Our Unschooled Week #21

We are resolutely refusing to acknowledge that summer may be over, clinging on to every glimpse of sunshine amidst the clouds and grey skies, and keeping the fan plugged in when some evenings a heater seems more appropriate.  (We are also doing what all home ed families secretly do and longing for the halcyon days of September when everyone else is back at school and work, everywhere is empty and the sun usually shines.  Sorry!)  But this is what we've been up to in the clouds this week...

On Monday, we met friends at Stanmer Park, Brighton.  We started off at Proud House with tea and coffee for the grown-ups and treatment for Perdita's poor burnt hand, whilst the children played.  Then we wandered round a rather strange 'brocante market' which turned out to be a sort of architectural salvage yard.  The girls (4 in number now with Xanthe) were fascinated by a wonderful old painted gypsy caravan, and various other oddities and delights.

We wandered round a couple of nursery glasshouses where they picked at ripe strawberries and tomatoes, then headed onto the grass for our picnic and to kick a ball around.  Big brother Zach was happy to join in with that bit, despite the plethora of girls.  After lunch we wandered down to the tea room for ice creams and a walk, then explored the churchyard looking at different types of gravestone and memorials, most of them related to the family who had previously inhabited the estate.  The girls were full of questions about this on the way home.  We also found handfuls of delicious blackberries and elderberries to snack on.

Tatia decided she must be tall according to this handy memorial measurer,
despite my protestations about climbing on graves!

We found a lovely orchard where we learnt about different types of apples (so many in one space!), and Tatiana scrumped some slightly battered windfalls, then went back to the playground for a bit.

On the way home we stopped at the beach at Lancing.  The traffic was ghastly so it made sense to have a pit stop dinner and play before making our way home.  We played in the playground, collected chalk, examined shells and fossils, and added some sea cabbage to our scrumped apples.

The girls then found some cones which they decided were wizard hats and played around with, which they found utterly hilarious.  We also peered through the complimentary telescope to see the iwnd farm being built out at sea.  This prompted a long discussion about renewable energy and how the energy is harvested then transferred to grid, why we need it etc.

When we were ready to go, what better way was there to get back to the car than rolling down the hill?

Tuesday was a bizarre day meteorologically, with dramatic storms to be seen out at sea.  We played on the beach and at the playground and watched the drama.  We discussed the weather, storms, clouds, how rain is made, what thunder and lightening are and why we hear before we see and how that can help approximate distance.  A favourite book at the moment is What Makes it Rain? so this was the real life embodiment of that.

Steve captured this rather fab dramatic photo of Tatiana with storm clouds in the background.

Eventually the rain made its way in land for a little while, so we sheltered from the drizzle under the slide.

Skipping the showers, the girls played outside in afternoon and had a good run round, with scooters and without.

On Wednesday, Lara and I were feeling ill with a tummy bug.  It was grey and rainy too, so we played board games, and watched the documentary Apples, Pears and Paint: How to Make a Still Life Painting on iPlayer.  This prompted lots of art history investigation, so we dragged the hefty art books out and looked up Cezanne's studio online (now added to our must-visit list).

In the afternoon, Tatiana made apple cake with her scrumped apples - look out for the recipe next week!  The other two were keen to research kangaroos after a book we had been reading, so we found out some more facts about them, talked about where they live, time zones, how to get there, and why unique animals live in Australia, how evolution works etc.  Sophia is keen to create a full project about kangaroos, but not yet confident of her writing ability.  I have suggested we cut out pictures and add some facts, so we will see if she wants to go with that.  Tatia loved the chance to cook on her own with Daddy while we were busy.

Thursday was our church's after school club family day, the only thing fixed thing we had planned, and alas I was still feeling wretched, so couldn't take the girls.  Plus I didn't want to pass whatever it was on to everyone else.  We had a quiet morning reading lots of books, colouring and playing, then Steve took the girls over for the last hour or so.  They certainly made the most of their time, colouring, making masks, doing crafts and icing cakes.

Lara had seemed better but then spent Thursday night throwing up, poor thing.  So it was another quiet day on Friday, watching The Boss Baby and the LEGO Batman Movie.  Sophia is really interested in the ballet at the moment and wants to learn all the stories, so we have been studying those and watching all the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi and Mariinskii videos we can find.  She's building up the courage to start classes at the moment.

Lara felt better in the afternoon, so in the evening we went to John Lewis to buy my birthday presents (woohoo).  The girls all chose what they wanted to get and worked to a budget Steve had set them.  Apparently there were many deliberations!  Tatia and I were parked in the cafĂ© whilst this was going on, having chosen her gift first, and had a lovely chat and tea together.  We try to make sure the girls get plenty of one-to-one time during the week, but don't do little individual dates very often, need to do that more, I think.

Today was a LEGO and Play-doh morning, then a walk (in the sunshine, yay!) to see the famous Bognor Birdman on the pier, and to the cinema to watch Despicable Me 3, finally.  I think we all need an early night tonight!

Hope you've had a good week and managed to dodge the rain! Lx

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