2019 Planner Giveaway!

To celebrate our new UK planner group gaining 100 members so quickly, I would like to organise a giveaway from my stash of undated Home Ed Planners!
I’m just about to visit my mum and I’ll be back on Monday 12th so we can call that our deadline.
To enter:
1) Like this post and/ or
3) Reblog this post (or share the same post on Facebook or Twitter),
4) Connect with me on Twitter @Ohana_HE
5) Follow or subscribe to this blog
And let me know which/ how many of these you have done. You obviously have more chance of winning the more of these you do.
The winner then will be picked as close to Monday 12th September I can manage.
The winner can choose between:
1) an American style weekly planner,
2) a UK style daily planner for Primary (A4 or A5)
3) a UK style daily planner for Secondary (A4 or A5).
You can also nominate a brand new home educator/ planner to receive the planner you win (which is what happened the last time I organised a giveaway).
I’ll post pics of the available planners when I have a moment.
p.s. I forgot to say that this ought to be limited to the UK. The main winner will need to be in the UK. If there is a non-UK winner, we’ll need to talk about shipping/ postage costs, and you may get a booby prize if the shipping is too high.

List of all known Historical Reality tv shows

If you love historical reality TV shows like 1900s House and 1940s House, here is a comprehensive list, and the blog is worth following too.


Historical Reality Television

It is a difficult job, but I’m trying to make a complete list of all known Historical Reality TV shows and then, of course, try and watch them all.

  • Green titles are shows I have in my collection.
  • Red printed titles are missing from my collection.
  • Blue titles have been reviewed by me, click them to read the review.
  • Bold titles are recommended by me.

If you know of shows that should be on the list but aren’t or if you can help me trace one of the shows not yet in my collection, let me know in the comments.


  • Living in the past (UK 1978)
    (Timewatch – Living in the Past documentary (UK 1978))


  • The Victorian Kitchen Garden (UK 1987)


  • The Victorian Kitchen (UK 1989)


  • The Victorian Flower Garden (UK 1991)


  • The Wartime Kitchen and Garden (UK 1993)


  • The 1900 house (UK 1999)

View original post 608 more words

Homeschool or Home Education? Does it matter?

The topic of whether it matters whether we call what we do “home education” or “homeschool” keeps coming up, and I keep seeing people say that it doesn’t matter at all, it’s all the same thing.

Is it?

In fact I believe it does matter because technically and legally, the clause which enables us in law to educate at home is the phrase “education at school or otherwise“.

By definition, home education is not school.

Local governmental authorities usually refer to what we do as “Elective Home Education”.

I do understand why the term “homeschool” has become popular – firstly American homeschool is much larger and more visible than British home education, and so even governmental bodies use the term (either misunderstanding the difference and legal significance, or purposely trying to muddy the waters, for their own nefarious purposes. I couldn’t say which).

Secondly, whereas years ago the majority of British home educators did so primarily for philosophical reasons and never tried school, I think I would be right in saying that now, the majority come to home education after trying school.

I do feel though that, once a term is so well established in the vernacular, it would be like holding back the tide to try and stop its encroachment, and if we haven’t already seen the term homeschool/ homeschooling used in legal settings in the UK, we may soon.

The danger with such a term, I think, is that it could be used to insist upon a certain type of education which includes formal, school-like book work at desks in a fixed location.

Such a course could be disastrous and would mean the end of home education as we know it and the end of freedom in education, effectively outlawing unschooling or free-range parenting.

Hopefully I am unnecessarily catastrophising, imagining the worst case scenario. But it does seem to me to be a very slippery slope.

Archive Post: When Home Ed Mum is Sick

We have spent the last couple of weeks feeling collectively poorly and miserable. We have had a string of bugs and viruses to fight off: having a larger-than-average family often means that we don’t seem to go very long between one of us being ill, especially at this time of year, and if one of us catches something that we all catch in turn, the period of illness can be quite prolonged!

I suppose that for parents of children in school, when mum is ill there is the advantage that it’s ‘just’ a question of summoning up enough strength to get the children to school and then the day is potentially free and easy to stay in the sick bed (assuming sick-leave from paid employment is an option)…. But to be honest I don’t know how ‘working mothers’ manage it.

I have seldom thought of home educating as an easy option (for many reasons!) and yet, as sorry as I have been tempted to feel for myself during my bout of ‘flu, I actually think that in this case I do have the easier time of it: apart from the postman delivering packages, there’s no real reason why I need to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn (doubtless though, he thinks I’m a shocking layabout!) and, when things are really bad, there’s no reason for anyone to get out of their pyjamas before midday.

As to what our home education has looked like during these weeks, it’s certainly unlikely that we would be mistaken for a ‘home-school’. But has it been educational? It has been less formal even than this ‘un-schooler’ would have liked but, on balance, I think I can say ‘yes’. We haven’t missed a single day.

We can almost always manage some read-alouds: we’re currently enjoying L. Frank Baum’s original “The Wizard of Oz”

and Robert McCloskey’s “Blueberries for Sal”.

When Mummy has been at her worst and incapable of doing anything much more than lying on the sofa, croaking instructions (“shut that fridge door!”) the little ones have had fun learning to make their own breakfasts, and sandwiches at lunch (while I looked on, shaking my head about all the mess to clean up later!). Hours of imaginative play, and lego construction and so on – that I might normally veto or at least curtail in favour of more academic pursuits – were enjoyed at length. Not to mention all the running about that healthy Mummy would never normally allow!

I must admit as well that the TV (schools programmes and at least nominally educational videos mostly) got much more use than normal. During these few ‘sick’ weeks we became autonomous educators by default!

It was definitely a relief to finally get out of the house properly this week (playing in the garden just isn’t enough). I did wonder whether, given the choice, the children would prefer their home-ed experience with healthy mummy or sick mummy, but for my part, I’m so glad it’s over! (roll on summer…)



[Originally posted on my Multiply blog]

Archive Post: Firecrest

I thought I would share what we’ve learnt this morning.

We were reading about the ‘firecrest’, which is apparently one of the UK’s smallest (if not *the* smallest) bird, though I had never heard of it before now.

I checked it out on the RSPB’s website, and was pleased to find that they have a sample of its song together with lots of information:


We’re just on the edge of being in the right area to find the firecrest, so I will have to make a note to look for it when we go out towards the south-east.

The book we were reading, by the way (if any of you are interested) is ‘366 and more Nature Stories‘, published by Brown Watson.

The author is Anne-Marie Dalmais with illustrations by Annie Bonhomme. It seems to have been written originally in Europe (printed in Milan) and is translated into English and edited by Colin Clark. It is a great book for nature study, with short and sweet little stories every day of the year.

It is available through used booksellers.



[Originally posted on my Multiply blog]

Archive Post: Lunch på Ikea

We had a fun morning at Ikea with a Swedish friend. It was horribly busy, but after we’d finished lunch, my friend showed me the shortcuts through the store so we could escape without dragging the children all the way round.

We reminisced about all the things we missed from Sweden (that you can’t buy at Ikea!): päronsoda and sockerdricka are my two favourites, but I consoled myself with a couple of cans of Kopparberg non-alcoholic pear cider and a big block of Daim chocklad! Mumms!

We also talked about how hard it is to buy Swedish books abroad, even online, since most Swedish bookshops require a Personnummer (well I do have one, but I don’t actually know it… I probably have a card somewhere, but it goes against the grain to use it really) and most of them won’t actually ship utomlands. Ahp! (with a sharp intake of breath)!

Just for fun, I’ll leave you with a video on pronouncing the Ikea product names!


Archive Post: Dagens Nyheter – Flodhäst

Archive post from the Svengelska Hemskolan blog

I got a notice from blog.co.uk telling me that I hadn’t posted in 30 days. Wow, 30 days! I knew I hadn’t posted recently, but I didn’t realise it had been so long. Well, apparently, that’s because I haven’t had anything Sweden-related to relate.

I did meet my local Swedish-Finnish friend briefly in passing and had a quick samtal på svenska, and we both agreed that we must meet again for coffee, but didn’t make a date.

We’re not actually actively learning Swedish for school at the moment, so I don’t focus my thoughts on Sweden and Swedish as I would if we still were. Perhaps we’ll try again another time, but at the moment it’s a struggle just to do the ‘three R’s’.

I do have a poster map of Sweden up on the wall alongside a post-card of Mamma Mu (the singing cow) and a beautifully painted calligraphed Swedish alphabet including the three ‘extra letters’: å, ä and ö, and these caught Pony-rider’s eye a few days ago, so that prompted a little conversation, but no real interest in learning the language.

When I get round to it, I will post some reviews of Sweden-related things that we enjoy.

In the meantime, I thought I would give you a Swedish word to try on for size:

Flodhäst – Hippopotamus

(literally, river-horse) Dragon-tamers is just telling me, “that’s what Hippopotamus actually means!”

pronounced: flowed-hest

When we lived in Sweden, there was a children’s television programme about horses entitled ‘Hippo’.

Don’t ask me why I chose that word, no reason at all that I can think of. Just a word I like the sound of. 😀

Archive Post: Mamma Mu

Archive post from the Svengelska Hemskolan blog:

One of our all-time favourite resources for learning Swedish is the Mamma Mu series of CD’s.

Mamma Mu


I’m not sure this will work, but hopefully you’ll be able to play the torrent of the CD “Visor för hela kroppen” – Songs for the whole body
here. [Edit: that link seems to have disappeared, so here is a video instead]

Our favourite is track 16, “Veckovisan” – The Week Song. I did try to find the lyrics online, but can’t find them so if I get a chance I’ll get them myself and add them here.

In the meantime, here are the veckodagarna – Days of the Week in Swedish:

Söndag – Sunday
Måndag – Monday
Tisdag – Tuesday
Onsdag – Wednesday
Torsdag – Thursday
Fredag – Friday
Lördag – Saturday

Note that Swedish days don’t need a capital letter in the middle of a sentence like English days do.

Ha en trevlig helg! Have a nice weekend!

Archive Post: Sommaren i City

Archive Post from the Svengelska Hemskolan blog:

The summer school holidays are officially upon us, and all of the children’s activities are finished until the new school term starts in September: swimming, gymnastics, trampolining, Irish Dancing, Girls’ & Boys’ Brigade, German and Hebrew. I’m really relieved as actually that level of activity was beginning to create burnout for me, as well as costing way too much, and I realised that we were hardly managing to get anything done at home – both in terms of housework and schoolwork.

I’m weighing up whether or not we should take a long summer ‘holiday’ from homeschool. We have a lot of work to catch up on, but I am *so* tired! So I’m not planning to go back to most of the activities in September, and I’m thinking of getting the book “Homeschool Family Fitness” and trying to do more ourselves, and I’d like to do a bit more with languages at home. Still not sure how – I may use some of the money we’re saving on more curriculum items. I’ll post what I’m planning to use later.

In the meantime, here is some Swedish vocabulary connected with the summer:

Sommar – Summer (en) definite = sommaren
Sommarstängt – closed for the summer (see the original post on this blog)
Jordgubbe – Strawberry, (literally, earth chap) plural = jordgubbar
Smultron – Wild Strawberries
Grädde – cream (to go with your strawberries)
Sommarstuga – summer cottage, typically on the
Skärgården – the Swedish archipelago
Sol – sun (en) definite = solen

I’ll leave you with some very typically Swedish pop-music:

Sommaren i City – Angel

Archive Post: Gunga och Rutschkana på Parken

We met our Swedish-Finnish friend Tieja again for our monthly coffee date, this time at the park by the lake (we thought we’d reserve Ikea for rainy days!).

It’s funny how you remember words you haven’t thought of for years when you hear them – like the word ‘gunga’ – swing (noun and verb, just like in English), and ‘rutschkana’ – slide (just a noun, as far as I know).

When we lived in Sweden and Dragon-tamer was little, the ‘rutschkana’ was their absolute favourite thing in the playground. I can hardly believe it was 10* years ago now.

I asked them if they still had any memories of Dagis (short for ‘daghem’ – day-home; in other words ‘nursery’). They hardly remember it at all really, apart from a favourite toy – an amazing water track contraption. I wondered whether the Dagis teachers were still there. It would be nice to go back and visit. I thought we’d do it last year, but we still don’t even have passports, so it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll even manage it this year, but you never know.

Homeschool is being drowned out a bit by ‘life’ at the moment, but I keep thinking that I would like to try and teach the children some Swedish so they’d be able to speak a little if and when we do visit. They do recognise the sound of it, which is good, I think – they can tell it apart from French or German or Hebrew.

Well, we’ll see how we go. I’m looking out for any good teaching materials for Swedish as a second language for children. If I find any, I’ll let you know.



[This post was originally published on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog, * it is now 20 years ago!]