Monthly Archives: August 2011

Week 4 Victoriana


So we visited Blists hill with the intention of interviewing people but it was rather busy.  Despite this we managed to chat to the policeman, the man in the squatters cottage and do lots of looking about. We ate chips on the canal side and watched some huge carp, bought sweets from the sweet shop, found out about candles, knocking off time, iron, coal, talked about all sorts of things, bought some bread from the bakers and generally had a good first day.  Found a great app to make the pics look old-the boys had a go at using it-really easy.  Printed these out and ordered, chose our favourite and added some speech bubbles to a few.


Tuesday was the trial meet up at Walsall wood which had a good turn out, enough families to hopefully get a weekly meeting going although Tuesdays class with another meet up so we’ll have to see how that goes.  The boys went swimming with dh a bit after lunch which game me a bit of time to try to get to know people and sound people out about how often etc.

Popped into school for the day to stick up the displays, see C and G to talk through the mantle stuff and other bits and bobs with my teacher hat on.

For the rest of the week we did a bit of handwriting, some times tables practice, wrote some drop in sentences read a little bit about the workhouse, watched some vile Victorians and El got her results.  She missed an A in psychology by 1 mark which really annoyed her but she’s looking forward to uni.


dh took the boys to Foxhills for an hours fishing which they really enjoyed, catching about 5 each-bream, roach, gudgeon and keen to go again.

B has been doing some practicing of his initial letters and we’re ready to start set 4 now.

We’ve moved the bunk beds to the front room and the back room is now playroom/shared space for art, computing etc.  It’s much tidier and the bedrooms have a bit more space.  I need to sort out a lot of my craft stuff, especially the dolls house things and actually complete them!  This basically took 2 days to do, and actually be tidy and sorted out-the playroom took a whole day…..!!!!!  Beware any who make mess in there!

We visited Blists hill again on Sunday, complete with clipboards and some stuff to find out to get us to look at some of the places we hadn’t.  The clay mine was fab-forgot how good this was.  Next time we must try to get to the school room at 12! 

Victorians has snuck into week 5 and today we generated words about Victorians, then read through some info about Blists hill, played some word games and re-did our think of as many as we can in 3 minutes.  They doubled the number of words and verbally exceeded 30 in 1 minute each.  After that we talked about child labour and the governments reviews and interviews in 1840, we read an extract about a boy called Stephen from Staffordshire who worked in a coal mine.  They then told me the main parts and I sketched them on a whiteboard with key words and pics.  We used the iPhones to take pics of each key part with the boys posing.  Then we connected the iPhone to the TV and using comicbook we created a comic book page showing some of the main bits of his statement.  We got a lot out of the discussions of how he was feeling, what they thought about it, what they thought life would be like and also they learned how to use the app, save the pics and email so we could print using my computer.  They’d need to practice this again but the end result was brill.  Def. think that making some comics using this method would be good fun and lots of learning!



Week 3 was all about food!!!!


Unfortunately we didn’t get the caches finished and we are waiting for a chain with a padlock so they are sitting in the greenhouse.  We decided to get on with looking at some food stuff.

We were intending to look at calories and our diets, do some cooking and that kind of thing.  There has been a lot of resistance to doing anything much but we finished up yesterday with a visit to the coop to take photos of our fav foods, got back and printed out, stuck to make a days worth of meals, found and recorded the calories, fat, salt and sugar.  Then we used calculators to add up then (with adult help) found out the % of our daily amounts for each-Ot had an epiphanous moment-my diet is not healthy-but then a step too far- I’m going to die!  SO an interesting discussion about how we could make changes.

Earlier in the week we went on a forage through the cupboards, found out the calories in 100g of different foods (both were clear that it needed to be 100g to be fair) and ordered them. 

Tig enjoyed helping to cook Sunday lunch and knows thyme in the garden now.  dh has been enjoying doing all sorts of cooking this week and made a delicious steak, onion and potato pie-needs to go in the family recipe book.

B has been doing fantastically with his sounds- lots of fun pretending they are buttons and then funny things that start with that sound happen-like t for tickle.  He knows p, t, m, c, s, n, a, i, r, k and nearly knows d, h and e. 

Week 2..back to the dinos!


So we headed out to Think Tank to see the dino exhibition and have a general mooch (family membership card in hand.).  The boys all really love it, Ot liked the Iguana, B the spinosaurus and Tig the Trex.  Some nice bits about how many sausages a Trex would have eaten and lots of fun.  Dinner was courtesy of subway!

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Quick geocache at Banners Gate, playing on the park and eating ice-creams in the wood.  Tig got a blister from pushing the roundabout-another lovely sunny afternoon.

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We did some work on longitude and latitude and coordinates using NSEW and degrees,  Which they are both getting to grips with.


We did a new kind of cache-a wherigo-like a virtual tour or adventure around a place with a physical cache at the end but we could not find the physical cache :0(  Beautiful sunny day in the Lickey Hills though so lovely anyway.  Everyone took it in turns to lead using the compass and collect the clues.

We brainstormed what made a good cache and what our cache would be like then went to look for some likely locations in the local area and check for any other caches around and about. 

We decided to make a a cache along a common route we take when we need to post a letter, grab some milk and have a run about.

We collected various tree litter from the floor to camouflage our tubs.  Also a bit of guitar-Ot did a great rendition of Thunder Rolls as did Tig whilst I was practicing trying to learn-it’s slow going!!!

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We camouflaged the tubs and made some short pencils.  The car went for a service and had to stay there for various things which ended up costing over £600, added to that the broken glasses that we had to replace and the ipad breaking it’s been one of those weeks!

All we have left to do is finish of the tubs, log books and labels now the glue is dry (perhaps a coat of PVA) and position them.  We need to get a lock and chain for the final box plus do the write up for the geocaching site

Tonight we had Tapas for tea-yummy!  ,We used some new pots from the garden for the patatas Bravas, had a yummy courgette, tomato and pepper stew with meatballs, garlic prawns, garlic mushrooms, continental meats, mozzarella salad, beer and lime, crusty bread….I think that’s everything!  The heavy rain caused much excitement.

Tomorrow we’ll get as much of the cache done as possible

The first proper week…


I asked my dh to be ‘in charge’ during the summer holidays; the idea being that we’d do everything together but the boys would get a different approach and ideas and that rather than me making a lot of the decision about the what and how of the formal stuff my dh would :0)  So, I asked for him to try and fit in some handwriting practice and times tables as well as keeping the basic routine going (change is terribly hard in our house-Ot especially finds change difficult and needs established routines).

He came up with the idea of weekly themes, based around going somewhere and doing something or focusing on an idea of some sort. 

The holiday breaks down into :

scrapbooking-using connectives, telling him the story of our holiday and making their own mini scrapbooks and a week of swimming every day. (Mainly literacy focus)

Where are the dinosaurs?  Visit think tank to see the dino exhibition then link to geocaching-doing some and then making and placing our own dino themed caches. (Mainly Geography focus)

Bonkers Conkers- a trip to conkers, build some shelters and then probably look at making shelters to withstand earthquakes (shaking the table), high winds (hairdryer) (Mainly DT focus)

Ready Steady Cook-the boys take over the food budget and cooking for the week, looking at calories, healthy diets, organic food, air miles and costs. (Mainly maths focus)

The final 2 weeks to be confirmed.

Scrapbooking wet well, the little books were great and Ot’s verbal stories were fab.  Writing didn’t match up so well for Ot but Tig’s was fab!

The Start of the Summer Holidays


Our summer holidays started a week before school ended for my dh when we went down to Dartmouth in Devon.

It was somewhat fraught with disasters like the key not fitting when we arrived, the car headlights being left on overnight, getting lost and ending up on a ferry and rotten weather.  However, there were lovely moments too, paddling in the sea and seeing everyone have so much fun beating the waves, paddling in the rain, building sand castles, crabbing, seeing otters, playing cricket, seeing the bluest water….all in all a good trip-shame the weather was so sunny the week we came back though!

Finding Blackpool sands when we got there…


The Chalet, crabbing in Dartmouth and picture postcard pics from our afternoon at Blackpool sands.


A trip to Paington, the amusements are essential to Ot’s holiday experience, then back across the ferry!


A trip to an otter sanctuary in Buckfastleigh, enjoyed by all.  Ben just found them so hysterical!


And then we came home, really enjoyed the espresso half way along the journey-yum!