What do you mean it’s October? Wasn’t it just Christmas? Time sure does fly.

When I told Nibsy this morning that it was October he was SUPER excited, he really loves Halloween and for the first time ever I have agreed that he can go Trick or Treating. My one condition is he can only knock on his friends doors, I won’t agree to him knocking on a strangers door and asking for sweeties but that’s just me.

The sudden arrival of the 1st of the month got me thinking about Autumn and Halloween activities we’ve done in previous years and what we might get up to this year. There’s definitely a few activities I would like to repeat and that I think Nibsy will enjoying doing again…

1. Pumpkin Carving.

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This is a must every year! In previous years Nibsy has helped to dig out all the innards of the pumpkin before I carve it for him but this year I think he might be ready to try his hand at carving his own pattern. I have to admit that the innards really gross me out, the slimy seeds make me gag a little but Nibsy loves digging his hands in to them which is quite lucky really or we might never get it done. I want to pretend I am a super talented carver of pumpkins but in fact I downloaded an outline of a witch from the internet, printed it out and then traced it on to the pumpkin. Cheater.

 

2. Leaf Painting

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This is another activity we’ve done for several years now. Once the leaves start dropping we take a wander through our local park and collect a huge bunch of them to do leaf painting with. Nibsy loves all the autumnal colours and painting so this is the perfect craft for him, the finished work always looks lovely displayed on the wall or window.

 

3. Pumpkin Stones

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These stoney pumpkins were created 2 years ago. We collected some stones from the beach during the summer, saved them until October specifically for this craft and used water based paints to decorate them. I think the use of water based paints is the reason they have a patchy effect to them but recently Grandma picked up some acrylic paints for Nibsy and I’d like to try using them on some stones to see if we get a better base covering. I have a feeling they would look super cool nestled in Grandma’s front garden.

 

4. Pumpkin Name

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We completed this craft last year. Nibsy made a jack o lantern using a paper plate and construction paper. He then cut some seeds out of card and wrote a letter of his name on each seed which he then hung from his pumpkin using string. This was a really fun activity and a great way to practice spelling his name but I don’t think it’s one that we will repeat this year.

 

5. Pastel Leaves

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We also created this awesome leaf outlines last year. I cut some leaf shapes from card and blue tacked them to the paper. Nibsy then draw around the edge of the leaf with pastels, removed the leaf and then used his fingers to smudge the outlines. I absolutely love how this turned out. You could even try using real fallen leaves as your stencil, if you do please let me know how effective they were.

What fun activities do you have planned for the Autumn and Halloween season?

Time to get back to my weekly wrap ups, I’ve really been missing them.

On Monday we had plans to visit Tutbury Castle with friends but sadly they weren’t able to make it so we made a last minute decision to visit Attenborough Nature Reserve instead. We’ve been to the reserve several times before and really love it there, it’s easy to reach on the train from Derby and there’s plenty of space to run around, plus Nibsy loves feeding the ducks and geese.

We arrived around midday and decided to have our picnic before heading off to wander around. While we were eating we saw several school age children playing in the trees and debated whether they might be home educated also. It turned out there were and as luck would have it we had accidentally stumbled upon a large home education group who were meeting at the reserve to go on a walk together. They were very friendly and invited us to join them, so our quiet family day out ended up being a big home ed excursion. Nibsy was really pleased to have other children to gallivant with and it was nice for us to have some adult conversation. We ended up walking quite a large loop which took about 2 hours, but with the sun shining, good company and lovely views the time sped by.

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Nibsy used his pocket money to purchase a large bag of duck food from the visitor centre. It’s not a good idea to feed bread to the ducks because it’s not a healthy choice for them, they do much better on a diet of seeds, plants etc.

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We were quite grateful of the shade on the paths as the sun was directly overhead and surprisingly warm for the end of September. The path weaved in and out of the trees so we were able to get a good combination of sun and shade, I still managed to sunburn my nose though.

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On Tuesday we took a trip to our local park. We try our best to get Nibsy out and about somewhere each day as we firmly believe that the fresh air and exercise is good for him and us. Although we live a little further away from a park than we did in Glasgow we are still pretty close to one that has a little stream running through it. Sadly the play area isn’t up to much and I can tell Nibsy is disappointed and missing his tall climbing frame from Glasgow Green but he still manages to find things to occupy himself – mostly collecting gigantic sticks!

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Wednesday Nibsy and I met up with friends to do a trawl of the charity shops in town. I seem to be on a book buying spree at the moment and managed to pick up 5 new books for Nibsy and 1 for myself for the grand total of 60p. Three of the books came from a new shop that has opened called Healthy Planet where each person can go in and pick 3 books each free of charge, no need to return or swap. The idea is to save as many books from going in to landfill as possible.

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Nibsy found himself a few new dressing up items and this is how he ended up looking by the end of our shopping trip…

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…he turned a few heads, that’s for sure.

Thursday Matt had an important phone call to take so in a bid to give him peace and quite I arranged to meet a friend at the park. Her children are in school so it was just her but Nibsy had fun hunting down bigger and better sticks while we caught up, it’s been months since we’ve seen each other. Then just to make Nibsy’s day some of our home educated friends joined us also and then spent a few hours paying together, turns out the play area is MUCH more interesting when you have your friends with you. It got pretty chilly towards the end but that didn’t stop any of the children enjoying an ice cream…each to their own!

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A year or so ago Nibsy kept a daily diary where he drew a picture each day of things he had been up to. It fell by the wayside during a house move but I decided to reintroduce the idea to him this week. We haven’t been doing much structured worked but I decided this would be a good way for him to not only look back and remember his adventures but to practice his writing and spelling skills. So far he is very keen on the idea.

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As I mentioned we haven’t been doing much structured work, mostly due to being all over the place. We’ve had several trips to Scotland, one down south near London and then we’ve switched back and forth between Worcestershire and Derbyshire. However this hasn’t stopped Nibsy’s learning at all. We discovered the other day that he has taught himself basic addition. All of a sudden he discovered he could use his fingers to help him add numbers to 10 and from there he quickly realised that addition was counting on. I have to admit to being pretty impressed by that. He is also very keen on Greek Myths and Gods as well as the Stone Age so we have been having a lot of discussion about both of those topics. Books and talking really seem to be Nibsy’s preferred method of learning at the moment and I’m happy to go along with that.

So that’s our week. No solid plans for the coming week but I’m sure something will pop up. It usually does.

What have you all been up to this week?

This post is linked with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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Yesterday Matt, Nibsy and I attended our very first Not Back to School picnic at Worcestershire Countryside Centre. A few weeks ago a rather derogatory article was published by Worcester News about home education in the county and the organisers of the picnic wanted to help showcase just how awesome home educators are, for that reason we were joined by TONS of home edders from across the county and further a field as well as a reporter from BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester. He seemed very interested and positive about Home Education so hopefully they will air a good report because we certainly had a fabulous time.

It was a bit of an undertaking for us to get to the actual location and one of the few times I found myself wishing that we could drive because what would have been 35-40 minutes in a car become nearly 3 hours by public transport, not only that but we were heading straight up to Derbyshire after the picnic and so we Matt was carrying around a ton of our belongings in a massive rucksack. We did make it eventually and were very glad we did.

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{I’m sad I didn’t manage to get a better photo of this banner because it was awesome!}

Some of the children had made banners to put up so people would be able to find each other easily and some others had come along with home made cakes to share, there was definitely a fabulous community spirit to the whole occasion. The centre had two great play areas and a massive grassy area surrounded by woodland so while the adults chatted the children had a great time getting to know each other and enjoying the sunshine and freedom.

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The massive highlight for me was meeting Iris Harrison in person. Iris spent a prolonged period of time in the late 1970s and in to the 1980s fighting her Local Authority (LA) for the right to home educate her children, she had to take it all the way to court and she is the reason that we are so easily able to home educate today, she is also the co-founder of Education Otherwise. It really was like meeting a living legend, I was more than a little awestruck. It was also really crazy listening to her stories from that time. She described how she would walk down the street and people would yell abuse and spit at her simply for daring to educate her own children. I would have loved to talk to her a little more but I came over all shy. She really is a lovely woman though.

We spent 2.5 hours at the picnic but sadly had to skip out on the walk around the woods that the others decided to take because we needed to arrive in Derby at a fairly sensible hour and still had another 2-3 hours of travel ahead of us. All done we took 3 bus journey’s, 3 train journey’s and a short car ride but it was well worth the money, time and effort.

If you have the chance to attend a picnic like this then GO! If there isn’t one near you…why not arrange one. It’s such a fab way to meet new people.

Next week was lining up to be fairly quiet but some last minute news means that from Sunday-Wednesday we are going to be in SCOTLAND! I am so excited you can’t even imagine. Some of our friends from our time there have kindly agreed to house us which is hugely appreciated and we can’t wait to catch up with everyone. We’ve only been gone for 6 weeks but that’s a long time in our world.