Tag Archives: British Museum

British Museum

I am beyond exhausted but I really want to blog the British Museum visit that I did with the boys two days ago.  This is the kind of “home education” I want to do more of – getting out and about, and making the most of the many interesting places there are to visit, which we would not have so much time for if the kids were in school.  However, at the moment I would struggle to take all four of them up to London on the train, so we still try to fit in all the outings we want to do into the holidays, and occasionally at weekends.  I know this will get easier as the kids get older, but in the mean time I am very grateful for the help of the friends who made it possible to spend some time with the big boys, doing something just for them….

My friend collected the two little ones, and then the boys and I walked up to the station and caught the train to London.  The boys enjoyed the train ride, during which we played Thomas the Tank Engine top trumps and discussed our Prehistory topic which we are just starting.  We then had a short (thankfully) ride on a crowded tube train, and a pleasant walk in the sunshine to the museum.  By the time we had arrived, had the obligatory toilet stop and met up with Owl’s godmother, we decided we were ready for an early lunch.  We had a relaxing cup of coffee while the children ate their packed lunches, but had to speed up once they were finished as they were showing signs of needing to move on (let’s just say some running around, chasing each other and fake slipping on banana skins was involved…)

I had already identified the two rooms we wanted to go to – I knew that would be enough, and I was determined to keep it simple.  The rooms were Britain and Europe 800 BC – AD 43 and Europe and the Middle East 10,000 – 800 BC, and we spent most of the time in the first one.  I asked them to draw pictures of anything they liked, and they both spent a long time drawing the Lindow Man which was gruesome but fascinating.  They then drew a selection of other objects including shields, mirrors, coins, spoons and a helmet.  It was a successful activity, and gave them something to focus on, though it came more naturally to Monkey.  Owl likes everything to be perfect, which is quite a challenge when you are trying to draw something quite detailed and difficult, but we got there in the end.


We then had a look at the hands on table, and were able to touch and find out about several artefacts including an axe head which I think was 5000 years old.  We then went into the second room and had a look round more quickly, before giving in to demands to visit the shop!

We stepped out of the museum into a beautiful sunny afternoon, and walked up to Euston station to wait for daddy’s train to arrive.  We spent half an hour or so on the grass outside, eating the rest of our packed lunch and doing some of the Usborne Grammar and Punctuation cards which proved very popular and filled in the time peacefully.  We then walked into the station to meet daddy for a quick coffee (grown-ups) and giant chocolate coin and drink of water (children) before getting the tube and then the train back home.  It was rather hot and crowded, but not too bad and we played top trumps again (woodland animals this time) to pass the time.  We arrived home in time for the boys to have supper while daddy collected the little ones who were also worn out and happy after a busy day with their friends including a long walk and a farm visit.  It was a very tiring but lovely day.

I don’t know how you do it…

If you are home educating and have little ones, you’ll have heard this a few times…  “I don’t know how you manage to home educate at the same time as looking after your baby/ toddler/ pre-schooler.”  There are so many ways to answer this, that I never know where to begin.  So every time someone says it to me, my reply is probably something different, but may include the following:

  • I’m quite good at multi-tasking – I’ve been doing it non-stop since my first child was born nearly 8 years ago
  • I remember vividly the stressful (to put it mildly) experience of having a child in school, a pre-schooler and a toddler, and being pregnant… that was much much harder than home educating
  • Home educating 4 children is no harder than parenting 4 children (of course you may be one of those people who say “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t cope with 4 children” – I don’t know how to answer that one either.  What can I say?  I’m not you… you might find it impossible to cope with, but to me it’s rewarding and fun and I think I’m the luckiest mum in the world)
  • I’ve been a teacher with a class of 35, so a one to four ratio is easy
  • The gap in ability between children in the same year group can be so great that complex differentiation is always required when planning lessons…in some ways it’s easier, or certainly no harder, to plan home ed activities for ages 2 to 8
  • My toddler sleeps for two hours in the morning, and my pre-schooler spends four mornings a week at pre-school
  • My older children teach the younger ones/play with them/ read to them often without being asked (yesterday Rabbit went through a whole vehicles poster with Tiddler, asking him “can you say car?  can you say fire engine?” … and he solemnly repeated every one!)
  • I have brilliant friends, including other home educators as well as friends who send their children to school, and my parents and my mother-in-law, who help with childcare and education in many different ways

If you asked me that question today, my answer would be the last one on the list.  Today my two oldest boys enjoyed a brilliant educational and fun experience, visiting the British Museum with me and a very good friend, while another lovely family looked after my little two and took them on a wonderful walk through a National Trust park to a farm.  I will blog the Museum visit later, but for now I just wanted to say how lucky I am to have great friends who made this lovely day possible.