Wednesday, 31 March 2010

weekly catchup maths and stuff.

Had another busy week this week.

Monday we took auntie to hospital and Leo was very good and stayed with granny. As we left he was just showing her the latest spiderman pictures he had drawn so they were both happy.

After a busy morning and a fish and chip lunch we headed home.

Did some maths when we got home and had some down time on the WII.

At the moment the boys have been playing alot on sports resort tennis, archery and table tennis.

Tuesday we spent at home a neighbour came round one afternoon and the boys all played on swingball.

We have been doing alot of maths this week, L picked up times tables really easy x 2.

We also did long addition and subtraction. this was more of a challenge as L is famiar with horizontal sums but understanding them written vertically was abit disturbing for him. Although i found he could work out the sums really easy he found it difficult to put the numbers in the right place, especially carry forward so the written anwers were sometimes wrong although i knew perfectly well he could work them out when we worked through the calculation. We will have to do more work to familiaries him with this.

We did a brief trip to the supermarket did a mass cook and bake of soup and buns etc.

Wednesday we have several doctors appointmets between various members of the family so we managed some school work in between with lots of breaks to recharge brains. Did some more maths and L was keen.

We also did alot of work over last couple of days on handwriting practise to build up confidence with his writing, spelling and reading - again this built up his understanding of how the letters are formed so as he sometimes puts them the wrong way round.

I have found it best to go 2 steps forward and 1 back as it builds his confidence up more and i don;t take for granted that he knows all the basics so we use a wide range of books from Age 4+.

We have also done some work on telling the time and i will look out some more information on times, dates and calenders etc as L's most constant question is when is the next spiderman, xmen etc comic out.

We have had a very enjoyable week so far - not been out feeding the ducks this week but more work based for a change.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Batma - The Prisoner's Revenge any ideas for making videos/comics thans

It was just another ordinary day at Arkham Asylum until ...................the villains escaped.
To be continued when i improve my resources - need to hold a mobile phone more steadily or get better camera equipment.
I also need to find suitable resources for making videos or comic books. Leo is a big fan of youtube, unfortunately some of he homemade lego batman videos are not suitable and i suggested we could make our own so any suggestions would be appreciated.
Any way we are raring t go with our lego and have plenty of action shots ready -where there's a will there's a way.
We had a nice stroll around the park today and came back and did some maths and tell the time exercise. we have not done much structured work this week as we have had a busy couple of days seeing granny and trying to sort a car out following the accident.
We also had a bit of a broken nights sleep so i wasn't going to push but Leo was keen so we did some and he really enjoys it.
General mood today from everyone is tired and grumpy so everything we achieve is a bonus.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Batman and Lego.

Our recent order of Lego arrived from amazon yesterday so after a day shopping with grandma we rushed back to open our packages.

We received 4 boxes of lego figures and vehicles and some more batman books.

The lego we ordered included some figures and vehicles so that we could make our own batman playsets - we looked on amazon and ebay and they were going for very large sums of money so we decided to use or imagination instead.

The first package was a police van for taking prisones to jail/arkham asylum and a couple of hench men. Then we got another police man with a motorbike that we decided could be used for good or bad guys and finally we got a box of figures that we decided would make an excellent commissioner gordon, poison ivy and a few other bad/good guys.

We also got the Daily Mirror last weekend as they are giving away lego vehicles and we got a black sports car that makes an excellent batmoble.

All this cost the same price as 1 mini lego figure and I imagine hours of imaginative play ahead of us.

To complement our lego sets we got a batman sticker book that we also decided would be useful to customise our lego batman.

Finally we got another reading book for the no.l batman fan to read himself and one for bedtime stories - so reading still very interested and keen to keep trying.

homeschooling really seems to be working for us.

Also remembered Leo used his own money he had been saving to buy the lego so we spent the oter afternoon adding up the contents of his money box. He had the grand total of £23.18 all in coins from 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p etc so a very productive lesson in maths and budgetting also occured.

we have still not been out to any groups yet following the car crash but intend to when we get another car - the hire car we have at the moment is terrible and not good for my back as it is very low - will hopefully have one in a couple of weeks so will get out and about again soon.

Friday, 19 March 2010

feeding the ducks and poos.

today we went out to the park to feed the ducks again, he seems really keen to do this again after such a long time and whilst we are there he is wanting to spend lots of time on the adventure playground, so plenty of exercise.

whilst we were out today the town was really busy as there was a freedom march with a local regiment that we had not been aware of. the park was alot busier with spectators so he got freeked out about that but we still had a good time. after having the park to himself most of the week he was annoyed that a load of people were suddently occupying his territory. we still managed to have icecreams and tea and carrot cake for me.

the down side of the trip was the dog doing a poo on oneo the pretty plants in the flowerbeds - luckily i had a bag hand. thought he was marking his territory as ususal until i looked back and saw a poo on display. ha ha...

had the last of our homemade soup today so made a fresh batch today and some more yummy scones for tea. all the family are just so spoilt now.

the boys cleared the playroom as we are awaiting a new batch of spiderman reading books adn some lego - not come as yet.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

bread making and veggie planting continued

bread making

inspired by our pizza making home ed visit leo and his dad have been making bread and rolls, we have now had more time at home to bake and do things like this and although i have been getting lots of rest the whole family have all contributed and have a regular selection of cakes, flapjacks and biscuits.

veggie planting

Another activity the boys have undertaken is veggie planting (as well as caring for me!) They have planted lettuce, tomatoes, sweetcorn and carrots as well as potatoes and sunflower seeds saved from last year. I have attempted this but we are novices and everything died last year so they are having a go this time and leo's job is watering the seeds daily. lettuces have grown so far!

car crash, education visits, bread making, veggie planting etcetc....

not updated for along time i am afraid but alot has been happening, admittedly at a shorter pace than normal.

after the success of our first home ed visit we went to another group meet but unfortunately it was during all the intermittent snow and on the way home someone came across our side of the road and we ended up being in a head on crash. yuk.

Leo was physically fine apart from some bruising and i have been making a slow recovery from concussion and a bad back, etc. but we have had plently of time at home to do various activities albeit with some inconvenience as i have either been very drowsy, in pain or based on the bed or settee mainly for the past 3 weeks and have only ventured out more this past week but not driving yet so my home ed trips are on hold at the moment.

read on to see what we have been up to.

education authority visit.

we had a visit from the local education advisor about taking leo out of school. we showed him work we had done on maths and english work and the progress leo had made in his reading. we have about 4 spiderman reading books at level 2 and 3 others that include xmen, iron and batman. he is now very confident at reading letter words and willing to try some 4 letter words - excellent progress since he was taken out of school in january.

we also have had more time to get to know him and realised he is very good at maths and spelling - in the past he did not even want to attempt reading never mind a spelling test.

we showed him our book collection of encyclopedias and factbooks and he was satisfied with our intentions.

Leo has also had time to do lots of playing in our playroom with his superheroes etc. and we made some buildings during craft and landscapes cutting our shapes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

pizza making, pizza express home ed buxton

had a lovely morning with the HE group buxton.

leo made pizza, we put a selection of ham, cheese, peppers etc and created our own pizza base then put toppings on. the pizza express guy was really friendly and well organised considering there were over 30 pizzas at the end to be cooked.

this environment was abit more challenging for leo but he coped in his own way and it will take abit to get use to strangers and unfamiliar surroundings but it is good to keep trying him to experience different learning environments than school settings.

he really enjoyed his pizza when it was done and was happy to sit and eat it, he is just not so keen on the messy play which i had not taken into consideration but they are a great group and accept every child as they are. a warm welcome was received.

Monday, 8 February 2010


not posted for few days apologies so quick update.


we to the derby home ed group had a great time and leo really enjoyed it too. he was playing lots with all the kids.

before going we met up wiht another home ed from matlock who had a son the same age as leo and a daughter 4. before we got there they had bonded. we were the first to arrive so the kids had time to get to know each other and familiarise themselves with their surroungdings. after about 1/2 an hour other kids started to turn up including alot of older kids - surprising leo and his friend starting playing with and chasing them around.

leo is alot calmer since finishing school and his confidence is coming on everyday. a gold star in socalizing for today - well done leo! can;t wait to see our new friends again.


went to granny and shopping, leo is getting very good at going out and not getting too moody if not in the house all the time.


the eldest daugher went to out in the afternoon so one makes for a bit quieter surroundings. we went out on the bikes again with one big sis and had some quality bonding time.


went out with dad on the bike leo is so keen and the more he does his confidence with breaks will soon kick in as he still only likes the flat surfaces.

he does tend to still get abit more highly strung at weekends when everyone is around but he is alot calmer and easier to manage overall.


we went out today to see granny and went around a shopping centre to walk aunty. leo was very good got abit flustered when it was time to have lunch and sit amongst the crowd but was talked around easily. had a long day out then went home and had a bath - not happy left him to have meltdown as he had not had one for a few days - he then washed himself and came down dressed and teeth as well 1-1. result. his hair is getting long but will tackle that some other time.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

snow day

home school is harder than i thought.

thats 2 pe lessons we had today!

set off 8 am as planned to do visit to relatives then first home education meeting. unfortuantely i had to turn back because of weather.

had a bit of a strange day. leo wanted to do some writing again so we did that briefly then we went out on the bikes.

i wanted to walk the dog and leo suggested the bikes. i was a bit apprehensive as it was very icy and managing myself, leo and the dog on a lead was dauting but we managed it and had a great time.

we then went home and had a deserved rest and watched superman 2.

we did some writing and some computer time but today felt abit strange as we had intended to go out and had not been all week.

i suggested taking the dog out again in the afternoon and leo wanted to take the bikes he is very keen so i don;t want to discougage that.

we wanted some history programmes on telly later so today was more knowledge based than actual reading/writing but everything counts.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

schools out - but we haven't done any work yet!

that was the response when we finally decided to call it a day at about 4pm.

however it had turned out to be another action packed day that we had both loved every minute of it with Leo stating that he had such a nice time and had not felt like he was doing any work. So i pointed out all the things we had done and learnt today.

session 1

I read his spiderman collector comic to him we like to start off with a relaxing exercise on the bed to get us in the right mindset for the day.

session 2

Then we watched a spiderman cartoon for more inspiration. bit of a slow start to be honest today as i had a bit of a headache - had been up since 7 doing more research/prep work on home education stuff.

session 3

went out on our bikes again in the rain to walk the dog. i just wanted to head out for a quick walk but leo insisted we take the bikes again so thats 2 days in a row - this will build his confidence up as he is still uncertain about the breaks and reaching the floor.

session 4

we did some more of leo's spiderman story in his exercise book. this involves him drawing a picture then we discuss a story and i write the words down for him to copy from a whiteboard. this is also improvign his reading a great deal and more simpler words such as the are now becoming familiar. it also shows how much of our reading time he is absorbing as he often incorporates ideas we have reasd from other sources such as egypt, rome or jungles etc into his story ideas.

session 5

we printed some puzzles and colour pages off the internet and made 2 exercise books of spiderman and batman for future workbooks. he coloured a couple of the picutres in.

session 6

we finished the day watching a programme on bbc iplayer called ha karate about 4 british families learning karate in japan with the grand masters. This tied in well with research i had been doing on local he groups - one of them does karate classes so i thought i would use it to judge leo;s reaction. it was also interesting to see how the families were with japanese culutre during their 3 week stay. so our topic has now moved on from rome/egyptian to japanese culture. i always try to read something cultural everyday.

then we decided to call it a day and leo went on batman youtube.

now i have found some local groups i am planning to focus on social activities as well. so far so good.

we are hopitng to go on a viist tomorrow to a museum so i have also printed some info. sheets out ready. hope its ok as we have a viist to relatives planned as well tomorrow.

Monday, 1 February 2010

long sleeves/trousers winter, spring, summer .....

Holiday pics - sorry don;t do shorts and t.shirts. whatever time of year we have the same wardrobe.

home education east midlands - result!!!!!!!

After extensive research I finally found some home education groups on yahoo.

infact there were several in the end I started off in east midlands and kept narrowing my search to Lincoln, Derby, Nottingham and finally to Buxton and Chesterfield.

The only way i could work out to make contact was to join them all so I am probably down as a serial home ed stalker now - lets see if anything comes of it - if it gets us out there and mixing with others and improves leo's social skills then it is worth it.

I mentioned it briefly and he wasn't keen so i tend not pre-warn him about things as he just gets stressed but he is improving socially as we have been to visit granny several times over the past couple of weeks and he normally prefers to stay at home.

Had a busy productive day again today. We read his spiderman comic this morning in bed then decided to put the indiana jones story on hold and start a spiderman one instead so he did 3 pages of writing and pictures today. The deal is if he draws a picture he then has to write the words in the speech bubble, then if he resists we have a break - i don;t like to push but it is amazing he is even willing to write at all.

We then went out on our new bikes we got for xmas but had not used yet. I was trying to explain how he could prop his bike against the kerb to get on as it was a bit high but he kept walking around the other side and climbing on road side. He couldn;t reach the floor or the brakes very well but when we got to our flat green he really enjoyed riding around for 1/2 hour.

we then went back and had hot chocolate and i sat on the bed reading an ancient rome sticker book. Later when were having some down time there was a documentary on tv on the romans and he had remembered so much about gladiators etc it is amazing how much he can take in - he is such a bright button!!

we also went on the internet and downloaded some spiderman pictures to colour and a calender so he can log when his comics are out.

another great day - i was starting to feel a bit cabin fever by about 3 but will learn to pace ourselves and allow downtime for everyone.

hope the groups turn out ok.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

any derbyshire home educators out there?

have done loads of research on internet blogs etc but am struggling to find uk families, especially in derbyshire/east mids area would love to hear from you and check my blog.


we had another day at grannys doing our good deed shopping etc. L was very good around the supermarket, as it can be quite a handful at times looking after him/and/or my sister who is either in a wheelchair or crutches.


all the family had a lovely day out at thorpe cloud, dove dale. the weather was cold and sunny but we managed to get everyone out and in the car so thats always a bonus and we got there this week after a failed attempt last weekend (despite the satnav!)

we walked along the river pointing out lots of ice puddles, rock falls and icicles that had formed then walked around thorpe cloud itself attempting to climb. we stopped 1/2 way up to have a hot choc, it was freezing.

then moved on swiftly when somemore walkers approached at L's request. we set of to the summit first losing dad who was cold (as usual), then we lost j & b who i thought had carried on to the top. i was panicking at this point as heights are not my thing so i had intended not to go to the top but i was stuck 3/4 up with L who was determined to go to the top and i had no one to pass him on to. eventually dad turned up so they carried on to the top. L was so proud he had done it and kept telling the girls who we later discovered had carried on going around the hill and not climbed any further up.

we even managed to find the car park again without having to go back the way we came. what is wrong with our family days do not normally turn out this good!!

anyway a great day for all and we learned alot too - the girls are starting to see how we relate learning into everyday life for L, i keep asking in they would like to stay at home too - but they are happy in high school.

perhaps my dreams of being a mother hen with all my chicks around me has passed me by. oh well just me and L then!!!!!!!!!!!

we are making much more effort as a whole family now anyway as i am not working to accomodate leo being at home, I am less stressed and have more time and energy for everyone. result its only taken me 40 years to work this out.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

how to motivate a 7 year old.

have spent today at home again. I have been continuning to let L lead the way in what we cover. He is very keen on going on youtube at the moment so we started the morning sitting in "the big bed" (mum and dad's) and watched some spangler science. he is usually very open to doing quiet things such as reading att this time.

did not do any reading as dad and b were around to go to dentist. we got dressed and went ninto town with them and walked the dog around the park - and i promised to get some ingredients for science experients. although i had explained i did not want to carrying things around we ended up going shopping first then to the park - i can;t always be bothered with the battle when he gets an idea in his head.

we then went home as b felt sick after dentists appointment. got be settled then we did some science - leo is very keen on this at moment.

then we went and sat in his room and did some more exercise books - he got one of the answers wrong by rushing in and not thinking so it took alot of encourgaement to keep him going. we then went on to doing more of his indiana jones story as again that gets him writing abit and he like drawing pictures for stories. whilst doing this i have found it is a good opportunity to read something on the topics to stretch his imagination so we have been reading about egypt and hidden treasures etc. however i seemed to go off at a tangent and starting reading about the solar system and every so often he would comment so i know some of it is being taken in.

anaother succesful day. we finished off with more computer time and he has learnt how to get onto internet and type in web address, then we had a go on wii lego batman.

he seemed alot calmer this evening when rest of family got home from work/school so i think it is having some benefit so far from being at home.

would love to hear from any other homeschoolers, especially uk as i am having troubl e finding you.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

its a family affair


we are all trying to come to terms with what homeschooling a child can be and the impact on the rest of the family - in our case our family consists of 2 older siblings, mum, dad and the youngest who we have recently decided to homeschool.

after attempting a typical sunday morning outing and it all going wrong we realised we needed to all understand what is happening and why? and how it will affect the family as a whole? how the kids will all be affected and the fact I will be losing an income so financial restrictions will of course be imposed - alot to ask the 2 older girls - after all what will they get out of it.

as someone said on anohter blog i was reading - i am afriad to say there are good adn bad points that need to be considered and ironed out when homeschooling some/all of your children.


me and L went to grannys for day and had went to the park whilst there so we get outdoor activity time.

B made cooking so we went to local supermarket to get stuff for that - need to try and make an effort with the girls to make quality time so they do not feel left out now because L is at home more. I think we have always tried to do things as a family such as walks at the weekend etc and it is getting harder to get all motivated with same things when there is such a big difference - more 1 to 1 time with them all may benefit more.


L was less keen to work today and took a bit more encourage the sparkle of being at home with mummy is losiing its shine.

however, we did do plenty but its shows how important it is to follow his lead adn not have an hidden agenda. we watched some of his alphabet video he likes - it is circa 1980 carol vorderman but he likes it. we also did some english and science from activity books which inspired us to do some more science experiements in the kitchen with household ingredients such as oil, etc to see how things dissolved in hot/cold water - we even found an old snowball in the freezer!!

When he started to get fed up with writign and stuff we watched some children's school programmes I had taped on tv luckily there was one for older kids about a dad who wrote comics so it was right up his street even though it was aimed at older kids.

I am finding it works best if i follow his lead but have some ideas/resources available to go through. Although he is 7 we want to encourage learnign and reading if possible as and when he is ready to do so any opportunity he can. We have also had a coupel of sessions on youtube so have used this to practise it skills and typing. variety is the spice of life.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

getting to know you .......mainstream/home ed familiies

A nice relaxing day was had by all the family.

In the morning me and hubby went to ikea to get a bookshelf for leo;s room to organise books and study materials. I need to get more organised as i am so overwhelmed with the amount of resources there are out there so need to set up some systems to remember - and to work out this blogging system.

All the kids stayed at home and the 2 elder girls had their friends round who have moved away so it was nice to catch up with them for the day.

I can now blog but I can't seem to find them easily. This week has been a great week in terms of really having the time to get to know leo and recognise his little ways and how to handle him or work with him instead of sometimes against him when we have been short of time. It seems to be the route of all evil.

Having read blogs today of pro/anti homeschooling when people seem to think it is selfish for parents to do this and there is plenty of time to spend with kids after schoo. I totally disagree our experience has been that they get in from school and need down time to get home from, it is then a battle to find time of dinner, quality family time and homework.

We need to now focus on finding quality time for the girls as well as they are very happy in school with a large group of friends but it would be nice to get to know them better and have as much quality time as can be made with leo.

By the way he freaked out about the shelf in his room at first as he doesn;t like anthing different and I had also bought a clock that was too loud - but he came around eventually.

Oh well we will see what tomorrow brings.

how do those people get the balance when they have kids that are homeschooled adn mainstream educated? would be interested to hear.

Friday, 22 January 2010

homeschool week 1

After doing lots of research on teaching styles and philosophies we decided we should follow my son;s leaad as he had already demonstrated his reluctance to learn. However we decided to have some strucute based on topics around his favourite interests Spiderman, Batman, Xmen and Iron Man so we ordered to reading books for beginners from Amazon.

Monday we went to visit the family who require support as their carer - LC looked forward to this although sometimes he does not like visiting even people he knows well. We visited the park on the way there where I had grown up and played on a roundabout which suddently became a science expierent about gravity - our 1st homeschool unplanned life experience. Whilst travelling in the car both ways he also drew a picture about spiderman and used his whiteboard I had bought him to spell batman. a good start so far.

Tuesday we visited relatives again so more socialising he also took his lego batman Wii to show granny. Did some more work on whiteboard.

Wednesday our first day at home - we woke up ususal time so at 7.30 am instead of up and ready for school we watched some Steve Spangler science on youtube. I then had to take my daugher to dentist at 9am then son to docs for constipation meds. Reading books came so we read together nearly 2 books of 30 words each, he would not even look at old school books thought they were boring. we had a relaxing afternoon watching iron man as his constipation was bad.

Thursday - up at 7.30 am we watched more science programmes, read rest of reading books and started his first blog typing himself - all by 9.30 am. Then we took the dog for a walk but the park near us has now closed so he had a panic, I tried to distract him walking aroud our estate looking at house numbers and road signs but he wasn't happy until we were in view of our house as it was an unfamiliar route we had taken.

When we got back I got a kids atlas out and we read about maps and drew our own street map game. Then he asked to write a story about indiana jones in his new exercise book i had got for homeschooling. normally he does/will not write so positve leading from him again. Later we watched some kids programmes i had taped, one was on climbing snowdonia/maps what a coincidence and he asked to go walking at wekend and find a mountain - wow another request - we strucggle to get him out becuase of coat/shoe issues and public places. I was shattered by 2pm my first lesson was i realised you need to pace yourself as they are learning taking in much more with one to one and do not want to overload him.

Friday - visited relatives again. took granny shopping as decided we would not do any specific school work today. then decided to come home and have some quiet time on youtube/computer.

wow what a week!!! roll on next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!

new beginnings - home school 1st week.

What a week.

Last week after much consideration we decided to home school our 7 year old son. From the time he started preschool he has hated in - but once you- get him the system you can't get out as they try and up your play sessions without realising you have choices. Although it can also be a time when parents may secretly think - yippee its m tyime now.

However after months of dragging him and the leader asking why we won;t wear a coat in the middle of winter, we then followed on to primary school and reception class. At his trial day he already decided he didn;t want to queue for school dinners and wanted to take packed lunch. Reception was a crosss between again dragging him in and some ok days - he was invited to parties and had his own but these were not enjoyable experiences for him or us. He hated the noisy play areas when they played the loud birthday songs and loads of kids were running around, although he had enjoyed quiet visits with me when other kids were at school as a toddler.

Then in Year 1 we asked teacher for a meeting to discuss his reading as he could still not read and showed no interest in sitting down to do any schoolwork at home - in fact it took us all everning to calm him down after the day. After meetings had been put off with absent teachers etc we finally saw a teacher April towards the end of year 1 with a child pysch and we mentioned some of the above. We tried to steer the meeting towards the question could there be something here (dyslexia etc) but the school/pysch said they did not like to label/assess until 7 so would review in sept/oct when he had had time to settle in year 2 when we all agreed to try harder wiht his reading.

In year 2 he spent most of sept with swine flu systems et and constipation, then we had the bad snow during december/jan. Finally after 2 weeks of snow in january and my son asking everyday if it was school. Sometimes we could say no, sometimes we did not know as "watch this space" was issued until 10 am then changed to closed. We had had that many parents complain of school closure they were scared to and again this did not help our son psych. himself up for the day. He also got severe constitpation again during that 2 weeks had we had multiple dr apts.

We finally decided why are we doing this to him and ourselves when it is severly affecting his health physically and mentally so we decided to remove him.