends and borrow even more books and audio books.


We visited Nanny and Grandad.

We spent a lovely day riding bikes and playing in Dartmouth Park with Elaine, Jacob, Jess, Rach, Cian, Cadi, Mael, Iolo and Teifi.





We spent a lovely, sunny day following a treasure trail around Bournville. We got to hear the carillion play, and walk amongst the beautiful cherry blossom trees whilst discovering places that we didn’t know existed. Some of the clues were very hard to solve and really taxed the brain!


We spent time gardening and caring for the chickens. Amber, Alfie and Holly built water runs, and Amber played in the sand pit, and set up a cafe from her play house :-)



Holly made soda bread and Amber made fairy cakes.





Yesterday we went to a session about dinosuar bones and fossils at Lapworth geology Museum at University of Birmingham. The children loved holding the fossilised teeth and claws, and seeing the dinosaur skulls.




Afterwards we went to Birmingham botanical Gardens to let off some steam with Elaine, Jacob, Jess, Bex and Violet. there was much rolling down of hills, playing, banana and citrus fruit spotting, big fish watching, parrot talking and hiding in bushes whilst waving sticks ;-)





Today we went swimming. All three children had a brilliant time. Alfie and Holly have been gradually letting air out of their rubber rings whilst teaching themselves to swim, and today were doing lengths with them nearly flat!

Alfie made pizza dough before we went swimming, and topped it when we got back, so he had a delicious tea waiting :-)

More Easter Fun!

April 29th, 2014 by becki

We have had a lovely easter holidays meeting our friends and generally having fun :-)

We have spent lots of time at home doing fun things. Holly made hot cross buns and quiche one day, and blueberry cakes another. Alfie made his world famous chocolate brownies.








We earthed up potatoes, planted poppies and chillies, weeded.

Amber made homemade moon dough.




She also did painting, cutting, sticking, drawing….





There was also plenty of fort building, monster designing and tower making :-)

We completed week 2 of our kitchen chemistry course – exploring the differences between physical changes (changes of state) and chemical changes.










We had lots of fun at Kenilworth castle with Caroline, Lauren, Tom, Martha, and lots of our HE friends too. the kids had a ball exploring the castle, especially rolling down the steep hills and playing hide and seek in all the secret rooms :-)

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Holly and I went into Birmingham for lunch and to watch the play of Hetty Feather at the town hall. It was an amazing performance and Holly managed to concentrate for the whole 2.5 hours. it was lovely to spend some time together just the two of us :-) Alfie and Amber enjoyed a day with Nanny and Grandad :-)

We spent a lovely sunny day in Kingsbury Water Park with Sarah, Alice and Saule, riding bikes and playing :-)




We went to Beacon Park in Lichfield after visiting the library to pay for Alfie’s Siegeneering workshop . Everyone spent a lot of time cycling and playing, and we were thrilled to meet lots of HE friends :-)

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We had a lovely time at Space Hoppas soft play with Rachel, Elaine and our ten kids :-)

We all received a clean bill of health from the dentist, and Alfie from the optician.

We visited the library for lots of new books and CDs. Holly read us all some of her new books when we got home.

I went to aqua fit and caught up with Bex and the lovely baby Violet.

All in all a lovely week :-)

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