Journey into Unschooling

Big Catch Up!

April 12th, 2014 by becki

Wow, I haven’t updated for a while. Things just seem to have been so busy in so many ways!

After Alfie’s birthday, it was straight back into our normal busy lives. We went for a lovely lunch at Pickle Jack’s with Nanny, Grandad and Uncle John, to say thank you for building our fence. We had a fun day at Fourways Play Centre with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. We had lots of fun at Friday Club.

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And made cakes when we got home :)

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We met Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby for a fantastic day at Snibston Discovery Centre. It was great to catch up, and the kids all ahd fun palying together.

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Alfie, Amber and I had a an amazing day at Dudley Zoo and Castle, with lots and lots of our home ed friends. Holly spent a happy day with Nanny and Grandad as she didn’t feel like coming. The rain soon dried up and we had an amazing day seeing all the animals and playing with friends.

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On Tuesday we had a quieter day to regroup for the rest of our busy week. Amber made a bird from the craft drawers. Alfie and Holly spent time playing games and drawing. Amber and I went for a parent and toddler swim at Oak Park pool.

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We had a lovely day at Come Into Play with Cian, Cadi, Mael, Iolo, Teifi, Rachel and Rob. Lots of space to run off energy and explore the extension to the play frame.

Alfie and Holly really enjoyed their Lego Control robot workshop and animation workshop at Think Tank science museum. Whilst they were in their sessions, the younger children explored the galleries together. It was a fantastic day, and the kids learnt loads.

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We had a lovely time at a very busy Friday Club, followed by play at Sarah’s house.

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As well as repotting plants, cleaning out chickens and other chores, today has mainly been a crafty day. Amber and Holly have been doing Bendaroo modelling, Amber has been making moon dough animals, Alfie has been tidying his drawers out to make room for all the Minecraft papercraft models he has made, and Holly finished the sun catcher that she started at Friday Club yesterday. Alfie also made the alien, stomach and brain from his alien operation kit, as well as making some alien goo (non-Newtonian fluid). We also played Pop to the Shops :-)

Amber made a Bendaroo pineapple!

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My Biggest Baby Turns 8 :)

April 2nd, 2014 by becki

A busy last week of being 7, and a fantastic fun-filled 8th birthday for my precious Alfie :-) Has it really been 8 times around the sun since he came onto this earth??? How time flies!!!!

We had a lovely day at Blists Hill Victorian town with Elaine, Jacob and Jess. Sliding down the hill on their bottoms was the highlight for the children – along with the old fashioned sweet shop of course ;-)

Amber and I went to the toddler swimming session at Oak Park on Tuesday. She had a ball and didn’t want to come out of the pool ;-)

On Wednesday we met Rachel, Cian, Cadi, Iolo, maela nd Teifi at the Arboretum for bike riding, playing and even some falling in the bog ;-p The children had loads of fun :-)

On Thursday Alfie and I went to the monthly Minecraft meet whilst the girls spent some time at Nanny and Grandad’s house where we later joined them :-)

On Friday we spent a lovely day with lots of friends at the Big Play Barn. The sun came out and lots of time was spent playing outside on the jumping pillow :-)

The weekend was spent planting seeds – beetroot, onion, spring onion, coriander, wildflowers, carrots – and gardening. On Mother’s Day we went into Walsall for lunch at St Matthew Hall. The children got lots of new books and CDs out of the library too.

On Monday we headed off to Alton Towers water park :-) This was Alfie’s choice for his birthday. We spent a lovely day getting sprayed and splashed, riding car shaped floats and dodging through mad tipping buckets and spraying pipes. Holly and I went on the master blaster twice – a long water flume where, as well as speeding downwards, you get repeatedly blown upwards in your inflatable ring by jets of water!

We stayed in the Alton towers Hotel for the night and had dinner in Flambo’s Exotic Feast. The next day we headed into the theme park for a day of fun on all the rides. Holly and I tried out the bath flume and the runaway mine train, and Alfie went on his beloved sky ride twice :-)

Back home, Holly and I made Alfie a little birthday tea, with a chocolate cake and candles (purchased from a lovely little farm shop in Denstone due to lack of baking time!) My big boy is 8! Wow :-)

Spring Time!

March 23rd, 2014 by becki

Whilst we were on holiday, Dad and Uncle John built us a chicken proof fence with a gate to protect our allotment area from the chickens. they eat or dig up every plant possible!!! They dug our potatoes up several times before the fence was built! Today has been all about planting! we already have flowers, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes planted. Today we planted morning glory flowers, sweet peas, basil, mint, radishes, rocket and rosemary. Rich has also been preparing the new allotment beds ready for carrots, beetroot, onions, broccoli etc. Spring has sprung!

Bluestone!

March 23rd, 2014 by becki

We have just returned from an awesome week at Bluestone National Park Resort :)

We stayed in a fantastic detached Gateholm Lodge. It had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms downstairs, with all the living space upstairs. The kids loved our “upside down” house ;)

On the journey there we stopped off at Aberdulais Falls. I was really impressed with the National Trust kids’ bags. They had a little book telling them about the old tin mine, and the lives of children working there, with objects to find and take a rubbing for the little books they got to keep. There were also smelly boxes and little items inside the bags to do with the different parts of the trail. They really enjoyed completing the trail, and using the binoculars provided to look for wildlife around the amazing, crashing waterfall.

The tearooms was in the old school, where the children working in the mine would come in the evening to have lessons after working all day.

On the playground on the first night at Bluestone.

The following day we set off to explore :) The Blue Lagoon water park was fab – with fountains galore, a very powerful wave machine, 4 flumes, a spalsh pool, and the kids’ favourite – the lazy river that took you outside then back in again :)

They also loved the adventure centre with its Lego wall , indoor adventure playground and crazy golf.

Alfie and I completed the nature trail, past the iron age hill fort. We walked MILES!

On the third day, we headed to Broadhaven beach, reached via a lovely walk around Bosherton lily Ponds.

Church Rock

We also went to Stackpole Court – the grand house was demolished in the 1960s but the outbuildings, overgrown gardens and ice house remain.

On the fourth day we spent another fun few hours in the Blue Lagoon, followed by lunch in the tavern. Alfie and I completed the treasure hunt around the park :)

On the way home we stopped off at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, where the kids enjoyed feeding the ducks, geese and swans from all around the world.

They had lots of flamingoes too!

Holding a Natterjack toad, the rarest kind.

And a fire salamander.

What a wonderful holiday :) :)

 

Chickens, Windmills and Inflatable Slides!

March 15th, 2014 by becki

The last week has been full of fun – especially as the weather has warmed and brightened up :)

Friday Club was great fun. All three children made chicken shaped beanbags with the sewing machine. In fact, Holly made three ;)

We made newspaper pots and planted flowers, tomatoes and cucumber seeds, as well as weeding the rose bed and tidying the garden.

We spent a lovely, sunny day exploring Rosliston Forestry Centre with Charlotte, Mark and Bella the dog. The natural play area, with a narrow bridge high over a stream,was a big hit :-)

We met Caroline and Martha at Funaticz soft play for a catch up and fun.

We went to Avoncroft museum of buildings with Jacob, Jess and Elaine. The volunteers explained to the children how a post mill worked, and they had great fun exploring the 25 historic buildings and palying in the sun.

We had a visit from Nanny and Grandad, and Alfie baked them some of his famous brownies :)

There was lots of crafts, playing hospitals and other fun.

We had a lovely day at Hatton Country World with lots of our home educated friends :)

Today we have been planting potatoes, making biscuits, cleaning out chickens and packing suitcases :)

Our Week

March 6th, 2014 by becki

We had fun on Friday at Cian and Cadi’s circus skills birthday party :)

Afterwards, Dylan, Aaron and Phoebe came over to play.

On Saturday we headed to Warwick Castle to pick up our new merlin passes. It was a rare sunny day! We had great fun pretending to be knights, tree climbing and exploring some oif the unlocked rooms and passages. Alfie, Holly and I tackled the 530 steps onto the rampart walk, whilst Rich and Amber went to meet Mike the Knight :)

Alfie and Holly are currently trying to take photographs of wildlife for a competition in their RSPB magazines, so there was a lot of stalking of birds ;) Holly took most of the pictures below with my phone as her 3DS had got a flat battery. I love to see what takes their eye!

On Sunday we had a visit from Nanny and Grandad with Uncle Matt, over to visit from Singapore where he now lives. The children enjoyed seeing him and catching up :-)

On Monday we had a lovely time at Space Hoppas with Jacob, Jess, Dylan, Aaron and Phoebe. The kids enjoyed having a chance to run some energy off. Despite a couple of goes on the slide and rescues of Amber, it was also a chance to have a chill out for the grown-ups. I even made it to aqua fit in the evening ;)

We headed to Dobbies in Gailey on Tuesday to get some vegetable seeds for planting this weekend. The kids were most thrilled with the fact that a robin was living in the restaurant and kept eating their crumbs :)

Amber’s lunchtime masterpiece ;)

On Wednesday we went swimming at Bloxwich leisure pool. The kids had great fun. When we got home, Alfie completed Moshi Monsters puzzles in his magazine to earn Rox for his online game, whilst the girls got crafty with moon dough and sand art :)

Magic painting!

Peppa Pig fun

Today we went to Cadbury World with Sarah, Elaine and all the small people. It was full of school children and really busy, but the kids had fun :)

Overdue Update

February 27th, 2014 by becki

I must apologise for the long overdue update. I have been having increasing difficulty with severe pain since before Christmas. I am writing this with the pain at the worst that it has been yet. It is now officially taking over my life as it is so bad that it is difficult to think about anything else. I have known for some time that it is gallstones, but that was confirmed by my ultrasound yesterday. Several large stones. Other people seem to have attacks then pain free periods. I just have Pain. Largely you won’t hear about my fight against these gallstones on this blog. This blog is for and about my three wonderful, wonderful children and their lives of wonder, fun and learning. It may be mentioned, but it will not be the centre of this blog. Who knows,  I may start a blog about my gallstone experiences separately – I have read endless numbers of other people’s such blogs in my search for answers without surgery and the lifelong consequences of removing a vital organ. For now, it is about surviving and trying to keep my children safe and happy whatever the outcome is, whether I avoid surgery or end up embracing it as my only option at some point.

So……

Half-term fun abounded. We had a play date with Sally, Finn and Evie, plus a lovely Moshi Monster themed Alton Towers visit with the Webbs and the Kellys :) Alfie and Holly are really into playing Moshi Monsters at the moment. I bought them a membership each when their Animal Jam memberships expired and they chose not to renew them. They are really enjoying completing all the missions and games. They were thrilled to get a Moshling figure and lots of free Rox (the Moshi currency to use online) by completing the special Moshi trail around the theme park. The ride queues were long, so they only went on a handful, knowing that we are free to visit in termtime when they can hop straight onto everything.

Sharkbait Reef

Haunted woods

Carousel

We all enjoyed half term Friday Club too. Alfie and Holly spent a long time at the woodwork table :) Amber enjoyed crafting and playing :)

As usual, there has been lots of cooking skills being perfected :)

Amber was too busy drawing ;)

On Saturday we went over to Wolverhampton to pick up some new sisters for Buttercup, Daisy, humbug, Peach, Goldie Mario and Rosie.

Meet Sonic, Bowser and Petal :)

Bald, bug infested casualties of the barn egg industry now being given a chance at freedom along with over 2000 of their sisters :) When Holly helped me dust them all with diatomaceous earth it was amazing how plump and soft and feathery our last rescues felt compared to their newly released bony, bald sisters :) After a few days though, their white combs are pinking up nicely with all the fresh air and freedom :)

Our two varieties of potatoes are chitting on the kitchen windowsill.

A visit to the library has meant we have another teetering pile of books and audio books to get through :-)

We have had visits from Nanny and Grandad, and a visit from Bex and Violet, who Amber really enjoyed playing with :)

We went to see the Lego Movie with Elaine, Jacob and Jess, which all the kids really enjoyed.

We had fun at the HE monthly Minecraft meet.

Alfie has been back in history in his time machine.

We have compared the efficacy of cola and vinegar in cleaning tarnished and dirty copper coins.

And Alfie made more stew of course :)

Our Week :)

February 18th, 2014 by becki

It has been an interesting week! It started on Monday with soft play fun with ten other HE children at Funaticz, continued with snow, a fun visit from Nanny and Grandad, a play date filled with Minecraft and baby dolls at Sarah’s house, Friday Club fun, a day at the safari park and lunch with Granny and Grandpa :) I even fitted in aqua fit and a curry with the lovely Sarah and Elaine :)

It started to snow on Tuesday….

Warming up making cards for friends” birthdays :)

And riding Rosie…

Fun at Friday Club, crafting, bubble blowing, sewing a heart shaped Valentine cushion and Minecrafting with friends :)

Making tarka dhal :)

Mega Blok models

Drawing and sticking

A newly discovered love of Moshi Monsters missions :)

Enjoying the sunshine at the safari park, where they had a special half term explorers trail and crafts.

Arrival of the new Sarah and Duck DVD greeted with delight :)

Cluedo!

Museums Galore, Crafts and Cooking!

February 9th, 2014 by becki

We have had a lovely week :)

Fun and games with five other home educating families at the Big Play Barn.

Amber’s masterpiece on the wall there ;)

Making nachos

Amber made her own kite then flew it in the garden :)

Mixing powder paints and making new colours

Handprints!

Making chocolate brownies

Snowdrops at Attingham Park National Trust

Holly took this one

Log walking!

On the play field

Muddy puddles on the mile walk.

 

Making hot mash for the chickens

More painting fun :)

Making cherry biscuits

Making cakes

We spent a lovely day with friends at Winterbourne Botanical Gardens and Edwardian house. After exploring the gardens, we warmed up in the museum, finding out how the family used to live.

On Wednesday we had a lovely day at Coalport China museum and Blists Hill Victorian Town with Nanny and Grandad. We explored the kilns and galleries of the old china factory, and found out about the people who used to work there and their lives, as well as how china is made. We saw potters and glassmakers at work, and spent a long time in the children’s gallery, as well as completing the animal trail around the museum.

Alfie enjoyed building the china factory as it looked in 1805, 1902 and today, and comparing the differences.

Amber got creative ;)

Amber’s plate and vase designs :)

Holly designed her own vase and China lady figure.

Dressing up as children working in the china factories.

On Thursday we spent the day at Think Tank science museum with Elaine, Jacob, Jess, Dylan, Aaron, Phoebe and Sarah. We had a lovely day :) I even made it to the gym later, as well as aqua fit on Monday. Hurrah!

The rain didn’t stop us enjoying the science garden after it reopened from its winter refurbishment :)

At Friday Club we made hobby horses, which was great fun. There was also lots of very messy sensory play with sawdust!

Today we met Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby at Pizza Express in Milton Keynes. Amber decided that she would like her hair in bunches like Teal :)

 

A Snapshot of Our Lives

January 30th, 2014 by becki

Despite illnesses, rain, more car troubles (split vacuum hose to the turbo) and other minor trials and tribulations of life, we have been having an absolutely fantastic week :-) We have spent time with friends, time with Nanny and Grandad, time together working, playing and having fun.  There seems to be so little time to update this blog, we are so busy actually living our wonderful unschooled life. The kids so love to look back on what they have done though, so I like to try and keep a record. Here are a few highlights :)

There has been craft and art. Holly painted the plaster plaque she helped to make at the Victorian town. Amber has been making wrapping paper using paints, ink stampers, crayons and stickers.

Alfie has been enjoying cooking dinners – homemade pizza one night, mushroom risotto another :)

We had a lovely day at Conkers with five other home educated families (17 children!). there was wonderfully co-operative and imaginative den building, explorations of the discovery centre and enchanted forest, train ride, adventure playground, mud wallowing and trail following. An awesome (if muddy!) day.

There was lots of fun with friends at Friday Club – making potions, sensory play, threading beads, playing games. Holly was so proud of herself for learning to use the sewing machine and making bunting to hang in her room.

Exploring the discovery gallery at the new art gallery, after a trip to the central library.

Puppet shows!

Experiments with sand, hydrophobic sand and oil and water.

There has been play dates with best friends, visits from Nanny and Grandad, a trip to the local library for new books and CDs, Minecraft, DS games, tea parties and imaginative games.

There was a visit to Ikea – one of the kids’ favourite things to do!

We went to a Minecraft HE meet where the children swapped tips and played with friends old and new, breaking off to run like loons around the soft play ;)

Lots and lots of fun :)

 

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