Beaumont Park – Huddersfield.

I must start by apologizing for not posting in such a long while. I have had so much to do recently that I honestly don’t feel like I have stopped. Anyway i’l try do a few posts over the next few days, just to give some feedback  on the adventures we have had recently and how much fun (and the learning experiences) that we have all had.

fullsizerender-1We are fortunate to live in a lovely place with some amazing parks. Beaumont Park has to be one of our favourites for many reasons. There is so much space for the children to run around, open fields to run & play ball games in, two fantastic play areas, a band stand which the little ones love dancing in & if you are brave enough, some woods which are fantastic for exploring nature.

We visited on Friday and the weather seemed temperamental so I made sure the little ones were wrapped up warm. The thing I love about children is how the weather really doesn’t bother them. Come rain or shine, I guarantee if the option to go to the park was there they would go. We were joined by little A (2) today and she loved the park so much that she cried when it was time to leave.

I parked the car at the end closest to the visitor centre as i’d been told by a fellow HE mum that you could pick up a ‘Monty’s Tree Trail’ booklet  and I thought that would be something that would be interesting for my Keira. It included a really handy map which Keira found fascinating – we both couldn’t believe how big the park actually was.

We then started walking & running along the paths, looking for the Monty Snail markings hiding amongst the trees. Scarlett (2) has recently become really sociable so we had to stop & talk to everyone. We stroked every dog, spoke to the gardener who was so lovely and gave all 3 girls a small bouquet of flowers each. Unfortunately they didn’t last very long and by the end of the visit most bouquets were now headless.

The girls then discovered lots of squirrel nuts and proceeded to fill their pockets with as many as possible. A (2) enjoyed it the most and her pockets were heaving with nuts. We were also privileged to see a squirrel jump from tree to tree and then jump to the floor in front of us, collect some nuts and run away again. The girls loved it.

We then reached the pond – unfortunately we never ever see any signs of life when we visit. Maybe we are just too noisy? However I have been told by a friend that they have seen frogs & tadpoles before.

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After this we proceeded to the play areas. You are fortunate to have the choice of two – One larger one and one smaller. I prefer the smaller one as I feel the children have more opportunities to use their imaginations and I absolutely love just sitting and watching them role play. There are little trees that they can hide amongst, a really cool tunnel, a climbing frame and a tyre swing which can comfortably sit 4 children on. Because of all the nuts also in this play area, we spent a lot of time in there. Little A is like a magpie and spent at least 20 minutes collecting nuts and making little piles.

During this visit we didn’t actually go in other play area but this has a slide, swings, a climbing frame, rocking animals, wooden stepping stones and another wooden climbing structure just outside it. Lots to do for little explorers.

Because of the size of the park, the possibilities really are endless when it comes to spending time here. Bringing a scooter or bike is a great idea and if you have a dog its a wonderful park for dog walking too 🙂

Hope you have enjoyed this review.

J x

We LOVE home education! 

For anyone who’s thought about home education or made the decision to HE you will feel a variety of different emotions when making your decision. 

I think most people beginning the HE journey, no matter how much research you have done will have moments where they think ‘am I making the right choice?’. I always try and take a positive from a negative and I believe that having these thoughts makes you better at home educating. In the beginning I had these thoughts almost every other day but as I knew it was very early days for us, we were still getting in a good HE routine.

This week we have had a fun-filled, hands-on week full of laughter, fun and experiences. I haven’t focused on ‘education’ as such but my girls have most definitely learnt lots of things along the way.

We have learnt about opposites, drawn self portraits, had a pretend cafe in the garden where the children measured out pasta and water, been for nature walks, paddled in a stream, ran around parks, collected snails and made lots of new friends at HE meets! 

This week has truly been fantastic. I’m really starting to love home education and the quality time I get to spend EVERY day with my children and watch them develop and grow.

Keira even said to me this week ‘I just love our adventures Mummy and I love being with you and Scarlett’ and it really made me happy! 

Here’s some pictures from our very busy week! 

Jenna x

Visit from LA & Elective HE Network Meeting.

I promised that I would do a post on the Elective HE Network Meeting that we attended on Tuesday afternoon and I thought I would tie it in with the visit we had on Tuesday morning from the Attendance & Pupil Support officer from my local authority.

‘Allowing the LA to get involved with your HE decision is your choice!’

For anyone considering home education or a newbie like myself, allowing the LA to get involved with your HE decision is completely your choice. From what I understand if your child has a SEN then in occasional cases permission or further discussions with the LA maybe needed but in most cases it should be your choice.

‘The LA Radar’

In our case, we are already under the ‘LA radar’ as Keira was registered within the school system. Because of this, her de-registration details were forwarded to the LA who contacted me to request a home visit. I accepted on the basis that I was intrigued to hear what they had to say and also because I wanted them to understand that no one wants to best for Keira than what we do as her family. I haven’t gone into the world of Home Education without doing thorough research and  I am confident that this is the right decision for Keira and I really wanted them to hear that from me. I was also intrigued to hear what support or advice they had to offer.

‘The Visit from the LA’ 

The Attendance & Pupil Support Officer that visited us seemed genuinely lovely. She seemed supportive of our decision and asked questions that I expected such as ‘how do I plan to HE Keira around my job’ but understood that because of my job socially Keira would have many opportunities to make friends and socialise with other age groups. Socialization seems to be many people’s main concern when I mention HE but both Keira & my youngest daughter Scarlett seem to have a better social life than I do. I had already prepared a folder for Keira which includes the National Curriculum for KS1, some of Keira’s work that she has already done and her school report that was sent from school a couple of weeks ago. She had a look through that but said she was impressed with the research that I had done and that she had no concerns in regards to Keira’s HE. She ended with the request to visit again in 12 months time which I gladly accepted 🙂

I understand why some HE families choose not to get involved with the LA. My only advice is that if you are faced with this choice, have confidence in your own decisions. I realized a long time ago that no matter what school I send my children to, they cannot possibly want the best for them in the same way that we do as their parents.

‘The Elective Home Educators Network Meeting’ 

I promised myself when I started this blog that I was going to be completely honest. I think sometimes I can be too kind for my own good. If i’m not happy with something I just won’t leave a review at all and i’l keep quiet. However I understand a lot of people who read my blog are researching and intrigued to hear about certain experiences that we face during our HE journey so this is something I must share.

The meeting was held at Cliffe House which is a lovely venue that I have visited before for various courses and even remember going many years ago for a school trip. I had to book a place on the course and when I called they told me various activities would be set up for the children which I thought would be great. Keira’s almost 5 and much better at entertaining herself now however Scarlett is only 2 and you are lucky if she sits still for 2 minutes! When we got there I was pleasantly surprised to see some other HE families. Some had been home educating for many years and some were just at the start of the journey just like us.

Colouring was provided for the little ones but that was it in regards to activities so I was a little dissapointed and it made it difficult to listen to what was been said as Scarlett decided 10 minutes in that she had better places to be.

The best part of the meeting was finding out that as Home Educators we can take advantage of BooksPlus which means we can borrow 2 boxes of resources per term to help us with the girls studies. We we’re given a list of boxes and you simply email them to request the boxes of choice. This has to be the best part of the whole meeting.

As Scarlett was by this point trying to make her way out of the fire escape it was really difficult to socialise with any other professionals or HE families. I also felt awkward because one lady who I think was from the council spent the whole time we were there watching me. I don’t know if it was because I am a ‘younger parent’, new to HE and shes observing how I deal with the children  or something else but I felt really uncomfortable and for that reason & the fact their was nothing set up for the children we won’t be attending again.

So that’s my blog for today. A little long but I hope it gives you an insight into the home visit from the LA & the E
HE meeting too.

Jenna x

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So this week I have set myself the challenge to spend as little money as possible.

We have been home educating for over 5 weeks now and initially I planned so many activities/days out to ensure the girls days were as ‘fulfilling’ as possible but I spent an absolute fortune.

More experienced Home Educators have said to me that HE can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be and they are completely right.

Today was a working day for me and we were joined by L (3) and A (2). I absolutely love Monday’s as both little ones are fantastic and get on so well with Keira & Scarlett too.

We starteIMG_3742d the morning making fruit salad which the little ones really enjoyed. Through my job as a childminder I follow the EYFS and the topic we are looking at this week is ‘healthy eating’ so getting them to learn about and try new fruit seemed appropriate. They did some drawings and coloring of fruit which we then stuck on the wall.
All the little ones then helped me get the picnic ready, ready for our day at the park.

We are fortunate that where we live there are plenty of lovely parks and outdoor areas. Today I decided to take the journey to Manor Heath Park in Halifax which all the children love. We were joined by a fellow HE mummy and her two children, J (4) & I (2) and it was lovely to see the relationships continue to build between all the children.

We spent time in the butterfly garden & they loved watching the fish and the terrapins. We then ran around the walled garden (queue me panicking that i’d lost Keira who thought hiding would be a good idea!) They played in the water area and spent a lot of time in the outdoor playground. All the children had waterproofs & wellies on so even when it rained it wasn’t too bad. Did find though that for the little ones in the puddlesuits slides are lethal! Ha. We even managed to eat our picnic sitting outside once the rain had taken a break. Scarlett just decorated the floor with our lovingly prepared fruit salad!

It was honestly a brilliant day and I spent … (drumroll please!) just £1.00!!

It cost me £1.00 for me & 4 little ones to enter the Butterfly Garden! A good result if you ask me. If you are looking for a nice day out I highly recommend this park. There is also a cafe onsite, public toilets (though you pay 20p for the privilege) and an outdoor gym area so plenty to do for all ages.

Tomorrow is my day off work and I have the dreaded meeting with the council lady about my HE journey! I will most definitely do a post on this at some point during the week and let you all know how it went. The lady I spoke to seemed pretty nice on the phone though so I have my fingers crossed.

Oh & just had to share this adorable picture of Keira & Scarlett cuddling up before bed tonight. Scarlett loves having her hair brushed & Keira is more than happy to play the role of hairdresser.

x Jenna x

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Confirmation of de-registration! Eek.

After a super busy week I have finally had the chance to sit down and publish another post.

I feel that we have really embraced home education this week. Every day has been packed full of learnFullSizeRender (1).jpging, experiences and most importantly fun and it’s safe to say that I am so ready for the weekend! Mr. B will be home from work and we can all relax a little.

I had a call from our local council this week confirming that they had received Keira’s de-registration letter. We’ve been home educating for 5 weeks now but just receiving that call made it feel so real. I am so proud of me and my other half for working together to make the best decision for our children and I am sure when they a
re older they will appreciate that too! I hope they do anyway! Ha.

The attendance and pupil support team also requested a home visit which I accepted so they will be visiting us next week. I understand that this isn’t compulsory and I appreciate that some HE families don’t want any sort of interference from the council which is completely understandable too. I made the decision to accept the initial visit simply because I am confident that what we are doing for our children is right. I want to hear what the council have to offer in regards to additional support for home educating families but I do not want a lesson in ‘how we should be teaching her’ and that is something I will politely make clear to them. One of the main reasons I have taken Keira out of school is because both me and her dad believe we can offer her more 1 to 1 support and a better learning environment than what any school can. I believe that every child has the potential to be fantastic but I believe that different teaching methods need to be used and the school system seems to promote a ‘one size fits all’ method which I completely disagree with. Keira and her sister will have the freedom to explore and follow their own interests and as their parents we wholeheartedly support that.

We are also attending an Elective Home Educators Network Meeting next week which will be interesting to say the least. I am intrigued to learn more about different practices used by HE families and to explore the support available to us as home educators.  I will do a separate post on this next week and share with you how it went.

Jenna x

Tuesday is Adventure Day!

Tuesdays have to be my favourite day of the week as it is my day off work. This means that me and my girls can spend the day together doing whatever we want to do.

FullSizeRenderAs Keira is the eldest sibling she seems to automatically become the decision-maker for the group. To be honest she does seem to come up with fantastic ideas so it works well for us all and I certainly look forward to hearing her exciting ideas.

We are relatively new to home education. 3 weeks in to be precise! Our first Tuesday was spent at our local splash park at the new sports centre in Huddersfield and I have to say it was just fantastic. On our second Tuesday together Keira had a lie-in (another perk of HE) and when she got up the heavens had opened. She decided that it would be fun to go to the park so we put on our wellies and off we went. We took a workbook and pencil crayons and had an absolute blast jumping in muddy puddles. The girls were absolutely filthy but I completely agree with the statement ‘Messy Kids are Happy Kids’ as my girls were certainly happy that day!

Last night Keira decided she wanted to do lots and lots of jumping and bouncing.  I got my thinking cap on and headed to google to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised to find a trampoline park that wasn’t too far away from us. I will do a separate review for this but it was amazing! We will most definitely be going again.

I think its so important that as parents we let our little ones be decision makers sometimes! Its so lovely to see their ideas come to life and be able to enjoy their plans with them.

Jenna x