Tag Archives: elective home education

Science at home – hanging crystals

We’ve been doing science experiments at home recently from the Usborne Activities book ’50 Science things to make & do’ and will be sharing our findings with you.

The first one is:

Hanging crystals

1. Fill 2 jars with hot water (we used glasses). Stir in about 6 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, until no more will dissolve. We also added some food dye, a different colour in each glass.

2. Put the jars in a warm place where they won’t get moved (we used a windowsill), with a small plate in between them – this fills up with water and can overflow, so beware…

3. Cut a piece of wool as long as your arm. Now tie a paper clip to each end of it and place one end in each jar (they should touch the bottom).

4. Leave the jars/glasses for a week. Crystals will grow along the wool and hang down over the plate and if you’re lucky, you might even get crystals that drip on to the plate and form columns. This didn’t happen for us, but may have been because the plate seemed to be constantly full of water!

’Why does this happen’ explanation for the kids: the wool soaks up the mixture. When the water evaporates all that is left are the bicarb of soda crystals. The hanging crystals are formed when the mixture starts to drip from the wool and evaporate.

11.08.13 bicarb experiment

Raising Children Bilingually

Parents who can speak more than one language are generally keen to share these with their children. These parents frequently have questions about how second language learning affects reading ability, social skills, and scholastic achievement. Whether or not being able to speak more than one language themselves, many wonder how best to help their children learn more than one language.

Research suggests children who learn a second language are more creative and better at solving complex problems than those who do not. Studies have shown that bilinguals outperform similar peers speaking one language on both verbal and nonverbal tests, and tend to achieve higher mark on standardised exams.

Individuals who are able to speak more than one language have the ability to communicate with more people, read more literature, and benefit more fully from travel abroad. A second language gives people an advantage in the workforce. These are just some of the reasons for parents to encourage the development of a second, or more, language with their children.

Below is some advice regarding the learning of more than one language at a time

* If a child was spoken to in up to 5 different languages, by the same amount of people, each particular person in their particular language only, a child would easily learn all of them, and with hardly any effort. There is no such thing as CANT in their vocabulary yet, they aren’t negative and wont say for instance ‘I cant learn all these languages, its far too hard for me!‘. This is possible only in the first years of life.

* The language must be used in a child’s environment in the first years of their life. One or more people should speak the ‘extra’ language to/with the child, and also in front of them with others (if possible)

* In Japan a course was developed that entailed playing English-language tapes 3 times a day to infants from birth to the age of six months. Between the age of 3-5 if the children have an English teacher, they learn English more easily than other children.

Pink Floyd – Another Brick in The Wall

My favourite home ed song 🙂



Parham House and Gardens, West Sussex

After visiting Parham House in October for the Autumn Foraging Event, I personally recommend anyone with kids into nature and also a bit of history to visit Parham House and Gardens.

Parham House is owned by a Charitable Trust and the home of Lady Emma and Mr. James Barnard and their family. This beautiful Elizabethan house is set in an ancient deer park below the Downs near Pulborough, West Sussex. It is surrounded by some 875 acres of working agricultural and forestry land, including designated areas of Special Scientific Interest. Around the house stretch the 300 acres of ancient deer park, whose fallow deer are descendants of the original herd first recorded in 1628. There is also an award-winning romantic walled garden, pleasure grounds, lake, maze and historic wendy house. To be seen are an important collection of historic portraits, furniture, paintings and notable early needlework. A café/restaurant is also on site.

For opening times, prices, seasonal events and more info click HERE.

New York middle school forces 14 year old girls to ask each other for a lesbian kiss

… boys to recognise promiscuous girls and that sex at 14 is ok, April 2013 (I know this is a few years old, but its from my old website and I’m moving stuff to this new one and I didn’t want to lose this when the old website finally goes…needless to say there are still many messed up things occurring in schools 3 years later….)

According to Fox News’ Todd Starnes – Outraged parents say a New York middle school instructed young female students to ask one another for a lesbian kiss – and boys learned how to spot young sluts – in an anti-bullying presentation on gender identity and sexual orientation

“I was absolutely furious – really furious,” said one parent of a 13-year-old boy. “They were teaching the boys how to decipher if a girl is a slut.”

Some of the young female students said they were told it was common for 14-year-old girls to have sex and their parents couldn’t stop them.

Mandy Coon, a mother of an eighth-grade student said, “I am furious. I am her parent. Where does anyone get the right to tell her that it’s OK for her to have sex?”

Red Hook Central School District Superintendent Paul Finch said the class focused on “improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions.”

Finch said it is mandatory that the middle school teach those issues in accordance with the state’s Dignity for All Students Act. Yep, the state is clearly in control of what is being taught to your children without your consent!

Read more HERE

What can be said… this is outrageous, inexcusable and clearly oversteps many boundaries. And on top of that is unnecessary. Will just make children feel more awkward about the whole sex thing. The school must have known that parents would give a resounding NO as an answer if they would have asked their permission! in fact, the whole thing sounds pretty perverted. What kind of a teacher gets kids to do this kind of thing anyway. Just another reason to home ed.

Our Amazing World

Inky and I came across this page earlier today and thought I’d share it, looks great for kids and adults alike. Inky age 10, loves it! As do I 🙂  Lots of facts, new creatures and wonders to learn about from all across the world, with amazing pictures too. I shared a few of our favourites below.

worlds smallest stallion awwww what a cutie. Just 20 inches tall.

beautiful cargo container homes WOW – look at all the beautiful cargo container homes down the page! I could definitely live in one.

bridge of immortals china – The worlds highest bridge. Check out the stunning pics!

amazing creativity with nature  – nature creations

amazing grotto ‘enchanted well’ Located in the state of Bahia Brasil, 400km inland from Salvador. A giant sunken pool 120 meters deep. The water is so clear and transparent that ancient tree trunks and rocks are visible at the bottom. Between April – September sun rays hit the bottom of the well. During October – March the same happens with the moons rays.

Baatara gorge waterfall Lebanon This is a 3 tiered waterfall which drops 255metres in to a cave made of limestone, formed during the Jurassic era.

Many more interesting articles and pictures to be found at the bottom of the pages too!

Online Maths Tutor / iTutorMaths

Submitted by an Unknown Home Ed Parent – Interesting

We have been schooling our son at home for several years with great success and he is currently studying for his GCSEs. My wife is the primary teacher, although I do also undertake some of the work when my job permits. However, as my wife has for the last few months had to spend some time caring for her sick father; our son’s education has suffered a little. Hopefully he will be better in the near future and we will be able to get back to normal. However, to help through this difficult period we have looked at ways of supplementing our child’s education online.

I am sure that most parents, especially those that home school, will be aware of BBC Bitesize. The resource offers a great way of learning all subjects in easily digestible segments. The resource has come a long way since it was introduced and there are now semi-interactive activities in addition to tests. Our son has been using BBC Bitesize for several subjects with varying success. The main problem came in the subject of Maths, which he has always found a little difficult. If he encountered a problem that needed a little further explaining, there was no-one to guide him. So we decided to explore other online options.

We found several companies offering maths tutor services over the internet. Having done a little research and read some reviews we settled on a company called iTutorMaths. The teacher delivers lessons using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VIOP), that the students can hear through their headset all through the PC’s speakers. Our son is also able to see the teacher’s whiteboard on his screen and write on it himself if required. The classes usually contain between 6 and 10 pupils, which is sometimes split into smaller groups so that pupils can work through problems together. He has actually told us that he enjoys working in the groups. Having taken him out of school because he was constantly disrupted, this came as a bit of s surprise. However, I suppose that the other kids in the class are all interested in learning.

So far the classes seem to be working out and we are happy with the results. The lessons are £15 per hour, which is quite a bit cheaper than the traditional style maths tutors that we have checked out in the past. Due to the fact that we live out in the sticks it also a lot more convenient and we don’t have to worry about taking our son to the tutor, or someone that we don’t really know being left alone with him in our home.

As yet we haven’t decided whether to continue the lessons once my father in law has returned to full health, but it is certainly helping us out right now. I had the opportunity to sit in on a lesson for about 15 minutes last week and the teacher was pretty good. If any of you are looking for a maths tutor to supplement your child’s homeschooling for whatever reason then you should give www.itutormaths.co.uk a look.

Online KS3 to GCSE/IGCSE French courses for home educators

New – live KS3 to IGCSE French courses starting in January 2013. Designed by home educators for home educators!  Classes are small, limited to 5 students. The cost is £7.50 an hour. The total cost varies whether you are doing an one hour, two hour or three hour weekly course.

The Key stage 3 French course is a three year course suitable for complete beginners. Previous experience of the subject is not necessary although students who have already studied French at primary level will have a net advantage. The course covers years 7 to 9 programs of study. It provides basic French knowledge and skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing needed to help you progress to French courses at GCSE/IGCSE level.

For more info HE French tuition online

National Trust Offering Education Group Memberships to Home Ed Families

TheNationalTrust are offering Education Group Memberships to Home Educators at £42 a family. ” So that we can distinguish between this membership category and full family membership, home-educating families using their Education Group Membership are entitled to visit during school term time only. We are unable to extend this membership category to cover visits made by home-educating families during Bank Holidays, weekends or school holidays.” To find out more: National Trust Educational Memberships

A really good offer, we love going to public places term time, there are many attractions that offer home  ed discounts.

Mount Snowdon, Cardigan Bay, Beddgelert and Sygun Copper Mine part I

The below is from a few years ago – I’m having to move old stuff I’ve written to this new site.

Sam, inky and I spent a week in North Wales at Sams’ grandparents home, on the doorstep of Snowdonia National Park in August 2013. It was an amazing week, a real home from home holiday. A warm, loving, happy welcome and reunion (we live in West Sussex, so don’t get to see the (great)grandparents as often as we’d like to) as always, our usual rooms with lovely freshly made comfortable beds, with breakfast and dinner prepared every day (real gourmet things too, always followed by dessert and starter to boot on the final night !), as well as packed lunches to take with us on our daily excursions. It felt like an all-inclusive week away and was so nice having a break from the norm – especially the no cooking and cleaning part.

One day we made it to the top of Snowdon. We had tried this about 3 years ago when Inky was 4, but we didn’t get very far ;0) This time round we cheated slightly – we started the ascent from about a third of the way up. Reason being that I was 5 months pregnant and still suffering with all day (not just morning) sickness… It took around 6 hours getting up and down. Not bad being pregnant and with a 7 (almost 8) year old in tow I think??? I thought I couldn’t make it at a few points as did Inky, but we kept getting new waves of energy and after 1 and a half hours Inky pretty much ran the whole way up and then ran down/ jumped from rock to rock. I did feel slightly queasy at the top, but only because I was worried about Inky going close to the edge and running around, obviously enhanced by pregnancy hormones… After our packed lunch on top of Snowdon, which I didn’t want because I felt so sick with fear, but Sam made me eat, I no longer felt queasy and far less worried. On our way down we had a rain cloud at our backs (an amazing sight!) which we managed to out-walk at a fast pace. I thought I would be in mega pain the next day but I was actually fine apart from a mild ache in my left quads, thanks to a long soak after dinner the night before. Believe it or not, I really wanted to do it again that day. I really felt like I’d achieved something the day before, especially in my ‘delicate condition’, haha. I loved the fresh air and no cars/houses to be seen for miles. Proper out in nature, just how I like it.

just a few more million feet to go…

snowdon 1

On the summit

snowdon summit

Mount Snowdon, Cardigan Bay, Beddgelert and Sygun Copper Mine PART II