October 3, 2016
I know I keep saying it but we had another wonderful week in the Nibsy house last week.
This is turning in to an almost guaranteed “at home” day. Some weeks can get very busy for us but we always seem to start the week off with a day in the house. It’s handy for me as I can get some housework done and cook a more complicated evening meal than usual as I have the time. It also means we can do some slightly more academic activities.
This week we tried out two new – to us – websites. The first is Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a free site that covers a range of topics including maths, science and world history. It is compromised of informative videos and small tests and activities. Nibsy is currently working his way through the place value videos. I’ll blog more about them once he’s completed it, including his thoughts on the website.
The second website is Mystery Science. This is usually a paid for website but we signed up for a years free trial a few months back. I’ve noticed they have the offer on again at the moment as well. This was our first time using it and we decided to focus on a 4 video unit about Volcanoes. Each unit contains informative videos as well as a practical task. Today we looked at whether a volcano could erupt in our back garden (conclusion = extremely unlikely) and learned how to plot volcanoes on a map.
Nibsy and I have also started forming a new daily habit. I make each of us a cup of tea, Chai is the current favourite, set the alarm on my phone for 10 minutes and then we both settle down to read our books. He still remains a reluctant reader, I think because a part of him still believes he can’t read even though he is becoming increasing more adept and fluent. So my hope is that with just a small amount of time (increasing it slowly) and making it cosy with tea and sharing it with me that it might encourage him to read a little more. I know that some people never turn out to be lovers of books and reading but he has such a voracious appetite for knowledge that I think once he really gets going he’ll enjoy the information he can gain from books.
As soon as Nibsy was up and about for the day we headed over to our friend As house. They live on the “other side of the water” which means we have to go all the way in to Glasgow on the train and back out again to reach them so we head off as early as possible to maximise the time we can spend over there before making the 2+ hour journey home again.
We arrived at just gone 11 and Nibsy went straight off to play with his friend T while A and I worked on her educational provision for the children. We took a brief break for lunch (jacket potatoes – yummy!) and after that we headed to the local park or a quick play. The weather threatened rain but luckily it held off. We finished up our day by visiting A’s cousins new baby who was very sweet – although I’m still happy with just the one child!
We had plans to meet the Glasgow group but when Nibsy got up he said he wasn’t feeling very well and given that it was pouring down with rain we made the decision to stay at home. Nibsy sounded a little croaky but I think he was more averse to the rain that he was actually ill.
We’ve been taking rather an autonomous/unschooling approach to things of late but I think there’s something about the Autumn and Winter months that triggers a desire to do more “academic” things – perhaps it’s because we spend more days at home than we do through the summer? I’m not sure but the result was Nibsy spent some more time on Khan Academy. He worked on his maths (greater than/less than/not equal to symbols) and also watched an introductory video to Native Americans, it was a little above his ability but I sat and discussed what we’d watched afterwards and I think he took some useful things away from it.
We also had our 10 minutes of tea and reading. I have to laugh when we requests his tea, he’s obviously heard me and A discussing Chai Lattes and has decided that Chai is called Chaila Tea. He won’t be convinced otherwise.
Phew what a windy day this was! I was slightly concerned that the trains would be cancelled but luckily by the time we were due to leave and meet friends the gusts had dropped to a more manageable level. We met up our friends L and F at the Science Centre – got to make the most of our annual pass – which is always a big hit with both of the children.
The boys were able to try out an amazing circuit making kit called LittleBits, Nibsy is now begging me to buy him a set for home but at £80 for the starter set and £300 for the biggest deluxe set he’s going to have to add that to the Christmas list. Nibsy’s favourite part of the kit – like pretty much every other child on earth – was the buzzer. Would you care to guess what mummy’s least favourite part of the kit was?
Daddy had the day off – woohoo! We love having him at home, it doesn’t happen nearly enough for our liking. We spent the morning at home relaxing and then headed out to the local shopping centre in the afternoon. Autumn has truly arrived in the West of Scotland and we needed to kit ourselves out with waterproof gear. Nibsy and I now have waterproof jackets, trousers and walking boots so we can at least stay a little warm and dry during our adventures. After that was sorted we stopped off for dinner at an American Diner. We’d not been there before but had debated it a couple of times so decided to give it a shot – we were not disappointed!
In the evening we headed to the Science Centre (again!) This time we had tickets to a special event called Explorathon. It’s free to attend and as well as being able to visit all the usual exhibits we see during the day the centre is also filled with stalls and exhibits from local universities, colleges and scientific businesses.
Nibsy particularly liked this logic game using microscopic organisms. He seemed to have more idea of what was going on than I did. He also enjoyed talking to a woman who had a stall about local trees, lichens and air pollution. The only downside was that the centre was very very busy and loud. Nibsy had some trouble blocking out the peripheral sounds while he was talking to the exhibitors. It’s just something he’s going to have to work on doing and learn over time but it did mean it was a little stressful for him at points.
So that was our week! Did you get up to anything fun?
September 26, 2016
Hello there folks.
We had some wonderful adventures last week, here’s a quick recap.
Matt had a day off work so I took advantage of that and left my boys at home to enjoy each others company while I met my friend A at the cinema to see Bridget Jones’s Baby. I used to be an avid cinema go-er but in recent years I haven’t been as much because of cost and childcare so this was a rare treat for me. I had an awesome time, the film was great and it’s always lovely to spend some child free time with A.
Knowing that we had a few busy days ahead of us we stayed home and just enjoyed some down time. Down time is good – necessary.
We had plans to meet A and her children but unfortunately she was having some car trouble that she needed to get sorted. We made a last minute decision to go to the Glasgow group. They were on their wildcard week so instead of being in Glasgow they were actually at Loch Lomond – just 15 minutes down the road from us. Perfect.
We all met at the Balloch train station at 12:30 and from there we walked down the side of Loch Lomond for a wee while until we reach a little beachy area where we set up base for the afternoon. Nibsy and I hadn’t been to this section of the Loch before so it was nice to go somewhere a little bit different. Nibsy took his fishing net along in hopes of catching a salmon, I did try and point out that it was highly unlikely he would but he had fun anyway.
Look at that view, it’s just one of the reasons why I love Scotland so much. Sure, other England boasts some gorgeous places to (looking at you Lake District!) but Scotland, nothing beats Scotland’s landscape!
Nibsy can find large groups quite difficult, so many people and personalities can be hard for him to navigate but he had a good time, of course having a good time seemed to involve wading almost waist deep in to the Loch while wearing all his clothes. He was very very wet and he wasn’t the only child there who was. Luckily he didn’t need to walk home sopping wet because our friend C offered to give us a ride home in her car.
We met with or Learning Group. It’s actually a little bit sad because one of the group is moving on to pastures new soon and we’re going to miss him and his mum very much. They’re not going too far but circumstances etc mean that he won’t be attending Learning Group anymore.
Group this week took part at the Tramway in Glasgow. We’ve never been to the Tramway before and I’m wondering why because its lovely. There are several free art installations to explore and they also have the “hidden garden” which is a gorgeous outdoor area to explore. The boys were quite lively when we first got there so we decided the gardens would be the best place to start with. See if you can spot the Nibsy…
The first day of Autumn treated us to blue skies and sunshine so we spent a good chunk of time outside soaking up the vitamin D before heading inside to visit one of their exhibitions. This one to be exact. The artist has used film strips, a pitch black room and flashlights to create an interactive display. The boys all loved it – there were giant flashlights involved so that helped! I’m always so thankful when we attend exhibits like this that we have the freedom to home educate and that it allows me to introduce Nibsy to so many varied experiences. We really are very lucky!
I am still endeavouring to learn how to sew and my friend C is helping me out. C is also a home educator and has three children so we spent the day with them at their house. C and I worked on a tote bag I’m making and Nibsy got to play with her children who he adores. It’s great to just spend the day hanging out with friends.
The weekend was spent at home with Dad, doing some chores, playing video games, reading books and generally relaxing and enjoying each others company!
What did you get up to last week?
September 19, 2016
September is flying by and boy has it been busy for us. There’s so much to tell and you know what they say about pictures and a thousand words so I’m going to let my photos do the talking…mostly.
This was technically the last day of August but it needs to be included so lets pretend it was September. Largs Viking Festival. A great day out with totally awesome friends!
Learning Club which we held at the North Kelvin Meadow in Glasgow. Mosaic making and paint throwing.
We kicked off a week in England with Nibsy wearing a kilt and being best man at his Uncles wedding.
Hunting The Stickman (Julia Donaldson) through the Wyre Forest with Nana and Grandad. We even found a slumbering Gruffalo.
A walk followed by a picnic on the Long Mynd for our final day with Nana and Grandad before we headed slightly North to visit Grandma and Grandad.
A walk to Derby town and lunch out with old friends who we miss an awful lot!
On our way home to Scotland. The sun was shining brightly in the Lake District – a shame we were stuck in the car for most of the day.
Blackberry (or Bramble if you’re Scottish) picking. The crop wasn’t very good this year but we still managed to gather enough to bake a delicious Apple and Blackberry Crumble. I’m not much of a baker but I think Nibsy and I did a pretty good job of it together!
A trip on the ferry to Bute. On the Ferry we completed our final craft of book club – making flags to go on top of biscuit pirate ships! Poor Nibsy had very sore lips, he had a cold and they got very chapped. He didn’t utter a word of complaint though.
Visiting Rothesay Castle on Bute.
A trip across the River Clyde using the free Govan Ferry so that we could visit…
Govan Old Church and the Govan Stones. Nibsy asked for a guided tour and thoroughly enjoyed learning some of the history of the church and the stones.
So, that’s how our September looks so far and we still have a lot of other fun things lined up to enjoy! Cannot wait!
August 29, 2016
I’ve always joked that in order to make up for being given a child who barely slept I have been blessed with an excellent eater. It is true that Nibsy is a “good” eater. I can only think of a couple of items that he flatly refuses to eat, otherwise he’s happy to consume or at least try almost any meal that is put in front of him. So, I’ve decided it’s well past time for me to start cooking with Nibsy. When the time comes for him to head out in to the world by himself I’d like him to be able to cook a good range of meals.
Today we cooked a vegetable tart. This was a new recipe to me also but very simple.
We chopped up a selection of veggies – courgettes, peppers, onions and tomatoes – and then sauteed them for about 10 minutes.
We taught Nibsy from a very young age the dangers in the kitchen so he’s very sensible when he’s near knives, the oven etc and now he’s fine motor skills have progressed well I’m happy for him to work with a proper cutting knife.
He started off trying to stir the veggies around with a spoon but found that he ended up with more veggies on the stove top than he did in the pan so he swapped to giving the pan a good shake by the handle to ensure they didn’t stick while they were cooking.
While Nibsy was seeing to the vegetables I set up the puff pastry for him, a simpe task as I purchased ready roll, so I just laid it on the baking tray and trimmed the edges. Once the veggies were softened with piled them on top of the pastry.
Nibsy then used egg to glaze around the edges. A little goats cheese sprinkled on top. 20 minutes in the oven and voila…
Looks tasty yes? It tasted even better. I think this will be a regular in our house from now on!
August 28, 2016
Hello! I’m still here, I promise!
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer. It’s been quite grey and wet up here in the west of Scotland but we’ve had a few sunny days thrown in there, just so we don’t get too despondent.
So let me catch you up on some of the things that have been going on in our life. First up…Nibsy has a brand new look.
Yep. He’s joined the ranks of the glasses wearers, just like me and his Dad. Unlike us he isn’t short sighted but has a very severe astigmatism. When I spoke with the optician about it he said that it would likely cause the excessive clumsiness I’ve noticed. Since he got his glasses his reading has come on unbelievably well and he can now climb trees and walk tightropes which were very hard tasks for him before. He even loves wearing them which is wonderful, I didn’t want to have to argue with a 7 year old every day about the need to put his glasses on.
What else have we been up to this summer?
Well, we took advantage of one of those sunny days to go swim at Gourock outdoor pool with our friends. We’ve been to the Midnight Swims before (from 10pm – midnight) but we’ve never actually made it over to the pool during daylight hours. It was fabulous, this was the hottest day of the year so the water felt perfect. Nibsy wasn’t too keen on the salt water aspect of things and gave a wide berth to anyone who was splashing water around – smart lad because salt water in the eyes hurts!
We’ve also attended a few Historic Scotland events. Rock of Ages at Dumbarton Castle…
Which we attended last year. I think they improved it somewhat this year, a few more stands and the live action shows were more polished. I’m looking forward to next year.
The other even was jousting at Linlithgow Palace. We’ve never been to the palace before but my friend A had, she had also been to the jousting and warned us that we wouldn’t really have time to look around the palace itself and that if we did it would be rammed with people. She was correct on all counts. The jousting was insanely good but poor Nibsy found the announcer and the crowds too loud and spent a lot of time with his ears covered and hiding his face in my shoulder. I felt so bad for him because he really did like the jousting. I’ve since purchased him some ear protectors for when we are at very large events like this so that he can enjoy the show without the noise bothering him.
Our fortnightly Science club has morphed over the summer and is now a Learning Club, it’s not quite fortnightly either, we squeeze it in whenever life allows. Together we attended an exhibit called Gift for the Gods at Kelvingrove Museum where we learned a lot about the Egyptian mummification process and saw plenty of mummified animals. The exhibit really captured Nibsy’s interest and since the we’ve been learning all about the Ancient Egyptians. One of my favourite topics, it’s so fun to share it with my boy.
Also with our learning group we attended a Roman day at the Glasgow Museum Resource Centre. We’ve never visited the centre before and I’m disappointed in myself that it’s taken me so long to go there given how awesome it is. They had a room full of free activities for the children to do and we also had an interactive tour of the centre, at the end the children were allowed to handle some genuine Roman artefacts. Our friend L is arranging a smaller, private workshop for us later in the year…can’t wait!
We spent a lovely day in Paisley a few weeks back for Nibsy’s friends 9th birthday. The town is currently hosting a whole selection of brightly colour lion statues so we went hunting for them. We managed to get around about half before everyone was tired out and ready to head back to the house for pizza and cake.
Aren’t the lions stunning?
Finally, since the post is getting quite long now, we had a Not Back to School sports day last week. Nibsy only took part in one race but he thoroughly enjoyed the meet up as a whole – we ended it with a play in the sandy part at Glasgow Green which is one of his favourite play areas.
He ended the day covered head to toe in sand, mud and chocolate – that’s always a sign of the perfect day out!
We’ve done a ton of other things this holiday but this post is just a recap of some of the highlights.
What have you done this summer?
May 20, 2016
We’ve had a busy but enjoyable week.
We started it off with a quiet day at home, I knew we’d be out for the majority of the week so decided we needed this one day to just relax and do not much of anything. We did find time in our relaxing to make our own exploding volcano though. We got the instructions from Whizz Pop Bang magazine. Nibsy’s has been receiving it for a while now and it’s well worth the money. The best bit for is is that the experiments often just need items we have hanging around the house anyway!
We also spent some time trying out some Sand Putty that Nibsy’s Grandma sent to him a few weeks ago.
It promised to have the qualities of wet sand without being wet. Nibsy certainly enjoyed playing with it and used his collection of stones and sticks to build his very own Stonehenge but it did seem very much like wet sand to me. It was still pretty crumbly…until I went to put it back in it’s tub and then it seemed to stick to the tuff spot tray like cement. I did manage to rescue about three quarters of it so Nibsy will be able to make use of it again.
On Tuesday we both had a piano lesson. I’ve dropped the lessons to fortnightly as Nibsy was finding weekly a bit of a strain. He’s doing really well, he practices hard and is moving through his lessons and songs well, he just needs more confidence in himself! His teacher is really fabulous, very patient and understanding of little boys with very big emotions.
Wednesday we ventured over to Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow to meet up with a few other home educators. The meet up was meant to be outside play as they have extensive grounds for the children to explore but the fine weather decided to break and it absolutely chucked it down with rain. We spent an hour sheltering under the trees – well, the parents did – before we decamped to the museum and art gallery that sits in the park grounds.
Nibsy is really in to all things science at the moment so he was very excited to explore this microscope. It has several different slides to examine and was hooked up to a display screen where you could alter the zoom and focus however you so chose. Nibsy was most interested in how the coins looked close up.
The museum is currently hosting an exhibit called Gift for the Gods which is about Egyptian animal mummies. It has only just opened when we were there so was pretty busy, we decided to give it a skip and go back in a few weeks time when hopefully it’ll be a little quieter. Nibsy has been expressing some interest in Ancient Egypt and Pharaohs so I think this will be an awesome way to kick start a new history project. I have to admit that I love history so I’m pleased that Nibsy is showing an interest as well.
On Thursday we were back in the city again but this time at a friends house for Science Club. This week it was little less science and a little more messy play which Nibsy and his friend seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.
The boys played with
Nibsy’s favourite was the coloured salt and water beads. He mixed them all up with water, some strawberry scent and food colouring and created a “special potion”. He then put some in to small tubs and in to the freezer. They hadn’t had time to freeze by the time we left our friends house so we’ll have to check them out next time. The boys also put some of the water beads in to the freezer on their own to see what would happen. The end product has been renamed “Ice beads” and it turns out that they smash in a rather satisfying way when thrown at the floor.
We’d hoped the weather would be good so we could keep all the mess out in the garden but alas, this is Glasgow, it rained! I felt quite sorry for my friends kitchen floor by the time the boys have finished up.
We also had plans to do some shaving foam paintings but we ran out of time – maybe next time!
Today we had planned to go to our fortnightly Board Games Meet Up but Nibsy was worn out from all the other exciting activities this week and opted to stay home and relax. Good choice Nibsy!
What fun things have you been up to this week?
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May 15, 2016
This week Nibsy turned the grand old age of 7!
The celebrations started a little early with the arrival of his Nana and Grandad on Saturday. The next day we packed a picnic and headed over to Gourock for their 60th Anniversary Highland Games. We met up with some friends there and my friend “A” brought along an awesome Pokeball cake that she had baked for Nibsy.
How awesome is that? I’m always super grateful that A comes to my rescue in regards to birthday cakes for Nibsy. I can cook just fine but baking is really not my thing.
Nibsy wasn’t too keen on the games themselves so he went off to the play park with his Nana and spent his time digging a giant hole in the sand with some other children. His Grandad however seemed very taken with the games. Who doesn’t enjoy men throwing lots of heavy items around?
On Monday (his actual birthday) we took a trip to the Sea Life Centre at Loch Lomond. Nibsy’s original request was to try the Tree Zone experience there but at the last minute he decided it was probably too high off the ground for his taste and he’d rather go see the fish. Good choice Nibsy!
At the Sea Life Centre they have some little “rock pools” you can explore. Nibsy was allowed to touch a starfish and also to see a shark egg and a stingray egg, the rays were his favourite exhibit so he was thrilled to get to see an egg as well.
While we were wandering around I suddenly remembered we’d already done a Sea Life Centre trip once before as a birthday treat. Last time it was his first birthday and we visited the centre in Birmingham. How times change!
After he had enjoyed touching starfish, admiring the rays and watching the resident sea turtle being fed we headed back out in to the glorious Scottish sunshine. Yes, you read that right. The sun was shining in Scotland – maybe it wanted to celebrate Nibsy’s birthday with us? We decided to take our picnic a few miles up the road to Balloch Castle and Country Park. We visited the park in January with Uncle Dave and Lisa, it was gorgeous in the dead of winter so we thought it would be even more so on a sunny spring day. First though…
…ice cream! The sun was shining and we were celebrating a birthday – it would have been rude not too!
Sadly there was no access to the Castle as they seem to be doing some renovations on it but it didn’t matter we go to enjoy the stunning views of Loch Lomond, eat some scrummy food and then explore a stream – when I saw explore a stream I mean Nibsy stripped off his socks and shoes, clambered of rocks and tree branches and thoroughly enjoyed himself in the process.
We finished up the day at the local pub for Nibsy’s favourite meal, Mac and Cheese with broccoli. I’d say that it was a pretty satisfactory 7th birthday!
The next day the women and menfolk split up. My mum and I went shopping and for lunch in nearby Clydebank and my Dad, Matt and Nibsy went walking in the Kilpatrick Hills.
My Dad is a seasoned hill walker, he’s completed the Offa’s Dyke Path and the West Highland Way as well as “bagged” all the mountains in Wales. He seemed pretty impressed with Nibsy’s walking prowess. They covered about 6 miles in total and Dad said some of the walking was quite rough terrain for little legs. Nibsy was definitely worn out by the end of it but he seemed to have had a really great time.
On Wednesday Nana and Grandad headed home to England. We decided to spend the day at home relaxing. Everyone was quite worn out from the birthday shenanigans so it was a good choice!
On Thursday we had Science Club. Since Matt had the whole week off work he was able to come along with us for the first time. Nibsy was still a bit worn out from all the fun earlier in the week and so he wasn’t as in to his science activities as usual but he did enjoy hanging out in his friends garden, especially when he and his friend managed to cover themselves head to toe shaving foam!
Science club can be a messy business. He also enjoys hanging out on the shed roof!
We finished up the week with another, much needed, quiet day at home!
April 23, 2016
April 20, 2016
We first visited The Saltings Nature Reserve in Old Kilpatrick back in January. It was freezing cold but a lovely place to explore so when some friends of ours expressed an interest in visiting the reserve we were totally on board with meeting them there.
Our friends were dog sitting and they brought their little doggie charge along with them. Nibsy was so excited to get to spend the afternoon hanging out in the reserve with a dog, luckily she was a very sweet natured animal because Nibsy was very exuberant about meeting her!
The weather had been forecast as a sunny day but as per usual they weren’t exactly right. It was very cloudy but at least it didn’t rain! Our first stop at the reserve was at a little beach area by the River Clyde and just under the Erskine Bridge. You’d think the area would be loud with a massive duel carriage way running above it but the noise is actually very muffled, I barely noticed it at all.
The boys spent a happy half an hour digging in the sand for stones, exploring an old bird hide and climbing massive pieces of driftwood.
After a while we decided to take a walk through the rest of the reserve, we ended up coming out by the canal path that runs from the Bowling Basin in to Glasgow.
At this point we could turn right and head back to the entrance of the reserve or left and follow the canal a mile or so in to Bowling. We opted for Bowling, when I’ve gone through there on the train I had spotted a nice looking play park that I’ve been wanting to take Nibsy to try our so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Enjoy a walk by the canal with friends and then spend some time on the play equipment.
The boys were happy enough to potter along the canal path and explore things that took their interest along the way. It’s so much fun to be out and about in nature with children who really appreciate it. I know when I was a child I’d have moaned the entire way about it!
We stopped off at Bowling Basin and met this fine specimen of an owl. Nibsy was especially taken with him, I think if he could have carried him home he would have!
We finished up the day with a hot drink (for the adults) and a cake (for the children) by the river in Dumbarton. Perfect!
March 19, 2016