Promised the children we would blog about this as it was such a fun day out although strictly speaking it was on a Sunday so not part of our home schooling curriculum. Really though, you home school whenever you’re with your children, whether you send them to school or not, it’s just that you’re perhaps more conscious of it when you’re homeschooling.
I had never heard of this place, well, why should I have? Not being a model train enthusiast. I have however, managed to give birth to someone who may well turn into a model train enthusiast, bless his Thomas the Tank Engine socks. My friend, who also has a small boy, invited us over and we followed her through a load of twisty country lanes near her house to get to what looks like a gateway into a farm – apparently it’s in Illshaw Heath, outside Solihull (B94 6DN). Well, when you get inside the Grown-Up Train enthusiasts have built a mini railway complete with tunnel, footbridge, working signals etc. Jude’s eyes lit up! And even Cana, who watches Thomas on sufferance, was impressed.
It’s basically a club for people who like to build trains and this is where they meet up and run them – a train lover’s paradise. They aren’t open to the public generally but do host children’s birthday parties (alas, Jude’s birthday is during the winter when they’re closed or I would truly be the best mummy in the world in the eyes of my little boy) and they have various open days throughout the Summer. These are all on their website if you’re interested. For a small fee (£1) you can ride round their track on a genuine, but miniature, steam train.
That is it. But Cana and Jude loved it. We had a picnic too, despite it being on the chilly side. And I have put the next open day in my diary. Educationally, apart from the experience, the children saw how the driver had to feed the fire with coal and understood how it heated up the water to make steam. And when Jude asked “but what are cinders and ashes?” I was able to say, ” look, there’s some, it’s what’s left over after the coal is burnt up”. Oh, and these city children got the chance to see coal and find out that it comes from under the ground. All good stuff.