Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Fresh starts...

So we are settling in to our new routines and since the day my husband moved out, although there is heartache, peace is quickly being restored in this house.

The girls are sleeping better and bickering a lot less; there is less war and more laughter. We've had, what seems like, endless bouts of colds and flu bugs, it is January after all, but still this house is a happier home.  

I have had to be strong and make choices that I thought and hoped I'd never have to make. I do know one thing: I am doing what's best for my children.  My girls are beginning to open up more to me again and Honi's frustration and anger levels have decreased, which has been such a blessing.  

I have recently found out a little about why Honi acts and reacts the way she does.  A friend whose child is diagnosed with autism, pointed me in the direction of things she has found to help her child.  I researched into it, thought hard and it's really helped my Honi!  

My Honi is such an amazing person (of course I knew that already)...  

Monday, 19 January 2015

How to make a model of a bone

So, the last few weeks my girls have been learning about bones.  This week we learnt about what bones are made up of and a bit about how bones are formed and more about how they help us keep healthy!

This time we made up a model of a bone to learn about what is inside our bones and what's going on inside them too. This was the end result.

If you fancy having a go too, read on for a STEP by STEP tutorial and some cool facts to learn as you go!

You will need:

Monday, 12 January 2015

Science: Bendy Bones!

This is a really fun experiment that's simple, safe and cheap to try at home...

It is also a great way to demonstrate how bones are so tough!

You will need: 

  • A bone - we used a chicken bone
  • Vinegar
  • A jar with a lid (make sure it's big enough to fit your chicken bone!)
This is all you need to do...

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A new start?

A lot has been going on in our lives.  I am currently a single mum, a huge unwanted change. Sometimes you can't choose.  Sometimes things are just thrown at you in life.  

It's been a tough time but I have tried to take my mind off the emotional stuff as much as I can. I found that spending time educating and playing with my girls (kind of synonymous, but you know what I mean) has helped a lot.

It has been the main reason for so many sporadic posts.  I have something called visual stress, sometimes know as Irlen's syndrome.  It does mean when I am stressed reading and writing can be impossible.  I have had moments of blindness from it recently.  I went to the opticians today and my eyes are 20:20 so it is most definitely the stress.  I know some people have presumed I am not coping well when I go quiet, or that I'm not doing anything with my girls.  That is not true, I just lose the ability to write about it.  

Now I am alone, the ability to write is returning. So, here's what we've been up to, the girls and I that is...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Science: Strong bones

There are many different parts to a bone: Compact bone, Spongy bone and Bone marrow being the main parts. However, the reason they are so strong is due to the fact that they aren't actually solid!  

There are lots of empty spaces running through your bones that make them strong.  This part of the bone is called the spongy bone and the compact bone which is mostly made up of calcium salts.  It is full of rods and plates which creates space in the bone.

This science project is a great way to demonstrate how this space makes a structure in our bones that strengthens them so, even though they are very light, they are strong enough to support all our body weight!

All four of my girls enjoyed this activity, from my 4 year old to my 12 year old.

What you will need:

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

I'm not going to lie, life isn't always perfect but I am SO VERY VERY THANKFUL for all the things I have; I am so thankful for having so many very good friends around me, my health and my healthy, happy children.  

I am a great believer in focusing on the good things in life.  You may have noticed, if you are a regular reader of An Ordinary Life? that when I do post my more personal blog posts I try to keep them real but will always focus on the positive.  I do talk of the roller-coaster ride of parenting and home education too, but there is always something positive to be learnt from each day.  There is always a reason to smile, even on the most difficult days as all days are made up of moments.

My heart was filled with warmth recently by many of my readers and my friends.  I felt so blessed to be told how much I am loved - you'll never know how much I needed to hear that recently - so blessed to know that my blog posts are of so much use to others that read them.  I was taken back with how much love there was thrown my way. There is something special about being able to reach out and help others.  You really truly touched my heart.

I am deciding to stay focused on all the positives and making positive decisions in my life.  There is not much point expending energy thinking about all the things that aren't so wonderful in life and missing out on all the good.  There is always something good in a day, especially when there are my four little girls in my world.  I am so blessed to have them in my life and I know they will one day leave the nest so these moments I will treasure.  

In the new year I am looking forward to learning more, playing more and having many more adventures!  I will make no promises that I can't keep but I will work towards 2015 being the best year so far! 

I hope the new year brings you many blessings, peace and joy!

Here are some of our memories from 2014...

Saturday, 27 December 2014


We have been so busy over the Christmas period this year, I have barely had time for anything, I have missed writing on here. Normally I am so organised but this year I had no choice but to leave things until the last minute with the house move.  We still managed to squeeze in lots of fun things to do!  Like making Christmas decorations, playing games, having friends round and visiting Santa...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Maths: Lolly Pop Multiplication

This is a great way of teaching children multiplication, what it is and how it works in a very hands on, kinaesthetic way. When Honi is learning a new thing she gets ever so frustrated.  She is also extremely fidgety so...

Out came the Lolly sticks!!!!

And this is how we did it...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Truancy Officers!

Today, I was walking into town when I heard someone running down the street after me (I like to walk at pace) shouting, excuse me, madam!  Madam, you with the four children please stop!

At this I turned to see a police officer.  He then told me that a lady required my address as she was seeking out truants.  

I sighed.

This is the first time ever I was asked to speak to a Truancy officer who was out searching for truants and wanting their details!

My children are not truants, I retorted, they are home educated. You do not require my details, I am under no legal obligation to do so, so I will be on my way, thank you.

His face! Putting a policeman in his place comes with some amount of pleasure!  Especially as I was smiling, confident and he was looking rather perplexed and uncertain of what to do next.

He hesitated and then, much like a school boy would say 'ok, I'll have to check with my mum first' said 'ok, but you really need to check that with the officer because she is in charge of that and (small pause) I really don't know.

He was a nice enough young man, but I was in a hurry and just had to go.  He did try to be as polite as he could bless him. But...  Surely a police officer should know the law? Especially when he is out enforcing it.  

I am a confident home educating mum.  One who knows my legal right concerning home education, one that the LA (Learning Authority) is well aware of, but it made me think: what if I didn't know all my rights?  What if I wasn't so confident?

I understand the law is different if you chose to send your child to school; I understand in that situation they are not to play truant, but they should know the rights of those who opt out of school, or flexi-school.  

Unfortunately I was in a rush else I would have had a long conversation with them and wasted their time instead.  But for now I will just blog about it...

To be fair, the truancy officer herself was lovely.  She said: elective home educator?  I said yes and she smiled, said lovely, bye then.  It was fine, her job is one that can't be very nice after all but she should have educated the young police officer with her first.  

I do feel sorry for those with kids at school, apparently, according to the news, when they catch a child of school age without a parent or guardian they escort them to safety: SCHOOL.  Ironically to me that was not always a safe place for me to be as a child.

School to me resembles prison in so many ways.  It sounds like something the police would do to an escaped convict. Poor things.  If a child is trying to escape an institution it makes you wonder, surely the institution has failed the child! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Cinnamon Salt Dough Tree Ornaments

I love the way these smell and they are so easy to make. 

My four year old enjoyed the whole process from measuring out all the ingredients and mixing it together to painting them.  She said that the smell was so yummy she wanted to eat it.  I did point out it was salt not sugar that we had added to the mixture, so she refrained from eating it; it gives you an idea to how delicious they smell.

This is how we made ours...

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Maths: Snowflakes

I have been thinking of ways to incorporate maths into fun Christmas time activities recently and this one went down well with my 11 and 9 year old.  This a great for a winter project and a way for kids to practise two skills: 

  • They will learn to recognize and describe symmetries of designs by finding centres of rotation and axis of symmetry. 
  • They will learn to make their own design with one or more specified symmetries. 

Read on if you want to know how we made our snowflake and how I used it to teach my girls some maths...

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas time is here!

My blog posts seem to be far and few between recently.  I have, of course, had so much to write, so many things happening and so many thoughts to share with you but with moving house and Christmas just round the corner I have instead been putting my energy into getting the house straight and my girls. My children always come first and always will.

There are still boxes to unpack but last week we started getting back into the swing of our more structured education time.  Honi is not impressed.  Honi is rather unsettled about the move.  There are things she likes about it, but then there are things she doesn't.  It will take a while to find our groove I suppose.  I am hoping that Christmas will help with this...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

8 fun Christmas science experiments

Make a crystal snowflake


Another way of making a sparkly snowflake 

How to make a Christmas lantern - no candles!

Fireworks in a glass!   A fun way to celebrate and no loud noises!


 The Flame test - pretty colours, a fun thing to do round Christmas time whilst demonstrating how real fireworks get their colours!

Homemade bath bombs - learn some science while you make some lovely handmade gifts for family and friends!
Lolly pop reaction  Just because it's really fun!

A bit of magic for Christmas: Liquids Changing places

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Never Stop Questioning!

I was talking to my husband the other day about how Honi, my seven year old, has an excessive amount of curiosity.  

We are all born curious.  It is what spurs us on to learn, to develop and grow.  It is normal.  But some people seem to have larger doses than others.   I am one of those people and so is my Honi...