The Next Step In Our Home Ed Journey: College

Tomorrow Abbie, 14, starts a college course. This will be the first time since 2015 that I’ve not been completely in charge of her education. It’s a bit scary letting her go out on her own but I think this is something that will be good for both children. The constant arguing whenever they ate  in a room together these days is terrible and everybody in the house is suffering.

We started discussing the 14-16 college courses a few years ago but there was very limited choice at our local college. The other main downside was the fact that the college had children who had been suspended from school doing the same course as the home educated children.  A friends daughter went to this college 2 years ago and she had a few issues with these children disrupting classes as they would have done in school.

In July we had our annual meeting with the EHE adviser who recommended contacting a different college. When we spoke to Helen at the college, who deals with home education applications, she confirmed that they had several options for courses that would suit her and they did not take children who had been suspended/expelled from school. A child had to have been home educated for a minimum amount of time before they would even be considered for a place.

After reading all the information on the courses Abbie decided that she would like to go on the Animal Care course. This is a C&G Level 1 Diploma, 14 year old’s are only allowed to study level 1. The course also includes functional skills maths and English. This may be a problem as she is already doing a foundation English GCSE course and a higher tier maths GCSE. We will have to wait and see what they will do as she is so far above the level she will be taught at.

69826646_10157229609913964_1006332716016205824_n.jpg

Stainsby Mill National Trust

66512582_2337870209784579_3471003323778203648_n-PAXP-deijE (1).gif

Our youngest Jess loves the old buildings and regularly chooses history when she has a choice of what work to do so she’s loved the last few weeks of visits.

Stainsby Mill is managed by the National Trust, it is situated in beautiful countryside in Derbyshire. It is a restored 19th-century watermill in complete working condition and is situated on the Hardwick estate.

There has been a mill on this site since the 13th century but the existing mill was built in 1849 and is powered by a 17-foot diameter waterwheel. We were lucky that the mill was producing flour on the day we were there.  The guided tours are excellent, I would recommend them. The tour guides and staff are friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the mill. All the milling is done by volunteers. Jess loved watching the flour being ground , the same methods that have been used for 100’s of years.

It was nice to see the wooden geared wheels which are used for transferring power from the mill wheel to the grinding machinery. As the guide pointed out as these are made from wood they are easy to replace if a tooth breaks. We did come home with a bag of hand milled flour and recipe leaflet, we are going to be using it in several recipes. This is our recipe for Wholemeal Maple Banana Bread using this flour

Also don’t miss the barn which has lots of interesting information and short videos.

It’s not a big site, we were in there around an hour which included the tour and watching the videos. But, some lovely views when you get outside make it really enjoyable. If you’ve got time, which we hadn’t due to having to get home for the dogs,  it’s well worth combining this with a visit to Hardwick Hall.

 

#Walk1000Miles 2019

As some people may remember in 2017 we started the #walk1000miles challenge. I started to document each months mileage but in March I got totally snowed under with work and couldn’t carry on with the updating. My total goal for the year was a little over 1900 miles.

Last January we started again with a brilliant total of 164 miles for the month. Unfortunately we didn’t really get much further for a few reasons. Firstly Abbie became a teenager and suddenly walks became boring!!! Has this happened to anybody else? Or, is it just mine?

Then in early April we became parents!! No, not a baby, 9 gorgeous puppies. This severely curtailed any walking, and anything else come to that as we were with the puppies 24 hours a day for 8 weeks, me and my husband taking shifts making sure they were all OK.

This Christmas though Jess got a fitbit and she is raring to go, she actually asked if we could do it again this year as she could track her own miles.

This will hopefully help with my weight loss which in turn may help with the IBS which is still an issue with everyday living.  Watch out for the posts starting soon.

 

 

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre York

IMAG0603.1

The theatre from the top of Clifford’s Tower 

Last month I saw a post on a home education group about a performance of a Midsummer Nights Dream. I knew Jess would love to go, but I doubted Abbie would. Surprisingly she said yes so we put our names down.  The tickets were being awarded free through a bursary scheme.  As the minimum price for seated tickets was £39.95 this was a brilliant offer to home educators.

A few days before we were due to go I checked the details and was very surprised to find out that it was a lot more special than I had originally realised. Not only were we going to be in the second most expensive seats, £49.95 each, it wasn’t at a standard theatre either. No, we were going to a pop-up Elizabethan theatre  🙂

The pop-up theatre was inspired by the London Rose Playhouse which was built in 1587, 12 years before The Globe. The theatre is an historic 12 sided design, the same as a 16th century Shakespearean theatre.  The theatre was build with scaffolding, corrugated iron and timber. It took 3 weeks to build and is open for 10 weeks until the 2nd of September.

Diagram of the theatre from http://www.shakespearesrosetheatre.com/

The theatre is sat between Clifford’s Tower and York Castle Museum and only a 25 minute walk from the railway station.

This was the first Shakespeare play both myself and the children have ever seen, I loved it, but I think a lot was over the children’s heads, especially the Shakespearean English 😀

The Theatre

We all loved the fairies and the things they got up to when they weren’t centre stage.  It was a fantastic experience and the play was both entertaining and so funny, the actors and staging were excellent.  I really hope it comes back again soon as I will be going again.

These are the children’s blog posts on the theatre:

https://aschoolfreelife.blogspot.com/2018/08/shakespeares-pop-up-rose-theatre.html

https://juniorschooldropout.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-rose-theatre.html

 

Nature So Beautiful But At Times So Cruel

The Lake

7am at the lake

My two favourite times of the year are autumn & spring. I love autumn because the temperature is cooling down, the leaves on the trees are turning into beautiful shades of reds and yellows and it’s the start of the frost when we go on the early morning walks. Spring is a time for new beginnings, seen in the flowers bursting through the soil, the birds building nests and the new life that is all around. These are the times I really enjoy walking and being able to see the best of nature.

We are lucky to live very near to a country park, just a short walk through the woods and in less than 10 minutes we are there. This year unfortunately we didn’t manage to get out much in Spring as we had new life in our own home, one of our dogs had 9 beautiful puppies in April. This curtailed the walks for several weeks but it was worth it.

When we started walking again (normally me and Jess as it’s early morning and Abbie ‘doesn’t do’ mornings) I was happy to see that we still had quite a few ‘babies’ on the lake. There were 6 or 7 goslings, 2 cygnets, 4 tufted duck ducklings and just 1 ‘normal’ duckling.  The next day we went back for our early walk armed with oats, rice and other grains and seeds.

This is where nature can show us so much beauty but at the same time be unbelievably cruel.

We went straight to the small lake that we saw the swan and cygnets,  to find just one adult and a single cygnet, the tufted duck was there with her babies so we fed them all and carried on around. No sign of the duckling but we did throw some food in for the goslings.

Swans

Mum & Cygnet

Three or four days went past and still only one cygnet, I had been hoping that it might just appear again but after so long it wasn’t likely. Still no duckling either. This was the day they were only 3 tufted ducklings. Again we hung around hoping the other would appear out of the reeds but no. The next morning everything was the same for the swans and ducklings but this time we saw the geese out of the water with the goslings and found that one of the babies has a broken foot. It was alright on the water but can’t walk very well, nothing we could apart from making sure it was fed.

This takes me up to yesterday. We went to the small lake and the swans appeared as normal, then mum and the baby tufted ducks came across for food. Mum got a few bits and Jess said that the babies weren’t getting anything. While I was focusing on getting food to the cygnet she said that there was a duckling missing. Mum seemed agitated and all the other birds (around 8-9 ducks plus the swans) moved to the other side of the lake. That’s when we noticed something moving and realised there was a pike which had obviously taken the duckling.

 

To cut a long story short, the duckling came up another 3 times while we were there with mum racing across every time to attack the pike, it was horrible seeing it so defenceless. By this time Jess was so upset so we went as it was too far away for us to do anything at all.

Like I said, nature gives us things so beautiful but sometimes it’s so unfair 😦

Our New Home – Creative Writing

I gave Jess a bit of creative writing to do and it’s the most enthusiastic I have ever seen her when given work to do.

I asked her to write about the new home we all want, telling me about where it will be, what she would like around the area and what she wants in the house. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the writing and how quick she got it done. I must find something else along those lines again.

Here is her idea of the ideal house:

What My House Would Be Like When We Move

“My house would be in the middle of Scotland or near Loch Ness with forty or so acres of land for the dogs to run round, a pub for grandad, a game place for me and Abbiegail and a lake for nanny so she can get her steps in but it will be packed with swans, geese, grebes, ducks, fish and a heron or two.

In the house there would be one master bedroom two large bedrooms and one guest bedroom with a bath room in each bedroom as well as a TV. There would be a library for me, my Nan and my grandad with three comfy chairs and a couch (and no grumpy librarian saying shhh or quiet or glaring at you every second you are in there). Two living rooms one for the dogs and one for us because nanny doesn’t want every were covered in hairs or smelling of dog. The kitchen would be big and it would join to the living room that isn’t for the dogs.

In the back garden there would be as well as two workshops for my grandad, a pond with fish, a smallish treehouse for me, a small shop, and a well, there would be a barn with chickens and goats, from the chickens we’ll have fresh eggs and some chicks, from the goats we’ll have milk that can be made into goat’s cheese and two goats that breed so we’ve got kids.

In the aria around the house I’d like to have a small village with a bakery, a butchers, a post office and a Fulton’s but I wouldn’t mind if it was close to Maya and Maddie but that is what my house would be like when we move.”

 

NOTE: Maya & Maddy aren’t friends but 2 puppies from the litter our dog had in April who both moved to Scotland.

Science Lessons

We have decided to start having some science lessons at home. Sounds easy but I’ve got a 13 year old who is working at GCSE level and a 10 year old who is working around year 4. Add to this the fact a friend is also going to be joining us with an 11 year old and a 7 year old, This could be FUN  🙂

We are starting tomorrow with Acids and Alkalis, as I had to buy some PH paper to test some dog shampoo I’ve made. That is anther story

 

Bullet Journal

IMAG0403.1

The other day my (home educating) friend was talking about how her life had been changed by her bullet journal, OK maybe a bit of an exaggeration.  She did say it was a lot easier now to keep track of what they had done.  I had read about bullet journals a while before but thought they were just a glorified diary so dismissed them, but they are so much more. They are a diary, a ‘to do’ list, a notebook, a planner, even a scrapbook,  in fact anything you want it to be. After seeing hers I decided to give it a go.

I went for a ‘dot’ one, just a series of dots on the pages which make it easy to draw boxes and straight lines.  Although any form of notebook can be used as a journal. My bullet journal arrived earlier today, I do love Amazon Prime for the quick delivery  🙂 Now, where to start.

I could really do with keeping track on day to day events, especially where the home education is concerned, it’s so easy to forget what you’ve done or need to do.

As it’s halfway through May I’m probably going to just have a play and decide whether I am going to do it properly next year. There are so many ideas online on how you can set it out and customise them. I’m not the best artist so I’ll stick with the basics for now I think.

IMAG0399

As you can see, I utilised some sticky stars on the front page that I had been keeping for years as they would come in useful one day, they did 🙂 I also printed off a calendar on which I circled birthdays and some days and numbers (as seen above) for an easy start.

Inside the back page I’ve done a weight loss chart, hopefully that will be the first page I complete 😀

It’s still early days and at the moment it’s a chore setting it all out, hopefully it will get easier and become a ‘go to’ item instead of the calendar. I will keep you posted.

Puppies

Yesterday our lives were turned upside-down but in a very nice way. Our dog Freda gave birth to 9 gorgeous puppies, mum, puppies and a very confused dad, who is wondering what all the noise is and why he is being growled at for looking, are all doing well.

9 gorgeous little bundles

Both children watched the puppies being born and Abbie actually delivered the last 2. Lovely experience for them.

 

IBS – FODMAP Diet – 3rd Week Update

Its three weeks since I decided to try the FODMAP diet for my, possible, IBS. The first week I followed the diet to the letter and after the first two days, no stomach problems. Apart from having some homemade vegetable soup my diet was very boring though. Porridge for breakfast every day. Then I had boiled potatoes and carrots with either pork steak or chicken for my evening meal for the first 5 days.  So at the weekend myself and Abbie decided to see what I could eat.

On the Saturday we made sweet & sour chicken, corn bread and chocolate cake, all FODMAP friendly. On Sunday I did a roast, I was allowed to eat everything apart from gravy, I was naughty and had one spoonful though.

Week two started off well until the Sheppard’s pie, even worse, my husband’s homemade Sheppard’s pie. I simply couldn’t resist it but thought I would be OK. The only things in it I shouldn’t really eat was onion & stock cubes. I did only had a very small amount as well. I waited for the stomach ache to start, but nothing, I was fine, see, knew I would be! The next day Abbie baked cookies, again I know they had flour in but surely one wouldn’t affect me, again it didn’t. I then started to become very complacent, major mistake!

You can see where this is going can’t you? By Saturday all these little bits and pieces that ‘would be fine’ have resulted in me being awake half the night with stomach ache and sitting with hot water bottles all day on Sunday.  I did used to have willpower, no idea where it’s gone.

The third week was really bad for the first 3 days, I did follow the diet again and things started to settle down properly on Friday. I was eating mainly bland food that week and on Friday started adding in omelettes and more stir fries.

This week we went to Chester Zoo, so I did eat a few things I shouldn’t again but lucky it wasn’t overly bad. Restarting properly again this week, just hoping I can find that will power, it must be somewhere.

If you would like to have a look at my FODMAP recipes I am starting to list them on my website.