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...

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Table manners...

Today was a lovely day.  Yesterday I had managed to empty out half the boxes and made a good start on the kitchen and conservatory and the girls' bedrooms.  The place is beginning to feel more like home.  There is still a way to go, but I can see that we are getting there and that is a great feeling after the very busy and super tiring week we have had. We only managed one trip to our favourite coffee shop all week...

Today, we had to go into town to sign the last of the forms for the inventory today so I decided to feed the girls in a restaurant.  There's a couple of places where kids can eat cheap in town; today I only paid £1.50 for each of their meals and it was a decent size kids meal too! I grabbed a coffee and got on with some crochet while they ate - I just wasn't too hungry today.  

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The new house!

It's been so long since I blogged.  I have missed it terribly but I have simply been too busy putting my girls first as much as I can whilst moving HOUSE! It's been crazily busy!

I had been rather apprehensive about this move but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that it wasn't by choice that we moved.  We HAD to move. Of course there was the excitement of a new house (once the stress of finding one was out the way) but then there were all our neighbours that we will very much miss.  We received a lovely card from one of our friends and neighbours.  It put a smile on my face.

The first day of moving into the new house Harmonie, my four year old, just wouldn't stir from her sleep - we needed to be at the new house by 10:30am. Forty-five minutes before we had to leave the house and she was still sound asleep.  I wasn't surprised.  With all the excitement of the move the girls hadn't been going to sleep very well. I left her to sleep while I got ready and found some breakfast for her to munch on the way.  It all worked out in the end and I stayed surprisingly CALM! We made it to the new house on time to collect the keys and give them all our money! Moving house is so expensive. 

We are nearly done and I am actually quite impressed with how we've done considering.  There have been a few breakages and, despite all my efforts the littlest one has been quite insecure due to her new surroundings but my older girls are LOVING it.

I am loving that they are getting to sleep hours before midnight.  Always good.  The excitement got so much for them that they were up until midnight nearly every night last week! Along with all the packing and suffering with colds and all the other stresses on top the lack of sleep followed by long days of miserable (but very cute) kids who had, of their own accord, deprived themselves (and their parents) of sleep - I think I have done pretty well.  As a friend today said to me, it was my best so it was acceptable.  I liked that very much.

I do love my new house so much now I am here.  I can't wait to make it our home.  Here's some pics for those of you intrigued...

Friday, 7 November 2014

New adventures...

We have been so busy with all this packing that any learning going on has been completely autonomous and has involved lots of documentaries, films, books and computers mostly.  

On November the 5th, Guy Fawkes night,  I had planned to do lots but with this house move coming up we managed sparklers!  The girls loved it apart from Naomi who hates playing with fire - as her mother I am not going to argue with her.  I am however saving up some sparklers for when we move into the new place; I want them to remember moving as a positive thing in their lives and that change should be seen as something exciting!  An adventure!

I want them to remember moving as a positive thing in their lives and that change should be seen as something exciting!  An adventure!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Science: 5 Fireworks experiments

Here are all my science experiments that are great at this time of the year!

Here are five fun fireworks experiments...

This is a fun experiment for any age: Fireworks in a jar - ok it's not really fireworks but it does make for a very pretty and colourful show.

The Flame test - now this is rather spectacular is a great way to teach how all those colours in real fireworks are made!  All you need is plenty of pine cones and a few chemicals!

Fireworks in a microwave! This experiment does require adult supervision but it has a very cool effect!  Here's how to do it...

Freeze the glow! Another fun one for all ages. 

Hot iron - if you want to see the sparkler effect this is the one for you.  But remember to wear safety goggles! 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Play... The most important thing?

Friday was mostly full of play...

I made some play dough with Harmonie.  I love how children enjoy weighing out all the ingredients and asking what each ingredient is.  To them, everything is play.

The older girls I played maths games with. We played around with estimating and rounding numbers up and down. Not challenging for my eldest but then she went up to do some computer programming on scratch while I made the dinner. She always asks if she can 'play' on scratch.

It did make me think: 
when do we as adults stop calling things 'play'? 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Playdough faces activity

We've been playing with play dough again!  This time I thought it would be fun to make some faces.  My four year old loved this and it's a great way to talk about emotions and discuss different types of characters.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Pack up and keep going...

That's basically what our life is all about at the moment.  Yes, we are ever so busy recently due to this moving house malarkey but (apart from filling boxes and cleaning) we have managed to squeeze in...

Finishing off that Greek vase...

That was a worthwhile mission!

This weekend I spent most of my time thinking 'what do I pack that I won't miss!'  That's the only thing with moving isn't it:  one is bound to pack something that is going to be really needed and it is bound to be at the bottom of a box which is on the bottom of a stack of boxes!  Gah!  It needs to be done though.  

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Learning to spell through play...

We were looking for a way we could learn to spell a bit better and turn it into a game.  This is what we came up with and it turned out to be a lot of fun.  There are free printables included for this game...  

First you will need to choose which Spelling Bingo boards you want to use, these are all ready to print out and play:

  • Hard level - click here for the printable hard Bingo board
  • Medium level - click here for the printable medium Bingo board
  • Easy level - click here for the printable easy Bingo board

I filled them with some common letter sounds to help with spelling: fl, ou, oi, ph etc. I filled the grid so there was 20 in total.    

Find a box full of buttons, each player will need 16 buttons for this game.

Now click here for my list of words to read out for the Spelling Bingo games.  This list was made to work with the boards I have made into printables. You could either read the words out or, alternatively, cut them out and draw them out of a hat or a bucket if you want to make it more like Bingo.  

How to play the game!

It works out similarly to regular bingo except instead of numbers we are using letters.  You can either play:
  • first one to make a line and shouts BINGO wins 


  • first one to fill up the board and shouts BINGO wins.

For the Easy bingo I made the rule that it was always the beginning letter we look out for. For the Medium and Hard level I said the sound could be from the beginning, front or the end of the word. 

I read each word out and put the word into a sentence so the children could be confident of which spelling due to homophones.  If they had the letter sound they got to cover the square with a button.  If they missed a letter sound on their board I left it for next time and said nothing, if they put a button on the wrong letter sound, I informed them it was incorrect and asked kindly, for them to remove the button.  

I gave them 30 seconds or so to look at the board each time a new word was called out.  With my youngest, aged 4, I helped her a little more by repeating the phonic and, when she got stressed, helped her to find the letter that went with the sound.  Soon she remember which sound went with which letter and needed less and less help.

I hope you have as much fun as we did playing it!