Christmas Fun – Sock Snowmen

I love the run up to Christmas, we get all festive and do lots of lovely crafts.  The internet is such a fabulous source of information, you can never run out of ideas.

After seeing this cute little video on You Tube, we decided to give these lovely little snowmen a try.

Firstly, cut off the foot part just above the heel then fill the foot part with rice (or whatever you want).

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Tie some cotton to make a head and body.


Glue on buttons, eyes and nose.

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Then put the top half of the sock on as the hat.  (easy peasy).


The finished items look so cute 🙂



Space Cadet – Astro Coding

Week 4, I can’t believe how fast it’s going, and to be honest, this week was the one I was most nervous about, to the point I completed the weeks tasks in case Elsa needed more input from me to help her.

I needn’t have worried, of course, children these days are so competent on computers aren’t they?

As normal, the girls watched the Space Shed video at the beginning of the week 🙂 these are a source of amusement, they just find Jon, so funny, with his biscuits and tea.


This week instead of being separated into Maths, English and Science, it was all Science and Computing.

Mission 4 Part 1

What is HTML and CSS?

Firstly, Elsa looked at the relevant cards relating to HTML and CSS and then looked at the differences.  She concluded that HTMLputs bits on the page like headers, lists, paragraphs, pictures and links‘ and CSSmakes it look prettier by changing the font, colour, size, position, putting borders on it, and adding background colours‘.

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Next we had to print out a safe webpage (we did our Space Weather page) and she had to decide which parts of it were HTML and which parts of it were CSS.

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Mission 4 Part 2

How can I write with HTML and CSS?

Elsa realised that there are certain codes used to add the various different types of HTML and they all needed < > around them and that to add CSS it needed { } around it.  She wrote it down, but really couldn’t wait to do the next part.


Mission 4 Part 3

How can I build a webpage for Tim Peake and edit it?

We created a CodePen account as suggested and were given the HTML and CSS to use to create Tim a webpage.  CodePen is great as you can see your edits as you make them which makes little people extremely happy.  First you see a boring black header, then after a bit of CSS you see an orange header in the middle of a blue bordered background.  🙂

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Tim’s Completed Webpage using HTML and CSS

Tim's webpage

After completing Tim’s webpage, Elsa decided that she would like to create an All About Me (her) page, which she thoroughly enjoyed doing as well as she could make it totally girly. 🙂

About Me

Elsa has worked really hard at this task and really enjoyed it.  She has completed it and been awarded with her badge.




Alphabet Photograph Challenge – Part 1

Elsa has a camera, which she takes with her everywhere.  Sometimes she remembers to take photographs and other times she doesn’t.

To encourage her to look at her surroundings and to remind her to take pictures, I set her a challenge.

By the end of our home school year could we each have a set of alphabet photographs taken of items we see while we are out.  They can be of anything but it has to look like a letter of the alphabet.

This little challenge seems to be working as these are what she has found so far.

E  H H I I


V V W  X

Y  Z Z

I think she’s doing ok :).




Space Cadet – Fit For Space

Week 3 of the UNSA missions and this week is about food and exercise on the ISS.

Firstly, as usual, it was watching the introduction video with Jon. We always find these funny in our house.



What would Tim need to eat before doing a spacewalk (EVA – Extra Vehicular Activity)

We looked at the table of food we needed to download and finally (again after a grumble to HE friends about not being able to make a 4000 kcal meal) worked out that you only needed to do an extra meal on top of 2500 kcal day for Tim if he was to do an EVA).

Elsa watched a video of Tim talking about his favourite foods and also a video of Samantha talking about snacks on board too. After watching these she chose a meal that she hoped Tim would like. (Loads of chocolate and tea) :).  She labelled it with the number of calories per item of food.

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Mission 3 Part 1 Complete


Using the table of food provided, work out how much Tim’s meal would cost:

  • per meal
  • once a week for 6 weeks
  • once a week for 6 months (24 weeks)

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Mission 3 Part 2 Complete


Persuade UNSA’s Head Chef to choose your meal.

Elsa had to decide why her meal was better than anyone else’s and to try and persuade the head chef to choose it.  She wrote her own text then did a talk to us about it.


Elsa work has uploaded her work and she has been awarded with her badge.


What was nice about after completing this mission, Elsa received an extra badge which was a surprise when she next logged into Makewaves. 🙂



Another subject Elsa asked to do back in the summer was Diwali.  I know she had covered it at school, so I asked her why she wanted to do it again.  She explained she found it interesting. 🙂

I found out it was on 11th November this year so we started the topic the week previous.

I thought it was would be best to find out why Diwali is celebrated so we watched a video and read a story. To make sure Elsa had remembered this, I asked her to filled in some worksheets I’d downloaded from Activity Village and Twinkl, while Anna completed a maze.

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We then made Diya’s out of beads (from Activity Village) and clay.

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We talked about henna patterns and both Elsa and Anna created one on paper then painted it onto their arms with face paints.

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We made lanterns 🙂

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We also discussed Rangoli patterns, where they are used and why and then both girls coloured one in downloaded from Twinkl.

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Finally we made coconut squares.

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An interesting week of learning 🙂



Roots and Greens

N arranged another foraging trip, this time near her home, which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere.  This time it wasn’t for mushrooms (apart from this one, which looks like ears, is called jelly fungus and is edible).


It was looking for roots and greens to add to a soup she had made earlier.

We all made our way up to this fabulous outdoor campfire where N asked the children to find some more sticks to put on the fire.  She then described a few root edibles she had found (Alexander and horseradish). Some of the other HE children helped wrap them in foil and N put them on the fire to cook.

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N gave the children a pointed stick each and tasked them with digging up some wild carrots with them. They look nothing like carrots, but smell exactly like them.

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We then continued to walk around the land and found some ground ivy and white dead nettle, both of which are edible and the leaves went into the soup.

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We walked down to the allotment and there found an Asian pear tree.  They look exactly like apples but tasted just like a pear.

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We went back to the campfire and chopped up the different green leaves we had found and added them to the soup.

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Finally, it was time for drinks, oatcakes and crabapple jelly and soup.

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Another fun, interesting and wet day.

Space Cadet – Space Weather

Onto mission 2 of the space challenge which is about space weather.

Firstly, we watched Mission 2 introduction video from Jon.  Both girls are enjoying these videos 🙂



What is space weather?

We decided to do this as a document this time to make a change and to use the PC.  We used the suggested NASA space weather page for the information on this question. We found images to paste into the document and Elsa wrote in her own words about it.

Among other things, we found out:

  • what the sun is made of;
  • what causes the northern lights;
  • what a solar flare is;
  • how the space weather affects the earth and equipment here.

We watched a couple of interesting videos, one to do with the telescopes taking images of the weather in space and a brilliant National Geographic one on Aurora Borealis (northern lights).

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Mission 2 Part 1 Complete



We talked about what sunspots were and looked at some images online of what they look like. Then we looked at and chatted about the data for the mission.  I discussed with Elsa what she needed to do with it.

  • find the errors in the data.
  • choose 3 facts about the data (highest, lowest, total number over the 10 years she chose).
  • choose 10 years to study and create into a chart.
  • write 2 questions about her data for someone else to answer. 🙂

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Mission 2 Part 2 Complete


Present information about space weather and sunspots to your peers (dad).

Elsa decided that the best way to do this, (after a discussion with other HE children doing this challenge), was by creating a PowerPoint presentation.  I asked her to think about what she felt was important to tell him then suggested pictures and bullet points to remind her what to say.  I said that he may have questions to ask her during and after the talk, so she should be sure she had covered as much as she could initially, but I did say I would give her key words to remind her of the information if he asked her something she couldn’t answer.

She created 4 slides and searched for relevant pictures and remembered information from the previous 2 tasks.  When Daddy got back from work she asked him to sit down and started to talk about:

  • what space weather is.
  • how it affects those on earth and on the ISS.
  • what protection is available.
  • how we can predict it.
  • what sunspots are.

Dad asked her a few questions which she was able to answer without my help. 🙂

She did really well.


Mission 2 Part 3 Complete

Elsa’s work has been uploaded and she has been awarded with her badge.



Space Cadet – Spaceship Earth

Remember a week or so ago I mentioned we had registered for the Unlimited Space Agency challenge?  Well it’s now started and each Monday, Elsa will be set a mission and this continues until Tim Peake’s rocket launches to the International Space Station (ISS) in December.

Each mission is split into 3 sections (Maths, English and Science).

Firstly, for Mission 1, we watched the intro video by Jon.

Watching the Mission 1 video Watching the intro video


Research and explain various information about the ISS and Tim Peake.

Elsa decided she wanted to do poster for both of these elements as she finds it easier to collate information that way.

International Space Station

For the ISS, she decided to write her information on pictures of planets which I thought was inspired so we found a lovely set to print out.

We looked at a video showing you around the ISS, which was fascinating, although Elsa was quite shocked at the toilet and where that goes once it gets full. 🙂

Mooching around the ISS Mooching around the space station Mooching around the space station

We looked up various information including:

  • who is there at the moment,
  • what they have to do while they are there,
  • we also looked at how fast they travel, and
  • where they are right now (which when we checked they were flying over New Zealand)

We found out that, at present, there are 6 people aboard, 2 of whom are staying up there for 1 year as an experiment to see how the body reacts to being there twice as long as usual.

We also found out that the ISS has had a crew constantly aboard since the 2nd November 2000 (so 15 years last week).

Creating ISS poster Finished ISS poster

Tim Peake

This year is an exciting one for Great Britain as it is the first time a British astronaut will have gone to the ISS.  Therefore, finding information out about him was very interesting (I’m jealous as he’s achieved so much in his life already and he’s younger than me 😉 )

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Mission 1 Part 1 Complete


For this mission we used ideas from Natural Born Homeschooler‘s space unit which I had previously downloaded and Homeschool Share‘s Planets and Stars, Sun and Moon units.

Where is the ISS and Earth in our solar system?  Research the different planets including size, what it is made of and distance from the sun. 

Firstly, we discussed the different planets, their sizes, what they were made of, how they got their names etc. and then Elsa completed some worksheets we found from 3 Dinosaurs (in PDF 1, although I have used a lot of sheets from the other PDFs  for Anna, to include her in this space challenge).  She also filled in mini books on their distance from the sun and whether or not they are solid or gas.

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We also learned that the planets have very different temperatures, from being far too hot to being extremely cold.

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We then made a Heliocentric model of the solar system.

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Elsa also created each planet out of air drying clay and put them in the order they are from the sun.

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Mission 1 Part 2 Complete


How far away from the Earth is the ISS?  How long it will take to get there?  How long it takes to orbit the Earth?  How many sunsets will be seen in days, weeks and months?

After looking up the information on the internet, we had to work out the answers to some questions.  Elsa couldn’t do these mentally yet, however, knew how to work them out so wrote how to do them in the workings part of the sheet I’d prepared.  She then used a calculator to get the answers.


During our research of the planets we found out how to work out how much you would weigh if you were to stand on each planet.  I asked Elsa if she knew how to do this using a calculator, she said she could.  So I left her to it. 🙂


The results were she is over 2 1/2 x heavier on Jupiter than on earth and under 1/2 as heavy on Mercury.  This resulted in a conversation about gravity. 🙂

Mission 1 Part 3 Complete

Elsa’s work has been uploaded and she has been awarded with her badge.

Spaceship Earth


Contact from the Local Authority

Before we took the decision to home school we were warned by other home school types that the local authority would probably want to ‘visit us’ and ‘involve themselves’ in our home school journey.

Just a few weeks after deregistering Elsa from school we received a pretty standard looking letter which outlined the councils legal obligation to ensure our child receives a ‘suitable education’ and in a round-about way asked for a meeting.

None of this was any surprise to us.

Some HE parents that we spoke to very deliberately rejected the idea of inviting any member of the council into their home. Such parents felt that they did not need the council to form an opinion as to how their child was doing – that the council’s view point is simply unwanted and uncalled for.

While we agree with the sentiment – we really do not care if the council think we are doing a good job or not because (as far as we can see) their standard methods of measuring success or failure are fundamentally flawed – we wanted to meet with the council in order to explain why we chose to home school in the first place.

So, in September, we wrote to the council and explained exactly that.

“We have no questions for you and we trust all the information you need to satisfy your questions are contained in this letter, but we would welcome a home visit if only so that we can share our views on home education and why we think it is a better option for us.”

Just a day after sending this letter, we took a call from the ‘Service to Home Educators’ team at the council. MB was very nice, very friendly and offered help.  She said she was aware that we had only just started on our journey and didn’t expect to visit any time soon, but as my partner had said around Christmas would be a good time to visit – that would suit her fine too.

While I had initially panicked about the thought of a ‘visit’, several weeks later my confidence is good and we are organised with various subjects. Elsa is progressing really well and choosing the things she enjoys so is trying really hard.  I am not worried about the meeting – we’ll simply have a chat and show her what Elsa has done so far – but I probably will be really nervous the day before!