Monday, 31 July 2017

Squashed Tomato Challenge

My boys really enjoy practical Science activities, they learn so much more by getting hands on in Science than merely writing answers in books. Science for us is exploring the world around them and working out problems.

We had a brief discussion in Geography about Nepal and how farmers grow their own fruit and vegetables on the mountainside and who then carry these products down the mountain to sell at the market. This led to a STEM challenge through Practical Action - Could they design, make and test a way of moving tomatoes safely down the mountainside? our mountainside being our staircase!!!

To take part in the Tomato challenge or one of the other challenges see he link below, have fun!!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tesco Farm to Fork Trail

Anyone else been?

Last year I booked my children on the Tesco Farm to Fork trail. They happily put on the yellow jackets and set off on their trail. They had chance to taste different foods they hadn't eaten before as well visiting the fish and cheese stalls where they had chance to ask the workers about different types of cheese and where the fish came from. They were given worksheets to complete and recipes to use at home.

Dhul Hijjah & Hajj crafts & activities

Crafts & activity ideas for Dhul Hijjah/Hajj


Make a Lego Kabah

Sheep crafts -  fun for the little ones

Making Hajj mobiles using the following pack on Smart Ark:-


Making 3D Kabah

Finding the best Hajj deal - comparing prices (nice Maths activity for the older ones)

Learn the Months of Islam


Write a Hajj journal

Write a Hajj newspaper article

Make a Hajj test or board game

Make a Hajj acrostic poem

Advertise Hajj trips by making leaflets

Read or write Hajj stories


Make Hajj maps

Islamic Studies

Read the tafsir and memorise surah Hajj

Learn the Talbiya

Watch Hajj live

BP Educational Service resources

We have using these great science resources from the BP Educational Service for a few years. There is a vast collection of material for both the Primary and Secondary years. We have recently been using the resources to run a fun science week in our Home Ed as part of Science Explorers (see link below)

Primary & Secondary

Try the Periodic Challenge (we ordered the free poster too) :-

Cheerio recipe by DD13

I have learnt this nice, simple recipe from a Home Ed friend and love to make them with cousins and my siblings.


Puff pastry (make or buy)
A flat plate full of sugar
A bowl of melted margarine


  1. Cut the pastry into thin strips.
  2. Spread them out on a baking tray (lightly butter the tray before hand and be careful not to let the pastries touch each other or they will join together as they bake in the oven.)
  3. Put in the oven at gas mark 7 and leave till browned.
  4. When they are out of the oven, cover each pastry stick with melted margarine using a pastry brush.
  5. Roll each one in the sugar till they are nicely covered.
  6. Let them dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! 

Halfords Kids Bike Workshops

I booked DS11 onto the Halfords Kids Bike workshop last year. I was so pleased to book it because places seemed to be snapped up fast, so we were very surprised that on the day he was the only one who turned up!!

He had such a great time though, learnt so much about bikes and how to fix them, listened carefully and got his goody bag at the end!

Look out for this year's workshops which should be advertised soon on their website.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

'My thoughts on my Home Ed journey' by DD13

Home Ed life and how it has changed over the years

Home Ed life has changed over the years from new books, folders & stationery to moving house and more siblings. I have enjoyed it and wouldn't want it any other way. When I was younger typical Home Ed days were reading and some workbook study in the mornings and then outdoor activities, play groups and library time. Now that I am heading towards my IGCSE's I prefer to use the mornings for my study with free time in the afternoon and some revision in the evening. Having said that, my Mum doesn't worry if I miss a subject as I am able to organise my own workload now and always make sure I get each subject finished at some point during the day. This also frees time for my Mum to teach the younger ones. As well as my studies I have to listen to the younger ones read and often help them out with their learning as we use a 'buddy system'. I also fit sports, reading, blogging and other interests into my day as well as studying for awards, visiting places of interest, and I have just been for my first interview as I am working throughout the summer in my local library.

Which subjects have I chosen?

I am currently studying English Language, English Literature, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Art & Arabic. I enjoyed the Crest Award Bronze where I planned and carried out my own experiment.

I have also studied Geography (gained certificates in all three levels of The John Muir Award), History, Spanish (courses on Future Learn) & French but I have yet to decide whether I want to continue these or start something new.

I really enjoy Art and have been studying towards the Art Awards gaining qualifications for Discover, Explore & Bronze. I will be starting the Silver level soon.

I also enjoy sports especially Taebo and I a purple belt in Taekwondo.

What about socialisation?

I have made many friends over the years, some who are home educated and others who aren't. I have lots of time to socialise and meet up with friends. Now that I am starting my work experience placements it has been nice to meet different people of different ages too.

Would I have liked to attend school?

No, I think if I went to school life would be harder and I would have less time on my hands to do the activities I enjoy. Most of my school friends say they don't like school and that I am lucky that I don't have to go. They can never remember what they've learnt either and their comments put me off.

What's great about Home Ed?

Home Ed is great because it gives you a chance to explore and develop your own interests instead of liking certain things just to fit in with other children at school. Plus it is fun to work at home, free from teachers, and large, noisy classes. The safety of your own house is comforting and you can work better, not having been forced to go to school.

Where and when do I learn?

I like to learn Monday - Thursday but I do like doing my favourite subjects on weekends too with Friday as a day off. I prefer to learn outdoors, online or in my bedroom at my desk.

What about further education?

I have a plan and goals for which direction I want to take my education. Right now I a focusing on my IGCSE's, Arts Award and work experiences.

Would I recommend Home Ed?

I would recommend Home Education because you are free to choose what and how you learn which makes it easier for the kids and parents.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Khan Academy Kids Apps

I heard about the kids apps which Khan Academy have added for young children so we thought we would give them a try this week and they are great! They have been designed by 'Duck Duck Moose' an award-winning app developer of educational apps for young children. They are now working with Khan Academy who believe all children should have access to the best learning resources.

I don't use a lot of apps with my children as I'm usually worried that the content isn't that great especially when it's free, and those that do seem good you often have to purchase a couple of levels into the game, that it will turn into more of a game than learning or they will click adverts by mistake.

So far we have used the Duck Duck Moose Pet Bingo and Duck Duck Moose reading apps. DS5 is thoroughly enjoying them and asks to use them everyday since I introduced them to him.

There's lots of practice and fun along the way as he collects pets to look after and feed.

I would certainly recommend trying out these fab free apps!!!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Home Educator Days 2017

The following are links for Home Educators days at various Yorkshire attractions, please feel free to add any others in the comments section and I will keep it updated when I hear about others too.


Chester zoo - free visits

Chester Zoo is allowing school and Home ed children to visit for free in a bid to inspire young conservationists.

Chester Zoo have confirmed that all school age children (including the children of HE groups) can visit for free. Workshops are available for a minimum of 20 pupils at a cost of £28. Get in touch below to book.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Owl Pellet Dissection - natural science straight from the owl's mouth

A couple of years ago we ordered the Owl Pellet Dissection pack from Barn Owl Trust. They don't always have them in stock so you have to be quick when they're available. The kiddies really enjoyed dissecting the pellet and finding bones of tiny creatures inside. The pack comes with a minimum of two pellets, gloves, tweezers and an info guide. A great natural science lesson!!

The Great British Wildflower Hunt

Do your kiddies love flowers and would like to know more about them? Get out and about by joining The Great British Flower Hunt this summer. By taking part in the hunt, recording your results and submitting them to Plantlife you will be helping future generations to enjoy them too.

It's easy to take part just signup here, download a spotter sheet and then submit your results. - sign up here  - more great resources on plants

Trip to White Scar Cave

The boys loved their trip to the longest show cave in England and the UK. They learnt all about the different features including the waterfall which was discovered by Cristopher Long in 1923 who was  holidaying in the Dales, Geological information such as the limestone formations in the rock, stalagmites and the colourful formations of the chemical compounds of Iron. Their tour guide explained everything in detail as they ventured through the cave. They loved exploring the whole cave, getting slightly wet and squeezing through the gaps in the rocks.
After the visit I printed out the worksheets under the 'Education' section of the website to reinforce what they had learned which can be found here:

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Role of the Home Ed Dad

I read an interesting post from 'mommasdesk' on Instagram this week which made me think about the role of the Home Ed dad. I posed the question 'What role does the Home Ed dad play on your Home Ed journey?' to my Home Ed friends, and got some interesting feedback, from Home Ed Dads who work but help with planning and taking their families on trips to Dads who share the Home ed and work part time allowing the Mum to work too.

When I inform people we Home Educate some people seem to think that it's the Mum who takes on the whole responsibility of the Home Ed journey.

So what role does the Dad play?

If he's out at work all week does this mean he is not playing a part?

What about single mums. How do they cope?

Some families share the teaching. Mum teaches the subjects she is strong in whilst Dad teaches other areas. Some families have parents who each work part time and therefore can easily split educating the children that way. Some families, however, Dad is out all week working but they still share the planning and he gets involved as much as can when he is with his children. The single mums I have spoken to say Dad still gets involved as much as he can with his child's education which is great.

For us Home Ed is normal family life and I don't really think the children are learning between set hours but they are constantly learning whether it's with myself as I'm teaching them verbs and adverbs on a Monday morning or whether they are walking through the woods discussing trees with their Dad on a Sunday afternoon.

Over the years I have taken on teaching the core subjects and planning outings and trips. I'm the sort of person who loves planning and organising anyway so I'm happy to do that whilst hubby works various shifts at the local hospital, which is great as the days he is at home he loves to get involved taking them out and about photographing wildlife, helping with reading and times tables practise, giving them art & geometry lessons, as well as teaching them languages, etc. We have fallen into a nice routine and they continue to thrive. But what is really great is the fact that they seem to listen more with their Dad and he has his own way of  'teaching' them with his fun 'hands on' approach.

I think Dad's play an amazing part in Home ed, they are the solid structure even if he's not seen to be actually sitting down to 'teach' his children but he supports his family financially which allows Mum to Home educate. When he's not at work he can still take an active role in his child's education in ways that we can't.

Since joining the Home Ed family on Instagram I have come across so many different families from Mum's fitting Home ed around their careers, Home Ed single mums, and even Home Ed dads some of which are single too.

Would love to read your comments so please share your thoughts........

Summer Spotter sheets

Download your own Summer Spotting sheet and get out and about this summer!
We've been busy spotting lots of flowers and bees in the Botanical Gardens in our local park. It's great to take our classroom outside and make the most of the dry, warm weather as we have noticed signs of Autumn creeping in from blackberries growing to brown leaves falling!! What are you all up to this summer? Don't forget to put a dish of water out for the birds and animals this summer!
 Here are some of the pics we have taken!


BBC Live Lessons

The children always look forward to the BBC live lessons. We have usually covered the topic in the weeks before so that it acts as revision and deepens their understanding as well as printing out the activity sheets in preparation so they have them to hand. The last lesson was on 'Forces' and you can watch it again here:

Next dates, of the upcoming BBC Live Lessons, for your Home Ed diaries are:

Scientific Exercise - 14th September 2017

Scientific Feet - 14th December 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

Brake: run your own Beep Beep day!

Every year we run our own 'Beep Beep day' to teach the children, especially the younger ones, about road safety through fun activities such as making traffic light buns with smarties, car crafts, as well as going out and learning to cross roads safely. Links to the event and other resources below!

Dolphin Diplomas!

A few years ago the kiddies earned their Dolphin Diplomas to raise awareness of the dangers dolphins and whales face living in our oceans and proving they're dolphin and whale 'experts' :)
whilst learning to show compassion towards all living creatures.

'How are Whale and Dolphin Diplomas awarded? It’s simple! First have a go at a fun quiz to show us how much you know about whales and dolphins, and then carry out an activity to help them.'

Click on the link below to get started!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Crest Star Awards

The children have learnt so much by taking part in the Crest Awards. DD13 achieved the Bronze award a few years ago. She planned and carried out her own experiment she named 'Penguins in a huddle'. She wanted to find out if penguins were warmer if they huddled together rather than being alone. She carried out an experiment using test tubes and recorded her findings. The boys have been working towards their Star Awards. Crest Star is aimed at ages 5-7years old and the Super Star 7-11years. It has been a great way to get them solving real-life STEM challenges through practical investigations and discussions. Today we tried making and testing toothpaste! Click the links to register and get involved!


Friday, 21 July 2017

Growing chrystals - Science Experiment

We grew our own crystals using bicarbonate of soda (NaHCO3)!! These Usborne Science books teach children about science in a fun way and includes simple science experiments you can carry out in your own kitchen. We have the Chemistry, Physics and Biology books which we bought quite cheap at The Book People!
1) Fill 2 jars with hot water and stir about 6tsp of bicarb into each jar. Keep adding more until no more will dissolve.
2) Put the jars in a warm place they will not get moved with a plate between them.
3) Cut a piece of wool as long as your arm. Tie a paperclip to each end of it, and place one in each jar.
4) Leave the jars for at least a week. Crystals will start to grow along the wool and hang over the plate.  



Pets at Home Educational Workshops

Looking for a local educational visit to see animals? Check out your local Pets at Home store and book an educational visit to see the small furries, fishy friends or other pets. Great for the little ones especially if they have a fear of certain small pets which you want them to overcome!

'Find FREE workshops for you and your children at your local Pets at Home store. Our workshops help teach children how rewarding pets can be and how to care for them. They also offer a fun filled set of activities that include products and pets for a hands on approach to pet care. Come along and join the fun, we can't wait to see you!.

Maybe after the visit you can do some follow up by taking part in the Young Writers Pet Poetry competition here:
This competition is open all year round for 4-18 year olds.

Here are some cute activities on senses to help the younger ones with their poems


Shapes & shadows in Nature

This week we made many trips to the park to look for shapes and symmetry in nature. There are so many learning opportunities when out and about exploring. The children are learning so much and don't necessarily have to be 'taught'. Allowing them to explore their surroundings and discover new things is an amazing learning experience in itself. We regularly visit the local park with botanical gardens, water features and different rocks to explore and the woods with wildflowers to spot and berries to pick. We sometimes take along scavenger hunt, leaf ID and other spotter sheets.
'I collected lots of leaves and flowers for my Maths lesson in symmetry. I made these nature pictures. I had fun running around and looking at the different colourful flowers.' DS5

'I found a whole bagful of pine cones which my little sister used to paint with, then I chose some shells and rocks, took them out in the sun and drew their shadows.' DS11


'I enjoyed collecting leaves today using my Leaf Identification sheet. I cut them in half with my scissors and drew the other half of the leaf on paper.' DS5


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Arkive Education

Free educational resources for 5-18year olds. Bring the Wild to your classroom with these great resources to print out. I came across them today as we were taking part in the Super Star Crest Awards. Some of these resources can be used towards the Crest Award. (see previous post for the link)

Our Home Ed Week

We started off this Week's Home ed with our 'Home Ed sports day'. The boys were so pleased when they saw the sun shining on Monday morning. It was supposed to be last week but we had to rearrange due to the weather. It turned out to be a lovely day and we all had a great time. The boys loved the parachutes, cricket and tug o war best!
Here in Bradford there are many opportunities to get the kiddies into sport with groups just for Home educated children and other after school groups. My children enjoy focussing on the sport they are interested in which is taekwondo and cricket at the moment.

 DD13 has been learning interview techniques this week after submitting her application to be a Young Ambassador this Summer in the local library. After her interview she was given a tour of the library and where to put her belongings, where to sign in, the duties she will carry out such as filing, data input, registering people with the library, signing children up to the reading challenge and issuing the rewards, organising activites, storytelling etc as well as going through Health & Safety and confidentiality. It was great seeing her in her element and getting straight into her role.

DD2 has been busy as usual learning her numbers & letters. She also made a Goldilocks and the Three bears theatre with her pop out book this week.

Our Home Ed library meet went well again and the story and craft was again on the theme of 'Animals' which ties in nicely with this year's Summer Reading Challenge.

DS8 had a cricket match against Saltaire this week. It only started raining towards the end of the match so it wasn't too bad!!
English & History: We used a pop out book to assemble characters and a castle, from this the boys wrote historical stories.
Maths: Started Frequency Charts following on from Bar Charts as well as mental maths tests. Times table practice for DS5
Arabic: Continuing Bayna Yadaik from the book and You Tube videos. As well as some new apps I'm using as revision.
French/Spanish: you tube videos and workbooks.
Geography: Workbook
Science: Started the Superstar Crest Awards

Home Education Guide

Asalaamualaykum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakathu I decided to Home Educate back in 2003 when I had my first child, and now teach all my ...