Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Planning Post 2014 ~ with lots of links!

I am supposedly a structured home-edder at heart, but over the years I have become less and less concerned with orgo-planning. This year, however, I have had a lot to get my head around and have done more planning than in recent years.

The last few years we have used my own adaptation of the Workbox System and it has worked really well for us, but this year the children are all that bit older and in all honesty they hadn't been really 'rearranging' or moving the tickets on their charts for some time, not even to check off what they'd done. This was making it rather hard for me to see at a glance just what was being missed! It's also got harder to be SO flexible as the children grow older and they all need computers more and more for their independent work.

This year I will be educating 3 Secondary aged children;

Taz (Joel) ~ 16 ~ Yr 11.
Minnie (Abigail) ~  13.5 ~ Yr 9
TP ~ 12.5 ~ Yr 8

3 'Junior' aged children;

Lilo ~ almost 11 ~ Yr 6
DD ~ 9 ~ Yr 5
Stitch ~ 7 ~ Yr 3

And Chip ~ almost 4 ~ Pre-school.

In all honesty I do not really worry too much about formally educating my pre-schooler, but I do make sure there are plenty of educational resources around for him and additionally this year, have also decided to invest in a set of Spielgaben. My lovely Nan has offered to pay half the cost of it, and I just know he is going to LOVE it. I'm not sure how much structured time we'll realistically have with it this year, although I might try to do some, however, I know with this we have something to work with into the future :D

For the rest of us we have laminated (so they can be written on) 'timetables' that look like this;


Literature Studies (and others from Currclick)
Conquer Maths
iTooch Music
Geography & this one too (finishing off)
Science (Biology)
Alison.com Music Theory
Another Alison.com course which he is yet to choose!! Maybe some kind of IT course.
Alison English Language/Lit course
Igniting Your Writing II
History (WW1 research)
Art Journalling 


As with Joel and 
Bible Study
DuoLingo German
KS3 Science
Literature Studies (from Currclick) ~ Currently has Jane Ayre and Anne of green Gables on the go.
Galore Park finishing & then progressing 
Language/writing Skills
Alison.com Diploma courses in Health Studies and Childcare.


Just write (3)
Editor in Chief
Grammar (not sure yet), maybe


All About Spelling (hopefully level 5)
English Skills 
Explode the Code (online)
Miquon Maths (Purple)
GP Junior English (Bk 1)
'Speech to Text' story writing on the PC 
Education City Science (+ worksheets)


Heinemann Maths
Reading Eggspress
Science & THIS
Five in a Row


Typing Dance Mat
Reading Eggspress
Conquer Maths (Yr3) and then 


My schedule is pretty full-on too! I would like to hope amidst all that Chip would get more than 1/2hr of my week, but this is life with 7 home-ed kids I guess!

Now, this may all look incredibly 'scheduled' but in reality most of the white blocks are quite moveable and interchangeable, so there is more flexibility in this than there may at first appear! 
The yellowy blocks are computer time and although there is some flexibility in these, in reality, for things to work smoothly with the four computers we have, these are best left as they are. I have even made 'timetables' for the computers, so as to hopefully avoid too much unnecessary waiting around for a certain one, or one at all!
The green blocks are things we do as a whole family group, blue blocks are work with either some or most of us together & the red blocks on Stitch's schedule are things he alone does with me.

The little white circles are for them to tick off each thing when it's done, and much to the teenagers' disgust, I have said I am going to look at the charts at the end of each week to see that the work is being done! It's on them to be honest though.

I anticipate some of the subjects/resources changing as the year moves on, and these will need to be updated each term I think, but it's a good starting point I think :D

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Rest of the Summer...

And so on to the rest of the summer holidays...

It's been quite an outdoorsy kind of summer up until the weather changed about a week ago. 

There have been visits to and from cousins & friends, a very belated bowling party for Caleb, and various mini-crazes that the children have enjoyed together  ~ generally there's been lots of fun and laughter.

The first craze, that lasted almost a week was BUBBLES;

There's been SKIPPING;

Playing cars (as always)

And a good deal of 'let's pretend' games, lego and collaborative Wii playing: particularly on Animal Crossing (Goes to the City), where they have been working together to catch all the seasonal fish and bugs for the Museum!

Caleb had a GYM COMPETITION, which he did very well in and after a short break he is back at it with lots of hours at the gym right through the holidays.

One other afternoon that was particularly lovely was when we went for a walk around Dearnford Lake with my Mum and Nan (slideshow below).

Altogether, it's been a fabulously relaxed, routine free, Summer break with lots of late nights (watching lots of episodes of Downton Abbey), weddings (two) and long sunshiney days. Hopefully it's not over yet either... we have one more week away at the beach, visiting Paul's parents. We are hoping the forecasts are right and we will get one final blast of sunshine, before we return home, autumn sets in and we all try settle back into some kind of 'normal'.

I've done all my marking (for once) and all my planning (oh Yeah!!) and I'm ready to go, but I'm not quite ready for Summer to end yet!

Cromer Holiday ~ Day 10 ~ Bure Valley Railway

The last day of our holiday the weather was a bit more unsettled so the beach was out of the question really. We had talked about doing a steam train ride and settled on the narrow gauge Bure Valley line.

We all enjoyed the ride (there and back), 

but especially Chip, who thoroughly loved the tunnels!

(slideshow below)

We arrived in Wroxham around lunchtime, expecting to maybe have a pub-type lunch, but the chids were thrilled to find a McDonalds ~ the first we'd seen all holiday! So MaccyD's it was ;)

We had to decide what to do next. It was a bit chilly and a walk along the broads did not really appeal too much to any of us. The children spotted a toy shop and it did look inviting, so in we went and some of them spent their holiday/birthday pennies ~ mostly on Playmobil, but the shop really did have a massive selection of toys. It was quite lovely :D

We still had just over an hour to kill until the return train and had spotted Wroxham Minature Worlds on our walk into town. We thought we'd take a look, as Paul and the big boys love model railways. Initially we thought it was going to be a bit too expensive on top of the cost of the train ride, but actually it wasn't, because we all got in on one 'family ticket' which was for 2 adults + all their children! It's always a bargain for us when places do that, but they are few and far between. Anyway, we would highly recommend it as a place to kill an hour or so ~ the displays were incredible and it's soon to play host to the largest 00 gauge model railway layout in the world...(probably open by now). 

One display even sent me on a little trip down memory lane and had the girls ooing over the dolls of my past ~ much preferable to Barbie they agreed - more lifelike :D

A very lovely chilled out day to end our fantastic holiday. Cromer was definitely a success and has the children asking to come back... we'll see ;) 

Cromer Holiday ~ Day 8 ~ Bewildered!

This had to be one of the best days of the holiday. Highly recommended by numerous friends, we took the chids to Bewilderwood ~ I'll let the pictures speak though, as it was what you see ~ brilliant fun!!

Cromer Holiday ~ Day 6 ~ Meeting Friends.

The same week we went on holiday some good friends of ours moved down to Lowestoft, so we thought it would be fun to meet up for the day ~ on the beach ~ but sods law this was the day it BUCKETED down with rain. SO emergency plans were hatched by text and we drove to Gt Yarmouth to meet them at the Sealife Centre ~ indoors and reasonably fun for all ages! BUT it was heaving - guess everyone had the same idea - so I didn't take too many pictures.

When we had been around once (it isn't very big) we headed to KFC (the first place we found with ravenous hoards of kids!) and filled our faces :D

After that the rain had stopped and it was trying to brighten up so we headed onto the beach to throw some stones in. No-one was intending a swim, or at least no-one had brought swim wear, 


And these two got thoroughly SOAKED ~ neither had spares and neither seemed to care. Mr B actually went for a swim!

After their dip in the sea, we got ice-creams and waited for the kids to dry off a little, before returning to the Sea-life Centre to visit the penguins which had missed first time around and apparently were a must!

All in all a good fun day and definitely one to be remembered :D Sad goodbyes were said, as we guess it'll be a while before we see these friends again :-( and we headed off back up the coast.


The next couple of days were spent hunting for Crabs (mostly).

Day 5 was spent in Sheringham. The weather forecast for the day was rain at first, brightening up in the afternoon, so we planned an indoor activity first and went to Sheringham Museum (The Mo).  We anticipated only being there about an hour, but the children really enjoyed it and were determined to finish their quiz sheets (unusual for my lot). I think they consequently learnt quite a lot about fishing & Sheringham!

The forecast was quite wrong though; rain never came and it was a scorcher of a day, so I was actually quite relieved we didn't spend the entirety outside.

Following the museum we grabbed some burgers on the seafront (which were delicious) and then walked a LONG way along the promenade to where we were told we would find rock pools, once the tide went out a bit. 

The tide was right up when we got to Sheringham in the morning, going out by the time we sat on the beach, but it was still a very long wait for the tide to go far enough out to reveal the rock pools that we could see under our feet! 

By 4pm the pools were beginning to be visible. Low tide was at 5pm. When the tide was eventually low enough we did actually find some excellent crabs, but it turned quite quickly and we didn't really have long hunting before the pools were covered again! 

Not the best place in the world to crab I'd say, but Chip had a wail of a time jumping around on the rocks and at least it was cool enough on the beach to make the heat bearable! :D

Slideshow below;

Day 7 we tried again! This time crabbing off Cromer pier with long lines and fish bait. I didn't take any pictures of us working as I was too busy hauling in lines for the younger ones and keeping a close eye on Chip! We caught a few, but not as many as we had hoped to. Eventually Chip got rather bored, so I took him down onto the beach to throw stones in the sea for a bit, until the others were done, and then we got an ice-cream before heading back to camp for a chilled out evening :D

The big boys and I went over to the 'club house' where the footy was on ~ quite an entertaining match ~ and there was a Karaoke birthday party thing happening. It was rather loud, but quite funny to watch!