The Phoenicians are not as widely studied in the primary years as say, the Greeks, but they are covered in a chapter of “The Story of the World” and so we have found our way there.

Or first activity is was to make coloured ‘glass’. Primus wanted his bottle-shaped. It is made of greaseproof paper filled with crayons shavings, ironed and cut out. We also incorporated some tissue paper. It looks very effective on the window.


Up next, making purple dye!


Experimenting with paint


We gave always enjoyed painting, but I actually know very little about how to get a good wet on wet result. I am starting to research how to get this working for us.

The first thing we have done is to create these painting boards. These are made of simple MDF board. They are cut about 2cm bigger all round than the A4 paper we use, then sanded lightly. I small still debating whether I will varnish the back.

Today we tried them for the first time. They are very simple, but I really like them. They keep each child’s workspace marked, something we always try to do for many reasons. They also encourage the children to paint right to the edges of the paper whilst still maintaining a mess control. And the best thing is that you simply leave the papers on them to dry, and then wipe them clean when they are dry!

I am continuing to learn so much more about painting and art in general. I do really love the fact that I get to keep learning and experimenting like this!


The Best Thing About Home Education


Just hanging out.

I remember when I was teaching I used to let everyone have silent reading outside on lovely days like this. Now we don’t have to go back inside. After reading together the boys wander off to play in the sand pit or trampoline, and I get to read MY choice!

My Budding Botanists


Today we started a new science program – Budding Botanists. It is a project-based curriculum originally designed for use in schools so we will have to tweak it a little bit. The boys will be Botanists working to uncover the work of a scientist whose notes have been discovered after years of being lost, trying to find plants to make fuel. Anyway, it gave us a great idea!

This morning we went to searching for lab coats. We practised protecting our senses with gloves and safety glasses. We conducted a simple experiment and then read a great book “What is a Scientist?”. What is a Scientist? shows children doing what scientists do, asking questions, experimenting, recording. My children really enjoyed it.

Primus  recorded his work. He wanted to paste in the science rules. I just read from the book! 😉


I am really looking forward to seeing how this one goes, but it is a promising start.

Dealing with Meals

Having my children at home means that by necessity we eat at home more often too. And that means a different type of work from making school lunches. I wanted to share some of the things that have worked for us. As usual, Your mileage may vary.

What doesn’t work for us is leaving it free for all, all day long without specific meals for a plan in my head for what we are going to eat. I am sure some people work well with that, but when we do it, it results in a great deal of mess, dishes that could cause an avalanche and children who have eaten nothing all day but apples! So we gave that one up.


Sometimes we do this even if we are going to be home. Sometimes it works. 😉 Lunchboxes allow us to have a variety of foods ready, so my boys eat protein and salad and complex carbs. I can include lots of things that they enjoy but might not necessarily think to eat on their own. Lunch boxes have saved us in the early babydaze, or when I am unwell,  since DH can do them in the morning and they are all sorted for the day.

The down side of lunch boxes is that sometimes my older two would eat the most interesting bits out of them and then spend a lot of time complaining about what was left.


I’m not going to lie. This is one of those things I never thought I would do. Who wants to be stuck with the specific colour all the time? Then there is the colour battles when a certain colour isn’t available. BUT as the children and sleep deprivation have both increased, and the workload too, I have discovered why generations of mothers have done it. It makes life simpler. It’s much easier to omit disliked, or reactive food items from specific plates, dramatically reduces washing up, and makes clean up much easier. I am amazed at how much more happily my children respond when I can remind them specifically that they haven’t yet put their plate on the sink, instead of generally pronouncing that someone hasn’t put their plate away.  It even makes it easier to repackage uneaten food too! Morning tea fruit can be put in the fridge on the colour coded plate and then just put next to lunch’s sandwiches. And my children love it. Go figure!


Leftovers from the night before do make great lunches, but think broader. Children can be somewhat wasteful sometimes, and while I am not going to be draconian about that, I do want to minimise it as much as possible. So I try to reuse leftovers. The colour coding makes this fairly easy. And if you are a little creative, it doesn’t feel like leftovers! Best tip from my mum: Uneaten fruit can often be chopped and quickly stewed for a breakfast topping, ‘desert’ or even snack.  Lots of other foods can be ‘repackaged’ by adding a sprinkle of cheese, or putting it in a sandwich, serving it over plain pasta, or on a cracker. Ta-da!


Call it a picnic. Just take out the mess with you. Don’t forget to bring the plates back in (See colour coding).


Self serve really draws children in. Primus will serve himself (and eat) more salad than I would ever get away with! Autonomy is SO important. Remember that dishing up what you will actually eat is a pretty complex skill and one even adults get wrong. And don’t forget all the fine motor skills and social learning that takes place!


Everyone’s rhythm is different, but I found it was really important for me to notice and prepare for the ‘hungry times’. For example, I found that  my children would often be starving an hour before dinner, eat a pile of fruit (because I was distracted trying to cook), then not be hungry come mealtime. Then they were waking up starving during the night or in the early morning. The solution has been to offer a substantial snack about an hour before they were eating. Bingo! No energy crash!


I haven’t got it all figured out and even if I did, what works for us might not work for you. Just try it and see. And I am always open to good ideas, so share yours with me.

The perfect Easter Monday craft activity


Who Says Cave Glyphs are Mysterious?


They were just created by children! Pavement chalk or sidewalk chalk is just big thick chunks of the same material as blackboard chalk. In my opinion it needs to be on the list of home education essentials. There is so much you can do with it! Tracks for cars and push along toys, number lines, art, hopscotch, its so versatile and cheap. Plus it makes your house look pretty. Take care though, it will stain some clothes, especially the red chalk.

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