Journey into Unschooling

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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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  ;-)


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!


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