Author Archives: gillineau

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!


‘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, 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 ( 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.

Fairy Tree

At home ed group this week some of the younger children spent an awfully long time decorating this dead tree with coloured chalk and stolen flowers. They were very intent and particular about how it was to be done, and did it cooperatively. It may seem an unimportant feat, but they were so proud of it!

The Tempest 

Today we had some of our home ed friends over to watch a live broadcast of the Tempest from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a free program they provide 3 times a year for schools and home educators alike. This was our 5th time joining in. Preparing for these performances together has proven very rewarding, and even the smallest of us are held captive by the productions.

Next up is Julius Ceaser, but unfortunately we have to wait till November. That should give us plenty of time to prepare!

Writing Group

Today we restarted our writing group after taking a few months off over winter. We meet once a month at a local library, and whilst a couple parents facilitate the older children’s writing projects, a couple more keep the younger children enthralled with picture books.

This month’s theme was poetry. The children started with acrostic poems and limericks before some of them moved on to more self-directed forms. They were busy for a good hour and a half before the lure of the park became too hard to resist.

The children requested that they get to work on story writing next month. If you’re interested in coming along, email me for times and places at

Spring Science

At science club this month we were learning about plants and growth.  One of the activities was making these grass heads!  I thought you might like to see how ours have grown in the last two weeks.  They are definitely growing well, and have settled into their new home in my porridge bowl.  I just wish we had made 7 rather than 6 to reflect our family better.