Alice in Wonderland Picnic

Alice in Wonderland  Picnic
Alice in Wonderland  Picnic
Alice in Wonderland  Picnic
Alice in Wonderland  Picnic

On Wednesday 5th September, home educators hosted an Alice in Wonderland picnic in Wallace Park, Lisburn for the ‘Not Back to School Week!’. 

Children were encouraged to read the fantastic Alice in Wonderland or listen for free through the Libraries NI site in the weeks before the picnic. 

Children helped to set up the scene - which caused many smiles from those passing by - and helped to pack up 3 hours later. In between, there was rock painting, hat and tee shirt decorating, stone stacking, clay modelling, space hoppering and lots of time for chat! 

People who help us!

People who help us!
People who help us!
People who help us!
People who help us!
People who help us!

Our home educated children had a very special treat this Friday morning.


Getting a look inside a fire engine and an ambulance! 

The fire service talked us through fire safety, the gear they wear and why they wear them.


Taking us around their engine and showing us everything they use in their varied work. 

Pizza Express Cooking class!

Pizza Express Cooking class!
Pizza Express Cooking class!
Pizza Express Cooking class!

A morning making pizza sounded like a wonderful idea at the time of booking, and though we had to book months in advance (popular those Pizza Express guys!) and brave rush hour traffic it was completely worth it. 

We were warmly welcomed with colouring packs, juice, tea and coffee on arrival in their cosy, inviting restaurant. The manager and staff throughout the cooking lesson were patient and very helpful. 

The kids were brought to their cooking station, donned their chef hats & aprons and got to work shaping their pizza dough with a helpful demonstration and hands on help throughout. 

Not Back to School week 2018

Not Back to School week 2018

Our annual not back to school week kicks off on the first week of September incorporating visits to see fire fighters and paramedics, a cooking class in Pizza Express, an Alice and Wonderland themed picnic, rock pooling and a train adventure to the Tower Museum! 


These activities are just a taster of what is to come for the Home Education community of Northern Ireland in 2018/19.


Home educators are encouraged to join our private facebook group where they can create and attend events.

We also look forward to our regular swimming, gymnastics and nature meets returning from the summer holiday.  

The Big Home Ed Picnic - a national celebration of learning

Some of the Children at the Belfast Picnic, posing by the trees and hanging aign
Some of the children at the Derry Picnic posing with the sign they made

As home educators all over the country celebrate learning with picnics and events we had two of our own in Northern Ireland.  In Belfast we celebrated in Wallace Park with food and circus skills!

”An excellent day was had at the Big Home Ed picnic in Wallace Park Lisburn. Home educators across the region came together to celebrate home education in the beautiful sunshine. 

The kids participated in a very fun circus workshop after a demonstration they got to learn how to use all of the props. 

Some kids also designed their own t-shirts. 

We ate lunch on our picnic blankets and took a walk down to the ice cream shack and playpark afterwards. 

It was a great chance to touch base with old friends and make new ones, both for the kids and the parents. 

A ‘aren’t we so lucky we home ed’ was a feature on my mind and many others I’m sure. What a fantastic community we have.”

In Derry we gathered at Brooke Park where we played football, enjoyed the playpark and rolled down the hill! We also made a sign with each letter coloured or collaged with feathers.

”We had a fanstastic day in the sunshine, it was such a fun and friendly atmosphere! 

As one of my kids said “home ed kids are the best, there’s always a good game to play”.

We had food, the blue tent(!), art, play and lots of laughter... “

Here’s to a lovely summer and many more picnics to come!

Musgrave vegetable garden

Musgrave vegetable garden

Our weekly meet at Musgrave Sensory garden has begun again. Our vegetable bed has been sown with peas, carrots, pumpkins, leeks, strawberries, red currents, blueberries and potatoes over the last few weeks. An activity that parents and children enjoy doing together. The idea reap what you sow.

The inconspicuous water tap next to the allotment has been a source of many fun water fights. 

Just up the pathway is the beautiful musgrave sensory garden that boasts of a fantastic sand play area and playground. The forestry surrounding the playground and the story circle have been the source of lots of inspiration for the children’s games.

Our visit to the Wastewater Heritage Centre

HEdNI Kids at the Wastewater Heritage Centre

Today we visited the Wastewater Heritage Centre in Belfast. This is owned by NI Water.

First, we learnt about the sewage systems of the past.  The toilets in Roman times were quite hygienic as they had water running under them. It was not all good though, as the sewage ran into a river and polluted it, spreading diseases such as cholera.

The Medieval times were a bit better. If you were rich you had private toilets and the sewage plopped into a moat. The waste was then shovelled out of the moat by men and into a nearby river. The poor people used a bucket and threw their sewage on to the street. You just had to hope you weren’t passing by when a bucket was slopped out.

The Victorian times were better again. Sewers were available to the rich in the early Victorian era. The poor had to use privies, which were outside in their very small yards. The men who cleaned them were called the “Midnight Angels”, coming to clean them at night.

After learning about the history of our sewage system they told us about the 3 p’s, toilet paper, poo and pee. These are the only things which should be flushed down a toilet.

Lisburn Bowl

Lisburn Bowl
Lisburn Bowl

Taking advantage of Lisburn bowling alleys ten pin Tuesday offer again, some home ed families got together for a bowling session over 4 of their lanes this morning. 

It was a great way for the kids and parents to socialise and have some great fun! 


A lovely morning was had by all, we'll be planning on going again in the new year! 

Oxford Island - Kinnego Bushcraft Centre

Reptile centre
Reptile Cenrre

Some home educating families visited the Bushcraft Centre in Oxford Island this afternoon. 

Greg was very accommodating to the group inspiring their imaginations and showing the children an array of reptiles. Favourites included a corn snake which they got to hold, a tarantula and beautiful terrapins! 

After seeing the reptiles the group went through the woods while Greg gave a talk on survival. 

The group went on to build a survival shelter and ate some tasty rosehip apple chew (a survival food). 

Home educators are always eager to experience new things, we are thankful to the Bushcraft Centre and the organiser for today's event. 

Riverwatch Aquarium visit

A sizeable catch!!
Fish dissection
A fish heart

*pictures of a fish dissesction in this post* 

A great time was had by all who came along to Riverwatch on the Foyal yesterday! 

As there was such a huge response to the meet-up we were split into two groups both of whom were party to a talk on rainbow trout, why they are non-native here and what can and is being done to combat the fact that thousands have made it into our rivers following the terrible flood a few months ago in the region. 

Allan, the Education Officer, then performed a dissection on a freshly caught rainbow trout, talking in detail about the anatomy. The children (and grown-ups!) were able to get up close and personal holding and touching everything from the liver to the eye lense. 

We were then given a talk by Micheal on a bit about the history of the Loughs agency and their role. 

We toured the building learning about the on-site lab, how poachers are dealt with, viewed a selection of the boats and vehicles including the 'burger van' (a trailer full of equipment that is towed and used whenever an emergency on the waterways happens such as a spillage) and finally a trip to the freezer! Where the kids got to hold a huge (and very smelly) salmon. 

All in all so much was packed into our time at Riverwatch, the children were great and it was fantastic to be able to put faces to names - this being a first group event for many of the families. 



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