Tuesday, 28 April 2015


The Girl is currently working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Art & Design. This week's homework was to tea stain some paper and use it to create a piece that will go towards their final project. Here is a photograph of her work - shared with her permission :)
In the meantime, my not-quite-so-crafty Boy has been inspired to make mini weaponry after he saw this video on Youtube.

You can get free downloadable .pdf instructions by subscribing to Sonic Dad. There's also a selection of other freebies too.

We had a lot of fun with the glue gun even though we got a couple of singed fingers along the way - keep the aloe vera handy! It proved to be quite tricky in parts and Boykin definitely needed a bit of adult help. He was still very happy with the outcome and has been firing matches all round the house since :/

Hints and tips from Boykin:
Use coloured lolly sticks to save colouring in.
Number your pieces on the template and write the numbers on the lolly sticks too.
Trim the excess glue before it sets too hard.

His verdict - glue guns are amazing!!!!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Our Easter Traditions

I have happy memories of Easter egg hunts as a child, particularly one year's hunt that included  a new book. I really hope that I am giving my children similar happy memories of special celebrations.

Family traditions have been very important to my two youngest children over the years. They have enjoyed maintaining them and tweaking them a little as they grow older.

I can't really remember when we started the tradition of an egg hunt in our home, but I think it may have been after Boykin was born. I didn't go in for encouraging the Easter Bunny, but somehow The Girl took this myth on board. Consequently, a few years ago, I was very much surprised by her disappointment when I let slip that I laid the clues for the Easter egg hunt. Boykin, on the other hand, has never believed in the Easter Bunny and has always enjoyed the egg hunt just as much as his sister.

My mum still does an egg hunt every year for her grandchildren, very similar to the ones she made for me and my younger brothers - albeit with more eggs. It is noisy joyful mayhem. They all love it and very much look forward to it, even though there were often tears when they were younger when some cousins got quite a few more eggs than others. They have had to learn to share their winnings over the years.

Because there is a four year age gap between Boykin and The Girl, I wanted to make it fairer. I had to level the playing field somewhat so that one (The Girl) wouldn't end up with loads more eggs than the other (Boykin). So, I came up with the idea of cutting egg shapes out of cardboard and drawing pictures of the places where the eggs were hidden. Drawing meant that no-one had to be able to read, and the rough sketches meant that they were both as likely to be able to guess. At each destination, there were an equal number of small eggs to be shared and a new clue which they had to work together to solve. The hunt ended with a large egg each and quite often a present too. (Usually a book, sometimes audio books or CDs, but one year I gave them toothbrush sets). The whole Easter morning egg hunt event became a much more co-operative rather than competitive celebration.

 It's been a good tradition and they have both enjoyed it.

This year, however, there's been a slight change. The Girl is growing up. She's a teenager and doesn't always want to join in like she used to do. She is, however, really good at adding a certain flourish to the traditions in our home. This year, she took responsibility for setting the egg hunt. She drew pictures and wrote riddles on her egg-shaped clues, hiding the eggs in new places as well as old, tried-and-tested ones from previous years.

On Easter morning, she presented both me and Boykin with a basket for our finds. She collected her own share of eggs along the way as well, but I really loved how she included me in the fun.

I had my own Easter egg stash for once - the first time since I was a kid:) Yummy!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Competitions for Kids to Enter

Do your kids like entering competitions?
Here are some that are open to families and home educators in the UK right now.

Vegetable photo competition - I particularly like the idea of making a veggie animal :)

World Kids Colouring Day - closes May 13th - open to home educators as well as schools

Monthly Colouring Competition

Poetry Competition - children's section is free entry - closes 20th April.

Short Story Competition - closes 15th June

International Short Story Competition - closes 30th June

A Selection of Writing Competitions - open to home educators as well as schools. Click on the Parents tab and then click on Home Education in the drop down menu

Science & Engineering Competition - open to home educators as well as schools

Recipe Competition - open to everyone under age 18 - closes 31st August

*I have emailed the necessary schools competitions to check that home educators are eligible :)

If you know of any more, please post them in the comments :)

Good luck!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Easter sale at Currclick

There are 10 freebies hidden around the Currclick site in the Easter Sale :)
Can you find them all?

Remember to scroll to he bottom of the pages and have a good root around the site, clicking on links in the sidebar and bottom bar too ;)
Here Comes Peter Cottontail Lapbook by Hands of a Child
Resurrection Sunday Activity Booklet by Fortunately For You Book
Spring Notebooking and Coloring Pages by A Journey Through Learnin
Easter Skip Counting Cards by Eastern Wind Academy
Peter and Polly In Spring by All That's Good Publishing
Stories from the Life of Christ Told to the Children by Heritage History
Learning About Plants by Amazing Grace Learning Centers
Splendid Spring by Knowledge Box Central
Notebooking Easter by M.K. Harllee
Easter Vocabulary Activities (1st - 3rd Grades) by Christian Homeschool Publishing

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


The Girl is an Explorer Scout. Her scout group are going to Kanderstag International Scout Camp in Switzerland in 2016 and she has to raise the money to pay for the trip. Fundraising is not my forte and I was really stuck for ideas and suggestions for her. However, it turns out, she has had a very good idea of her own :)

The Girl wanted to help other children by donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust to be made into wigs for children with cancer. She has been collecting sponsors and the money will go towards her scout trip. Yesterday, she had 12" of hair cut off her head. The long thick plait weighed 94g and was posted to the Little Princess Trust yesterday. One of the local beaver leaders kindly cut her hair for her :)

From this.....
...to this.


Both me and The Girl have been overwhelmed by the messages of support for what she has done. It has really made her realise that donating hair is special and that it will have a real impact on others. I am very proud of her for her thoughtfulness and determination.

Thank you to all those people who have left messages and thank you to those who have donated. She has made a good start on her fundraising for going to the International Scout Camp next year :)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sunday, 1 March 2015

New stuff

Last week we went to our first study group session. I say 'we' but really it was 'they'. The only bit I was involved in was the driving and dropping off. Another home educating mother has organised a study group for older children to take Level 2 certificate courses which can then be extended into taking IGCSEs if they wish. The Girl has signed up for four classes and Boykin has signed up for the Digital Photography and Film-making class, working towards Level 1.

It's quite a long drive to the group, but it's through lovely countryside and we get to stop and walk round a lake on the way home - weather permitting. Unfortunately, the group clashes with the home ed martial arts group, so Ninjitsu has had to go on the backburner for a while :(

Other new stuff for The Girl is that she is starting her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award with Explorers. In fact, she is at the training weekend for the expedition as I type.

The Girl also walked up Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia, Wales last weekend with friends. We try to go on at least one holiday every year with a whole bunch of people, old friends and new, cousins and kids they've grown up with. It's a fantastic weekend that gives us all chance to catch up with each other and get to know new friends better. It started out as a camping trip every year and has evolved into a YHA holiday instead.

While the teenagers and adults climbed a mountain, I took Boykin inside one - a new experience for us both. Dinorwig aka the Electric Mountain houses an underground pumped-storage hydro-power station built by the CGB when electricity production was a nationalised industry. There is a lake on top of the mountain that feeds the turbines as the water drops a couple of hundred or so feet through an enormous pipe, ending up in a lake at the bottom. The station can go from stand-by to full production in 12 seconds (or something like that) and provides the extra electricity needed during a power surge. At night, it pumps the water back up through the system from bottom lake to the top lake, using electricity provided by coal-fired and nuclear power stations. It took me a short while to get my head round the fact that for every 3 units they produce during the day, it takes 4 units to pump the water back through the system in the night. The tour guide explained really well how this particular type of power station is designed to stabilise the national grid. It's well worth a visit if you or your children are into electricity and power stations.

Useful Electricity links:
Dinorwig educational materials - click on 'Pre-visit education pack'
Dinorwig educational materials - click on 'Post-visit educationpack'
Electrical safety for kids with an optional signed interpretation
KS3 resources and lesson plans
Electricity site for KS3
BBC Science clip KS1
BBC Science clip KS2
Another BBC science clip KS 2
BBC KS3 Bitesize
BBC GCSE Bitesize
Online activities for 5 - 16 yos
Resources for KS2 & KS3
How electricity is made interactive