Spring Nature Study

Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home

“Why be indoors when you can rightly be without.” – Charlotte Mason

Although autumn is my absolute favourite season, spring has proved to be one of my favourite seasons for nature study.

This term we’ve done lots of walking and climbing and stepping out of our comfort zones to get up close with nature. We took a closer look at snails and caterpillars, watched nesting birds, identified wild flowers along the cliffs of Guernsey, learnt about plant life cycles and the differences between frogs and toads.

And without even realising it we’ve now added in a weekly mother-daughter nature journaling session to our homeschool week. Its something we both enjoy doing together and I love that Blossom gets to see me learning right alongside her.

Here are some of the snap shots:

Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
April showers and petal gathering at our regular nature spot.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
The big spring tidy up.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Wild flower cliff walk with our Nature Explorers group.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Identifying and drawing our finds.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Our spring/summer nature walks tend to lead us to the sea.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Bird watching, duckling spotting and tree climbing at our favourite park.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Grey days are still great days for exploring!
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Mother-daughter nature journaling.
Spring Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Rock pooling starts in the Spring in our family.

What do you enjoy most about nature in the Spring?

{Dear Daddy}

Dear Daddy 2018 | The Open Home

Dear Daddy Man, what’s your bestest thing to do with me? My favourite thing to do with you is rock climbing and rock-pooling. Or maybe it’s swimming or playing trains? Daughter dates with you are also pretty special so I think perhaps that may be my bestest thing, but then I also love the impromptu dance sessions in the kitchen and playing hide and seek will never get old. There are just too many fun things to choose from! Quality time with you is just my bestest thing to do because you really are the most wonderful Daddy in the whole wide blooming world. True story. Lots of love and sweet smooches from Blossom xx

Dearest Daddy, you make me feel so big and brave! So brave in fact that I can whizz down ginormous slides, face giant octopuses and laugh in the face of fierce alligators. When I grow up I really will walk round the whole island with you because I’m going to be tough and strong and determined just like you. Here’s hoping you can put up with my cheeky antics and constant jibber jabber for 12+ hours, but then you put up with Uncle Chi Chi for that amount of time, so why not me!? Lots of love and fairy kisses from your travel buddy, Bubbles xx

Dear Husby, how blessed we both are to be raising these girls together and how blessed we girls are to have you in our lives. You love us and nurture us, protect and provide for us and we love you for it. Thank you for taking care of the big things and being there for the little things. All of my heart, Wifey xx

Happy Father’s Day!

{Daughter Diaries} #48

Daughter Diaries 48 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, quality time with you is just the sweetest thing because you really do know how to enjoy the simple things in life. Trips to the library, strolls through town, sipping milkshakes and sitting on random green stools – all are enough to fill up your love tank when done together, it sure fills up mine too. Dear Bubbles, your big smooches actually bruise my cheeks you love me that much! Beneath your loud, raucous toddler exterior there is a tender heart and affectionate soul. Thank you for stopping randomly in the day to tell me you love me and calling me back into your room at night just to make sure I know. Dearest Daughters, thank you for loving me so fiercely and sp faithfully, your love for your mama gives me wings.

What little things make you feel loved?

{May Gratitudes}

Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For simple pleasures and the benefits of goat therapy.
Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For sweet celebrations and trying new things.
Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For standing guard and a world of pure imagination.
Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For labours of love and the fruits of Spring.
Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For my handsome man and my happy home.
Gratitudes May 2018 | The Open Home
For beauty in the small things and friends that entertain.

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during May, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

{Home Ed} Common Questions & Misconceptions

Home Ed: Common Questions & Misconceptions | The Open Home 

We’ve been home educating our girls for six months now and I must say I’ve been genuinely surprised by the amount of interest and encouragement I’ve received, both online and in real life. Yes I get a few negative comments and blank stares from time to time when people realise my kids don’t actually attend a school, but overall people have seemed intrigued and inspired by our flexible learning lifestyle.

As people have slowly found out that we’re home educating I have naturally received a lot of questions in regard to homeschooling in Guernsey and have discovered two things:

  1. There are way more people on Guernsey interested in home educating than I first thought, and
  2. That some people have a very limited view of what home educating actually is, how it can be done and why you would do it in the first place.

I therefore thought I would collate the main questions and misconceptions I come across here, because perhaps it’ll give you some much needed answers too.

Home Ed: Common Questions & Misconceptions | The Open Home

1. Do people actually do that on Guernsey?

Why yes they do! We’re not the first family and we certainly won’t be the last. In fact the numbers are growing every year as more families choose to educate their children outside of the traditional school system.

2. Why would you do that when there are so many good schools on island?

Simply put, because we want to. What you have to realise is that although education may be compulsory, schooling is not and for many families like ours, home educating is simply a lifestyle choice. There is no questioning the fact that the schools in our area are indeed very good, but home educating isn’t just for those families who can’t access good schools.

Home Ed: Common Questions & Misconceptions | The Open Home

3. What do you do?

I’ve come to learn that when people ask this question what they’re actually trying to do is get a visual on what home educating looks like for us in our home environment. As minimalist homeschoolers we do not have a dedicated homeschool room and simply use our main living areas to learn in. Our dining table is used for arts, crafts and nature journaling as we store all of our craft materials in a cabinet near by and it will eventually become the place where we do our “Table Time” work, also known as reading, writing and maths. Lots of toys and books are stored in the lounge and this is where we do some of my favourite learning. It’s the place where we gather together for morning book baskets and random story times, it’s also the place where we play games and work out puzzles. There are of course lots of outings and groups, but this is what we do at present in our homeschool environment.

4. What do you have to do?

Well according to the education law here in Guernsey we simply have to provide “an efficient, full-time education suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude” how we put this into practice is very much our choice. There are no set timetables, curriculums or subjects that we have to follow and we actually have great freedom in choosing what we learn and when. We personally do not follow the national curriculum and are very much led by our girls interests and abilities.

5. How many hours do you have to do?

We do not need to log a certain amount of hours per week and for us it would actually be kind of hard to gauge how many hours we do because for us family life is very much the curriculum right now. We do no formal lessons at this stage, no reading, no writing, no maths, and we’re not restricted to our home during school hours on a Monday to Friday. It’s all very flexible. I personally choose to do school 4 days a week from Monday-Thursday with Friday being for library visits and social groups. I anticipate that when we start introducing reading, writing and maths to Blossom from around age 6 that her main Table Time school work will be around 30 minutes a day, 4 days per week. Most tell me that even into the High School years work is often done within 2 hours a day, meaning that many kids do school in the mornings and have afternoons free for extra curricular activities, crafts and hobbies.

Home Ed: Common Questions & Misconceptions | The Open Home

6. Who assesses you?

Here in Guernsey (as in England) no one actually assesses us. We simply informed the Education Department of our intention to home educate and an education officer now visits us at home every 6 months or so to see how we’re getting on and to offer support. This is not actually a mandatory visit, but one we welcome. We simply sit on the sofa, sip tea and show off some of Blossom’s recent work.

7. Aren’t you worried about socialisation?

Ooh the big one! This question comes up a lot and seems to stem from the misconception that homeschooled kids are sat at home all day every day pathetically trying to recreate the school classroom on their own. As I mentioned before life is the curriculum which makes the world their classroom and their class mates their community. My girls have regular play dates with friends, weekly outings with grandparents, attend girl guiding groups and holiday clubs, take part in church groups and participate in a weekly home ed co-op group. So no, I’m not worried about socialisation. If anything I love that home educating allows them more time to mix with children and adults of varying ages.


 

Perhaps you have more specific questions in regard to how we educate our girls at home, what methods and resources we use, what we prioritise or avoid. Feel free to leave these questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them in a future blog post.

What questions do you have about home educating?

Flower Fairy Tea Party

Flower Fairy Tea Party | The Open HomeThe Open Home 990The Open Home 991The Open Home 995Flower Fairy Tea Party | The Open HomeFlower Fairy Tea Party | The Open HomeFlower Fairy Tea Party | The Open HomeFlower Fairy Tea Party | The Open Home

For Blossom’s 4th birthday she was given The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by her Granny and Grandpa. It’s a favourite of hers and she can often be found flipping through it and admiring the beautiful illustrations. It’s also a regular read at our weekly Poetry Tea Time.

Now she told she would like a Flower Fairy Tea Party for her 5th birthday party back when we were planning a Paddington Bear one for her sister last December and she has waited every so patiently for it to arrive.

As always it was a simple theme to pull off. I already had a Flower Fairy postcard set of the original Cicely Mary Barker illustrations which we used as invitations and for the decor I simply used the items we had in the cupboards and bought some flowers from M&S.

The cake was a special request by Blossom and my first attempt at not only a layer cake but an ombre cake. I went for the simplest version I could find to increase my chances of success and was pleased with the results even if it wasn’t quite as neat and tidy as the original recipe.

As always my faithful Mum provided the balloons and the sandwiches and one of Blossom’s sweet aunts made cupcakes (something I am not very good at!)

I also managed to squeeze in some extra baking earlier in the week and made coconut ice and fairy biscuit bites which went down a treat.

Now I know some people don’t care for themes, but I do enjoy the decorating and I’m pleased to say it definitely was not wasted on Blossom who kept spontaneously thanking me during set up and announcing how beautiful everything was, it was the sweetest thing!

What was the last party you went to?

Blossom Turns Five!

Blossom Turns Five! | The Open Home

I love singing and dancing, dressing up with my sister, tea parties, hide and seek with Daddy, nature walks and nature journaling, bird watching, walks through Candie Gardens, babyccinos, library visits, books, poetry tea time, more books, drawing and colouring, collecting shells, running fast, the postbox game, daughter dates and giving big smooches.

My favourite toys are my bunny Boo, my dolls, toy animals, play kitchen, dolls house and wooden train set.

My favourite books are The Complete Tales of Beatrix PotterBrambly Hedge, James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, Paddington Bear, The Dolls House Fairy, The Little House and Bear & Mouse books.

My favourite foods are raspberries, strawberries, yogurt, twisty cheesy pasta, chips, macaroni cheese, Granny’s Yorkshire puddings, ice-cream, chocolate, cake and especially chocolate cake!

When I grow up I want to be a Mummy and an ambulance driver!

——

For more birthday posts about our sweet Blossom, click {HERE}.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Mama loves you.