Posted on October 14th, 2017 - Fiona
The past couple of weeks Coombe Mill has been thriving with families who home educate their children. For them there is no need for permission slips to have time out of school, no need to lie about sickness or face hefty fines. Home education holidays can be taken at a time to suit the family and as these families discover, our farm is a perfect place for hands on fun and learning to seamlessly merge.
Home school on holiday: Enjoying a fishing lesson on the Coombe Mill Lake with Guy
Making learning fun is a big part of the appeal of our farm holidays.
Each day our tractor leaves for the morning farm tour to feed the animals with all the children aboard full of questions for Farmer Nick. There is an opportunity to disembark at every stage and be hands on with feeding and caring for the animals.
Learning about our Fallow deer with Farmer Nick.
Our 30 acre farm is set out with 4 play areas along with more subtle nature based play where children are invited to explore at their own pace and let imagination and creativity take hold. Create a delicious meal in our Mud Kitchen, build the ultimate camp in our den building zone then explore the secret world of our fairy gardens or just watch the children loose themselves amidst our beautiful wooded wild areas.
Curious autumn explorers.
Our themed activity hour always involves an educational element, though this is never forced and always fun and optional. Think forest school meets home crafts.
Painting an autumnal clay print oak leaf.
Home Education Resources
At the end of a day on the farm, in preparation for a holiday here or as post holiday follow up studies, our website education pages are full of curriculum based worksheets which are teacher approved and created for Coombe Mill with twinklUK. Even the local schools use us as an educational resource!
Animals on the farm: A counting and adding up game.
If you home educate your children, please do look us up, whether it is a short break, a week or a fortnight holiday, we would love to welcome you here.
Posted on October 13th, 2017 - Fiona
After a lovely activity hour studying the weather a few weeks ago I was determined to return to the theme as I still had plenty of ideas I knew our older children would enjoy. It turned out to be a good decision for two key reasons: We had a wide spread of ages and I knew my windsocks would work for everyone and the weather itself moved from threatening cloud formations to sunshine during the afternoon so we had plenty to see.
Measuring wind with windsocks
Last time we studied the weather we made rain gauges, this time I wanted to try windsocks made to my own patented design. We began by decorating a sheet of paper to wrap around an old plastic drink bottle.
Next the children chose colours of floristry ribbon to make the floaty tail for the wind to catch. We fixed these through the end of the bottle by punching holes with a hole punch. Doing the same at the top allowed us to add string to hang them up.
The little ones took great delight in racing up and down with their windsocks gathering wind in their wake while the older ones perfected their designs.
There were so many children our hour was almost up by the time everyone had finished their windsock, but they were so keen to carry on we just went with the flow. Splitting into two groups Amber led the successful weather experiments from a few weeks ago but made it more challenging for the older ones by encouraging them to say how the props could make each weather condition.
Meanwhile I took another group to make cloud study journals. I had the 4 basic cloud types printed in a chart and the children used this to make booklets to record the cloud formation each day for a week.
We sat down and looked up to the sky to see today’s cloud pattern. From nimbus earlier we now had cumulus and status cloud. Heading back to the table the children entered their first days cloud pattern to their journals.
The non scientific weather forecast
Will it be sun, rain wind or snow, you’ll have to play the game: I helped the children fold paper into a little game I remember doing myself as a child. I think we used to use them for fortune telling and silly statements, but I thought they would make fun weather predictors. The children added colours to spell out in the first layer and numbers to count on the second before writing in 8 weather conditions you could pick as tomorrow’s forecast. Lots of fun and arguably as accurate as the BBC!
By the time the evening train came round the windsocks were still flying high. Letting them catch the wind from the train was a lovely idea totally inspired by the children.
I wonder if any of them will go onto be weather forecasters when they grow up. It was top of my list as a child.
Posted on October 7th, 2017 - Fiona
After a whirlwind weekend up in London for #BML17 coming home to my October farm full of autumn colours was like a breath of air. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time, caught up with old friends and met some lovely new bloggers, drank too much, stayed up too late and absorbed SEO till my brain hurt. It was a wonderful 2 days in the heart of London and I’ll have a full post on that tomorrow. For today I want to share the first signs of autumn on the farm. I left in September and returned in October and it was as if the farm transformed from summer to autumn in that very weekend. Or maybe that’s the impact of 2 days away. Either way after a much needed sleep catch up, I woke to my regular farm checks, complete with Brit Mums sparkly nails, camera in hand and was blown away by the beauty of where I live.
Autumn colours around the lake
Our morning tractor and trailer takes the children around the lake. I walk this an hour before to check on the animals and these three photos are all different angles across the same lake. There really is something fresh to see at every turn.
Approaching the lake
Half way point
I was up before curtains began to twitch over at the holiday lodges.
Artistic Autumn Inspiration
While our holiday guests dressed for the morning farm ride, I was busy taking inspiration from the autumn colours and fallen treasures for our craft session later the same day.
If you fancy seeing the colours of autumn on the farm we still have a couple of spaces for half term which includes our legendary Halloween fun day. For a more relaxed week with younger children come and see us either side of this.
Posted on September 30th, 2017 - Fiona
The Summer Holidays are a busy time for us here at Coombe Mill. On the plus side there is no more double school runs taking out half our day, but with 6 teens bounding around the house and the business full with holiday makers life can be hectic. Now the autumn has arrived and the kids settled back into the routine of school and college Farmer Nick and I took advantage of our eldest son’s last week before the new term at University to pop out to Greece to catch up with family and chill out with some of our favourite scenery outside of Cornwall.
Galaxidi on holiday in Greece
It was only a week, but that was just perfect to recharge our batteries and leave us looking forward to returning home, appreciating Coombe Mill and our family life here with fresh eyes. The worst part of holidays abroad is the travelling, with unsociable flights it took us 48 hours to get home and I was quite exhausted and felt I could have slept for a week. To open the door and walk into a spotless kitchen was so refreshing. Whether the kids were covering up from a wild party or just being kind I’ll never know, but it made the perfect home coming. This week has been all about family time, family banter over meal times and feeling reunited. I love going away but I also love coming home to beautiful Coombe Mill and the life we have here. The guests praised Amber our duty manager and all the kids for keeping everything running in our absence. It was a pleasure to pick up the reigns again and see the changes over the week on the farm.
A lovely warm home coming at Coombe Mill
Our chicks have grown and lost their baby fluff while we were away
Making beach time at home with my girl
This isn’t the best photo, it is simply a snapshot on my phone through the fog, but we had such fun in the giant waves on body boards together. The mist and dampness of the day couldn’t have mattered less. It is moments like this that make me looking forward to returning from holiday.
Autumn and winter I’m ready for you now!
Do you enjoy holidays and home coming in equal measure?
Posted on September 23rd, 2017 - Fiona
Spot on time Sally our breeding sow gave birth to 11 healthy little piglets. That was back in the first week of September just after the school children had left and our curies little preschoolers were back on the farm. The first morning with new piglets is always a delight. Much as we want to step in and cuddle one we are always mindful of a little mummy and baby time alone for Sally. With this in mind we just peered over the wall to watch the sleeping Sally recovering after a hard night’s work while her curious new born piglets fought with one another for space against the warmth of Mum, ventured round the pen and suckled away on Sally’s ever available nipples.
New Born Piglets on day 1
Every year I am astonished by how fast the piglets grow. They literally double in size within a week and each day become more of a challenge to lift out of the pen. If you ever wondered where the expression “squealing like a pig” came from, I can safely confirm that it originates from the squeal a piglet makes when you take it away from their Mother. In our case it is only for a minute or two while we say good morning and give them a cuddle, but it is designed to alert Mum to possible danger to her piglets. It has to be said I think Piglet squeals are a little like baby squeals, a tuned mother knows a whinge from a proper cry. Sally happily ignores her piglets squeal as we lift them out. She knows they are safe and is far more interested in sifting through her breakfast pile.
New born Piglets just days old
Piglets doubed in size at 2 weeks old
Checking out Mum’s breakfast at 2 weeks old
The Squeals of joy will continue.
Just as growing children laugh, cry and squabble so do the piglets. Over the coming weeks there will be plenty more squeals as they start to compete for Sally’s food, argue and play together around their sty and garden. Come and see them if you can. Pop over to Facebook and you could be bringing your family for Christmas all paid for by us and seeing some growing piglets.
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