Tuesday, 20 February 2018

From Feb 2011 - Feb 2017 I wrote an honest and popular daily blog called The Gallivanters about my life as a home educating parent only missing a handful of posts in over half a decade.

The tag line read

Totally married, loves gallivanting, raising a Too Cool For School Trio in West Sussex, England. Living very happily outside the box I never quite fitted in. Everyday around 3pm I spend 15 minutes chronicling the previous 24 hours in our home educating lives and each post is titled after a great track.

In Feb 2017 I switched over to a private blog the 3pm Daily Journal and moved some of the most popular posts from The Gallivanters onto this blog. In addition I also have some posts on Minecraft Mum which remains public.

Our children turn 14, 12 and 9 this year and have never been to school, nursery, kindergarten or enrolled in any kind of formal public or private institutionalised schooling. They are life learners who are educated at home. The reasons we started home educating and the reasons we still home educate have evolved and and changed over the last 14 years. In an era of standardised tests, normalised bullying and an obsession with tomorrow the list of reasons to avoid school grows whilst the advantages of being home educated continue to be clearer everyday.

Everything you ever wanted to know 


Friday, 24 November 2017

Would I Lie To You? REBLOG from 2011


Would I lie to you?

***Spoiler Alert***
A debate about the teaching of a subject called "Critical Thinking" in schools on our local home ed group has started me thinking. I would like to be raising children who can think critically as adults and as children and I wonder if it is a case of a skill that has to be retaught because it was encouraged to be unlearned in childhood.
We have never lied about the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. We decided upon this approach nearly seven years ago now basically because we felt that we just weren't comfortable with dishonesty involved and, in the the way that lying creeps up on you, it was certain to become a spiral of additional lies told to reinforce the original lie. The Smalls do know about these things because of TV, especially Charlie & Lola, story books and relatives. We don't live in a bubble! When they ask me I always turn it back and say "What do you think?"
I asked S, 6, yesterday "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"
"No""Do you believe in the Easter bunny?"
"Do you believe in the tooth fairy?"
"Half and half""Do you believe there is a god?"
"Of course not, it seems highly unlikely to me that something bigger than ginormous could rest on a cloud."
She knows of course that many of her friends believe in one or all of these things and is respectful and curious about the foundations of their beliefs. Recently she asked a friend who had just been confirmed how she decided which of the gods to believe in.
There is so much trust involved in raising children and for me home ed changes the game. I am interested, do you lie to your children? Often with the best of intentions? Or is trust a two way street in your family? Do you encourage questioning and search out the answers together or are there some things that are just not up for debate?
Back in the 1980s, when I was at school, it was all about a TV show called 'Grange Hill' and a character called Zammo who was experimenting with drugs and so the catchphrase " Just say no" was born. It was marketed to us at schools via a range of posters that said things like "drugs kill." The only the problem is they don't always kill and when the same group of people arrived at university or started going to raves and found that drugs didn't kill, actually looked a lot of fun and some people had evidence to show that in some cases they were safer than alcohol it became hard to know what to believe.
Of course drugs are illegal so the risks are different and no one is earning any tax revenue on their sale and distribution. There are other examples of the population being fed incorrect information the classic for our times must be baby formula milk and especially follow on milks. The ability to think critically about these so called facts is really useful.
I can think of other examples of overriding instincts, Stranger Danger has to be a really good one. I can't help but think that if very young children were not separated from their parents at a young age, often against their instincts, that this would not be such a big deal in later life to relearn the skills of forming impressions and trusting your gut hunch about people.
S has this great book called Philosophy Files which I have blogged about before and it's author Stephen Law has written well about lying to children. The comments at the bottom are especially good.
Of course I am not perfect I do tell little lies , especially in shops, I will say I can't afford it when what I mean really is I don't want to afford that crappy fake chocolate and straight to land fill plastic item inside but really I just want to get out of the shop before I have to carry my children out in the small tiny pieces they have broken down into............ We do talk about it when we are back at home though and have had some good conversations about the power of advertising and marketing and point of sale displays. I have tried too to explain opportunity cost but even some adults don't fully get that.
I recall my parental grandmother telling me with such force not to play with my belly button as it would kill me that with hindsight I have come to conclude that she must have truly believed it to be true herself.
And whilst the GCSE grades that many children are awaiting this week are important really trust is a fundamental. Trust about who to reproduce with, who to go into business with, who to marry is a life skill with a really great significance for future happiness. In our family I hope that trust will be a two way street and that the opportunity to ask questions and think critically will be useful in later life.


kim said...
Were not doing the whole Father Christmas thing,our families think were cruel!I just refuse to lie to my kids,plus i dont want someone else taking credit for the presents!
KP Nuts said...
Outside of lying and being a bit political I do think there is an aspect to the whole Father Christmas mythology that is designed to divorce the real financial cost of toys and presents from the process and therefore encourage debt and guilt and so one because santa operates outside of the regular payment system as it were!

We have never expressly said "Santa is a made up story" we have just never said he is real and left the rest up to them to think on and figure out.
KP Nuts said...
An old college friend of mine has commented on this post via facebook saying how upset her daughter was to accidentally discover the truth about the toothfairy and how her daughters trusts her implicitly - I like this reminds me that the trust of our children is fundamental. As angry as we might be when they mess up we would all surely rather that they come to us in the first instance than compound a bad situtation. I believe we are born to be critcal thinkers but by constantly overiding our children's instincts we undermine this.
Young children ask so many questions about how Santa manages to travel through time, what happens if they don't have a chimney etc etc it is obvious to me that they smell a rat and we do them no favours by denying them their opinions.
freeyourparenting.com said...
What a great post. It's something we've struggled with. We have done the FC/TF thing, but as soon as we were asked if he was real (by our oldest) we said 'no' straight away.

I have a friend whose daughter was really upset when she found out, not because he wasn't real, but because she'd asked her Mum a few times and been fobbed off, so I learnt from her mistake.

Will definitely write a post on this issue for Free Your Parenting at some point :)
MissyLou said...
I found my 'critical thinking' improved when I lived on my own and it was 'sink or swim' - I can't remember ever learning it in school, only in real-world practice. As for the santa clause/easter bunny/toothfairy topic, it all depends on h...ow you look at it. For me it was a fun game my parents played with me and I don't ever feel I was harmed by that game -nor have I ever looked at it as black-n-white as 'lying'. It's part of my culture and its celebrations. I enjoyed every aspect of it, even when I learned my parents were these mythological creatures. It was just as fun hearing all the stories they told me of how they pulled it off. I can still remember the laughing we all did over the stories,and it felt more like a 'rite of passage' for me moving in to a new older age - it was exciting!. I didn't have the experience some may have had that it was 'lying' or 'resentful'...Since Graham had same experience as me, we passed the legacy of the fun and games on to our children - because it is a big part of our culture. I did; however, ''critically think' about it all before jumping in. The pros outweighed the cons for me, especially since my stepson was already enjoying the game before I came along, and would have been difficult to squash it for him just because we chose to raise his newborn siblings differently. And as for the Stranger-Danger topic,two of my children have Aspergers and I can confirm that they would absolutely not, in no way, naturally know and understand the facial and body clues of danger approaching. It is something they need to learn in a much different way than non-Aspergers kids learn it all, and I know first hand that Apsies don't pick these social-skills and life-skills up naturally just from attachment-parenting or a home educating lifestyle.
MissyLou said...
Oh, and also on the who 'giving credit to someone else for the prezzies', I don't relate to that either, because the santa prezzies are cute and quaint small things that fit in a small stocking - with always some nuts, chocolates and an orange and always a gag gift - the children open crack of dawn. The prezzies beneath the tree are always Family presents we exchange with each other later in the day before our family special meal, and the 'big special prezzie' is always something handmade by me - clearly with 'From Mum' on it. What a lovely blog to get my ticker upstairs thinking about it all!
Dave H said...
We don't lie, and there's no Father Christmas around here either. We do have a tooth fairy, but that's because when asked if it was me that swappde tooth for money, I responded with "Would I do something like that?" In a few years I'll be referring back to that one to demonstrate avoidance and how to spot it :-)
KP Nuts said...
Thanks for all the comments everyone.

Of all the doubts, questions and rethinks that parenting three very different children have sent our way the Father Christmas, tooth fairy & Easter bunny is one strategy we have never doubted.

As a home educating mother I am my child's first source of information and I do my very best to try and respect the trust they place in me.

Religion is slightly different of course and I note with real interest just how interested in the various historical approaches S is - Especially in Ancient Eqyptian, Roman & Greek religions and I wonder whether a particular religion had been the focus at the expense of others if she would have developed this interest.
KP Nuts said...
@missylou - Glad to be thought provoking :-)
z barras said...
I think this just goes to show how different everyone's parenting is. We do have Father Christmas/Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy here and I don't feel at all that I am lying to my children, my eldest no longer believes in any of them and my middle two now know that I'm the tooth fairy but they still write me letters when they lose a tooth and I still leave them a special tooth fairy card. I don't believe that I have damaged them at all by keeping up with these figures. I'm pretty sure soon enough that they will all figure it out and I really can't see them being angry about it. I think they are a little like me and just enjoy getting tinto the spirit of it. They know grandparents/aunts etc buy them presents and always say thank you and give hugs. In fact the more I think about it the more I'm pretty sure that the girls, what with all their reading and knowledge probably know already that FC doesn't exsist! I think the joy of parenting, especially being a HE parent is that we are all doing our best and all doing it differently.
KP Nuts said...
I totally agree Zoe - It is interesting that I have been blogging for six months now and this is the first time I have posted about this. (Must be news of Harrods opening their grotto!)

We inherited a relatively blank canvas in that there are no step siblings or cousins in the frame which made our choice much easier.

Also it is interesting that many of the people who have contacted me about this post know us in real life and had no idea!

We don't go around saying "It's not true" but when we are asked questions we just turn them back around.

I like the comment about avoidance Dave H! :-)
Rae said...
I can't believe the timing on this. Only this morning I knew the 'truth' had to come out because my DD has been asking me questions for the past few days about Santa Claus.

We had a lovely conversation in which I expressed how the "spirit" of magic is always there for us no matter what; it's just that a man in a red suit doesn't physically visit and my DD said "Are you worried you've upset me?' to which I said "The only thing I'm worried about is that you'll think I've lied to you for the past x years about this and now you might be wondering if I've lied about anything else.' (we've, ironically, had a relationship built on trust and I've always instilled telling the truth no matter how hard). She reassured me the thought never crossed her mind.

She then looked wide eyed and said "But Christmas must cost you a fortune because YOU'RE buying it all" and finally looked at me and asked "Can you still pretend this Christmas for me, just like you used to?" Once I agreed she hopped off my lap and went out to play happy as could be...

So my fears did not materialise, fortunately, and in a weird way, I feel closer to her now - kind of like *I've* confessed and she's compassionately and lovingly heard that in the same way I hear her stuff. Kwim?

Geesh, parenting eh - certainly doesn't come with a manual LOL!

warm wishes
Rae aka mrsgreen@littlegreenblo
KP Nuts said...
What do you do about tooth fairy / Easter Bunny Rae?
Rae said...
It all came out in the conversation; so now DD knows it's me (SC, tooth fairy, Easter bunny) but that the magic / spirit is still there.

It's her request that we still continue with it all ;) (which I think is kinda cute - I know some ADULTS who do a Christmas stocking for one another on behalf of santa because they still want that magic - doesn't appeal to me *at all* but I think it's great that others get something from it)

it's a bit like the film Polar Express - have you seen that? When the kids ring the bell and it rings for them, but not for the parents, because the kids believe ;)
KP Nuts said...
I'm gonna add that to my lovefilm list right now as I have it open on another tab!!

Thanks for sharing. S told me today she had enjoyed her sleepover at Grandma & Grandie's and was looking forward to holiday more knowing that the tooth fairy wouldn't have any problems finding her ;-) I guess that is why she answered 50/50
Modern Military Mother said...
Just call me Pinocchio. I lie to my kids and I would be lying here if I said I didn't. We had SantaGate last year because Coco Hucknell told Luke Jones that Santa didn't exist and it was your parents. So thinking on my feet I replied that was because 'Coco didn't believe and Santa only comes to those kids that believe and did he really want to risk it.' Then we shot this video in a Blair Witch Style way to try and capture Santa delivering the presents which we missed but we caught his 'ho,ho,ho'.

Daddy goes to war but my kids think of Afghanistan as a word not a place.

Our job is to protect our children, and give them a safe, loving, home life so that they can grow into confident, financially independent (ideally) rational adults - they need to be mature enough to handle the burden of truth and honesty. They have a long time to be adults and a short time to be children. I am phasing the truth in when I think it's appropriate and also using a language my 8 year old can progress.

I grew up carrying the financial anxiety of my parents - I want to protect my children from adult stress for as long as possible and sprinkle some magic and stardust occasionally because it keeps us all young and smiling.
ginger carotte said...
What an interesting read! I love hearing how everyone else parents. We go with the little bit of magic option here purely because both my husband and I have such positive childhood memories of opening our stockings, finding the money under the pillow. I never really believed in the Easter bunny, but it was great fun pretending!! Here's to diversity :)
Katie Pybus said...
Thanks for the comments.

For me it was home education that made the difference. I just knew that I wouldn't be able to answer all of the questions that are fired at me everyday, or at least where back then, whilst remembering to lie about how Santa manages to be everywhere all at once and so on.
firebird2110 said...
Gosh, had I never commented on this before?

I never lied. When A asked "is Santa really real?" I answered "No, he's not really real, but it's fun to pretend isn't it?". She was 2 or 3 at the time. I felt the same as you, that I didn't want that relationship, where she'd grow up not knowing what things I said were true. Grandma and Grandpa still send gifts "From Santa" but she's never been fooled because what odds that Santa would use the exact same wrapping paper as them? ;-) She's good though, she goes along with it when they call her on xmas day because they're in the "magic of childhood" camp.

Same with the tooth fairy, for a while she still wanted to put her tooth under her pillow because it was fun waking up to a coin, even after trying to negotiate for a fee increase the night before :-) Now I just fork over the cash and add the tooth to her tooth pot because hunting for a tiny tooth that's slipped down the side of the bed isn't much fun.

We still do the egg hunt, but she is reasonable and allows me to hide the dratted things around the garden while she has her breakfast in the front room.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Low Carb Links

So today is October 1st and I can say "I did it" I completed Sugar Free September. Not eating any biscuits, cakes, cookies,  sweets, ice cream, ice lollies, candies, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, chips, flour & crisps for a month. Actually it was a little over a month as once I decided I was going to go for it in August I started straight away.


In 2016 I had to give the dentist a lot of money. Enough for a holiday. In the past 5 years I have needed two extractions and continuing at that rate I'd likely be toothless by 60. Genetically my teeth are now great and, as one of my children often reminds me, in medieval times I would have been dead by now! Eating sugary things has been known to make my teeth ache. Time for action.

Then, there was the kittens......weird huh! We doubled our cat family this year adding two kittens to our existing two which was a catalyst for me researching commercial pet foods and how sugary they are. Seeing how much more satisfied our kittens were on a diet of raw meat from our fab local butcher vs our older cats who ride the sugar rollercoaster and constantly pester for snacks really made me think.

A few friends have also been sharing their low carb adventures on social media too. Inspired by a desire to avoid diabetes medication or to combat IBS for example I read posts from  herbbed, and this great post from Caroline Spear who has long been an inspiration to me in any areas and flipped through this book at a friend's house.

Not many other foods are backed by the bible like bread is!  We have been very conditioned that fat is bad but really for many people bread is just an edible plate My son suffered with IBS for a while and with the low fodmaps approach popular with Doctor's carbs where a major source of the problem.

At the end of my month I've one major tip - be organised - think about what you are going to eat before you are hungry. Meal plan especially for days out. During September we spent full days at Legoland, Marwell Wildlife Park and Fishers Farm and for all of those I made sure I had plenty of low carb options ready as they are hard to find in theme parks.

Baking has been a huge part of my life for the past 13 years and when I switched a life of paid work for being home was something I got pretty good at! Still there are four customers for my pizza dough and lemon drizzle cake.

Book references

Bernstein on Diabeties

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Half a Year in Review - 2017

In December I always pull together a review of the year and since O became 5 and I felt the need to include more of his contributions I have bought half year reviews into the mix. There is so much to record and remember plus our life looks so very different in July when the days are long and warm to December with its cold, dark and short days.

Home Educators do not have to follow the national curriculum and we do not. Learning is a daily event here crossing evenings and weekends and school holidays as well as most of the traditional schooled subject parameters. S (12) E (10) and O (8) are all exclusively home educated and have never been to any kind of formal school. My main job for the past 12 years has been to facilitate their learning. Well as they have arrived in our family!

In February I wrote on my blog..

"Sometimes I feel that the life we live is so radical, cutting edge....challenging the status quo.....living proof that our children have learnt without being taught....Showing that school is unnecessary is a massive political statement on how our society views children. Speakers and authors and pioneers like Ken Robinson, Sugar Mitra, Wendy Priesnitz show the way - academically, philosophically, brain growth.... it is so interesting.....
but then, meanwhile, back in the real world, the door seal on the dishwasher is broken, the shower makes the downstairs electrics short........and TD lands up spending much of his 2 day weekend on the domestic stuff that continually fails under pressure from 5 people. The latest victim is the dishwasher - door seal has gone - an uneconomical repair. Whilst there are plenty of home ed blogs about people who plan to live off grid or under canvas that is not me! I like creature comforts."

Which is a pretty good summary of where we are at!

2017 has been a year of change for us all us. In March the trio experienced their first major bereavement when TD's Mum suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. They also attended their first funeral. At times like this I am so grateful for home education giving us time to be together as a family.


S stopped her fortnightly group English & maths group lessons before Easter and, in April,  started 1:1 weekly tuition with the aim of completing English GCSE next year or soon after. This has been a wonderful learning experience for S who has not only started taking the train to her 2 hour lesson but been managing her time in order to finish her homework each week in a way she has not had to do before.

S's Sims 4 knowledge has increased massively as she has mastered custom content. It is a phenomenal game covering architecture, fashion, family budgeting...

In February S cared for 2 cats for 2 weeks waking up at 7am everyday to do so.

S's continued interest in vegetarian cooking has led to  lots of new recipes being made -  ramen with spring onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas plus  hash browns from scratch including grating potatoes, various scrambled egg recipes......and so many very spicy foods. Lots of chilli. It is incredible that someone who ate basically only refined carbs for several years now eats so many spicy vegetables.

A huge learning inspiration for S  has been the musical Hamilton. Thanks to this S has a phenomenal knowledge base of American founding fathers - whether it is Egyptians or Romans S has always had a historical passion on the go since she was about 3 or 4. Hamilton has lead to both me and my mum reading the 700 page Ron Chernow biography so we can join in and understand her conversations - I need to write a blog post on the places Hamilton has taken us much like I have done for Doctor Who, Simpsons and Moshi Monsters in the past. We have the  Hamilton soundtrack in the car and it often leads us to talking about duelling or slavery or something connected.

Via slavery and black rights and the colourblinded casting of Hamilton it has also tied into the long term interest in the OJ Simpson case.

S hosted a Harry Potter book night in February.

S remains a prolific reader - she was gifted the first Warrior Cats in November and by February had read 30 of them!

S and I visited the new Design Museum in March as a mother and daughter day out.

In June we collected 2 new kittens and are now are 4 cat family. S's extensive knowledge of cats and cat psychology has been really useful and caring for and nurturing new life has been a positive thing in our family. We plan to let the female kitten have kittens of her own if possible. 

The kittens are called Twig and Lafayette inspired by two of 2017s home ed passions the Warrior Cats book series and Hamilton the Musical.

Gokarting has not gone so well this year - S has been 6 or 7 times since Christmas but moved up to an adult kart meaning there were always adults on the track - a faster kart and less consideration mean she hasn't wanted to go since May.

E (10)

E's life has been changed by a new Home Ed family moving just 3 miles from us - for E 2016 was a year of friend departures and it has been great to see this change. His behaviour used to make it tough for him to hold on to friends but he now has a very diverse group of homeed friends on line and IRL (and some both!) of around 7 or 8 some of whom he has been playing with for over 2 years across various platforms (tablet, PC, PS4) TD also plays Overwatch with E and his friends like a 21st century scout leader!

As I wrote on my blog in February

Our Social guy E has had around 10 friends (not simultaneously!) to play with online over the past 24 as I check in and out with the parents on text / messenger there's been a lovely flow about it  - There is absolutely no way our local homeed group could facilitate this kind of term time, week day social contact for him with children past double digits in age.

and also.......

The answer is because he is happy - he is the happiest day to day that he has been in YEARS! Literally - he has a big group of really cool friends and he is playing a game that he loves and is great at. He doesn't want to go out just for the sake of it unless somewhere cool is on offer there is no way he could replicate his social online experience IRL atm.

And I just need to breathe through the fact that 2017 is likely to be another summer devoid of suntan!

and also

Whilst we were making pizzas E told me all about Tom Clancy about how he wrote books and made video games - I said I expected that the movies were made of the books and that the video games were spin offs - E was ADAMANT he was right so we looked up Tom Clancy and he was. It is good to be open to having your expectation of the status quo changed by a 10 year old.

We've met gamer friends on the way home from Insomnia and on two trips to Legoland and one to Ikea so far this year. You can read about that here

E is level 253 on Overwatch - he could probably build up to playing competitively - the prize money is pretty juicy.

E attended weekly Home Ed football club from Jan - end of May weekly - the second anniversary of football club landed on Valentine's day and many families contributed heart themed snacks.

around 75% of Tuesdays we made it swimming at Burgess Hill triangle after football club.

A theme so far this year has been making commercial foods at home eg shakeaway's milkshakes, pizza express pizzas and garlic butter - partly with the help of  salty former employee blog posts we have had some really good successes. 

Nerf Club has happened since Spring - E spends a long time researching the various darts and their capabilities

E has been a major help at the allotment this year and is master of the hose pipe - we have added a second greenhouse to our plot this year

TD and I have been reading Artemis Fowl  - a book series S enjoyed some years ago

O (8)

O is reading - A contrast to S who learnt and 4 and E who still struggles because of his dyslexia O reads most of what he encounters without help.

O was a gifted a Ninetndo switch for his birthday continuing his passion for all things Mario.

An epic sort of the pieces has led to many  Lego projects. I am the piece finder - O is the project manager and design engineer. It is a delight to see his brain work around problems.

Rollercoasters have been a big theme for O. In the same way his has explored and learnt and worked with his ideas since age 3 or so he has created various rollercoasters in Lego, Roblox, drawing on paper and Minecraft. He is a natural engineer. 

O and I played Pokemon Go all through the winter in gloves then when the weather warmed up O lost interest! Partly as TD's office relocation stopped him playing.  Pokemon also inspired Minecraft and Roblox games and the Pokemon ABC game where we took turns to name a  Pokemon starting with each letter. We made Pokemon inspired pizza and had Pokemon snacks at Japan Day. Littlehampton near us turned out to be great for PoGo and we met friends who blog here there a couple of times 

O and I visited the Novium for the Tim Peake exhibition and Haslemere Museum.

From the blog back in March

"As we were falling asleep last night O said 

"I love you sideways eight"

Took me a moment..............."

Other themes

Splendor, Blokus and Love Letters remain our favorite family board games - and Exploding Kittens

Orbeez have been popular

Insomnia - S, E and I made our third visit to the gaming convention Insomnia in April - a reminder of what a huge industry and employer the gaming industry is

Hosted two Not Japan / Japan days so far this year, organised a group trip to Drusullas, and a lush  bath bomb workshop.

For the 9th year in a row we met up with friends on World Book Day

Sold our 8 seater bus that we drove for 8 years. E was very involved in car shopping and choosing the new car.

"In car conversations today ranged from the difference between nuclear and extended family's, capitalism vs socialism, umbilical cords, income growth and the cult of home ownership."

We have next door but 5 neighbours who home ed which has changed our days for the better - a family we first met when they came to the evening socials I organised for adults considering home education for their children way back in 2013 or so have landed up being our neighbours which is wonderful.

O's 8th birthday - the 30th child birthday in our family! Mario candles - O's Mario interest is deep and long.
Ferdy cat on the roof of our old bus
One of many Lego Star Wars bases
Me and O on a group trip to Drusillas I organised
O at Haslemere Museum
The Warrior Cats series of books O and S have enjoyed this year
O and I at the Tim Peake exhibition in Chichester

O at Legoland - we have been twice this year - I thought we had outgrown it but the trio having freedom to roam has changed it

I organised a bath bombs workshop at Lush in Chichester - lots of fun
Sims 4
Hamilton above and Overwatch below
O on Roblox
So. Much. Lego.

Me and O in the queue for the Ninjago ride at Legoland
O's Roblox skin made in Lego with a Bowser chest (that Mario again) and me messing about on Snapchat with S below

our allotment

the kittens coming home
kitten love

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Little Free Library

It was way back in 2009 when S was 4 that she first completed the library summer reading scheme at our local library - for several years 2011-2013 she was the first person to complete the scheme as it started slightly before the state school holidays began being home educated gave her a head start !

For a couple of summers now she has wanted to be the volunteer that the younger children come in and talk to about the books they have read but you need to be 14 which she will not be until next year.

We hosted a winter book club in our home from 2013 - 2016 which S really enjoyed but several families relocating bought that to an end.

Books, stories and reading have been a huge part of our Home Educating life.

Last year we donated lots of books to our local library and various charities as we always have more books than shelf space but this year they are once again full........

So when a photograph of a gorgeous little free library crossed my radar we set out to investigate if this could be a good fit for us.

There are two other LFL in England one in Brighton and one in Haslemere - both are towns pretty near to us and that we love.

We have registered and are awaiting our charter number so we can be added to the map - meanwhile we have a laminated sign.

So we found and painted and stocked an unused bedside cabinet, washed the front door step, cleaned and painted the gas meter and picked up some cushions from Ikea so visitors can sit down. We live in an area of high footfall so hopefully should pick up some passing people especially during the summer.

I hope this will be an opportunity for S to connect with local children over the Summer Holidays and beyond whilst giving away some of the many many books she has enjoyed over the years so that others may enjoy them too.

From Feb 2011 - Feb 2017 I wrote an honest and popular daily blog called The Gallivanters  about my life as a home educating parent on...