We started Brigade about six weeks ago, and now we’re in the summer term, we’ve had a few weeks of great outdoor fun.

Brigade is a Christian-based, uniformed youth organisation, and it’s usually separated into Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade, but this particular unit is mixed, which is nice.

I thought it would be a nice thing that all my children could do together, since all their other activities separate them up according to age.

It seems religious in a gentle way – it begins with a prayer and ends with the Grace, and I think they do a scripture exam once a year.

Indoors, they’ve had great fun learning to march(!) and they did a pretty impressive display of synchronised marching for their annual display evening, where they all peeled off in different directions and then met up again.

Outdoors though, we’ve had a treasure hunt on the beach (although we spotted cub scouts there and they looked like they were having more fun!), last week was camp practice, and I’m shocked to have to say that the boys and girls were split up for this activity, with the boys putting up tents, and the girls cooking! I don’t know whether that’s to do with Brigade as an organisation or a bias of the local leadership, but I found that a little bit off to be honest.

Although they loved it to begin with, they are beginning to hate the restrictive uniform, and now it is also becoming clear that one of the leaders has a big issue with home education (constant snide comments and subtle digs that are really beginning to get me down). So we’ll have to see if they continue past the summer.

Yesterday we had a great outing to the local RNLI station – fair play to the volunteers there, not only do they do an amazing and dangerous job, they were able to entertain a group of 4-18 year olds for an hour and a half without complaint or incident! The outing culminated in one of the older members donning a lifesaving ‘drysuit’ and testing out whether it would actually keep her dry!

I hope we can manage to get over our issues, as overall it seems great fun, but I am concerned that one of the leaders may make it impossible. She doesn’t seem to appreciate special needs (and ‘blames’ them on home education!) and if she won’t respect our choices and lifestyle, it’s not going to work. We’ll see.


Summery School #homeed

It has been an absolutely great day today, from start to finish – a fun day, with no ‘lessons’, but thoroughly educational.

This morning we went to a home ed group birthday party with a visiting ‘animal guy’ – I fully expected rabbits and kittens, but in fact it was a selection of exotic specimens, including a giant centipede, a giant lizard, a python, a beautiful barn owl and a bird-eating spider (is this the same as a Tarantula? We’re not sure. The guy talked a lot but he was a bit rambly and easily distracted so we weren’t sure what he was trying to tell us.) We were all brave and had a hold! I held a tarantula!

Unfortunately I had camera fail so no photos of us with the animals sadly.

This afternoon we bought a paddling pool on the way home which we have only half filled – by the time we had got that much done the garden was in shadow and it was getting a bit too cold to go in, but we had a lovely time in the sun filling it so hopefully if the nice weather holds it will be something for tomorrow and the rest of the week too.

Then this evening Pony-rider and I have been at Girlguides, cooking outdoors – burgers and sausages for the meat-eaters, and for us vegetarians, double portions of ‘camp doughnuts’ – a marvellous, magical invention whereby jam sandwiches are dipped in batter and transformed into doughnuts in the frying pan!

I love this time of year, when everything starts to get a bit slow and chilled in the sun, but the days are getting longer and not a minute is wasted!