I booked a trip to Bolsover Castle with their free education visit for home educating families. You have to book 14 days in advance but its still a great offer. I used to have several home education memberships but I haven't had any for a while now as we tend to visit places more based on what the children are into at that moment. I like the spontaneity of visiting things as and when and not planning too much. Like last year when we watched the Liverpool Giants on breakfast news and Ruben asked if we could go, the next day we went, its more fluid and its one of many, many home education advantages! Things change fast with teenagers and what they love one minute, they have zero interest in the week after. Better to act fast on things and keep their interest is what I'm finding about home educating older children/teenagers. Two weeks was a bit of a wait really, Ruben was really into building his Minecraft realm when I booked the visit. He actually asked to go to a castle! But since then other realms-not his own-and new games have come and suddenly he wasn't quite so bothered. But we still went.
We met up with friends and had a really wonderful day, marred only by a staff member telling the girls adults-yes she took them for adults!!!-weren't allowed on the playground equipment. I get pretty peeved with the idea that only under 12's can play on a playground. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have approached a parent playing with a child to say that. Anyway, aside from that we had a lovely time.
Friend and I marveled at how the group of them-5 of them-adapt and enjoy where ever we are at the moment. Within minutes they are all chatting, laughing, taking photos on their phones and having fun. It really is wonderful to watch/hear even if other visitors do not appreciate their excitement. Children seen but not heard/should be in school springs to mind there. And I have to bite my tongue and ignore them, teenagers are allowed to be silly and have fun you know...
The first rooms we came to and we were in here for around half an hour, Piper knew a fair bit of the info as she has read lots on Bess of Hardwick who has connections to Bolsover Castle. It was interesting listening to their chatter about the things in this room. We were all a bit stumped by this cake though..
The building is very cool, however:
Outside, we can't believe how big they have all got. When we first met our friends four years ago, our children were all pretty small..
We walked around the top level of the castle, which is new since we last visited and a really good addition, and up lots of steps. Lots of chat about the paintings in one room and how the women look like men only with very round breasts! We thought maybe they were painted by a man who had never seen a naked women?! Lots of laughing and different ideas on the muscular arms and where they came from.
We found an area that was perfect for putting on a play and friend and I spent half an hour sat watching several plays put on by our children. Thanks to a very helpful dressing up box, the children really got into character! Was a very entertaining half an hour before we headed out to the playground for lunch:
Taking a bow at the end of the show!
We spent the next two hours eating lunch and watching them all play in the(under 12s only) playground. Lovely sunshine and chats about why we think home educating through the teen years is so important, plus explaining type writing homework to the kids on actual typewriters!