Category Archives: Trips

Old hands have Home ed Wobbles too!

This September would have been the start of Secondary school for R. L started school at the beginning of Secondary so it wasn’t an unreasonable conclusion that R might want to do the same. We went to the open evenings last year and applied for a place with a view to keeping options open and having a serious think about it all. This is how it had all gone previously with L too.

R went into a local primary school for a day to see what it was like and to meet a class full of kids who’d also be going to the same Secondary. It all went well, R was nervous but went in without any problems and enjoyed herself. Despite struggling with dyslexia she also had a good go at the work (I did speak with the teacher beforehand).

The next step was then going for a couple of hours at the Secondary school with other children who weren’t from local feeder schools, she made a couple of friends and was then excited about the whole trial day with everyone else going to start the school in September. She walked to school with L and friends and did a whole day in the tutor group she’d be in and doing various classes. We went to the meet the tutor evening afterwards. It all looked like we could be following the pattern that L went through.

R then pondered, and wondered and thought and talked and thought some more over the next couple of weeks. I did suggest that if she decided not to go that it would be good to let the school know before the end of term so that if someone on the waiting list got the place they’d still have time to go in and meet the tutor etc. It was totally R’s decision, we talked about the pros and cons and after a meeting with L’s teachers to talk about L, we asked about dyslexia and how the school would handle it… probably R’s main concern… and surprisingly the teacher actually suggested that R would be better off at home.

I had started to ready myself for R choosing school and have been spending time on other things http://www.redbubble.com/people/lahickmana/portfolio/by:LaHickmana

Where my art is now being made into some lovely gifts.. I’m so pleased with it all!! The bags and cushion covers are especially fabulous!!!

Now, R is still home ed, it has rather felt like starting home education again… I have actually felt daunted by it, but things are calming down and we are finding our way. Things have changed as R is changing and there is a bit of external pressure to do more formal work.. as well as feeling that a bit myself too. The options open to us are different now too as even the home ed world does divide a bit between primary and secondary ages. We still go to things with all ages, which I think is lovely and also valuable, but now there are also other things that we can join in because R is Secondary age. Shs has started an Environmental Management GCSE, one hour a week for two years as a taster of things to come, she’s enjoying it so far. We’ve started a sign language class together too, mixed age, and R is starting a drama class soon too. Other than that there are nice trips out, books read together, interesting documentaries, cooking, and so much more! R has even almost finished the Rome project she started in May!!

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The Education Dilemma with a Dyslexic Child

We’ve recently had the letter from the Schools Admissions team for R for next September. I knew it was coming, but it still threw me. It seemed a gradual progression with L when we went through this two years ago, just taking each step as it came and deciding as each option came along.

R has decided that she would like to go into a local primary, just for a 2  day visit, not a permanent place, just to see what it is like. She has been adamant for a long time that she won’t go to secondary school…. but this is where things are now slightly wobbly…. she now is still mostly saying she doesn’t want to, with occasional glimmers of maybe she might try it.

So, now we hit the… do we apply for a place in case?

With L I could see that as the decision came closer that she was ready and happy and wanted the independence of making the decision and has been happy with her decision.

R, I think is beginning to want the independence side of things, and to perhaps widen her social circle further… but in terms of school I am very worried that all the confidence building we have done around her dyslexia could be undone within a week, even if she does just go and try school. Her reading is coming on, and we read teenage level fiction / young adult, she often struggles on small words and is amazing on larger more complicated words! I don’t think she’d have chance to read higher level books at school, it’d be dumbed down…. we’ve seen it with L, where they have to read a certain colour and can’t move up until they’ve passed tests on the lower coloured books.

R’s maths is great, but I generally read out the questions, as she struggles reading, thinking and writing all together.

We are covering some really lovely stuff at the moment… we have had several theatre visits recently, including today when we went to see ‘Lord of the Flies’ at the Mayflower theatre, with questions and answers with the actors afterwards. Although surrounded by school parties of 13/14 and 15 yr olds she asked two very good questions, and we have had such in depth chats about it all before and after.

We’ll go with a couple of days at a local primary and see where we go from there.

Watch this space!

Anyone been through the same with a dyslexic child?

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Getting back in the Swing

We don’t specifically have terms as such in home ed, but things do change a bit with clubs and groups stopping for school holidays, and we also catch up with school friends more then too. Now L is at school it makes the difference between term time and school holidays even more obvious…. Although L has been back at school now for almost 2 weeks, we have been slow getting our brains in gear at home. Partly because we went camping last weekend which extended the summer further for us, a chilled out weekend with friends.

We also had a trip to the magnificent Highclere Castle the weekend before.

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle

This week has been more library stuff, with the decision going back to Cabinet again, basically to be rubber stamped through …. 5 libraries facing closure unless the community steps in and runs them. Also the mobile library has been axed.

Rant alert

Very disappointing as we had genuinely researched alternative ways of keeping our library open (and others) and we have faced a council set on one way of dealing with things, even though in our area there simply aren’t a plethora of available volunteers to take on running (and funding / paying bills / rent / training volunteers etc) the library. We have been totally ignored and it has been extremely frustrating. The council now wants to talk with us about options…. ie.. us taking it on… we aren’t able to!!! Half our group are 70’s / 80’s and the rest of us already do as much as we can. R is keen to come to the meeting with Councillors to have her say. She is disgusted. We will lose where our home ed group meets regularly too.

Amazing tour of our local theatre today. We are seeing Horrible Histories Groovy Greeks soon and have had some educational workshops with that at the theatre, today’s was a tour, including the fly floor…. where they lower scenery and set from above the stage!! That was great. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures.

We also saw Jason Donovan rehearsing on stage as we walked through, for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Very exciting.

Still chasing L’s school where they said she would be moving up sets in everything this year… she still hasn’t been, apparently she was overlooked (the no SATS results problem again… bizarrely as she now has exam results!!) but they seem unable to rectify the situation and will apparently re-jig in a few weeks… have phoned again, awaiting a phone call back!

R has been keen to have some ‘work’ to do each morning when she gets up, so I’ve been leaving maths and art and writing out each day, which she does early morning. It is working well at the moment.

 

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Days out

More days out, which have been really lovely, despite the changeable weather!!!

We went to The New Forest Wildlife Park:

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We were having such a great time that I forgot to take many pictures!! Great play area there too. We decided our only criticism was the lack of toilet inside the park… and how easy it would be to open a bit of fence to make the toilets accessible from elsewhere in the park!! They did have a couple of porta loos at the play area but they were out of action. Great place to visit though.

The following day we went to Milford-On-Sea and took our new friend from Taiwan.

 

 

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We played a stone bouncing game and also went crabbing, which kept us all amused for hours and was very sociable with other holiday makers all comparing bait and catches!!

We caught larger crabs with dried Spanish ham we think. Smaller crabs went for the bacon!

A really great few days.

 

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Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle is a medieval castle built within a former Roman fort at Portchester to the east of Fareham in the English county of Hampshire. It is located at the northern end of Portsmouth Harbour. That’s what Google says.

It is a great place for a run around too, as well as a good place to look for crabs on the shore, and to skim stones too. R was extremely pleased when she finally managed to skim some stones. We found quite a few crabs too by lifting up bits of seaweed and looking underneath.

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We had a lovely day catching up with friends and just chilling out. We’d been having such a lovely time, we didn’t even get round to going in the actual castle bit, so it ended up being a totally free day out too!

 

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It is all about the attitude.

We’ve had a wet and windy camping trip this last week. We went with friends, as we have done since the kids were small. When we first went ours were 1 and 3, theirs 2 and 4, now 10 and 12 and 11 and 13!

It is a different experience now that they are all older, we don’t have to be immediately involved in everything they do, and we now find that breakfast has been collected from the shop and often they are reminding us about ice-blocks and things like that. It is all rather chilled out.

This week it was very fortunate that things are so chilled out…..

The weather really wasn’t great, but we made the most of it… and went to the cinema to see ‘Minions’ which we all enjoyed, then out for a nice pub meal, happy to be inside while the wind and rain were lashing down.

We headed back to the camp site about 7.30pm to find a bath sized puddle in the centre of our friends’ sagging tent. 🙁

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The material had held and so, the whole thing had sagged down in the middle. We carried buckets of water out of the middle until we could get in underneath to the bedroom sections and rescue clothes and bedding, which were amazingly still mostly dry!!!

The kids were all a bit upset, but all the adults got on with rescuing the kit and getting the kids to help. We also had another couple with us, so luckily as we all have tents larger than we need, we were able to home our friends and all their stuff for the rest of the week (it happened on day 2!!!

Because everyone just mucked in, and the sense of humour really kicked in, what could have been really awful, turned out to be a brief blip in the holiday. Luckily our friends were going to replace that tent anyway for next year, so no great disaster. I was so proud of how everyone dealt with it. R cried quite a lot when it happened, and kept saying ‘it’s such a shock’ but with everyone else’s reactions she came round and was fine. The other kids were amazing.

I think the attitude may have slipped slightly if it had happened while they were asleep, or if all the bedding and clothing had got wet, but thankfully it was all manageable.

Not the driest holiday we’ve ever had, and it was pretty windy too, so some wakeful nights with the tent sounding like it would take off! But still a lovely break on the Isle of Wight, we went to Robin Hill, day time and for one of the evening lit up woodlands, illusionist, samba dancing and owl flights by twilight!!

Sandown pier for miniature golf, slot machines and hot chocolate!

Lazy days reading / swimming (even in the chilliness)!

Amazon World where there were some lovely penguins and we also liked the armadillos. Sad to see that the lovely Fairtrade shop that had been there was now shut.

Singsongs in the tent with L playing the Ukulele, a mix of Woodcraft, Scout, Guides and pop songs, while it was hammering down outside.

We also had a whole evening entertainment from the four kids, with advertising poster beforehand, program, and intervals. They wrote the script and rehearsed all week. It was not quite as long as some previous productions and was more comprehensible! Though our friend M struggled to keep up with the plot, but that may have been the Pimms.

So overall a mixed week but still a fun holiday with great friends. The Pimms and chocolate also helped!

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Why Weymouth Sand Almost isn’t Sand

What a lovely day out, we went to Weymouth, R, with me and my friend A. It’s a reasonable trip on the train, but it is a nice route, and it is always good to have chance to chat. We also all did some drawing and games too.

It was warm but cloudy with a bit of a breeze, which was actually just right for us. It was lovely being able to sit and build lots with the amazing sand at Weymouth.

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A guinea pig (of course!)

We went and saw some of the sand sculptures too, which were, despite having been vandalised 🙁 still excellent. My photos weren’t very good unfortunately. We’ll go to the Sand Sculpture place next time.. near the Sea life centre apparently.

We read that the sand at Weymouth is incredibly fine and if it was ever so slightly finer it would actually be classified as silt and not sand. That was definitely one of the good facts of the day!

We also saw quite a few jelly fish on the beach (dead), which were fascinating, and rather big! We’ll definitely be researching more about them soon.

Jellyfish on the beach
Jellyfish on the beach

Unfortunately our new friend K from Taiwan couldn’t come today… we’d invited her in the hope we could introduce her to some seriously British things… including fish and chips, but she wasn’t available … but the thought was already there, so fish and chips it was. Mmmm.

Also saw donkies on the beach. I didn’t realise Weymouth had them, so R had a ride as A’s treat…

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What a fantastic place, and a great day. We’ll be going back another time! And the train station is so near to the beach!!

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New Forest

We went out with friends to visit other home ed friends who have moved out into the New Forest, their house and garden are lovely and the garden backs onto forest, so the 5 children went off to play in the forest, building dens and being free for hours and hours, so nice to give them chance to play without adults breathing down their necks (the rule being they stay together and within sight of the fence… so within shouting distance… but it is still right in the forest!)

They came back occasionally for drinks or food or to show us how muddy they were, or to show us the bite from a wasp type bug, but not a wasp… which we managed to google and find out is a deer fly, which is part of the horsefly family.

Deer Fly

We also had one of the children had a woodlouse on her hand and the kids all watched it ‘give birth’, we had to look up whether woodlice lay eggs… which they do, but they keep them in a pouch and when they hatch it does look like they are giving birth to little white woodlice babies, which is exactly what the children described.

Woodlouse

There was bike riding, paddling pool and general play, with boys and girls of mixed ages from 7-11, and a chance for parents to sit in the sunshine with cups of tea. What a fantastic home ed day!

I was so chilled out I didn’t even take any photos!!!

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Gentle days

We are enjoying having some gentle time at home more often recently. R and I have been making the most of sitting in the garden reading together, having water fights, doing art together and chatting. We’ve also carried on with more algebra related maths. It is a chilled out time and the days fly by. R has also been challenging herself to improve and gradually be able to do full chin-ups… she still can’t quite manage it yet, but she has improved with trying every day.

We had a student round this week. I met her at the library, she is here for a year from Taiwan to do a Masters degree and wanted to meet some non-students…. normal British people (I can’t help with the normal… but we are outside University life.) She came round for the afternoon and we chatted lots about all sorts of things, differences and similarities in culture, travel, families, education etc. R came and chatted with us for quite a while too. K has offered to cook some Taiwanese food for us another day, so we’ve got to decide on some English food to introduce her to as well.

Woodcraft was a walk around the old city walls, which the girls really enjoyed.

R had drama, which has one more rehearsal before the show next week and a play with friends here, they built another den in the front room.

L had a trip to Paulton’s Park with the school. She loved being able to go with her friends and not have to be with an adult.

Today has been a Granny and Grandpa day for R, which involved an hour of badminton and then a catch up with some Great Aunts.

I had some time to catch up on a few things and also do some painting in the garden which was lovely to lose myself in.

A twelfth birthday tea after school this evening with our “baby” group… we’ve met up pretty much every week since our oldest kids were babies and they’re all turning 12! Amazing. All so grown up and so lovely. 🙂

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Science Museum

L had an inset day, so S took the day off too and we all went to London on the train. We went to the Science Museum. We had taken the girls before and hadn’t thought it was that long ago… turns out it was when they were 3 and 1!! I think it is because we’ve been to the Natural History museum a couple of times in the mean time and also the V&A and the British Museum and the Museum of London, so we’d not managed a trip back to the Science Museum. We also top up by going to what was ‘Intech’ outside Winchester, which has lots of science hands on stuff. We don’t get into London that often, and one museum a day is enough for us, so it limits how many it is possible to cover. There are still some that I’ve not been to that I’d like to. Any suggestions?? Do leave a comment.

So 9 years since we’d been! So it was all new to them, and with their knowledge now, so much of it meant that much more to them both, as they both had some knowledge of most things we looked at and could put them into context with other things we’ve seen.

Apollo 10 (I think)
Apollo 10 (I think)
Aeroplanes
Aeroplanes

We had a walk round most of it, and did loads of the hands on stuff. R tried making some good electric circuits, so we’re going to have a look at that more at home as it wasn’t something we’ve done much of.

L had a good look at some of the renewable energy stuff, it is far more in-depth and interesting than the bits they are covering in Geography at school, which L has done over and over again previously, so it was good to see some better info about Government targets for 2020 and all the different options available, with interactive games you could run your own city on & choose options for it.

We enjoyed all the interactive quizzes about genes and personality and your body, and also changing our voices and faces to look or sound male.

We all had a go at directing baggage at an airport too, which was harder than it looked! Though I did get congratulated by another mum for managing some of it, as she said she’d had a go because I’d made it look ok and she couldn’t work it at all.

We then went to Covent Garden and saw some excellent street performers, followed by tea at Five Guys Burgers, which S was very excited about as we’d tried it in America, and this has just opened here. It was great… though highly inadvisable for anyone with a peanut allergy!! Home quite late, but an excellent day out.

You may be interested in Science Sessions

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