Author Archives: sapnaagarwal

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.

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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

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Late Summer Larking About

My family has been out of town for a while and we’ve been missing seeing all our home ed friends. It was lovely to re-connect with them today.

We celebrated a birthday with an impressive and delicious cake, foraged for brambles

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and drank tea made in the numerous Kelly Kettles that were around.

Some children found a strange model of an owl which was incorporated into many games

and was the inspiration for some of the animals they later made out of clay.

An industrious time was had by all with some contributing to the local community gardening session, others adding suggestions to the box of ideas for group activities and some good, old puddle play, courtesy of a quick but heavy downpour.

 

 

Pizzeria

We have started a new, monthly group for children aged 8 years and up. We met for the first time a couple of months ago and the children came up with a programme for their meets. This month, as requested, we got together to make pizzas. To begin with we discussed our favourite pizzas and planned a menu

and then set to mixing dough and making sauce.

We hired the kitchen at the wonderful Glasgow Autonomous Space. They were hosting the Unity Centre‘s World Cafe and food bank while we were there so we had the great pleasure and privilege of listening to live music while we kneaded our dough and chopped our veggies. I’m sure dancing round the mixing bowls enhanced the flavour of the food.

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Once the pizza were all cooked, the children set up a long table so we could all eat together. The food was delicious and the meal was finished off with a surprise birthday cake and lashings of ice cream.

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If you home educate and would like to join any of the meets please get in touch with me at sapnaagarwal@hotmail.co.uk.

Skating Crazy

Recently I took a group of home ed children to the indoor rollerskating rink. Most of them started off being quite wobbly but soon got the hang of it and were whizzing round having a whale of a time.

Some of the children even managed to do some fancy, one-legged tricks.

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For the next week or so, roller skates became the footwear of choice for many of the children….picnicking in skates…

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….drawing with friends in skates…

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…even climbing up the play park equipment in skates.

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Lochwinnoch

This week we met at the RSPB nature reserve in Lochwinnoch. We always have such a great time there. The staff are so helpful and knowledgeable about wildlife.

We did some bird spotting,

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and pond dipping

The children had a good play in the natural play park

and caught up on each other’s news.

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There were a couple of dogs at the group who were taken on many good walks,

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toddlers investigated puddles,

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while others built dens and whittled sticks.

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All in all a lovely day!

Follow My (Tiny) Leader

Last week we had a cold but fun day at Pollok Park. My family was the first to arrive so we busied ourselves with some seasonal foraging while we waited for others to arrive. We found wild garlic, ground elder and cleavers by the river and also some tender, little hawthorn leaves in the woods, perfect for munching on.

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Once everyone had arrived some sweet games got underway. For one, the older children decided to play Follow My Leader using the toddlers of the group as their guides. Plenty of wobbly running and tumbling to the ground followed.

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We, the adults, did the same in our own way, taking the children’s lead all day. A band struck up in the gazebo, puddles were investigated,

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and dens made in the nooks made by old trees. A call came from the children in the dens to try and build a fire for their little houses, so they could cook and keep warm. They set to building one using whatever they could find. Old receipts and train tickets made decent tinder and standing dead wood fuelled the fire. Even the tiniest people helped to get it going, their sense of achievement afterwards, immense.

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And then, of course, the important work of cooking and keeping warm.

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Once done they put the fire out, being careful to leave no trace, and wandered off deeper into the woods to find more adventures there.

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If you home educate in or around Glasgow and would like to come to meets please get in touch by emailing me at sapnaagarwal@hotmail.co.uk

One Park, Two Days

This week we had two, consecutive, very different days at the Botanics. The first was spent with a large group of home ed friends. The weather was pretty erratic, swithering between still and sunny to cold rain with a fresh breeze. Luckily we had some tarpaulins to hand and the children set to erecting a shelter. They used the excellent willow structure in the Children’s Garden as their armature.

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It was so nice to see everyone collaborating on a project which provided many opportunities for creative problem solving. A little bunting finished off the den perfectly and soon chairs were moved in, bags hung on natural ‘hooks’ and many games played within.

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In another corner of the garden, a smaller den was being built with great attention to detail.

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This second post served as the base of a type of crows’ nest over the park.

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After a few hours, children started to wander away from the dens with some pottering around the playpark and others sliding down the ‘mud slide’ on the river embankment. Adults chatted and picnics were consumed. We battled with the wind to get the tarpaulins down and back in bags at the end of the day which was both hilarious and infuriating.

 

The next day was altogether sunnier. There were fewer of us and we met Louise, one of the plant experts working at the Botanics, for a guided tour of the large glasshouse. We began in the orchid house and saw a tiny flower called the monkey orchid that looked exactly like a small monkey. We also found out that the most precious orchids have to be kept in glass cases because, prior to that happening, they were often stolen.

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Louise’s specialism is dessert plants so we spent a good deal of time learning about cacti and euphorbia.

 

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The ridges in this euphorbia act as drainpipes directing rain water to the plant roots.

 

 

 

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The fibrous material in the leaves of the Agave are used to make fishing nets.

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The barbs on this cactus are used as fishing hooks in Mexico.

The rainforest was also exciting with its immense banana trees and a plant whose leaves look dead when young in order to fool animals into not eating them.

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Straining to see the bananas way up high in the tree.

But everyone’s favourite by far was the visit to see the catshark in the pond.

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Afterwards some children documented what they had seen and heard and then everybody spent many, many happy hours playing in the warm sun, which was a stark and much appreciated contrast to the weather just the day before.

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If you home educating, or are thinking about it, and are interested in joining us at our meets please get in touch by emailing me at sapnaagarwal@hotmail.co.uk.