We decided this morning to start reading ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, so after breakfast they had the first chapter, which they loved.

A morning of cleaning and tidying and then we went this afternoon to the farm. It turned out to be a 1940s/wartime weekend at Nene Valley Railway, so the Route Master Bus was linking the farm to the railway. We immediately got on the bus and rode to the railway and back, which is something the boys were desperate to do the last time we were at the farm. That only left an hour at the farm, but we pottered pleasantly.

Home again. JJ and Mip both fell apart at the beginning of tea and we had ten minutes of non-stop wailing from both of them (in fact I think the same thing happened at breakfast). Not sure what happened to Mip, JJ was just being two.

Then after tea Matt read chapter two of TLTW&TW to Mip and Bee. He paused part way through the chapter to get a drink and when he came back Bee was unsure of keeping reading. They finished the chapter and Bee decided that he didn’t want to carry on reading the book. The chapter is about Lucy meeting Mr Tumnus and how Mr T. lulls her to sleep and then when she wakes he says that he has been a bad faun as he intended to let the witch have her. Lucy helps him see he must not to do it and goes back to our world. Maybe Bee was unsure because of the negative elements of the story? He is so sensitive to things like this. We have a fairy tales story tape, which he never likes to have on, and a copy of Jack and the Beanstalk, which has to stay on the top shelf because he doesn’t like the pictures. He wasn’t keen on Where The Wild Things Are for quite a while, though Mip loved it.

Climbing and Drawing


Littlest climbing to the top of the stairs, looking very pleased with herself.


This is how Bee and Mip spent the whole morning – Bee working in his Richard Scarry activity book with Mip watching him.

The afternoon was spent running around activity world with the Muddle Puddle group. The evening was spent with house group. So most of Bee’s favourite friends were seen all in one day.

And then to bed, Bee as usual with his pile of Narnia books. He takes them to bed every evening and studies the pictures, trying to work out the stories. He has also started doing this with the Swallows and Amazons too. Tonight he was crying because Matt wouldn’t explain to him what the pictures in the book were about. Matt had decided that he didn’t want to talk about the pictures near the end until we get there in reading the story together. So, it looks like we now need to start reading Narnia to Bee, where in the past we were reluctant to do it until Mip was old enough to follow the stories.

This morning we were at P’s house for play and lunch – very therapeutic as always. Then we came home and made walnut cookies ( the recent strong winds have brought done much of this year’s crop already), and Bee spent an hour or so in a Richard Scarry activity book. I love the way he compliments himself at regular intervals – he’ll look up and say “I’m so good at dot-to dots” or “I’m doing this so neatly” or “This is almost like being a real artist”. Although I happily make encouraging noises to these, I generally just let him carry on without making any comment. One of the things I don’t like about school is how everything is subject to a teacher’s approval (or disapproval) and marked, and so the child doesn’t really learn to assess his own work for himself. Or to just do it for it’s own enjoyment. I still remember a picture a friend drew in our reception year – he drew the sea and the sky, and as they met in the middle he ended up with a totally blue page. When the teacher saw it she was very cross and tore it out and told him to do it again. Terrible!
Anyway… Mip also did some bits in another Scarry book, JJ did some puzzles, and Beethoven was in the background.

Yesterday afternoon was similar. The boys painted, and we played our animal soundtracks game and letter lotto, this time with Schubert. In the evening Matt went to a talk about Wilberforce, and came back regretting not having taken Bee, as some h.e. friends had been there with all 4 of their children (same ages as ours) and their eldest is a favourite of Bee’s. At one time we were more proactive about taking our children along to evening meetings, but we haven’t done so recently. Partly logistics, but also partly my feeling that people might disapprove. Just chicken really.

Littlest can clap now, and climb stairs. Saturday I let her climb them, with me just behind her, which she did, but it took a long time. Sunday she escaped supervision, and was found at the top of the stairs giggling away and looking oh so pleased with herself. Now she hangs hopefully around the bottom stairgate waiting for Bee to open it . Which he does, later explaining “but she didn’t fall and she was so happy…” Matt also says that she can say “Dada”.

Another late start as littlest woke up about 4am ish for an hour or so, so I didn’t get up very quickly. This meant that only Matt, Bee and Mip went to Church. After lunch we went to Fineshade Woods and had a nice time. Boys and woods is always a good combination. We picked and ate blackberries on the way around, JJ eats as many as he can get!

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Home for tea. The enthusiasm for Land Rovers continues, so Matt was prevailed upon to make a Lego one and Bee has gone to bed with it.


Apple tree pruning to encourage more fruit (more than the 10 this year).


Catching up, again

Life seems so relentless at the moment there never seems time for anything more than a quick catch up of “this is what we did”, which isn’t really what I intended this blog for. However, something is better than nothing in this educational record, so here is this week’s catch-up…

We had a very slow morning, and breakfast in bed. (sounds peaceful, but imagine 3 bouncing boys, a crawling baby and lots of jam and butter all in 1 bed….). Matt spent the day in the garden, pruning the apple tree, sawing up the woodpile and generally tidying up. I read to whichever children weren’t outside, and the boys also did puzzles and Magnetix. We had a ready-made chinese for tea, and then the boys played with the electronics with Matt before bed. I think Bee also finished his dot-to-dot book.

Friday – Matt had a day off and took the boys up to the farm while I stayed home with Beth and cleaned. Home group in the evening. Bee continued with his dot-to dot at every in between moment.

Thursday – We walked to the museum in the afternoon. Looked at the Titanic exhibition again, plus dinosaur fossils and Romans. Bee came home and pulled out a dot-to-dot book. He had done some of it before, but would only spend a little bit of time on it. Today he spent ages doing it, and just looked much more ‘at home’ with the whole idea. It gave me a glimpse into why people say to wait until boys are 6/7 before expecting much in the way of writing etc.. He just seems so much more ready than a year ago.

Wednesday – Bee and Mip had a Colourstrings class. It was just us as none of the other children the teacher was expecting turned up. Hope some more children can be found, because I don’ think she’ll keep the class open with just 2 in it!

Tuesday – a.m. read about dinosaurs and finished the bee chapter. Ferry Meadows in the afternoon. Very cold, so we walked around the lake to keep warm. Saw a stoat/weasel. At home we got out some wildlife books to look at our stoat/weasel and spent some more time browsing through them generally. Finished watching the proms. Bee is planning to keep bees and sell honey to fund the purchase of a Land Rover. Sounds like we will need a lot of bees.

Out and About

We seem to have been out do much over the weekend there hasn’t been time to record anything. Briefly, this is what we have been up to…

Friday – We went with the local HE group to a small organic farm, which also has three wind turbines. We had a short tractor ride and an enthusiastic talk by the farmer. We also bought four fresh-picked organic corn-cobs, much cheaper than Tesco’s. Then a food shop in the afternoon and then to house group.

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Saturday – To Sacrewell for the annual food and farming weekend. I think there was less there than previous years, but we enjoyed demonstrations of thatching, basket making, spinning, ploughing, smithying and a hilarious duck-dog demonstration (sheep couldn’t be transported in for this due to restrictions!).

The boys made bread in the old bakery and we contemplated buying tea and scones, but it at £2 per scone it seemed a bit excessive, especially when I knew I had seven home made ones in the freezer.

Over tea we almost finished watching the last night of the Proms.

Sunday – Church in the morning, off to Hinchingbrooke Country Park with HE/Church friends for a picnic and Honey ‘festival’ by the Cambridgeshire Bee Keeping Association. The boys made beeswax candles, watched a demonstration in which an apiary (beehive) was taken apart.


Wimpole Home Farm

As we are trying to arrange a visit for PCHE (Peterborough Christian Home Educators) to Wimpole Home Farm, we were given a voucher for a free visit (the farm is a property that NT members have to pay extra to go into) to ‘prepare’ for our proper visit. So we thought we would go today.

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There is a large play area with a Combine Harvester and lots of ride-on tractors, plus another woodland adventure playground. I (Matt) had a few goes on the zip wire and helped the boys to have a go on it too. This part was very extensive and will be great for our PCHE visit. PCHE seems to consist of a lot of HE’d boys from 3 to 12, plus a few girls!

All-in-all the day was very relaxed and we had an opportunity to see most of the property (even had a brief look around Wimpole Hall – 200 year old stately home).

Wimpole Home Farm is basicly an upmarket version of Sacrewell farm, that we visit quite frequently. All very nicely done. There are some incredible old buildings there, one is a large barn with thatched roof plus an octagonal dairy.

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There were quite a few opportunities for petting/grooming animals, so we went to the ‘meet and greet’ session with the rabbit and the grooming session with the donkey. We could have done more, but there was so much else to do.

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Also this week…

… Monday J and I finally made it to the new Gardens of Surprise at Burghley. Lots of water features and 5 very soaked children. They all enjoyed it, and with the sculpture garden included there was more than we could do in the 4 or so hours we were there. In the evening Matt and I started listening to Longitude, which we have borrowed on tape from the library following our visit to Greenwich.

Wednesday was a good h.e. day. A pop-up book on Leonardo da Vinci by the Provensens arrived in the post, so that kept us going for the morning, along with a book on dinosoars. Then we took a picnic to Ferry Meadows and had 3 hours out in the beautiful September sunshine. The boys played in a little wooded area building a bridge with sticks, we saw speckled wood butterflies, watched a narrow boat come in to moor, and spent some time in the extended conservation garden . Then over tea we watched an hour or so from the Last Night of the Proms on Matt’s laptop. The boys did some drawing while we were at FM and Mip tried writing his name. It took up several pages, and had several “e”s in it which aren’t usually there, but he was very pleased with it. (and so, of course, was I!)

Today was a bit slower, and we didn’t get anywhere this morning. We watched a spider building a web, and also some magpies churring at a cat prowling under the walnut tree (we have wood pigeons nesting in the walnut). Bee told me he had read the story of St George to JJ, and that although he may have got a few words wrong he thought he had mostly read it right!
After lunch we went to Central Park to play in the sand, and then came back for tea and more proms. We also looked through a book on the orchestra (and the boys were able to remember which instruments are used in Peter and the Wolf) and we read St George and the Dragon, a snippet on St Francis, and a few other bits.

There are lots of photos waiting for Matt to have some spare time to put them up. On the house front, we have put down the stair carpet, given away some spare bookcases ( a little sadly as Matt had built them from scratch back in Cambridge) and Matt has fixed the decor doors onto the built -in fridge freezer – a job which had totally defeated the chippie!

Spiders and Airplanes

The morning was spent at the dentist.

I’ve been reading a book on nature study which I picked up at Cefn Lea last week. So, this afternoon we picked out a chapter on spiders and read that (we have lots of baby spiders in our cellar). We also picked daisies and dandelions when we went to the park with a view to drawing them later, but we ran out of time to do that.

The boys also found an Easter sticker book on the shelf which they spent some time doing and we read it when they had finished the stickers. I suspect it came from Granny – I never see these books arriving in the Granny bag, but Bee keeps finding new ones on the shelf…

The boys have been building lego aircraft. Bee told me that the French for airplane is avior. I explained that it is avion, to which he replied ‘well I say avior’. However in a few weeks we are starting french ‘lessons’ with a friend so hopefully he will take more note of her than he does me!