Journey into Unschooling

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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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 :-)

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