Monday, 30 November 2015


Between installing new lights, hair cuts, all the processes and admin involved with selling a car tax insurance etc, uploading and photographing several eBay listings, repairing our paypal account, the cat's 3rd birthdays, writing the 2015 review the weekend felt quite relentless! Well there was football and a grand prix doctor who and The Bridge on the tele but otherwise not much sitting down.  I saved Antiques Road show for my morning cross trainering. - done before 7am!

Last night TD and E watched the rest of Hunger Games 2 and read I believe in unicorns ready for book club today.

This morning O turned the PC screen upside down and E found a  large chicken on cosmicPVP and I had lots of household admin stuff to do...

We've had new stair carpet fitted today - 4 years to the day I fell down our stairs! It made for a pretty manic morning for me and when I said I was feeling a bit overwhelmed getting the kitchen sorted to make cookies and rapidly tidying the log cabin S 11 and O 6  both immediately responded with a hug :)

Colliding with the start of book club - Two books today "Fortunately The Milk" by Neil Gaiman and "I Believe in Unicorns" by Michael Morpurgo - we were a small group today of 6 people with two families on holiday.

E joined in for the discussion and made some unicorn shape cookies.

Sunday, 29 November 2015


We attempted to play Risk last night but despite initally seeming keen S then decided she wasn't really so we watched Doctor Who and then TD and I watched The Bridge and ate too much cheese late at night.

The cats are 3 today and this morning they had their first experience of cat nip. In bringing together my review of the year post this weekend I see they have killed two newts, a slow worm, a robin and well over 20 mice this year :(

We've had a home day of hair cuts ready for Grandma's 70th, the final Grand Prix of the season. E on his usual Minecraft Server pub crawl with friends and O on Mario Maker with a bit of Lego and Skylanders and S was able to seek the opinion of a hairdresser on dying your hair black

Saturday, 28 November 2015

2015 - A Review

Few Links to start - S (11) E (9) and O (6) have never been to school or nursery, S turned 11 this year and no Hogwarts letter arrived - If we keep this up til 2020 for S and 2025 for O we'll have lived a life without school!

2011 Review

2015 has taken a slightly different form for us and there have been times I've wondered why I am blogging on a site called The Gallivanters! I have set up a sister blog called Minecraft Mum but this is still my main page. At the start of 2015 it was all about S, E and O playing (shouting!) together on the Minecraft LAN world at home but the combinations of amazing BT Infinity High Speed internet and the  fundraising home ed Lego server set up by our friends who blog here opened up their options and all 3 now have online Minecraft friends with whom they are busy most days.

There are pictures of the server builds here

Yes, there have been gallivants - Brooklands Museum, The Lightbox, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland, Roald Dahl Museum, Center Parcs, Design Museum, London Eye, Out of Bounds, Harry Potter Studio Tour and S and I have made two trips to Cardiff and one to Nottingham all with overnight stays. Rather than short local trips almost daily we've consolidated our resources to make less frequent, more expensive, longer trips. Rather than the monthly capital gallivants of previous years we have been more interest and project led and there have been more 1:1 and 1:2 trips. The projects are as far away from those you'd find in school as they've ever been.

Saff (aka Cat) 11

Saff's big projects this year have been Doctor Who and Minecraft with a generous side of contemporary fiction.

S has had a Minecraft Realm for much of this year and thanks to the home ed server has made many new friends. They like to exchange gifts in the mail. They've built communities with complex judicial and currency systems and put on plays with scripts and costumes and set changes......Phenomenal stuff.

S demonstrated making bath bombs to the younger children at our home ed group.

At the start of 2015 S was very into the American Doll scene and read many of the books and constructed this epic bedroom with TD. She enjoyed them very much but the year has ended with S selling her dolls. They maybe a 5 minute wonder but you can have a lot of fun in 5 minutes!

Books S has read - once again lots - contemporary fiction - Susie Day, Natasha Farrant, the Geek Girl series, the new Jacqueline Wilsons (Little Stars and Katy), many Cathy Cassidy's, the Goth Girl series by Chris Riddell and we also spent some time with Emily Strange as a result of my books without school post. Just this week S acquired a new bookcase and has organised and alphabetized her books donating 3 boxes to the library.

S recently met Lauren Child and has her books signed.

During 2015 S has had her ears pierced (kind of!) and has her own mobile phone with data and texts and calls meaning she can now walk to the library whilst we are at football club for example.

S had general anaesthetic back in January to have some teeth extracted her first ever operation.

S has continued to enjoy experimental cooking and is now vegetarian

Sadly the Youth Club that S enjoyed so much from January to May closed down :( and reopened in a church - not great for us as a secular family. It was fabulous to have an activity we could walk to and offered the chance to meet local friends although ( after being sick at a birthday party when I didn't believe S was ill I am not sure she'd have agreed!)

We have completed a number of small sewing projects on the machine S was gifted for Christmas last year including a teddy for O's birthday back in April

Et (9)

I wrote last year that E remains by biggest challenge and that still holds true - I feel more convinced than ever that were he in school he would be firmly filed under special needs with all that flows from that. He often falls over (well more often than S and O) and needs lots of loving guidance and patience to stay on track. For a variety of reasons I feel sure that had we not home educated E from the start we probably would have landed up close to where we are now via a different route!

In February Home Ed football club was set up by our friends who blog here and Et has only missed two sessions. He really enjoys it.

E and TD  spray painted nerf guns He also attended a Nerf birthday party at Rugged Earth and a gun themed party at Out Of Bounds

My Mother's day gift this year was a bike and E and, after several family cycles of the Downs Link E and  I made plans to cycle the whole thing from Guildford to Shoreham but a combination of TD hurting his knee at football club and E going over the handle bars meant we never really got our cycle plans back on track before the weather changed.

E's main project for 2015 has probably been guns - I took E to the Tower of London whilst S and O had a grandparents day and we also took E to the Royal Gun Powder Mills, Aldershot Military Museum. In and around Nerf and James Bond and seeing Spectre for his birthday and laser guns at Center Parcs the James Bond theme has woven and his connections to nearby Littlehampton - There is a really good summary of all things gun here

From January through to October E had regular Fridays with  a local Home Ed Teenager J - Nerfing and playing on the WiiU and PC - This arrangement worked really well and we miss it - I hope to set up another similar after Christmas. J came with us to Chessington and enabled us to swim when E didn't want to.

E has a new tablet this year which he really enjoys.

E likes to play Skylanders and asked for my assistance to set up Skylanders Club - 4 families joined and we have taken it in turns to host - Skylanders is very helpful with reading as the words light up on the screen as they are being spoken. He has enjoyed collecting the figures this year and can recall their prices in various retail outlets with impressive speed!

E really enjoys Monopoly and recently we have introduced him to Risk

E's main interest this year is Minecraft and has helped with his reading more than any reading scheme. He has a group of online friends he likes to play with on CosmicPVP, Hypixel, his realm and this year we set him up with a server. You can read more about Minecraft here

Books we have read to E - Many Roald Dahls with TD (Fantastic Mr Fox, Danny Champion of the World, Matilda, George's Marvellous Medicine) Also the Lemony Snicket All the Wrong Questions and File Under Suspicious Incidents and Shouldn't You Be in School series and Jane Blonde and Tom Gates and of course all the book club books - he is just as happy having words from many sources read to him

Orin (6)

Orin still loves drawing.

Nearly every week since February he has had Orsam day with his BFF S

He is making great progress through the Peter and Jane scheme is the goal of independent reader is in sight for him and also finished Teach Your Monster to read

He still loves Robots and Dobots - And, as last year, is still writing his Dobot stories as he has been since he was 4.

Back when there was a third leg to the day he enjoyed summer evenings at the allotment with TD

He has had two great sessions at Gravity Force - He's all about the  jumping and the drawing.

O enjoys the game of Lego Creationary

He still has an interest in planets - woke up for the Red moon - has built a  solar system on friend's server - Just today I heard him say "That good old gas giant!" He has had 3 or 4 visits to the Planetarium at nearby Winchester Science Centre.

Star Wars has been an ongoing theme for O - The combined Christmas / birthday 2014 gift of The Lego Death Star and for birthday 2015 Lego Boba Slave One has been part of it along with making Boba in various art materials - drawing, painting.............

During 2015 we have read the first 6 Harry Potter books aloud to O and in February he visited the studio tour with S - We started Philosophers Stone in January and stopped at Half Blood Prince around September - we tried to read Deathly Hallows but the tone wasn't right for O (even though S had read them all to herself at age 6) - This led to all kinds of spin off projects - making chocolate frogs, a lego Hogwarts, many Minecraft inspired Harry Potter builds, drawings........and as S has been into HP for a while we have lots of resources.

O has completed many solo and joint lego projects this year - Several of the characters from Mario, making a Star Wars lego set we didn't own from pieces we did and sourcing the missing pieces, two helmets, some Skylanders. We also made some Lego WallEs trying to copy the one E bought O at the Brick Show last year

We have read many of the Roald Dahl books to O this year tying in with a visit to the Roald Dahl Museum, our Winter book club and also Quentin Blake at The Lightbox and watched several of the films. We read aloud to O for at least an hour 5 nights out of 7. He has really enjoyed The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond, the Clarice Bean series, My Neighbour Totoro, PetBots, Stitch Head, Howl's Moving Castle

Other General Links

Swimming (mostly Horsham one trip to Spectrum and Center Parcs) and Out of Bounds

 We have had a few beach hut cycles but O is really heavy on the tag along now and E and S really too big for their bikes

Family Movie Night and the Dome Cinema (Big Hero 6, Into the Woods, Pan, Hotel Transylvania 2.....................)

Winchester Science Centre and in April

Lego Mania Bricks in Motion

British Museum and Novelty Automation

World Book Day

Brighton Lego and Guns


Museum of Childhood

Teeth in coca cola

Joined up with other home educators for T Shirt painting and egg decorating

S, O and I camped out in the log cabin

Fishers Farm

Studio Ghilbi - films and books

Joining up with our friends at Littlehampton Fireside Bookshop - crafts and opening party


Shared family threads Beach Hut Allotment - We saw a mirrored Beach Hut here and fireworks here

On the WiiU - Mario Maker and MK8 are popular - Some of O's courses have been starred - this one especially

 B0F3 0000 00D2 2971

S and E now have Bedroom PCs

In various combos read and watched most of the Roald Dahl books and films and gallivanted to the Roald Dahl Museum

Book Club

Winter Book Club didn't happen from Jan - March / April this year as some of the members left for school instead we met with friends for soap, candle and lip balm making. We did meet up for Harry Potter Day (Harry's birthday) and then resumed in October for Book Club.


Well I have adjusted to our new more home based groove with the purchase of a cross trainer on which I recently past 30,000 strides and, ever on the path of self improvement, am currently taking a hand in hand parenting course linking right around to Growing Brains where this blog first started in 2011. I often now find I have a clear hour in the morning before everyone wakes up. TD has finished his Msc this year and I've supported him through that. In July the trio made their first ever combined visit inside a hospital (having all been born at home) to see their maternal Grandie following an operations. The blog has past it's 4th birthday and everyday at 3pm it happens in some way - I have only missed 4 days this year I've continued to host #HomeEdHour on Twitter and organise Adults Evening socials. For the first time in a long time we have no cleaner and no teenager J or Weed - like here meaning I could be in two places at once! It is just us!


beach hut, book club, brooklands, cardiff, center parcs, cooking, doctor who, football, lego, log cabin, minecraft, nottingham, out of bounds, reading, roald dahl, The Light Box, harry potter, star wars, death star, hypixel, cathy cassidy,