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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.

Yesterday Nibsy and I joined a large number of Home Educators from across Worcestershire and Shropshire to attend a Discover History workshop about the Stone Age and Bronze Age.

I was a little unsure about booking Nibsy in for this workshop as I thought he might be a little young but after talking with a few other Home Ed mums I thought I’d give it a go and see how he got on. The workshop was held at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms. Usually that destination would be a big no for us due to lack of public transport but a new friend offered to detour via our village and take us along, how kind is that?

I found the workshop extremely interesting, I certainly learned a few new things. Nibsy however struggled a with concentrating, which is to be expected from a 5 year old. I had thought it was going to be a little more hands on but unfortunately the hands on but came right at the very end by which time Nibsy had really lasted as long as he could and was by then running around outside with a few other smaller people.

I absolutely recommend Discover History though, the man presenting really knew his stuff and clearly loved his chosen subject, his enthusiasm I think is the reason Nibsy managed to sit through just over an hour of talking and looking, a record length of time for Nibs. I think in a year or two Nibsy would get a lot more out of the workshop.

Afterwards we had a quick picnic in the sunshine and then took a slow meander around the visitors centre. The children found ponds to skim stones on, longs to balance along, tress to climb and a forest schools area to explore.

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Nibsy isn’t the most graceful of individuals but he really is improving with his balancing. He takes every opportunity to walk along walls and edges of pavements. The discovery centre had several areas set up like this with natural play materials where the children could use their imaginations.

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Sticks and stones are Nibsy’s latest obession. We can’t leave the house without him coming home with a least 2 new sticks and 1 new stone. Above he is proudly displaying his "jabberwocky tooth" that he discovered at the edge of a pond.

I’m afraid that’s the extent of my photographs this month as my others ones have lots of others people’s children in them but needless to say, Nibsy and I had a really fantastic day out.

It’s Wednesday and we’ve (sort of recently) started a new book club read so it’s time for another What We’re Reading Wednesday

This is what we’re reading…

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Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. These books have been on my radar for quite a while so when it was suggested as a possible book club read I had all my fingers crossed that other people would want to read it to. We’ve actually got two books running this month which turns out to be working fairly well. The other is James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl but I decided to start us off with Percy – it’s more our type of book.

Let me tell you outright…we are LOVING this book. Not quite two weeks in and we are already half way through. I’ve never known Nibsy to devour a book so speedily. The book is aimed at a higher age than some of the other chapter texts I have read with Nibsy and so I have found myself stopping a little more frequently just to discuss the current events in the chapter with him to ensure he is fully aware of the plot and charcters. There are quite a few characters involved initially and so it can get a little confusing. In hindsight I should have kept a character list for my own reference but as the books move on the number of characters reduces making it easier to follow.

I do want to address the age range of this book in a bit more depth. From reading various posts online and from the reactions of other parents in our book club I think that we are reading this book at a very young age. The book itself is labeled up as 9 years plus and I will agree that some bits can be a little gruesome but I feel that Nibsy is able to cope with the content and to find great enjoyment from the text and so have decided to go for it BUT if you’re child isn’t a fan of scary or slightly gruesome books then it may be best to avoid Percy for now.

The book is absolutely jam packed with Greek Gods and mythical creatures. In the first half we’ve already encountered a centaur, several satyrs, demi gods, Dionysus, the Minotaur and Medusa…that doesn’t even factor in the mentions of Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Hades, Olympus, The Underworld and even more I’ve probably forgotten. It’s sparked a massive interest in Greek mythology for Nibsy and so we have several books on reserve at the local library and several due from Amazon in the next few days – got to love their £0.01 books! I think it’s obvious from previous posts that both Nibsy and I like crafts and to kick off what looks like a massive Greek Myths project we created a minotaur using a toilet roll and the template that I downloaded here.

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Nibsy is already begging me to order in the next Percy Jackson book so you should probably expect to see a lot more of Percy and the Greek Gods on here for the foreseeable future.