December and January Empties

(I have really enjoyed watching empties videos by various people on you tube, and off the back of that started keeping things I had used up to review later. It’s an interesting process and it encourages me to use stuff rather than abandon it half full and eventually throw it away in a fit of tidying.)

Shower Gels

I went through two of the Original Source Vanilla and Raspberry shower gels in the last couple of months, and while I really enjoyed them I think I am up for a change. Maybe something lemony.

The kids finished off the mango shower gel and we have another on the go at the minute.


I got the Aussie Deep Treatment 3 minute Miracle Winter Miracle Conditioner on special offer and it was fine, but I’m probably not hunting out another and currently I’ve just gone back to what I was using before.

Hand Wash

The Imperial Leather Summer Sunrise is one I have been buying since last summer. I have it downstairs at our kitchen sink at the moment and still like it.

Thr Waitrose Lime and Basil handwash is one I got to refill the Christmas Tree shaped handwash that I had used up. It was nice and worked fine and if it goes on special offer I’ll buy it again I think.


I had Stashing Through the Snow in the run up to Christmas and Ho Ho Oh over the Christmas week and into new year. I think I had Merry and Bright in the new year but I think that empty is still in my bag. They were all great!


I went through two pots of Olay Firm and Lift day cream, probably because I was a bit more heavy handed with it in the colder weather. I have a new pot on the go at the moment and I like it fine.

I finally finished the Boots Time Delay Eye Cream. It just seemed to go on and on for ever! Again I have another on the go and I think it is fine.

Wax Melts

I got the Yankee Candle Home Inspiration wax melts in Apple Pomegranate from my local Asda and the kids liked it, but I wasn’t that bothered so I probably won’t buy it again.

Our local Asda at home also had a number of Scentsationals in store, (I haven’t found them anywhere else) and after trying a couple I stocked up on Cupcake, and Apple Berry Crumble, both of which I really liked and melted a lot before I got the Chrismas stuff out.

I also melted a lot of Goose Creek Pumpkin Spice Muffin, which is one of my favourite autumn wax melts.

I finished up Goose Creek French Toast which the kids liked but I found too maple-y, so I probably won’t buy it again.

In the lead up to Christmas I got a great deal on Yankee Candle tarts and votives. Star Anise and Orange was nice but I probably wouldn’t buy it again. Mandarin Cranberry was was lovely and I would pick that up again.

Iced Gingerbread and Christmas Garland were so nice that I bought them as candles with a later offer. Christmas Garland inspired me to melt my Christmas Tree melts along with a sweet bakery melt which is what I did for most of Christmas.

I have been using the Iced Gingerbread candle for much of January. It has a medium throw that is nice but not over powering.

My son has taken over one of my wax melters while the building work is going on. He picked a Yankee Candle Votive of Exotic Fruits and has been running it in his room for the last week. It is very passion fruity and has lasted well.

I am kinda done with Airwick candles as they usually smell pretty air freshener-y but the Spread the Joy Mince Pie candle was good.

If you have got this far, I will probably only make these posts every couple of months. Honest. 🙂

Things that feel important right now

wet autumn leaves in brown, green and yellow, and a pair of feet in brown shoes at the bottom of the image
      • Adam Buxton Podcast – Hassan Akkad I really like Adam Buxton’s podcast, it’s usually really interesting, fun and pretty light hearted. This week he interviewed Hassan Akkad, who fled Syria in 2012, about his experiences and his journey to Europe. I recommend listening to it, so much. It was fascinating, and heartbreaking and important.
      • Happiness is Here – Please don’t make this mistake with Christmas gifts I haven’t been reading this blog for very long, but I really like Sara’s commitment and passion for children’s rights, and respectful parenting. Everything in this article makes complete sense to me, even though I can see why people justify giving presents with strings attached. (oh and while we’re here – I loath the idea of Elf on the shelf, and people can make it as pinterest-cute as they like, the concept is still massively creepy.)
      • 13th Century Children’s drawings – because people have always been people
      • Learning Well Community – 102 ways to start your Homeschool morning out right This was overwhelming in a really good way, to the point where I actually printed it out, so that I can pen all over it, and make notes and stuff. (I think, even if you don’t home educate, there are some jems in that list for you too.)
      • The Lazy Genius Holiday Podcasts – since October Kendra has been knocking it out of the park with a series of podcasts about making priorities and rocking the holiday season. Every time a new one lands in my podcast app it’s a must listen.
      • And in case anyone here play Animal Crossing New Leaf on the Nintendo 3ds, my kids and I have been exploring the dream town of Hush, which has a lovely Christmassy thing going on.

There are many ways to plan a Home Ed year. This is mine. Part 2 – What We are Using 2017-18

You can read about what I used to plan our Home Education year here in part 1.

Table Work

Table Work is what we call all the sit down work we do at home. It’s a chunk of our learning every day, and it currently covers Maths, phonics or grammar, spelling, and sight words. Sometime this work is done altogether, but for the last six months or so I have been doing it as a one to one with each child, which works well. This year I am making table work shorter, so that there is more room for other learning, mostly because I have seen that doing a bit every day adds up.

We use Maths No Problem for maths, which is UK based Singapore maths programme. I really like it, it’s reasonably priced and works really well for us. The only problem is that the Teacher’s Guide and answers are via an online subscription and cost £200 per year, because the curriculum is set up for school use rather than home educators. Right now we do completely fine without them but as the children get older and the work gets more complex we will have to switch to something else. Which sucks to be honest.

Maths – No Problem books 1A, 3A and 4A plus the wipe clean document folders I use to keep the worksheets in.

For phonics we use Ready2Read from Annie Moffatt (aka The Moffatt Girls) – my 4 year old is starting Level 1 and my 6 year old is just finishing up Level 3.  This is the only phonics curriculum we have ever used and it has worked really well for us.

I really like The Moffat Girl’s products – they are solid and mostly No Prep, which means you can print out what you need and get straight into it, rather than having to do lots of work ahead.

(That said, Ready2Read does have prep if you use the hands on activities, which I would recommend because they are great. They need printing out on card and cutting out where necessary. But it wasn’t very much work and I have saved and re-used those piece within each unit, with each child, and then just re-printed out the worksheets for each unit as we have come to it.)

We are also using 1st and 2nd Grade Language Arts and Grammar as the work my 6 year old and 8 year old are doing post-Ready2Read, and the Build a Word bundle for hands on spelling.

Our sight words are mostly Learning Resources Popcorn set 1 and 2 (which I got for a lot less money than that link would suggest.) I pull out 10 cards each for the 6 year old, and 8 year old. For the 4 year old I have printed up the pre-primer and primer sets from here and have pulled out 7 that we are working on at the moment.)

Morning Time

This year I have reinstated Morning Time, which I have split in two – Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday as one group, and Thursday/Friday as the other. Thursday/Friday we watch some educational videos (TEDed, and The Kids Should See This), followed by me reading the next chapter from whatever Arabella Buckley we have on the go, (right now it’s Wild Life in Woods and Fields). I am trying to encourage the children to draw while I read, and have a good book on drawing trees, and some Usbourne colouring books that I hope will help this along.

On Monday we will start our Map Making project which I’m hoping to run till half term in October. This is something I am winging, due to my love of maps and geography, and because I think it’s will take in a whole load of skills that will be useful as we dig deeper into history and geography, and global studies later. My plan is the start with mapping a room, and then our home (particularly apt since we have builders in and will being having work done now for the next few months), our street, suburb, city, country, country, continent, and the World.

I have a load of great resources for that, so I’ll try and give it it’s own post once the project is properly under way. (Wish me luck!) Map Making will be our Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday project, and I’m hoping to follow it up with a project on what I am calling ‘Global Studies’ but which could equally be called ‘How People Live Around the World or ‘Hey Kids Lets All Expand Our World View and Try to Become Better Global Citizens’. Again I have some great resources and this project needs it’s own post, once we are actually doing it.

I am planning for this to include looking at religious festivals throughout the year. As a secular family in a broadly Christian country I think my children have a general understanding of the standard Christian festivals. However I think it would benefit all the family for us to look at what festivals are common elsewhere, as well as festivals that are celebrated by those of other faiths in this country. I’m planning to use Children Just Like Me: Celebrations as the basis for this, and then order books from the library about the specific festivals as the come up.

And then ready for the depths of Winter my bestie and I devised a list of musicals, so that we can curls up and have a Musicals project. And aptly that’s around the time I’m off to see Hamilton in London, so we will likely be all about the Musicals at that point.


We are still using Mystery Science. It is still really working for us, but we didn’t do it as much as I would have liked last year, and so it now has it’s own dedicated time in our weekly plan.


We are using Write Shop for our writing this year (Primary and Junior), and personally I plan to read some more by Julie Bogart. I am working on a three day a week schedule for each child for write shop this year. We will see how this goes. Probably I should be combining my six year old and eight year old, but right now I’m not.

Because of how our schedule works we should do write shop on a Friday, but that would squash a regular opportunity to meet up with friends, so I am trying, for this term, to do our Friday Write Shop sessions straight after breakfast on a Saturday, and leave the time after table work on a Friday for time with friends, and after that, play and down time for us as a family. I’ll let you know how that goes once we’ve done it for a while.

The Extra Curriculars and Regular Meet Ups

As with last year we are doing a home ed climbing class, home ed music lessons at the local council music center, as well as after school swimming lessons at the local pool, drama group, and the eldest is still doing cubs. (I remember a time when I said we weren’t going to do too much. Thank goodness they aren’t all after school or in the evenings!)

We also have some meet ups with friends that are regular enough to be on our schedule (and if they don’t happen for whatever reason then that is more time to play, follow rabbit trails, or read.)

So that’s it. That’s the plan.

I’ll try and check in at half term and let you know how things are going, because we all make these great plans during the summer, and rarely show what worked and what sounded good but fell by the wayside.


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