Friday, 30 May 2008

More Swallows!

This evening we all went to the sailing club for a 'family evening' sail. Why did I go? - my friend, her dh and daughter were coming along and dh doesn't know them very well, so Issy and I went. Fortunately for dh they sail a lot so there were plenty of hands to help rig up:

J has been on board various yachts since she has been six weeks old so is very confident and happily hopped in with dh and Hettie.

Off they went, sorry about the pole! Think dh could have done with a pair of ear muffs with two little girls chattering away at him for an hour and a half. Still he could have had Issy aboard as well who was busy asking to go home the whole time. So we had a very short walk along the cliffs to pass the time and chatted with C & E. My SIL was there as well, and our niece and nephew who were off sailing with friends they've made at the club. Hence Hettie wants to go sailing again tomorrow with J and her cousins. Which means she misses Theatre/Drama Club which I've paid for, still Issy said she'll still go so fingers crossed she actually will.

The girls had friends from school over yesterday and had a nice time with them. Today we caught up with our Sonlight schedule and managed to finish all of this weeks work off bar a couple of worksheets and couple of chapters of Charlotte's Web - which for you regular posters was my favorite childhood book! Which leads me to believe that we should finish Core 1 in less time than is scheduled. Hettie has been reading really well this week, nothing like a little bit of sibling rivalry. In fact when reading out some questions today an argument broke out about whose turn it was to read!

In a very short time I've noticed that Issy has an extremely difficult time listening without interrupting or drifting off or wandering off and we need to work on some listening skills. She also rushes through any work at top speed which I seem to remember Hettie used to do when she first left school, presumably they need to rush at school to get through the work.

So up early tomorrow, Hettie and Dh have to leave about 7.30am to catch the tide and Issy to drama by nine. Never mind, no more school run.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

School Work In Holidays????

Yes we actually achieved some school work in official half term. Maybe because Hettie was curious about the Sonlight stuff and Isobel, well she just spends most of the day asking for 'school work'.

So we followed our Sonlight schedule and covered everything and a bit more. They did find it a bit unusual that there wasn't reams of writing to do, just read and discuss. They enjoyed the map work and Charlotte's Web read aloud. The Singapore maths Isobel fairly flew through which gave me chance to work through Hetties with her. But we mostly managed to work together, although they both read to me in the other room separately. I used some letter cubes to back up the spelling work on compound words - well they're only sitting in the cupboard and the girls like them.

They weren't overly keen on science which starts with dinosaurs, so I may have to adapt that a bit. It was nice to get up and work without having to put hours in the night before.

Today we went to a local park (big park) and met a bunch of kids and another home ed mum. We managed to get them all fed in the cafe and they had one of those huge bouncy castle/slides set up, so we paid for them all to get in and then kept our fingers crossed that the heavens didn't open on us. Fortunately it remained very overcast but no rain so we got our full 2 hours worth. Isobel refused to go on anything but did manage to join in some games later on. She was a bit nervous even though she knows all the kids, I think she felt a bit like the 'new kid'.

This evening for once the girls were perfectly happy to listen to their read aloud chapter and start a book about missionary stories. We even managed to have a discussion about who missionaries were and where they went, and why. Isobel was a bit upset when Wilbur the pig escaped his pen and was crying but managed to hang on in there! Then they both did their reading as well. So I can't moan today.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Oh, We Had A Fab Time .....

We did miss the girls of course!! But we had a fab time on the Norfolk Broads with our lovely friends. We arrived on Friday afternoon and the boys went off for a quick driving lesson. We laughed so much we've all come home with our ribs aching. Obviously we drank and ate lots!

Here's our boat, 46 ft long with 3 double beds!

Boys trying on their life jackets.

Dh at the helm!

Some of the beautiful properties along the river bank.

Dh mooring us up against the bank with no mooring except a tree.

Lots of local wildlife, too many pics to post.

Some came for a closer visit, in fact this one nearly landed on our heads!

We managed to find an ice-cream man! And very lovely ice cream it was.

The boys barbecued of course.

And of course I managed to find a ruined abbey to amble around, keep that in mind for the girls education!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Last Day Tomorrow..

So tomorrow is Issy's last day. She seems fairly OK with it, I think she's wishes she could still go on the school trip. So I had to explain that to go on the trip she'd have to stay for the rest of term, she said she didn't want to do that! But we can have lots of days out now, especially as the weather seems to be getting better. I'm thinking of taking them for a day down to Hastings for the 1066 Exhibition and Battle Castle, which is a lovely old ruin and great for playing hide and seek, and obviously Norman invaders!! They love to go to London but tbh, I have to really force myself to go, get the train, sort lunch etc. But our first lot of science planned is about dinosaurs, so it seems a shame not to go to the Natural History Museum.

We're also planning to go to Nanna's in Norfolk after the half term for a few days, although Hettie doesn't want to leave dh and the dog behind for too long.

Issy wanted to buy a present for a couple of her teachers, so I sorted that out for her today, and some sweets to take in class.

I've been at work yesterday and today, so its now going to be a mad rush to get ready for the weekend but still I can't wait!! Mind you I'll probably miss them, as usual.

Monday, 19 May 2008

To Be Honest....

This hasn't been the best of days. Issy was up late last night yet again. I have this plan that its best not to keep going upstairs to her because then she has an opportunity to chat. So I wait downstairs until I can't hear any movement at all before going to bed. Last night this was at midnight and when I went up I found this.

She had been busy all evening decorating the upstairs landing as a theatre all ready for a 'show' on Saturday. As she know's very well she'll be at nanny and grandads 'cos we are away for the weekend & I presume its her way of making us stay home. Bit sad really. So I left it there all day with the intention of saying lets have a little show tonight. You have to be sitting on the toilet with the door open to get this view! That didn't happen anyway because I had a 'mummy blue fit' after tea when the girls complained I never do anything for them. Mmm bad move girls. This led to the 'theatre' being dismantled, me stomping about a lot and still tidying it all myself while stomping and shouting! Not handled well by me, but hey we're all 'over' tired.

Hettie has had a rubbish HE day. Maths was a huge struggle today with much umming and aahing over 2x3 and so on. Her reading was slow and faltering, and generally got herself in a right old muddle. Thought I would carry on reading the Railway Children but she kept day dreaming and I had to re-read most of what I had just read. So after struggling through copying 4 short sentences for her main lesson - which we discovered she had written with the book upside down - we moved onto Leonardo Da Vinci and finished building his flying machine. Well I did really while she carried on day dreaming.

But my Core 1 Sonlight shelf is good to go - think I may miss the Science 2 reproduction of humans, because 1) I think Issy is too young, 2) She will probably spend the next month asking all and sundry if & how they reproduce and 3) I can't put up with crys of 'Gross' every time dh is within 6 foot of me!

I de-registered Issy from school today and so she finishes on Thursday. This is obviously an added anxiety for her even though she wants to be at home. She also has a show lined up and her first Brownie camp, so as I commented to someone else recently about their son, she has got a lot on her plate at the moment. Although she overheard a mum asking me how her 'therapy' was going and later remarked 'Cool, I'm in therapy just like children on tv' - we really have to cut back on c**p tv. I relented on the theatre bits and helped her put them all in a box ready to put up Thursday evening for a show before we go away. Hettie said 'mum, its a bad week, don't stress'. Ok I thought don't stress, had a long bath, got in my pjs, mildly threatened Issy about going to sleep and settled down to watch Waking the Dead.

Cue Dh - 'What are you watching?'

Me - 'Waking the Dead, I watch it every week'

Dh - 'I've seen this one'

Me - 'No you haven't, its a new series'

Dh - 'No its a repeat, I'll check the paper'

Me - 'You do that'

Dh - 'Says its a new series'

Me - 'I told you that'

Dh - 'Well looks like its a remake of something else'

Me - 'Aren't you practising your guitar tonight?'

Dh - 'No I thought I'd watch this with you'

Cue Issy back downstairs - 'I can't go to sleep'

Cue Hettie back downstairs - 'Can I get a drink'

Dh - 'I'm sure I've seen this one'

Ok, Ok I snapped and shouted again!! Good job I love 'em.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Blog Slacking !

I've been slacking on the blogging front this week. Well I've been fairly busy. I'll post again later about sorting my Sonlight stuff.

Hettie had some sort of rash appear on her back, which I thought possibly could be German Measles (Rubella) and then on Thursday Issy got the rash as well. The GP thought it was probably a virus, so who knows. Its gone anyway and they're OK but Issy had to have another day off school!!! We nearly made a complete week as well LOL. Hettie got in a muddle and asked me if I thought she really did have Russian measles, to which I replied I didn't actually know what Russian measles were! Issy calls germs 'germans' so she got a bit confused as well. All this and I only said it 'might be'.

I went out with some old work colleagues on Thursday evening and we had a lovely meal, and a good chat and it was great.

So that aside Issy couldn't have her friend to play on Friday, so she was fed up about that, stayed up til 2am and then didn't want to go to drama group on Saturday morning. Hettie did go to drama and dh took Issy food shopping. I had friends over last night so yesterday was spent, you've guessed it, cleaning and more cleaning. Both girls went to Brownie Revels in the afternoon, where the theme was pirates:

Not a very good few days with Issy, she didn't want me to leave when we got there, back to clinging on etc etc. So she's missed ballet, drama and I was determined she wasn't missing Brownies. Very forunately for me the 'Owls' who run our pack are lovely and they managed to get round her to stay without me. She enjoyed it but didn't like the noise in the hall.

We had a really good laugh with our friends last night, I decided not to cook and got Chinese take away instead. We drunk a fair bit, dh and A played guitar, S played the keyboard and we planned our long weekend on the Norfolk Broads, which is this Friday. T and I aren't too good with our feet off dry land so we're packing travel sick pills!! Hettie came downstairs and played the keyboard for everyone and got a big round of applause. She's getting really confident playing in front of people now. Issy refused to come down except to collect a big bag of sweets from Aunty S !! The girls ate chinese in my bedroom watching tv - rice everywhere - and then followed that up with popcorn, so with the sweets as well they ended up feeling a bit nauseous. But they both were very well behaved and I only had to shout up the stairs twice!

Today I've been doing washing and dh has been sailing. He wanted to race so Hettie didn't go today. The girls decided to get the clay out:

I really, really should do some ironing this afternoon and there is an old episode of Morse on tv to watch!!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

There's been a lot on the news about aliens...

And I think they may have been in our garden. Because despite dh cleaning out our pond and fishing (no pun intended) about Holly the fish is gone - or she was until this afternoon when she's made a sudden and unexpected reappearance. Hettie thinks it was aliens and Issy thinks she's been on holiday! But in any case it has us puzzled because there is just no-where she could have hidden, the pond is as clear as clear. So it will no doubt remain one of lifes little mysteries.
Yesterday Issy was enrolled into her Brownie pack. She said her Brownie law and promise very beautifully, and very seriously. I was really proud of her.
Back to today - well home ed was a bit of a write off. But we did manage some maths, although today handwriting was a no go. So Hettie watched a couple of Tv programmes and then did some oil pastel art after lunch, and we read some more of the Railway Children. She has been a little under the weather and has a rash on her back which I think (and hope) is just a heat rash. So if it's no better tomorrow we'll have to visit the doctor.
I spent last night and today sorting out the huge box of Sonlight curriculum, which started as good fun (looking at all the lovely books) and then a bit of work (while I put it together and started reading it all). However I think I've got the hang of it now, well sort of. Once we get going I'm sure it will be great.

Monday, 12 May 2008

A Fish Called Holly...

Oh dear, it seems I spoke too soon because Issy's fish called Holly has disappeared overnight. Tbh we didn't notice until this evening when we were feeding them and Issy said 'Where's Holly gone?' So dh raked about and stirred them up but no Holly. It may have been the dreaded heron, but I think he probably would have ate them all, well more than one anyway! Lets hope she's hiding, dh is especially hoping this because he'll have to replace her at the weekend if she's not.

Other than the missing Koi, we've had a nice day with HE friends over. We didn't do any school work but all enjoyed the sun - well it might be gone tomorrow!

Issy is counting down her last days at school (9 to go) and has told some of her friends she's leaving. Fortunately I get on well with one of her closest friend's mums and they only live a short walk through the woods, so we're planning some meet ups. My Sonlight curriculum for her is now at Stansted Airport - I love the Fed Ex tracking.

So we're sort of prepared. Hettie is drifting along a bit so we need to get back to it, but I'm working tomorrow morning and she's off to do planting with grandad, although I've insisted maths workbook and reader goes too. Not sure what exam results she'll end up with, but she'll sure know all about gardening!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Lets Hope and Keep Fingers Crossed...

... that the heron who flies over our garden every morning and evening doesn't decide to pay a visit to our pond, because today dh splashed out on four Koi Carp. They're medium sized, so fairly expensive. The girls were delighted because they hand feed my dad's and have been waiting to get some.

Waiting to release the new fish.

Here's the four newbies, one is named Dodger and one is named Holly. Dh and I still have to name ours. Rosie and Jim the goldfish were named some years ago.

Freed into the great unknown.
Dh was working this morning do girls and I whizzed to the supermarket. It was like Christmas in there. Not sure what's got into everyone, I know its hot but for goodness sake the shops are open every day and theres only so much food you can barbeque. Then we went straight to the little garden centre and bought some bedding plants for our pots to replace the spring flowers.

Hettie and I planted up the pots and tidied up the decking and both sets of grandparents came over for the afternoon. Dh obviously arrived home after I'd humped a great big bag of soil and all the pots about.

We had a lovely afternoon sitting on the deck, chatting, eating and of course had a few drinks. The girls played in the paddling pool and ran about. My dad measured up to build the chicken coop - Hooray.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

And so it continues...

... what lovely sunny and hot weather, after all the wind and rain.

I had to take Issy for a blood test yesterday, which was just to check her general health. She was very good and was rewarded with a lolly, certificate and sticker. It was a bit of a pain because I had to drive to the clinic, go to my mums where I'd left Hettie, then apply the 'magic' cream an hour before the 'blood ladies' could fit her in, then go back to the clinic, and it was hot! Anyway all went well.

Then I took Hettie to the chicken farm as promised and we had a good look at coops, roosts and runs. We saw a wide variety of chickens, geeses, ducks, goats and lamas. I also missed treading on a huge rat asleep in the sun by about 1/4 inch. We decided with grandad's help we can probably build our own coop much cheaper. Much perusing over our chicken books followed and much discussion of the best and worse traits of various breeds. Dh joined in the chat, albeit reluctantly because 'I'm having nothing to do with any chickens' is his standard phrase.

Today the girls went off to drama and dh was working so I took the opportunity to clean through the house while everyone was out. It was so hot in our garden that I had to put the sunshade up so we could eat lunch in the garden. Not long before I had to drag the paddling pool out, donated by my brother, find a foot pump and fill. Not sure an 8ft pool is going to do much for the new grass though!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Sunny Days...

I just love it when the sun is out. It makes me feel happy when I wake up and the sun is streaming in through the windows.

We whizzed off to Issy's play therapy first thing and I managed to have a fair chat with her therapist which was really helpful, and I got lots of useful advice. You know some actual helpful information/direction rather than the old 'you really must make her...' otherwise known as 'its all your fault'. So I felt much happier after we had been today and Issy managed to go to school with minimal fuss.

I ordered Sonlight Core 1 with language arts and science 2 for Isobel today in preparation for her home ed.

My in-laws are down for a week and so Hettie and I went round for a cuppa and ended up staying for lunch (fish and chips - mmm) and Hettie went bug hunting in the garden. When I moaned about our lazy day with no home ed, she said bug hunting is science and she had done some art work as well. The girls caught on I think!!

We rushed home for a quick tidy and piano lesson. Issy went to ballet after school and is excited because they're having a show and she's going to be a fairy. She spent some time making a tissue paper bottle filled with glittery water.

Hettie and I checked her weather equipment, we had a South Westerly breeze, no rainfall and our barometer (no pic) had actually moved indicating a raise in air pressure. We have to fix our weather vane on a post but we held it for now!

And at the weekend I managed to get a pic of Issy missing her teeth. The bottom two grew incredibly quickly. Unfortunately the dentist referred her to another surgery to remove the four at the top which are causing problems and they don't take children under 10, so now we have to make a bit of a trip but it should be within the next 3 weeks so at least it will be quick.

Tomorrow Hettie and I are going to check out chicken coops!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Weather Reporting...

... was the subject of today's home ed meeting. C gave a talk about how weather works and then set all the kids making various weather devices for measuring. She done a really good job and we've come home with a variety of things to fix up in the garden tomorrow. The idea is the kids will take recordings over the next few weeks and compare their results.

Issy was over tried, sick and has a flare up of her eczema so was off school again! Obviously the school is getting grumpy as its SATs time. Fortunately we have a good LA Home Ed advisor and I've had a long chat with her and she gave me some very good advice and support. So hopefully we can make it through 12 days until half term without too much upset with all parties being 'reasonable'. Issy has read lots and lots today, which is great and we did a little maths together. Hettie therefore made a concerted effort to read half of her reader and did some work on her buildings main lesson.

However everyone is finally in bed at least, Hettie has been fencing so its a late night for her and Issy, well she's still reading. But hey she could still be chatting to me!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Back to normal?

After feeling extremely nauseous along with Issy, I missed most of the lovely weather this Bank Holiday weekend. Dh took Hettie sailing Sunday and both girls Monday, which meant I had a day off. But because I felt horrible I didn't sit in the sun at all. Never mind, back to normal today.

We started off a little late for school so we stayed on the main road and didn't take the short cut to avoid another schools traffic congestion. Unfortunately a young lad got knocked off his motorbike in front of us which meant I had to swing into nurse action, abandon girls in the car and sprint up the road. Fortuately he was ok, apart from being a bit shaken although the lady that hit him was very upset. So then I had to wait for the paramedics and police, give a quick report etc. By now there was a huge traffic jam and we, of course, were late for school.

Well normal day then for us, nothing ever quite goes to plan. Hettie and I thought we may as well stop at grandad's for a cuppa then. But eventually we got back home to school work.

Hettie struggled through subtraction and then we did some of her buildings main lesson. We followed that with another experiment from her solar power kit and finished her reader about Tigers.

I've more or less definately decided to buy Sonlight Core 1 for Isobel, and Hettie if she wants to join in. Although I love Waldorf and Hettie does well with it, I can't see it working for Issy. She's too intensive in the way she learns, but after all isn't that the good thing about home education, its adaptable.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Swallows and Amazons .... Happy Birthday Nanny!

Happy Birthday Nanny Norfolk! Aaaagh Years Old Today!!

No waving family members nanny, but thought you'd like to see the adventures of your very own Swallows and Amazons, taken by S last weekend. As she took over 300 pics I've just picked a few of the best!

This is a tale of two brothers who were once Swallows sailing together, and now we have them with their own offspring, and so have split into the 'Swallows' and the 'Amazons'. (NB: The Swallows belong to me and have an old mirror dinghy bought off ebay, and the Amazons belong to my SIL and have a flash new boat thingy bought at the Boat Show, flash so and so's)
Now in all days out which are mainly organised by men they have to stand about and discuss the day for some time before they actually get round to doing anything, sorry I meant they plan in detail so nothing goes wrong. Here they are making a detailed plan:

Now if its your first trip out as a Swallow its pretty exciting:

But invariably you start to get in Swallow Seniors way and have to be given a job to do:

Finally, the Swallows are launched and off on their maiden voyage:

Safety boat looks like he's following them! There's no exciting island to sail to, but Kent's just across the water so maybe he thought he'd just keep an eye, after all you would have to pass through a shipping channel to get there. The Amazons follow shortly after:

Swallows and Amazons together:

Mmmm now whats happening, the brothers seem to have abandoned their children and are making their escape by sea:

So what do Junior Swallows and Amazons do when they've been abandoned, play 'swimming in a buoyancy aid' of course, and most probably get in everyones way:

So this weekend they're off again to sail of course!

And as for Arthur Ransome's book, sorry but as those of you who know me already know boats of any type are not my thing, and this must be the most boring book I've ever read, I've had to pass it over to dh to read aloud because I start yawning as soon as I pick it up!!!!!!!!