Usborne Quiz Tins – Review

Another home educating mum recommended that we try the Usborne quiz tins for the children. Being home educated we make a lot of general knowledge information into games whenever we can and these were ideal to save my brain from trying to work out the questions, and answers, myself.

I bought them mainly for my then 8 year old Jess who suffers from dyslexia. I loved the idea that the cards can be used over and over as they are wipe clean. We tend to just use a piece of kitchen towel, this cleans them perfectly.

The tin contains 75 wipe clean question cards, 5 answer cards and a scorecard. There are 5 categories on the cards which are Long Ago, Science, Dinosaurs, Animals and Travel so will suit lots of different interests. There are 15 cards in each category which have 8 questions on each. That is a total of 600 questions. All the cards are colour coded for ease of sorting them out.

Most of the questions are multi choice which are perfect for children, the rest of the questions (about 5%) are simple one line questions.

As I said earlier I bought them for our 8 year old but I have caught her older sister having a look on a few occasions she seems to like the long ago cards. My adult son and his girlfriend have also been sat answering the questions more than once.

So far the cards have already been used in several different ways. We have given them to her just to write the answers on by herself and then marked them, we have asked her the questions and given her a choice of answers and also asked the same questions without the answers to check if she is learning.

I would recommend them for when you are going on holiday or long trips as they are perfect for warding off boredom and stop the ‘are we there yet’ type of questions. Perfect for ages from 5 upwards, but some of the questions are quite challenging, even teenagers and adults will have to think about the answer so they are perfect for the whole family.

Available Now At Amazon


Newstead Abbey

Yesterday we went to Newstead Abbey. I’d seen a post abut a home education meet up there and we’d never been so thought we’d have a look.  The children don’t, yet, have the interest that I have in history  but we still find something that we can talk about or research later, everywhere we go. This visit the topic for home was Boatswain.

The Abbey was founded as a monastic house in the late 12th century, and it still retains much of its medieval character. The most famous survival is the iconic West Front of the church that dates from the late 13th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. Inside the house the medieval cloisters, Chapter House (now the Chapel) and a collection of medieval stone carvings and manuscripts enable visitors to discover the Abbey’s early history. We didn’t actually go inside the house this time but will in the future when Tom comes with us.

There was one very famous resident of the abbey, Lord Byron who lived at Newstead Abbey at various times from the autumn of 1808 to the autumn of 1814. The house contains many items which belong to Byron including furniture, letters, portraits and even his pistol.

One of the most interesting things to do with Byron for us was Boatswain. As animal lover’s the story of Boatswain was the one of the highlights of the visit. “Epitaph to a Dog”  is a poem by the British poet Lord Byron. It was written in 1808 in honour of his Newfoundland, Boatswain, who had just died of rabies. When Boatswain contracted the disease, Byron reportedly nursed him without any fear of becoming bitten and infected. The poem is inscribed on Boatswain’s tomb, which, as a matter of interest, is larger than Byron’s, at the abbey.  The tomb was intended for Byron and Boatswain but Byron was in fact buried at the family vault in Hucknall.

It’s difficult to read much of the poem on the monument now as you can see by the photo below. But I loved it so much so I’ve printed it below:

Boatswain's Monument

Boatswain’s Monument

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one — and here he lies.

The gardens were beautiful. The children particularly liked The Japanese Garden  with all the water, see a couple of images of it above.  Because of the amount of time spent in the Japanese Gardens we did run out of time before we had a chance to properly look around the rest of the gardens. I’m hoping to go back again in a few weeks.



#Walk1000Miles Challenge Week 1 Totals

We went out walking everyday this week, only local walks though. Jess managed to go for a walk  everyday which made her happy as she didn’t think she could o it.  We saw a couple of interesting birds but the weather was wet and miserable most days so not many scenic shots.

Blackbird with partial albinism

Blackbird with partial albinism



The 1000 miles sounds very daunting but it works out at just 2.74 miles a day. The weekly total we are aiming for is 19.18 miles a week. Of course if we do more we will be finished earlier.  Our total miles for the first week were; me 29.11 miles; Abbie 27.11 miles & Jess 28.29 miles.

I think we did brilliantly for the first week!

I’ll be updating on a monthly basis from now on. Back with an update at the end of January.

Parkour & A Very Busy Day

We’d read about parkour on one of the home education groups. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a child’s version of free running. Both Abbie & Jess wanted to try it and so we went to our first session this morning. The girl’s loved it, this is an excerpt from Abbie’s blog post:

” It was honestly LOADS better than I thought, and the instructors were quite nice as well. I can do a lot more than I thought I could. There’s a huge pit as well full of foam, so you could either jump off the baby ramp (like Jess did) or you could climb up to the high one (about 2m up), the first step is easy the second on too…. but the third is very hard to get on but it’s worth it when you jump off!!!!”

We will be going back as I think the children will make my life unbearable if we don’t.

After we got home it was a quick bit to eat then out for a walk as part of our #Walk1000miles challenge. We managed just over 3.5 miles so not too bad.

It’s now almost 5pm and I’m finally sat down, Tom has just taken Abbie to St John ambulance cadets so her day won’t be over until around 8 when she gets home.


#Walk1000Miles Challenge

Today is the first day of our challenge that will take up to a year to complete! The challenge is to #Walk1000Miles this year.

There are several different ways to complete the challenge, some people count every step they take during the year to reach the total, others exercise at home on treadmills  or you can do what we are planning on doing and only count ‘boots on’ miles which means we only add up the mileage when we are purposely going for a walk.

The ‘we’ is myself, Abbie who is 11 and Jess, 9. Jess has said that she doesn’t think she can do the 1000 miles but as it’s only 2.74 miles a day (if you walk everyday for the year) I think it’s well within her ability to do it. We will encourage her to join us on the walks and see how she does.

Most of our walks will be just around the local area, which luckily enough includes woodland and a country park on the doorstep. As Sherwood forest is also very close by (and the parking is free during the week until the end of April) so we might have a few walks around there as well.

There are several reasons for me wanting to do this, the main one being that I need to lose weight and get healthy. It also fits in well with the home education as it’s not only giving the children exercise but we will be combining the walks with nature lessons. There will be lots to see on our walks and we’ll be identifying trees, fungus and birds amongst other things. Finally I want to do just so I can say I did that 😀


I will be doing regular updates to let you know how we are doing, plus I’ll post photo’s of some of the things we see along the way.

Watch this space, or check out the hashtag #Walk1000Miles 😀 for more posts.