Minecraft (MCPE) meetup, Sherwood, Wednesday 11 October

MCPE = Minecraft Pocket Edition, a particular version of the Minecraft software, used on tablets & similar devices. Bring your own device to play, or come and watch and chat. Technical & game-learning help available, both on the day and beforehand to set up.

Date: Wednesday 11 October 2017 – and probably other dates in the future, not necessarily Wednesdays, depending on what people want & how the first one goes.

Time: 3pm to 5pm.

Age range: “Teens-ish”. Primarily 12 to 17, not minding if a few 11-year-olds or 18+ wanted to join in too.

Area: Sherwood, about 3 miles north of Nottingham City Centre, on Purple Line (or Lime Line) buses.

Venue: Get in touch to be told the address.

Price: 50p for drinks & snacks.

Booking, or enquiries: Email minecraft at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.

Logo for "Minecraft Pocket Edition". The words are in a blocky font, against a background of blocks, in shades of green at the top and mostly brown underneath, as if representing grass above earth. The "A" of "craft" has a little face in the middle.

Minecraft is a “virtual environment” where you can build things and travel around. Within the environment, you can do lots of different things – explore, play games with friends, build virtual electronics and mechanics, etc. A lot of home ed young people already play it.

There are various versions of the software, and at this group we will be using Minecraft Pocket Edition, version 1.1.x (where the x represents any number 1 to 9).

This version will run on

  • iOS
  • Ubuntu phones & tablets
  • Android, e.g.
    • Amazon phones & tablets
    • NVIDIA devices
    • Samsung phones & tablets
    • Sony phones & tablets
    • (and whichever other phones, tablets etc are running Android).

It won’t run on PCs, Windows devices, or consoles such as the Xbox, PlayStation or Wii.

If you’re not sure what version you’ve got, or whether your device can run the software, or how to install it – get in touch!

The technical side of the group, and the server admin, will be run by one of the home ed teens, who had the idea for this group in the first place.

Before the day, he will check in with each participant to see what kind of games or challenges they’d like to do in the Minecraft session, and give support if anyone needs help with the software.

On the day, we will gather in person, play Minecraft and chat.

Depending on what people want to do, the in-game activities could include creating, exploring, survival, building with Redstone (virtual electronics/mechanics), trolling, using command blocks, customising your character, parkour, “player versus player” etc. If you don’t know yet what these are, don’t worry! There will be plenty of help to learn your way around the game.

We will put people into small groups depending on favourite activities and level of experience. E.g. a new person who just wanted to build something could be put with other new people who just wanted to build something.

If it turned out there were so many interested people that it wouldn’t be feasible for everyone to come on the same day, we may divide the group onto different days as well as different instances of the game.

As a bonus optional extra: there’s a way to play from home on days when you couldn’t make it to the group, joining in with friends you made at the group. And you can do that on other days as well, not just the group meetup day.

The game is virtual but the friends are real!

A Minecraft Guide For People Who Don’t Get Minecraft

The Educational Benefits of Minecraft

Travel: Purple Line buses go fairly near, and there is parking outside.

Physical access: limited for this, sorry. The venue is a house. The meetup will take place on the ground floor. There’s a doorstep at the entrance of about 5cm. The only toilet is upstairs. If this access wouldn’t work for you, but you’d like to be involved, please email info at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk and/or the meetup organisers.

Teens-ish meetups, Nottingham, Monday 3 & Thursday 20 July

Update Thursday 20 July: Yes we are still meeting! Weather forecast predicts that rain will stop around 1pm and sun might appear later.

Dates: Monday 3 July & Thursday 20 July 2017 – choose one or both of the two dates.

May be postponed if weather forecast is for lots of rain that afternoon.

Time: 1pm to 3pm, and probably some will stay on longer, depending on weather & what everyone’s doing 🙂

Venue: a Nottingham park. We’re not announcing the meetup point in public, so please get onto one of the lists or groups where local home ed families plan things, or email (see below).

Price: Free.

Age range: Primarily 12 to 17, not minding if a few 11-year-olds or 18+ wanted to join in too.

If some families bring younger siblings along too, that’s fine – it’s just that the focus will be on the older ones, and the younger ones will be expected to not get too much in the way of that.

Parents at the “considering and finding out about home ed” stage are welcome to visit with or without their children, and take the opportunity to chat to the other parents.

Booking: No need to book. However, there will probably be some discussion on email & Facebook of who’s planning to come.

Bright yellow text says "Teens-ish" meetup. The background is green grass.

For young people who’d specially like to meet others of similar age!

The first one of these, in June 2017, attracted a dozen local home edders in the teens-ish age range, as well as a few younger siblings.

At the end, lots of people said they’d like to meet up for a similar thing again. Plus, we knew already that some interested families hadn’t been able to make that first date. So these two dates are the follow-up.

New families are very welcome. There will probably be a mix of people who came to the first one and people who didn’t. We’ll try to be extra friendly if you don’t know anyone!

The format at the first meetup seemed to work OK for everyone, including a few autistic/Aspergers young people who happened to be part of the group. So we’ll probably do roughly the same sequence next time, although it could vary if people have other ideas.

We did an introduction circle where people could say their name and something they’re into, such as dance, gaming, music, gymnastics, books or art. At this first meetup, lots of people had never met before, so at first, the overall flavour was a bit quiet and cautious.

After a while, we got playing a parachute game where we called out things like “anyone wearing black” or “anyone who likes Harry Potter” or “anyone who owns more than 3 computer games”, and everyone who fit the category would run underneath the parachute and swap places. This got more raucous and friendly.

Then a load of the teens-ish people (anyone who wanted to) went off for a walk together while the parents stayed back at base and had a chat.

Some of us ended up not leaving till about 5pm, though some had to go earlier.

Things you might want to bring: sun cream, sun hats, umbrellas, snacks, water, picnic blankets, and a way to write down other people’s contact details.

If you want more other meetup opportunities, bear in mind that some teens have been coming to the Thursday Free Play meetups.

Access: If you or your child has limited mobility/energy, social/sensory limitations or anything else that would affect your access to the event, feel free to give us a heads-up so we can take your needs into account when planning. Either mention it on the lists/groups where the event’s being discussed, or email privately on teensishmeetup at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.

Teens-ish meetup, Nottingham, Wednesday 7 June

Date: Wednesday 7 June 2017, afternoon. May be postponed if weather forecast is for lots of rain that afternoon.

Time: 1pm to 3pm, and probably some will stay on longer, depending on weather & what everyone’s doing 🙂

Venue: a Nottingham park. We’re not announcing the meetup point in public, so please get onto one of the lists or groups where local home ed families plan things, or email (see below).

Age range: Primarily 12 to 17, not minding if a few 11-year-olds or 18+ wanted to join in too.

If some families bring younger ones along too, that’s fine – it’s just that the focus will be on the older ones, and the younger ones will be expected to not get too much in the way of that.

Price: Free.

Booking: No need to book. However, there will probably be some discussion on email & Facebook of who’s planning to come.

Bright yellow text says "Teens-ish" meetup. The background is green grass.

There are definitely some in that age group who’d specially like to meet other people of similar age, so it makes sense to invite them all into the same place!

Near the beginning, we’ll have an introduction circle where people can say their name, and optionally a bit about what they’re into. For those doing courses at Nottingham College in the autumn, we’ll make an opportunity for people to find out who else is going to be in their class.

We encourage everyone to bring things like crafts or frisbees or a football, and invite other people to join in, so that no-one feels left out, and it’s easy to get chatting without being put on the spot in an awkward way.

Other things you might want to bring: sun cream, sun hats, umbrellas, snacks, water, picnic blankets, and a way to write down other people’s contact details.

This was the winning date in a survey which 22 families answered. As it’s looking so popular, and as not everyone could do that date, maybe we’ll do another one in future. If you can’t make it this time, or want to get together before this one’s happened, bear in mind that some teens have been coming to the Thursday Free Play meetups.

Based on the survey, we expect around 20 non-schoolers in the 11-18ish age range at this meetup, depending on which families turn up in the end.

Access: If you or your child has limited mobility/energy, social/sensory limitations or anything else that would affect your access to the event, feel free to give us a heads-up so we can take your needs into account when planning. Either mention it on the lists/groups where the event’s being discussed, or email privately on teensishmeetup at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.

Free Play park meetup, all ages, various Nottingham parks, Thursdays

Date: Thursdays throughout the year.

Time: Late morning through afternoon – typically starting about 11.30 or 12ish, and finishing whenever the last few people decide it’s time to go. If it doesn’t rain, some people are usually at the park till at least 3pm.

Venue: Various green parks around the Nottingham area, especially the ones with good playgrounds, good public transport and toilets.

Age range: All ages welcome. There are plenty of “regulars” in the 1 to 7 age range and several around 8 to 12. As of spring 2017, it looks as though some teens are planning to make it a regular thing as well.

Price: Free. (Exception: if it’s the cold part of winter, then we might decide to meet indoors a few times, and people would chip in a quid or two to pay for the space.)

Organisation: To get announcements of the week’s meeting point without being on Facebook, join the EMHE email list. Or if you prefer Facebook, join the Home Ed Free Play Facebook group. There isn’t one organiser responsible for these meetups – it’s more of an evolving tradition, with suggestions of “how about ____ next week?”

Booking: No need to book. However, if it’s at a park big enough to have different areas, and you don’t have a phone number for someone else there that day, it’s worth turning up within an hour or so of the start. That way, it doesn’t matter if people move on from the original meeting point after a while.

What to bring: Water bottles and snacks, plus sun hats, sun cream and/or umbrella! People often bring picnic food, and a blanket to sit on. Parents may want an extra jumper, in case it turns out the children don’t want to stop playing as the day cools down.

Access: Wheelchair access and toilet situation depends on the park. The Forest and Wollaton Park each have a “Changing Places” toilet. If you have a favourite park which you know works well for your family, feel free to suggest it.

What to expect if you’re new, and tips:

  • There might be a dozen families that week… or there might be more, or fewer.
  • Where you see parents sitting around or standing around, come and say hello. We’re a friendly bunch. If in doubt whether it’s us, just ask “Home ed free play?”
  • Some children run off straight away to play. Some take a while to settle in, and join in more as the time goes on. Some children stay close to their parents, e.g. if it’s their first time at this group, or they were tired that day, or if they’re just enjoying the conversation with the nearby adults. It’s fine for each child to socialise as much or as little as they want to.
  • If your child wants to join in with something but feels shy getting started, you’re welcome to ask around, to find a child who’s happy to include them and introduce them to others.
  • If you’re bringing a teenager who specially wants to meet other people their age, it’s worth checking beforehand whether it’s a week when other teens are planning to go. Other than that, don’t worry too much about whether there’ll be other children the same age and same gender. Compared to school, home ed socialising typically has a lot more mixing across ages.

Against a background of woodland, the words "Home Ed Free Play / All ages park meetups / Nottingham area".

Fun Club, Stapleford, first Tuesday in the month

Fun Club is the main regular meet up of East Midlands Christian Home Educators Group. “Membership is open to all who are willing to respect the aims of the group and its Christian ethos.”

Date: First Tuesday in the month. No formal meeting in August, although a “park meet” is usually planned.

Time: 10am to 2pm, inc lunch break.

Area: Stapleford, west of Nottingham, close to the A52. (Exact venue intentionally not listed here.)

Age range: “An all age family event, with an upper age range of about 13 years in terms of activities planned but all are welcome. (Young people must be accompanied by an adult who remains responsible for them.)”

Price: First visit free, then membership subscription if you decide you want to join. Annual subscription is currently £40 per year per family, paid as two instalments of £20 – or check the membership details page for any updates.

Booking: Send email to express an interest. There may be a waiting list. When there’s space, you’ll be invited to visit.

Email: tuesdayfunclub at gmail dot com.

Web site: East Midlands Christian Home Educators main web site.

A group of about 20 children aged perhaps 3 to 13 stand in a circle in a large, bright room, holding the edges of a huge piece of fabric which fills the middle of the circle (possibly a parachute).  The fabric is slightly off the ground and is light coloured.  The children on the far side of the circle are facing the camera;  those nearer to the camera are facing away from it.  From the way the children are looking across at each other, it seems like something's about to happen - perhaps they're about to whoosh the fabric up into the air and some of them will run underneath.  On the left, also with their backs to the camera, an adult with long hair carries a small child and both are watching what's happening.

A monthly “hall meet” with a variety of activities planned by members through the year to meet the needs of the age range. Sometimes a “main” activity altogether, maybe with an outside provider (eg: mobile planetarium). Other times a variety of different activities, perhaps around a theme, run by members of the group. Usually start with a games session (2 age groups). Bring a picnic for lunch which we eat together. Afternoon tends to be more of a free play/self directed activities time – and a chat/cup of tea time for parents/carers! Christmas and Easter are celebrated. In summer we have a Sports Day at a local park.

More info here about a typical Tuesday meetup.

Travel info:

Easy access from A52 and M1.

On the i4 bus route from Nottingham and Derby.
On My15 bus route from Long Eaton/Ilkeston.

1/2 hour walk from the Toton Lane Tram Stop/park and ride.

Parking is unfortunately tricky: Best to examine google maps and look for possible “on-street” parking in the vicinity. A small amount of long stay parking in the council car parks – pay and display.

Access info:

The building is accessible on the ground floor where most activities take place. There is no lift to the upstairs rooms. The toilet for those with extra needs is a little small.

When everyone attends the group it is very “busy” and can be quite noisy: walking straight in could be quite daunting.

However we are very flexible and have ways of providing quiet spaces and alternative activities for children who need them.