We started this year home educating Four Pesky Hobbits and finished it home educating three Pesky Hobbits. Bailey going off to college has been the biggest thing that has happened this year because it has had a huge effect on all of us. Its strange without him here several days a week, I always feel like I have lost something and its weird counting 5 when there is normally 6 of you. But, and I mean BUT in a good way he is flying, he is doing so well, which isn't a huge surprise to us because we knew he would. But it is so wonderful to stand back and watch him doing so well, we had his parent's evening this month, which was really bizarre as we hadn't been to one in over 7 years! His tutor could not speak high enough of him, he even said he was one of the more social kids in the class, which he thought funny since he was "home schooled". I tried not to take that offensively... so the proof as they say is in the pudding. Seven years of home educating and with only the two GCSE's he took in the summer he has managed to successfully go into college, be moved up from level 2 to level 3 in a matter of weeks and is expected to get some of the highest marks in his class. Home ed works.
And the rest of the year went like this:
Lego continues to have a huge hold in this house and inspired by December's The Hobbit movie and receiving the Hobbit Hole for Christmas it continued to be played with.
Lego and The Hobbit
I always find January a tough month and last year was no different, especially as hubby badly sprained his ankle and was pretty much sofa bound for several weeks but there was still much to be thankful for, Cordelia started drawing lots and its amazing to see how far she has come on in a year.
We headed off for a 4 night break to Center Parcs in the Lake District, a lovely retreat to cheer us up in bleak January.
Including a boat trip on Lake Windermere:
We went to see the highly anticipated Lego Movie at the cinema. The kids had been waiting to see it ever since Bailey had shown them the trailer in 2013 and lego has had around 15 years of being huge in this house!
I blogged about a very average day in February An average home ed day.
Was pretty quiet too but we did have a lovely 4 night break in Keilder Forest, Northumberland. It felt like we were miles away from everything with no wifi or even a phone signal but that was actually rather nice. We had lots of cold but dry weather and did a lot of walking and eating! Keilder Water
we had a tough walk up to the Keilder Observatory but some lovely memories of eating our lunch on these chairs by the water'e edge:
And I can't believe how much the children have grown up since this photo!
Milder weather saw us getting out and about a little more, We are definitely winter hibernators in this house. Piper had a huge image makeover, which is still evolving, hair cuts. we went along with the Superhero theme that has become huge here and painted Superhero Eggs
Cordelia celebrated her 12th Birthday with a trip to Whitby:
Ruben and I painted the playhouse and gave it a bit of a makeover with a Minecraft theme Mine Hut.
I finally got around to making some keepsake boxes for all of the children and Hubby and I even managed to squeeze in a date day with a bike ride in the Peak District, its a shame it finished with an injury! You can read more about March here: March summary
We had a wonderful holiday to Holland, stopping first for a day in London on our way south. We also managed to visit Belgium several times too! We loved Brugge and its waffles!
We visited The Hague, Breda, Ghent, Amsterdam and Brussels-marking 3 capital cities for us in 6 days!
We had such an amazing time and saw so many things. I think if you asked the kids one of their favourite days would have been the trip to Beekse Bergen Safari Park and being so close to the animals there:
A very memorable trip for all of us ;D
We grew things, waited for things to arrive in the post, Bailey had his first ever GCSE exams, which was a bit overwhelming but he did fine, we had some nice walks. Including a trip to the RSPB Old Moor
And some horse riding!
Cordelia went to see Hetty Feather with friends at the theatre!
And the major event of the month.....our biggest boy turned 16!!!!!
Halfway through the year already!!
Hubby and Ruben made a Pokemon training centre out of Lego:
We got three new pets in the shape of Stick Insects May, Skullduggery and Hawkeye:
We watched the Tour De France come through Sheffield:
The girls took books and the summer's craze of loom bands and sat loom banding whilst the cyclists came past. It was a pretty cool experience. We also celebrated Hubby's 36th Birthday in July with homemade chocolate fudge cake:
We had a most fantastic day out in Liverpool to see the Giants, utterly, utterly epic, such an amazing atmosphere and such an amazing experience for all of us, a real "pinch me" moment that I will never forget:
And we managed to squeeze in two nights in Norfolk camping! Our first trip away without Bailey which was very strange ;( but he was fine at his grandparents and he even got himself a part-time job whilst we were away!
We went to see the much anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy film, which we thought was brilliantly funny!
We finally visited the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta I had been wanting to visit for around 5 years, but now hubby can drive we shared the drive there and back meaning that although it was a 7 hour round trip it was manageable and so so worth it. The girls and their friend went on this ridiculously high ride
The famous night time glow:
August saw Bailey get a place at college on a full time Games Design Course, he was interviewed and within 5 minutes offered a place without even knowing his GCSE results yet. They said he was "the bright light amongst a lot of dim ones" which he quoted at us at every available opportunity! When his GCSE results did come through a week later we found he had got B's for his Maths and English. Not bad to say he had spent 6 years being autonomously home educated with very little in the way of formal maths or English.
We had a first trip to a Comic Con, which the kids loved, actually we all did! Lots of costumes to coo at and lots of geeky cool items to browse. It definitely inspired the kids to think about costumes for halloween this year.We had our own Not Back to School Picnic with best friends at Chatsworth:
Bailey started college, which left a really weird void for us, but he was having a brilliant time. We headed out to Scarborough for the day for my birthday and Bailey rang to tell us he had been moved up from his level 2 course and on to the Level 3 course, he had been at college for a week and a half!
Didn't blog as much as I would have liked in September and October because there was really a lot of things going on here, that I don't want to blog about, feels a shame as I feel we have missed a chunk of the year out. Happy to say though that things have moved onwards and upwards since and things are definitely calmer.
October was a very busy month! We took part i schools film week and enjoyed How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Long Walk to Freedom and a brilliant IMAX Space Station film.We had a lovely time visiting Saltaire Vintage Fair and I think we might make it an annual trip. And we also squeezed in another 4 night family holiday, which was much needed and as Bailey was so up to date on his college work he got to come along too! We finally got to visit the Iron Bridge, something that has been on my list for ages:
Had a fabulous but tough walk in Llangollen , one of our favourite places in Wales.We saw the highest waterfall in Wales:
And believe it or not we actually ate ice creams on the beach in Llandudno, here's the proof:
Just look at that sky! October, it was really in October!
Hubby and I had a fantastic date day watching NFL football at Wembley Stadium, it was quite an experience but unfortunately ended rather badly, when I accidentally tipped an entire cup of scalding tea on myself and ended up in A&E. Was one of the most painful experiences I've ever had, but the staff at the Burns Unit were excellent and thankfully I should make a full recovery. No tea in cars for me anymore.
Halloween was a little difficult for me this year as I was pretty much covered in bandages but I managed to walk around whilst the children went trick or treating. I loved the effort they went to for costumes this year:
Link from the game Zelda, Marceline (Adventure Time) and a Ringwraith (Lord of the Rings!). I booked them tickets to see E.T. at the Sheffield Showroom, they thought it was very funny, Hubby had to take them as I was still recovering from my burns. They also went along to Sheffield's Out of This World themed halloween event, but from the sounds of it, it was very far from Out of This World.......
October was the month Ruben learnt to Skateboard:
We had a quiet month due to the fact we had a lot of things planned in December! So there were lots of things going off like craft activities that I didn't blog about as we were just too busy. We did have a lovely trip to the former home of Lord Byron, which turned out to not be very far from us at all in Mansfield. Newstead Abbey was stunning, if not a little chilly!
Ruben and Cordelia attended a brilliant film making workshop at the Sheffield Showroom, they had an entire weekend there by themselves! So Hubby, Piper and I got all our Christmas shopping done and also managed to squeeze in seeing the Benedict Cumberbatch film The Imitation Game. We enjoyed it very much and hopefully will have a trip next year to see the Enigma machine at Bletchley Park.
Ruben spent hours and hours designing and making his own board game complete with cards:
He also managed to finish a book all by himself when he read The Iron Giant, a much loved favourite film of Bailey's as a child, so fond memories for us. We booked on to a workshop building an Iron Giant with the artist Johnny White at the Showroom and then watched the film in the cinema afterwards.
Ruben had his haircut, like loads and loads of it cut-marking the third biggest haircut of the year after his sisters:
And he also celebrated his 11th Birthday!
We had what is becoming, an annual trip into London to see the Christmas Lights, this year we went to Covent Garden to see the Lego Santa and Reindeer:
It was lots of fun but I never got around to blogging about it!
I suppose one of the biggest things for us in December was Hubby and I celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. As we got married very quietly, we literally went to Stratford-Upon-Avon with a very tiny Bailey and our two best friends and got married. Was lovely though but we always felt a bit guilty that our family didn't get to share it with us. So we planned a church vow renewal, it took a lot of planning and to be honest was quite stressful but oh my it was so worthwhile. And I think such an important event for our children to both see and take part in.
Was such a wonderful day.
Two days later and Piper celebrated her 14th Birthday! Unfortunately it did not get off to the best start when at 1.30am both boys awoke only to start throwing up and continue through the night :(
So feeling shattered I dragged myself out to the shopping centre and took both girls shopping. It cheered Piper up and we even got a box of Krispy Kremes for a different kind of birthday cake this year, sadly the boys had to wait until the day after to eat one!
We had an early trip to see the final part of The Hobbit movie trilogy. Was lovely and I even managed to stay awake during the whole film!
Then we set off for a Christmas holiday/Honeymoon to Berwick upon Tweed. Our first Christmas away from home and one of our best Christmasses so far, we visited Edinburgh marking our fourth capital city this year! We totally fell in love with it there and ended up visiting twice! We also visited Holy Island and Bamburgh and just generally had a fantastic end to a busy year.
This year has been so incredibly packed, and even now looking back over it I am amazed by how much we have actually done and also now realise why I am so exhausted. If I had to pick a word for this years' home education journey I'd say ADVENTURE was it. This year more than any other I've blogged about has seen the most changes in our children, the most changes in our journey with Bailey going off to college and although there have been some scary, low points there have been so many more high points. And I suppose that's life isn't it? You take the rough with the smooth and it all adds up to life. So many experiences this year that I can't help but feel will shape us all in the future. So much growing up, learning to let go a little in the case of the older three children, standing back and watching how mature and amazing these four beautiful people are and feel so incredibly blessed that we get to share so much of their journey with them. Its very humbling.
For 2015 I'm hoping the word will be BALANCE, I think a much better balance is needed. Although I enjoyed 2014, it was tiring and a little full on. I love travelling but I think it will be a bit closer to home in 2015 and then maybe some bigger places in 2016 but we shall see.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the blog, it is always nice to read comments. Wishing you all a wonderful 2015. Happy New Year