We have had the very great pleasure of doing a good bit of dancing as a group over the last few months. Our first dance party happened in early January in our fantastic, weekly, winter venue. The excitement was palpable in the time running up to it. We made our plans and dusted off our dancing shoes.


One of the parents in the group has experience of community dance work so she led a high-energy warm-up to get people moving (please excuse the blurry photos!).

Another of the parents in the group is a professional wedding singer and so rigged up some spectacular lights, giving the hall a real disco feel.

Friends danced together, siblings swung each other round, parents danced with children and a fabulous time was had by all.

All manner of treats were held in the kitchen to fuel the dancing and the usual soft play equipment was put to good use too.

We all left feeling euphoric and keen to create another dancing opportunity for the group. Fast forward a couple of months and we were hosting a ceilidh. While the style of music and aesthetic was very different, it was just as much fun. We booked a hall in a city centre community centre and found a couple of excellent musicians to play at it. People arrived in dribs and drabs. Some played Duck, Duck, Goose while the band did their soundcheck


and others set up a cake stall and a mocktails bar, sold to raise money for an upcoming youth hostel trip.

As well as advertising the event in the home ed community, we extended the invitation to our non-home ed friends. It was lovely and quite empowering to host an event for the wider community as a group. I only discovered afterwards that it had been their first ceilidh for a few of the families there.

We managed many dances

but the most popular by far was the Orcadian Strip The Willow.

We ended with Auld Lang Syne and a determination to find another time to dance together soon.




A great community centre

We had a great home ed meet last week; the sort that is inspired, organised and well executed. The success was due to a number of things, but I think the most effective of them was the space. We have struggled over the last few winters to find indoor spaces that are conducive to a good home ed meet and managers of spaces who are willing to welcome such an alternative group of misfits. However, I think we have done it this time.

We had so much we wanted to accomplish, that we decided to set up stations that the children could move around between. I ran a stencil and print making station, and was so impressed with the work the children put in and the prints they made. There was a lot of impressive use of new tools which lead to lots of beautiful images and a bold use of colour. My baby slept happily in another mother’s tireless arms. At another station children worked together to create a card for a family who have just welcomed a new baby. There was the usual soft play and Lego in the middle and tea in the kitchen. We celebrated a birthday with a big cake and were visited by an inventive art school student who gamefully joined in with the work and play.

Next week we intend to use our stencil designs to come up with a logo for our group which can be used in shirts and badges. Here’s to many more good meets!

Third Time (Very) Lucky

The wintery weather is here now so, for the last few weeks, we’ve been intending to meet indoors. However, something keeps coming up. The first week we tried there was some miscommunication between us and the people who hire out the venue. But the rain stayed away so we just set up all our indoor activities outdoors.

There was Lego and magnets to play with, knitting and catching up to be done and even a birthday celebrated with plenty of cake.

Some children attempted a cooperative challenge while others simply ran around to keep warm.

‘Next week’, we said, ‘we shall meet indoors”. But it wasn’t to be. The following week we found out that the BBC needed to finish off some filming in the space so we couldn’t use it. Undeterred by the last minute change of plan, we visited one of our favourite places, The Children’s Wood, to plant some trees they had been gifted by The National Trust. The children planted four rowan trees and three cherries trees before the urge to play overtook them and they disappeared into the tree house, mud kitchen and beyond.

By the third week, many of us were half expecting to be locked out of the hall again but this time we did get in and it was really worth the wait. Our winter hang out for this year has a big kitchen where we can cook together,


soft play equipment that, the little ones in particular, enjoyed tumbling over

a stage that we are hoping to use for performance and dance activities


and plenty of space to run around. The usual boxes of tricks came out to entertain – craft, Lego, stories,

but we also made time to work together to draw up a group agreement about how we want to behave towards each other

and how we want to use the venue. We came to a happy agreement about how best to use the pool table and computers in the space so that we could prioritise enjoying each other’s company and many interesting and exciting ideas were floated for future activities.

There was also more knitting and chatting and a general feeling of thankfulness at having found such a welcoming and versatile space to spend the next few months.


Wee Row Hostel

Earlier this week we went to stay at the youth hostel in New Lanark. There were around 45 of us and we had free run of the whole hostel. We enjoyed cooking and eating together, sharing dorms and many fun activities.

On our first night there was a light show at the New Lanark Mill. Huge photographs of the mill and its workers were projected on the side of the mill, some with an accompanying soundtrack telling of how life was when the mill was a working factory. The lights were very atmospheric and it was exciting to run around in the dark with such a large group of friends.

The next day we ventured out to explore. The younger children made good use of the fantastic play park on site while some of the older children played cooperative games and followed the river in search of the Falls of Clyde.

As we rounded a corner we were hit by a sonic blast from the waterfall. It grew more and more impressive as trekked higher and higher up the hill, singing silly songs and making up stories as we walked. The gorgeous, autumnal hues and gentle sunlight gave the whole journey a dreamlike quality.


Later on we had a relaxing afternoon indoors complete with craft,

a movement workshop and an ingenious game devised by one of families in the group called Chaos Yoga which involved some yoga asana, improvised music, team challenges and more.

Our meal that evening came courtesy of ‘The Kids’ Kitchen’, a pop-up restaurant thought up and staffed by the children of the group. They worked together to prepare a delicious three course meal. We had ‘LemonTom coconut’ soup to start, stir fry with rice for the main course and a choice of peach, berry or apple crumble for dessert. A true feast!

The children drew up menus, waited on the tables

and then cleared everything away afterwards. There was some live music to accompany the meal and, afterwards, much deserved drinks of ‘elderapple posh juice’. It was a joy to see all ages working together with such competence and kindness. The food was excellent too.

On our second morning at the hostel we took part in an all singing, all dancing scavenger hunt created by another of the families in the group. We broke into three, mixed age teams and each followed our own trail around the whole of the New Lanark World Heritage Site. The trails took in the  New Lanark Mill visitors’ centre, replicas of a mill worker’s cottage from 1820 and 1930, the Fall of Clyde visitors’ centre, a waterwheel and the on-site hotel which was once part of the mill. It was such an interesting and memorable way to engage with all the information there. We also had to complete a number of challenges along the way involving the apple tree in Robert Owen’s garden, bouncing balloons, plastic frogs pinging onto ‘lily pads’ and a game of Shut The Box presented to us on a throne in a willow palace.

Afterwards we wandered back to the hostel for a well-earned rest. The children took this as an opportunity to watch a bit of telly while the adults drank many cups of tea and chatted, with tiny ones crawling around under our feet and being passed from lap to lap. Some enjoyed a few stories

and decorated fairy cakes. Food was plentiful on the trip and enjoyed often.

We all recharged our batteries in preparation for the afternoon’s adventure – a two hour walk down the river, away from the waterfall and towards the little, old market town of Lanark. Once again, the journey was peppered with games, stories and silly songs. When little feet got tired they were given piggy-backs by older friends. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hostel and grateful for a hearty meal. The evening slipped away with games and chatting and soon all the children were asleep. Adults had sole occupancy of the kitchen and spent a good few hours getting to know each other that bit better, putting the world to rights and sharing even more food, drinks and laughs. All too soon the morning rolled around and it was time to clean the hostel and go home. A frantic couple of hours of bag packing, bed stripping and floor sweeping passed quickly till we said goodbye. Before we parted we took time to share our favourite moments of the trip with each other – brilliant activities, deepening of friendships, getting to know new people or seeing old friends in new ways, sharing familial tasks such as cooking and cleaning and the beautiful surroundings were all discussed with fondness. A wonderful few days with a wonderful bunch of people.


‘Everyone’s Dyeing Here’

When I arrived at home ed group on Wednesday, a 10 year old boy ran up to me shouting, ‘Everyone’s dyeing here!’ Though I knew we had a natural dyeing workshop scheduled, this statement caught me off guard. However, when I looked towards the fire, full of bubbling cauldrons, I knew we were in for a rewarding afternoon.

We were working with Liz (from Heartfelt by Liz at Dalmally Train Station http://heartfeltbyliz.com/), who we had worked with a couple of years before when she lead a felting workshop through The Children’s Wood at the North Kelvin Meadows (https://www.thechildrenswood.co.uk/). Many of us still have brightly coloured felted landscapes decorating our walls.

This session was much more scientific.

We learnt about mordants, chemical reactions, naturally occurring pigments found in lesser known Scottish plants, and stained the palms of our hands with iron and tannin.

The smaller children made beautiful rubbings over intricate wooden stamps with wildflowers while we waited for our tightly wrapped bundles to boil away in their pans of dye.

We were all proud of the finished products.

Thank you Liz and The Children’s Wood.

Clay, Comics and Catching Up

This week’s meet was a laid-back affair. The summer jaunts of all our various families have now come to an end so there was much catching up to do. Adults chatted animatedly while children busied themselves with creative endeavours. A tub full of clay became many little creatures

some of which then went on to star in puppet shows while others hid themselves on trees.

Another bunch of children sat around a table and discussed a new comic, helped each other develop their drawing styles and were later joined by a couple of toddlers who were keen to mimic their older companions. img_9202.jpg

Such pleasant hours whisked by too quickly and we were sad to say goodbye when it was time to leave.

Apples and Brambles

Over the last couple of weeks we have visited Rouken Glen Park and Linn Park, both of which are beautiful parks on the Southside of Glasgow with great scope for adventure and creative play.

Although the meets were quite different – at one we were a large group comprising of half and half new faces and regulars and at the other we were an intimate gathering of old friends – there were a number of elements the two days had in common.

The weather has become distinctly autumnal of late but the sky keeps hinting at the possibility of an Indian summer yet. Both meets have seen us enjoying picnics, celebrating a birthday, chalking with new friends in bright sunshine

only to have the sky erupt suddenly leaving us to face heavy downpours in short sleeves, scurrying to find jackets and umbrellas. One time we even felt hailstones!

Undeterred by angry outbursts from the clouds we have sheltered under trees to build dens, climb high and leap over homemade pony jumps.

Aquatic birds have featured heavily in our musings too.

We watched adolescent cygnets trying to take flight, almost running on the surface of the water and enjoyed seeing how moorhens fed their young.

We cheered on a triplet of ducks swimming against the flow of the river. Their challenging journey brought to mind our own home ed journeys in how hard it can be at times to go against the flow yet how rewarding for all when you persevere.


Autumnal abundance gifted us with apples at one park and brambles at the next.

My family have opted to make crumbles though I’m sure some will make it to the status of jam. Conkers, beech nuts and other seasonal treasures now adorn our home. It’s a favourite time of year.


If you home educate in the Glasgow area, or are thinking about it, and would like to join us in our adventuring please get in touch. You can contact us through the blog or via email. My email address is sapnaagarwal@hotmail.co.uk