Journey into Unschooling

Easter Fun :-)

April 20th, 2014 by becki

We have had lots of fun during the first week of the Easter holidays. As unschoolers, holidays only mean two things to us – everywhere being very busy with schooled children, and getting to meet our schooled friends that we can rarely see. More of that next week though, when we have several meet ups planned :-)

The week started with a trip into town with just Alfie to spend his birthday vouchers – his request for some time just with me.  He bought ten books – 8 “How to Train your Dragon” series books, plus Usborne See Inside Pirate Ships and Ancient Egypt.  After some lunch in a cafe we headed to the local park to meet Daddy and the girls who had cycled down there :)

There was lots of crafty fun over the weekend, with painting, Bendaroos, moon dough, play dough and lots more.

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Alfie did all the experiments from the alien operation kit he had for his birthday – moulding bodies and brains, creating glaciers and non-Newtonian goo.

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Monday contained one of the very few bonuses of school holidays – the extra events that places put on. We spent a wonderful day with Dylan, Aaron, Phoebe and Sarah exploring the Horrible Histories activities around the castle, as well as the usual hide and seek in the trees :-) The kids were thrilled to find a fox hole at the base of a big overgrown tree, complete with scratch marks.

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We had a lovely Moshi Monster themed time at Aaron’s birthday party, complete with bouncy castle. The kids had a ball!

We had a surprise gift of flowers froma  lady round the corner that the kids took some eggs to last month. She often watches the children in the garden from her bedroom window.

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We had a lovely time at Easter themed Friday Club, making mosaic button Easter wooden hangings, crafting scented egg candles, playing with space hoppas and hula hoops in the sunny garden and crafting or Legoing with friends.

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Woodwork fun

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Candle making

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Making circuits

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We spent a lovely day in the beautiful cathedral city of Lichfield – identifying ducks on Stowe Pool, practicing our balance and swinging, watching the cobbler cut a new car key, exploring the prison cells in the guild hall, enjoying a pub lunch and shopping.

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Today we have completed week one of our kitchen science course – setting fire to teabags and using the toaster to make hot air balloons whilst exploring the topic of molecules :-) Great fun!

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Unschooling Life

April 19th, 2014 by becki

Today, whilst walking around a lake, Alfie told us he was thinking about how to build a volcano in Minecraft and how to push the lava out. Holly suggested using a piston. Cue a long technical conversation with Daddy.

As we walked towards the cobblers, I noticed the prison cells in the old guild hall were open free of charge. Alfie wanted to see so went in with Daddy whilst the girls and I went to get a new car key. He was telling me all about it at teatime. Holly meanwhile was fascinated in the cobblers, asking questions about how and why shoes were being mended (we don’t buy the types of shoes worth mending lol) and asking how all the key cutting and engraving machines worked.

Whilst drinking his lemonade Alfie stated that he had drunk exactly half. I asked him to let me know when he had drunk 3/4. He asked how he would know, then worked out that the ridges on the glass divided it into four sections. He has been working on equations and percentages as part of his Moshi Monster magazine so is particularly interested in mathematical concepts at the moment.

All 3 children were involved in the pricing, selecting and paying for shopping. They were especially fascinated by a giant chocolate egg priced at £185 and were trying to work out the coat of one the size of a house!

Alfie saw two types of water birds he didn’t recognise on the lake that he wants to look up in his RSPB book.

They spent a long time playing on a spinning sloped playground equipment (no idea of the real name!) working out the best way to balance.

Holly drew a beautiful picture at lunchtime that was put up on the wall of the pub.

Yet obviously, because we don’t do any “lessons” or formal work, my children will never learn anything……..

 

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!

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